Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

Read Post

Legal Beagle: A Small Official Information Act Fix

15 Responses

  • Robert Harvey,

    Thanks for this Graeme,

    It would be nice if there was a process under which details like this could be tidied up, rather than having to depend on the whims of our Parliamentary Representatives. I suppose the trouble would be to establish the principles which might flag such 'oversights'. Since at least some part of our legislation does not even adhere to the principles of the Human Rights enactments of the UN, expecting our governors to establish democratic principles to restrain them from inappropriate actions might be wishing for the moon. And of course there's the temptation of a Constitution (oh, no!).

    Westmere • Since Nov 2006 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Call me a dreamer... I would have thought if you made an OIA request to some government department or other...

    If the answer came back starting...

    You know, actually, this department isn't subject to OIA requirements...

    It could also include...

    But seeing as this seems like information that should be available, and we don't actually have a valid reason to hide it... here it is anyway...

    ??? Yep- dreamer.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 885 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Robert Harvey,

    It would be nice if there was a process under which details like this could be tidied up, rather than having to depend on the whims of our Parliamentary Representatives.

    Organisations which are not government departments can be added to the Ombudsman's Act (and hence the OIA) by Order in Council. But full Ombudsman's jurisdiction isn't always appropriate, and there's no ability to add entities to the OIA alone in the same way.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1710 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to FletcherB,

    But seeing as this seems like information that should be available, and we don't actually have a valid reason to hide it... here it is anyway...

    That would be reasonable, wouldn't it? But reasonableness is only easily enforceable on entities subject to the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman, who are therefore already (with a couple of exclusions) subject to the OIA.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1710 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to FletcherB,

    I understand that that's kind of what happened. The formal reply to the request was as tweeted, which was followed up by a call from someone in the media team saying that the information did not exist (which is a proper ground under the OIA to refuse to release information. The reply was apparently as it was as they "didn't want to set a precedent".

    I'm not sure it would have, and am also aware of a time the Chief Justice responded to an OIA request.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3198 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    That would be reasonable, wouldn't it? But reasonableness is only easily enforceable on entities subject to the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman, who are therefore already (with a couple of exclusions) subject to the OIA.

    And even then it so often seems necessary to fight for it, as if certain agencies have strategies of making things hard in the hope someone's just going to give up.

    I still think it's a shame that Shane Jones' Cost Recovery Amendment Bill (2012) was laughed out of Parliament before it had a chance to get serious consideration.

    Fundamentally it would have allowed the Ombudsman to invoice costs back to agencies for sorting out their bad judgement. Ideally it would have made it necessary for agencies to either budget directly for the OIA objection fallout, and justify to their Minister, or do things lawfully in the first place.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    "Small?" The Official Information Act urgently needs a systematic and thorough overall review, in order to protect democratic accountability and transparency, and preserve the principles of open and accessible government on which it was originally based.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 483 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to izogi,

    Just following my earlier comment, David Parker seems to have had another go with the same or similar Bill early last year, but it apparently didn't even reach the First Reading.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Grainger,

    So in 2012 I made an OIA request for all reports received as Minister Responsible for the Crown Law Office. This was declined, on a similar basis that they weren't OIAable.

    Went to the Ombudsman, and got a decision in my favour: the AG is OIAable for his Ministerial functions (including on the financials of Crown Solicitors). I ultimately received this response.

    What I note is that there are several titles revealing that in 2012 the AG as Minister Responsible for Crown Law received several papers relating to the financials of Crown Solicitors. Maybe worth another Ombudsman complaint in a similar vein?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Natalie Newrick, in reply to Craig Young,

    Hmmmmm.....2012.....well thats because the Govt was busy planning how to further rort, deny and honor the 2 x High Court Rulings and 1 x Court of Appeal ruling to the family carers cases of discrimination by the MOH. MOH reacted by changing legislation over night, without public consultation or correct legal protocol...and ever since, willy nilly National...just carried on making changes/amendments without public consultations or even knowledge in some cases...and sadly not enough people of NZ (the public)...demanded explanation, investigation etc...and not all the fault of poor public enquiry/interest...more because of the sneaky, deceiptful, secretive modus operandi under John Key's reign. Most folks have been baffled & utterly blindsided buy such outrageous media focus on 'changing the flag', $36,000,000 on cycleways the length of NZ for tourism, petrol crisis pipe disaster marsden point, etc....that they had no idea the affect of these illegally authorised changes of legislation and amendments to Acts were going ahead without public consent let alone belief that our Governors of this Nation, would utilise their power to rort the people of their rights and control of their hard earned, dutifully paid, tax payer funds. Good 'ol' kiwi nature of trust...completely and deceiptfully breached. Finally the questions are being asked, finally extremely long winded court battles against our Public Service Providers, which the plaintiffs have agonisingly dragged their way thru the extremely deceptive and impossible paths, those who had absolutely faced the shock and terror of realising, the reality that they/us, actually must enforce our rights to humanity to be honored because the rights to civil and political inclusion, had deliberately been denied, tampered with and completely misconstrued - and thats because we have been utterly victimised and overwhelmed due to lack of greater public understanding, support and inclusion. I have fought unbelievably, on behalf of the future wellbeing of all NZ's....for more than a decade...and a handful of other Kiwi's have been doing the same...and the battle is far from over, but at least now masses of the citizens of NZ are starting to ask the questions and demand the governments acknowledge and act on behalf of our people. Winebox Enquiry....John Key...ring a ding ding!!!

    Since Feb 2018 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Natalie Newrick,

    Pike River, Christchurch EQC, Waitangi/Iwi Settlements, Selling off of NZ assets, immigration and housing issues, mistreatment of peoples in Elder care facilities, declining education/charter schools, offshore political and employment negotiations, health & disability care provision,......infrastructure.....State Care abuse, our people and everything that pertains to their health & wellbeing - not selling off our assets and tendering out and selling off our our leadership and governance to foreign parties with the best offer and gain to those who do not have an inherent right to our land, governance or right to direct our elected administers to govern of this land...NZ our heritage and history. Nor do they have the right to determine what OIA information we can or cant access...but its a hell of a mammoth journey to take them thru every court and process to get them to honor our rights and legal systems and Acts they have sworn to honor, uphold and maintain. Who would ever have imagined....lil old NZ would be victimised and denied their humanity by a marginal portion of very powerful wealth, greed and unauthorised international agreements, contracts....

    Since Feb 2018 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Craig Young,

    "Small?" The Official Information Act urgently needs a systematic and thorough overall review, in order to protect democratic accountability and transparency, and preserve the principles of open and accessible government on which it was originally based.

    Absolutely. But that's a huge, multi-year policy project (which also might never happen). In the meantime, there are a pile of little things we can do quite easily (and one at a time) to improve things. This doesn't mean we stop advocating for the big changes; instead it means grabbing as much as we can and then demanding more.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1710 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to FletcherB,

    we don't actually have a valid reason to hide it

    they are skilled at thinking up reasons

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19543 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to Sacha,

    They are skilled at thinking up reasons

    Indeed… and it also occurs to me that if “the law” does not explicitly state “this information is public information that should be freely available” then it’s possibly secret by default?

    Who’s going to “risk” sharing information they cant find a specific rule telling them to, if it could also risk their current or future employment?

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 885 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to FletcherB,

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.