Monday, May 20, 2013

Not acceptable

It seems that while Tim Groser has been gallavanting around the world unsuccessfully campaigning to get himself a better job, he's been ignoring things at home - including such basics as answering OIA requests:

New Zealand First says Trade Minister Tim Groser’s refusal to acknowledge or answer Official Information Act (OIA) requests, brings the Minister’s performance of him and his office into question.

Associate spokesperson for Trade Andrew Williams says the Minister has so far failed to respond to five different OIA requests dating back to November 2012.

“While Mr Groser was off traveling the world at the tax-payer’s expense, trying to sure-up support for his failed WTO bid, his office has been failing to act on numerous OIA requests.

This is simply unacceptable. The OIA is not optional - it is the law. Ministers are legally required to respond to requests as soon as practicable, with 20 working days as the upper limit. And they should not be putting their personal career advancement before their legal obligations to the people of New Zealand.

Sadly, there's no penalty for breaking this law, and given the constant underfunding of the Ombudsman's office, complaining about late requests is pointless (for a start, it won't make them arrive on time). The only way this disease can be cured is by naming and shaming Ministers who ignore the law, so that voters can hold them accountable for their performance at the ballot box.