Wednesday, June 23, 2021

A slight relaxation of secrecy

The government has introduced a new Crown Minerals (Decommissioning and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. The bill is one of the products of the 2019-20 consultation on the Crown Minerals Act, and mostly addresses the problem of forcing oil companies to clean up their own mess, but it makes a number of other minor changes as well. Sadly, it does not repeal National's corrupt Anadarko Amendment, which attempted to outlaw protests against Big Oil, though it does introduce an infringement regime, so protestors might just get a ticket rather than a criminal conviction (which is still obviously bullshit, but less onerous). But it does make a minor amendment to the Act's secrecy regime, by allowing MBIE to proactively publish permit holder records and reports collected under s90. which given the scheme of the secrecy clause - which includes the usual permission to disclose information in performance of a function under the Act - makes you wonder why information collected under s90 is still included in it. After all, if the chief executive can publish it online whenever that want, what possible justification could there be for shielding it from the OIA?