Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Judith Collins' two-tier OIA service

Back in August, we learned that sewerblogger Cameron Slater was receiving extraordinary OIA service from then-Minister of Justice Judith Collins, in one case receiving a response to a request within 37 minutes. But it wasn't just extraordinary for its speed; from OIA records OIA'd via FYI, it appears that Slater's OIA requests were not even logged.

According to 3News, Slater's afterhours OIA for a letter the Minister had only just received was handled on December 21, 2012. Here's the relevant section of the logs:

Slater's OIA request doesn't appear. Which is highly unusual and suggests it was handled outside the normal process.

Slater's 37-minute OIA doesn't appear either, but two similar requests do:

(Thanks to @LostArcNZ for the excerpts and the legwork)

Neither matches either the final request - for correspondence since August 2012 - or the date of response: 12 February 2013. Its possible that the first request could be the relevant one, but then you have to ask why Collins' staff put the wrong response date in.

What's going on here? It's pretty clear Collins was operating a two-tier OIA service: one for the public (official, logged, slow), and one for her pet sewerblogger (unlogged, lightning fast, with special tips on what to request and likely distorted release decisions). That's a gross abuse of power as a Minister, and to the extent that she politically profited from it, a corrupt use of official information.