Nats undermining open government

by frog

Last year I blogged on the ACC-gutting Bill that has just this week been rammed through Parliament under urgency, quoting the Regulatory Impact Statement on the Bill:

The Treasury Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) Team has reviewed this regulatory impact statement (RIS) and considers that it does not meet the RIS requirements. The RIS does not contain the required information and the analysis is incomplete in a number of key areas. For example, some of the proposals to remove ACC entitlements will shift costs onto other government agencies or onto individuals but the RIS does not quantify these costs. The proposal to introduce experience rating and risk sharing in the Work Account will increase administrative and compliance costs for business and for the ACC Scheme, but these costs have not yet been investigated. In addition, the RIS consultation requirements have not been met.

Pretty damning stuff!

So when the even more draconian Bill to gut democracy and facilitate privatisation of assets in Auckland appeared just before Christmas, I was surprised there was no RIS in it.  Instead, there was just a lengthy web link to a RIS, which didn’t even work from the PDF I was viewing online.  So I had to type it in character by character, as would anyone viewing a hard copy of the Bill.  Someone having a casual perusal of the Bill wouldn’t even bother.

Thanks to Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn, I now know why.  In November last year Cabinet approved a new policy on Regulatory Impact Statements:

The full text of all RISs is required to be published on the websites of the administering agency and the Treasury. In relation to Bills, the URL (rather than the full text) is to be provided in the Explanatory Note. Hard copies of the RIS must be provided to select committees (or the House of Representatives if the Bill is passed under urgency).

In plain [Dipton] English, this Government is attempting to avoid public scrutiny of Bills by making Regulatory Impact Statements almost as hard to find as Phil Heatley’s and Gerry Brownlee’s Ministerial credit card receipts.  A very poor look as far as open government is concerned.

frog says

Published in Justice & Democracy by frog on Fri, February 26th, 2010   

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