The most open and transparent Government should not take a year to supply official information
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pledged: “This government will foster a more open and democratic society. It will strengthen transparency around official information.”
The fact that it took Radio New Zealand a year to get a response to an Official Information Act request about a heated bureaucratic turf war between the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) over COVID-19 border exemptions makes a mockery of that promise.
Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Neil Miller said:
“A year is far too long to wait for a simple official information request given the Act has a timeframe of 20 working days to respond and a presumption to release unless there is good reason not to.”
“Too often, we see Government agencies attempt to stonewall legitimate requests in the hope that the people requesting the information will simply give up over time.”
“We submit more official information requests than any non-media organisation and constantly run up against obfuscation, unjustified delays, demands for money, and at times, straight up lies. We have the Ombudsman on speed dial.”
“Our message to the Prime Minister is simple. Live up to your promise and answer the questions, openly and transparently.”