As people will have noticed, I make heavy use of the OIA (for a blogger), and blog frequently about the results as well as the process. Most of the latter are complaints - delays, unlawful extensions, and even a complaint to the Ombudsman. However its not all like that. Last week I sent off a request to the Minister of Justice for cabinet papers relating to the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Bill. They processed it yesterday, and immediately realised that I'd filed a similar request in October last year, and that they'd sent the response to the wrong address (so that's what happened to it). They called me immediately to apologise and explain, and today a couriered copy of the original response arrived in my mailbox; meanwhile they're looking for any new documents as requested.
This is one of the major changes the OIA has led to: a culture of openness in the public service. There are still some holdouts - Defence, Corrections and the Police all seem to share a belief that they are not accountable to the public, and that we have no right to inquire into their activities - but most government departments now fully accept that the public has a right to demand answers from them, and are quite willing to help us exercise it.