Friday, July 09, 2021

"Contrary to law"

That's the Ombudsman's opinion on the actions of the Most Transparent Government Ever:

Minister for Courts William Sio has been found to have acted "contrary to law" over his office's handling of an Official Information Act request.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier also raised concern that the minister's office did not understand how parts of the OIA worked.

The judgment on Sio came after an OIA request to his office in January last year.

The Minister's office sought an extension, which it could under the law, and then sought to extend again, and then again and even again after that with the eventual response landing in May.

Boshier found the three subsequent extensions were not options under the law.

As the article points out, "contrary to law" is one of the stronger things an Ombudsman can say. One of the reasons for it may be that Sio tried to ignore the Ombudsman as well his obligations under the OIA. And when Ministers and agencies start doing that, the entire system starts breaking down. Which makes you wonder why Boshier didn't seek to charge the Minister with obstruction.

Meanwhile, its clear from this that the "most open and transparent government that New Zealand has ever had" is becoming actively hostile to freedom of information. Muldoon was forced to back down from such a position - the public reaction to his secrecy was why we got the OIA. We need to force Labour to open up as well.