Friday, April 20, 2018

Proactive release of Ministerial briefings

For a while I've been posting about Ministerial weekly briefings, encouraging people to OIA them as a resource for finding out what the government is doing. There's been some pushback from Labour over this, and I have a complaint in with the Ombudsman over this. But Labour's David Parker has decided to do the right thing, and proactively release them all after three months:

I take the position that Weekly Updates which are under three months old remain under active consideration. It is, however, important to me that this material is made publicly available once I have been able to make decisions on the material provided.

Because of this, I have asked officials to release my Weekly Updates once they are over three months old on the Ministry for the Environment website. On 11 May 2018 the Environment Weekly Updates I received between October 2017 and January 2018 will be made available on the Ministry for the Environment website. Ministry for the Environment officials will be in touch with you to provide you with a link to this material.

This is a good step forward. I expect that the released briefings will still have redactions where issues are still under active consideration, but three months should minimise the need for that while still ensuring a timely release. And its also about the timeframe I've been aiming for with my requests for past briefings. Hopefully other Ministers will soon follow suit.