Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Time for a people's review of the OIA

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Justice conducted a public consultation exercise on whether to hold a review of the Official Information Act (this replaced their previous plans to hold a secret consultation with handpicked people). 285 people submitted on it, but their submissions disappeared into a black hole, as the Minister put back a decision. So, someone used FYI, the public OIA request site, to request them. As a result, you can read them all here.

There's over 600 pages of documents there, including comments from a number of government agencies. It'll take a while to digest. But since the Minister is sitting on his hands, one obvious thing those of us who want to fix the OIA could do is go through them, identify the primary issues raised, and how to fix them - effectively to conduct a people's review of the Act, with recommendations reflecting the will of submitters rather than the public service elite.