Thursday, October 04, 2012

The OIA and compliance costs

When the Law Commission reviewed the Official Information Act, some government agencies - typically peripheral ones such as SOEs and CRIs - complained about the cost of complying with the law. One example of this was AgResearch, which complained in its submission that

we consider compliance costs to be substantial enough, and would not want to see a[n appeals] process that is more onerous than that currently existing

So how high were these "substantial" compliance costs? Someone used FYI, the public OIA request site, to ask. The response? They don't actually know. But they don't employ any staff specifically to handle them (suggesting the workload is not high), and they receive only eleven requests a year - less than one a month.

So much for "substantial" compliance costs. These are just secretive corporates who don't like transparency and don't care about democracy. And we should treat their view on this with the contempt it deserves.