Thursday, August 13, 2015

Help end TPP secrecy

The government's strategy on the Trans Pacific Partnership is to keep everything secret, even documents they've provided to other parties. The result is that the public are kept in the dark and locked out of the decision-making process about significant policy changes, some of which could have serious effects on human lives. The government has even refused to release documents under the OIA, sweeping everything under the carpet of "international relations".

But last week, a group of seven NGOs - Consumer NZ, Ngati Kahungunu, the Tertiary Education Union, Oxfam, Greenpeace, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation - joined Jane Kelsey in challenging that secrecy in court by seeking a judicial review of the Ombudsman's decision that withholding documents was proper. Its a good move, and one which will set precedent for future use of the OIA (in particular around the government's ability to purportedly contract out of the law by promising its negotiating partners to keep its own material secret). But judicial review is expensive, and they'll need help paying for it. If you'd like to chip in, there's a GiveALittle campaign here.