OIA laughs for a Friday afternoon

I’ve been enjoying Idiot/Savant’s posts over at No Right Turn about his ongoing battles trying to get various Ministers in John Key’s Government to respond adequately to his OIA requests.

I’ve had a couple of classics myself this week. The first came from Attorney-General Christopher Finalyson. I asked for “all documentation considered by Cabinet in making the decision to decline compensation and apologies to the eight women who participated in the Forum of Complainants of Police Misconduct.”

I got the paper considered by Cabinet alright, but the entire section about financial redress – presumably fairly central to Cabinet’s decision to decline compensation – was blanked out. And we’re not just talking a paragraph, we’re talking pages and pages:

And then this morning I arrived to these pearls in my inbox. I’ve sent separate requests to both Environment Minister Nick Smith and to his officials at the Ministry of the Environment looking for documents about the Land and Water Forum, now that the forum’s reported. Seems like the right hand and the left hand need to get together for a little chat:

From Nick Smith

Please note that the request for “… copies of any papers or advice provided by your officials to the Land and Water Forum” has been transferred to the Ministry for the Environment for consideration, as it more closely aligns with the responsibilities of the Ministry for the Environment.

From the Ministry

Please note that the request for “…copies of any advice provided by your agency to your Minister about the Land and Water Forum, including, but not limited to advice on how the Forums activities and/or report might impact on the work of your agency” has been transferred to the office of Hon Dr Nick Smith for consideration, as it more closely aligns with his responsibilities as the Minister for the Environment.

Fun times in OIA land! Have a good weekend everyone.

6 Comments Posted

  1. I once asked for all the e-mails relating to Puhoi to Wellsford sent internally in the Auckland NZTA office that invloved opinions about Steven Joyce…

    They didn’t end up in my final packet… I wonder why..? I’m assuming they contained the words, “crazy, moron, giant money destroyer”…

  2. Not really wanting to defend them, but that clause isn’t meant to apply to all communication, just the really sensitive stuff. It’s a catch-22 because otherwise they just wouldn’t write everything down. It’s not much help, but the Ombudsman can determine if the right call has been made – if you have reason to believe something has been unreasonably withheld.

  3. I like it when they with-hold stuff under that clause about ensuring free communication between the Minister and his civil servants. I mean, after all, how much gets OIad that isn’t covered by that clause? Virtually everything is a communication between a Minister and bureaucrats.

  4. The OIA is disgracefully loopholed and needs serious reform… Especially now that dictator Gerry is only able to be kept in check via it’s use…

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