Wednesday, October 15, 2014

An example of the problem

How much contempt do National Ministers have for the OIA? Paula Bennett ignored an Ombudsman's ruling to hold back information that made the government look bad until after the election:

The advice [on child poverty] has finally been released under the Official Information Act after Radio New Zealand made a request in May last year. It took a complaint to the Ombudsman's Office to force former Social Development Minister Paula Bennett to release the information - but even then she managed to delay the release until after the election.

So much for the public duty to release once the Ombudsman has ruled...

But then, its no wonder, because the advice shows MSD blatantly ignoring their own findings to recommend what they believe the government wants to hear. It shows a department which has sacrificed its professionalism and surrendered its duty to provide free, frank and fearless advice - in the process tainting itself and compromising its ability to serve future governments. This destruction of public service values happens for one reason: because Ministers bully their departments. Its no wonder therefore that Bennett wanted to cover it up until our chance to hold her accountable had passed.

But what's worse is that Bennett is now Minister for State Services. So instead of bullying and compromising a single department, she now gets to bully and undermine all of them. So we can expect a lot more of this sort of shit in future.