‘The Public’s Right to Know’ – OIA Review

Official Information Act (OIA)
“At present, the Ombudsman was in charge of investigating complaints under the Act, but did not have any wider responsibilities. […] An information commissioner could be created, who would perform a similar role to the Privacy Commissioner or Human Rights Commissioner.”

### ODT Online Thu, 26 Jul 2012
Review recommends broader scope for OIA
Source: NZ Herald
The Law Commission has recommended that all publicly funded agencies should be subject to official information requests, including courts, universities and boards of trustees. The commission has made more than 100 recommendations in “The Public’s Right to Know”, a review of the Official Information Act (OIA) which was tabled at Parliament yesterday. Lead commissioner for the report Prof John Burrows said main principles of the 30-year-old Act were sound, but it needed to be upgraded for the digital age.

“We think there’s a case now for saying if a body is receiving public funding and is performing a public function it should be accountable under the OIA.”

The review also recommended re-drafting some of the grounds for withholding information – such as “good government” and “commercial sensitivity” – which were unclear.

The Justice Ministry and Department of Internal Affairs would consider the recommendations, and were expected to act on them within six months.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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11 Comments

Filed under Business, Economics, Inspiration, Media, Name, People, Politics, What stadium

11 responses to “‘The Public’s Right to Know’ – OIA Review

  1. Elizabeth

    Where has the ORT Editor been? “New Zealand’s relative lack of corruption”

    Perhaps he doesn’t play rugby, sponsor a stand at the stadium, use pokie machines, or sit on a pokie trust. Doesn’t participate in harness racing, or pony clubs. Doesn’t come from the Kaipara. Neither does he weigh in on grey-papered non public Dunedin City Council; or the boards (pl.) of DCHL, Delta Utility Services Ltd, CST and similar; or have investments with now ‘historical’ entities tied up with SCF – …or have ‘gainful’ employ at University of Otago’s FSD, or with ODHB (now SDHB) before that. We don’t think he’s a member of Black Power or Mongrel Mob, or takes Bath Salts. Such blindness, editorially, amidst every item of national and regional news on failing finance companies, rorts, frauds, drug runs, and more – carried out by white collar ‘pillars of society’ (much of it UNREPORTED)… suggests a person living in exile off our coast on the tiny wave-lashed White Island, oblivious. No wonder the local newspaper finds it so hard to tackle real issues, not sure there’s any smart cable or satellite communication off St Clair.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 26 Jul 2012
    Editorial: The public’s right to know
    If the maxim “information is power” holds true, then the Official Information Act 1982 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 have helped increase power to the people. They should be acknowledged as part of the process whereby government has become more accountable and more open.

    An often underestimated effect of open information is in curbing corruption. The more sunlight shines into dark places, the less bad business grows. New Zealand’s relative lack of corruption is one of its primary competitive – as well as moral – advantages, and everything possible must be done to retain our premier world ranking.

    The Government, and this was spelt out in a media release from Justice Minister Judith Collins yesterday, says it is committed to openness and transparency. It now has the job of working through the recommendations, while it and all public organisations – including universities, health boards and local authorities – live up to the ethics and ethos of the Acts. That is what the public must always demand if New Zealand’s official information legislation is to be as effective as it can and should be.
    Read more

    http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/
    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/minister-welcomes-report-oia-law

  2. amanda

    Not surprising the editor of the ORT would think that there no corruption in NZ. Talk about stating the obvious outlook of the newspaper. Away in dream land where shiny oval balls rule the world and thick necked men in suits run the show and things like massive unsustainable stadium debt do not exist. Accountability for lying politicians who have forced unsustainable debt on this city? Not a part of ORT fairyland.

  3. Anonymous

    Not much of Bill and John’s either, or any of their arrogant ministers, given they’re busy screwing the country out of $120M in consultancy fees and $1.7B in asset sales. They’ve got lots to do for their close mates and international allies and so little time to do it.

    And that’s just the icing on the cake. There’s assets in the cities too and Dunedin is ripe for the big rort. They better hurry up though because every effort is going to be made to have their Stadium Councillor Syd Brown thrown out next year.

  4. amanda

    Well, I look forward to the ORT reminding voters that Syd Brown voted for the stadium’s debt and all his promises of economic salvation turned out to be lies. lols.

  5. Anonymous

    One of their senior councillors? No way. Syd would have to screw up big for that paper to bring him to accountability in public. There’s grease on too many hands for that. No, they would fry Andrew Noone or even Paul Hudson if it came down to it. But there’s plenty of cannon fodder still in the Stadium Councillor ranks before the frying pan got that hot.

  6. Mike

    Yesterday I wrote a letter to the online ODT ripping Brown for spending another $750k a year to support professional rugby – the ODT changed every instance of “Cr Brown” to “council” – so yeah, they want no public accountability.

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    Joint DCC and Otago Rugby Times press release indicates support for public’s right to know those things that they judge are appropriate to know, and to believe those things that they judge are necessary for the public to believe. They propose an amendment allowing random checks for knowledge and belief with sanctions against those who fail to meet the standard. Financial penalties have been advocated to allow increases in Fubar-associated charity.

  8. amanda

    Stadium councillors are hiding behind the skirts of ‘the council’, it is nice and safe there with no accountability. I wonder what Greater Dunedin, Butcher, Vandervis, and Stevenson think about the stadium councillors using them as a shield for fiscal ineptitude ? I guess that is what you’ve got to expect from bullies, cowardly behaviour. Will Brown and mates stand up and state their support for the stadium? No way. They know this will cost them the election next year. Stadium councillors’ silence on their stadium support speaks volumes; they know the stadium is a lemon, they knew it from the beginning. And the media in this town? With their collusion and shyness around naming councillors’ fiscal negligence, Brown and cronies feel safe to go full speed ahead and sell local assets to pay for the debt they are responsible for. Don’t look to Smith’s paper to challenge them. Media? Shame. On. You.

  9. Anonymous

    I suspect whomever wrote that denial piece (or was the writer affected by repressed guilt?) at the Otago Daily Times also wrote the “Poker machine proceeds” editorial today. There’s just that whiff of arrogance and annoyance at having to write about something that cannot possibly exist.

    As pokies fraud in Dunedin is predominantly related to professional rugby, therefore it must surely be the stuff of fiction and media will make sure concerns are minimised in the best interests of its readers. (1)

    For fun this “opinion” provides an opportunity to play the classic Oddity game of “Guess What’s Not In The Story?”. (2)

    http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/219044/poker-machine-proceeds

    1) The term readers is mostly marketing. The actual recipients would be Stakeholders and their Stadium Councillors.
    2) Although no “coins” are required to play this game, continually re-reading the story may result in a skewed view on reality.

  10. Calvin Oaten

    You would have to wonder why the ODT even bothered to write the editorial on “Poker machine proceeds”, as it is such a bland ‘twice round the edges’ exercise. It studiously ignores the ‘dodgy’ aspects which have been shown to be rife in the industry, particularly the parts played by the racing industry, and, more importantly, our own local rugby industry. But no, we don’t dare mention that ‘iconic’ institution, lest we disturb the equanimity of our complicit community. That, of course, would never do. Let’s all perpetuate the notion of ‘corruption’ in any shape or form as anathema in our blessed community. This is a virulent form of crass corruption of which there is more than enough evidence of its existence. Any half baked journalist with any sense of right would be pursuing this to the utmost, as a service to the community. Getting too much of a bother, I suspect, that sort of approach from staid old ODT I am afraid.

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