Monday, September 01, 2014

More OIA skullduggery from National

Another day, and more evidence the National government is manipulating the OIA process:

Judith Collins' office processed an Official Information Act request in just two days to release an email embarrassing then Serious Fraud Office head Adam Feeley in 2011.


On October 17 Collins disclosed Feeley had emailed her an apology, but she expected him to travel to Wellington to deliver it in person.

An OIA request by the National Business Review for the email was processed and the email released the following day.

The problem here isn't that someone got their response within two days - its that other people didn't. The law requires that requests be answered "as soon as reasonably practicable" (and in any case within 20 working days), but its increasingly clear that what is "reasonably practicable" varies significantly depending on whether you are a critic or ally of the government, and indeed on whether a Minister wants to deniably smear their own staff while being protected from legal consequences.

Meanwhile, OIAs seeking information which might be damaging to the electoral chances of the government are inexplicably delayed...

Which makes that upcoming Ombudsman's investigation even more urgent, and even more necessary. Ministers should not be manipulating the process like this, and those that do should be named, shamed, and sacked.