Monday, May 14, 2018

Labour will not fix the OIA

When Labour was in opposition, they frequently demanded that National fix the Official Information Act to improve transparency. But despite a Law Commission review telling them exactly what needs to be done and a review from the Open Government Partnership's Independent Reporting Mechanism recommending they implement it, the government has no intention of doing so:

Contrary to reporting last year, it seems that the Government currently has no plans to reform the Official Information Act.

At the time we wrote to Ministers Clare Curran and Andrew Little expressing our support for such a reform. We have finally had a response from Justice Minister Andrew Little that:

"Although a review of the Official Information Act is not presently under consideration by the Government, such a review is possible at some point in the future."

So much for Clare Curran's promise that "this will be the most open, most transparent Government that New Zealand has ever had". Instead, its the usual story: transparency is something preached in opposition, but ignored when in government. And politicians wonder why the public perceive them as deceitful hypocrites who are lower than dogshit? This is why.

As for what we can do about it: if the government won't act, maybe the opposition will. They're talking a good game on transparency in Question Time at the moment (just as Labour was in opposition). We need to get them to back that with members' bills. At the least, it'll then lead to awkward questions for the Minister for Open Government about why they are doing her job for her.