Thursday, December 03, 2015

The blind watchdog

Yesterday, the Ombudsman, the guardian of the OIA, told a select committee that she had found no political interference with OIA requests. And that very day, we have this:

Housing New Zealand has confirmed Nick Smith’s office had a hand in covering up embarrassing information exposing National MPs rorting taxpayer-funding to campaign, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says.

“Housing New Zealand has confirmed the Minister’s office blanked out sections of an Official Information Act response which exposed National List MP Parmjeet Parmar using taxpayer money to ‘raise local profile’ in the event of a by-election in Mount Roskill.

“Text, which was redacted in three places in the released documents, was accidently left in, in another section.

Note that the request was to Housing New Zealand, so Nick Smith was dictating to them how they should respond (and that they should lie by mislabelling material as "out of scope") - something the Chief Ombudsman says never happens and which Chief Executives (whose continued employment, salary and bonuses depend on a good relationship with their Minister) would resist.

I guess we should all be glad that she's retiring in a week - because she's just shown herself to be an embarrassment to her office and fundamentally useless at doing her job.