Bridges and flouting the OIA

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, June 17th, 2017 - 18 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, corruption, law, national, same old national - Tags: , , , , ,

Simon Bridges seems to be as full of third term arrogance as the next Nat, if this fiasco is anything to go by. RNZ:

Rail proposal that Minister’s office tried to block released

Kiwirail has publicly released the proposal for a new Auckland railway line which the Transport Minister Simon Bridges wanted to be kept secret.

New Zealand First released a series of emails last week showing Mr Bridges’ office had urged Kiwirail not to release the business case for the rail line, saying the prospect made it “extremely uncomfortable”.

The emails showed Kiwirail had planned to release the document in full, but many parts of the business case released today have now been redacted – including its benefit to cost ratio. …

Read on in the RNZ piece for the report that Bridges didn’t want you to see. It says that a proposed rail link would remove a critical bottleneck. Naturally Kiwirail’s bid to have it funded in the budget was unsuccessful. The Nats seem to irrationally hate rail. But it’s another aspect of the story that has attracted the most attention:

Ombudsman urges ministers to follow OIA rules

A top government watchdog wants an assurance ministers aren’t flouting the law when dealing with requests for official information.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has written a letter to Prime Minister Bill English after the Transport Minister’s office tried to stop KiwiRail from releasing a report.

He said such incidents risked eroding public confidence in the government and democracy. …

Abuse of the OIA is a well established pattern of this government. Read David Fisher on the “OIA arms race”.

So that’s where we are in NZ, officials are pleading with government MPs to obey the law. What the hell? Of course MPs should obey the law, and when they don’t there should be consequences! What does Bill English intend to do about this? Hah hah – sorry – silly me.

18 comments on “Bridges and flouting the OIA”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Does the National Party hate rail? Or does it just love the donations bribes “lucrative business opportunities” that come with prioritising roads?

    I wonder how much money Simon Bridges will make from his time as Transport Minister.

  2. Keith 2

    Ideology management, opinion management, bad news management.

    Somebody/s within the National Party apparatus knew that triaging anything that goes against their warped logic equals taking bad news off the front pages.

    And how fucking patronising to state that a man with Boshiers legal experience doesn’t have the historical perspective when questioning ministers…..translated, doesn’t he realize we arrogant pricks don’t give a shit about the law.

    Their complete control over everything and anything is paramount to their reelection because if the public saw what was really going on they would have turfed them out on their corrupt arses years ago.

    Investment in rail makes complete sense and now its at peak capacity in Auckland speaks volumes of the success of rail. But these dodgy fucks in National don’t get to personally clip the ticket when it’s not pouring our money into roads. So OIA’s get blocked and the whole uncomfortable truth erased.

  3. Gabby 3

    Something else about which Bingles gives not a shit.

  4. Kevin 4

    The 3rd Main in the Auckland network is a no brainer. Probably has the best BCR of any transport project in NZ, is relatively cheap at around $50 million, and benefits everyone.

    But its rail.

    End of story.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    The Nats seem to irrationally hate rail.

    It’s stupid but not really irrational. Trains, being far more efficient than trucks, don’t use as much resources and so they don’t generate as much profits or GDP.

    Of course MPs should obey the law, and when they don’t there should be consequences!

    In a case like this they should be sent to jail for not more than five years and fined years salary.

  6. Ethica 6

    Where are the ‘democracy is under attack’ headlines in the mainstream media, for this blatant disregard of the OIA.

  7. Incognito 7

    I do believe that National obeys the law in a strict legalistic sense. After all, they stand for Law & Order so everything they do has to be (seen as) pretty legal. However, IMO they tend to give two fingers to the spirit of the law. National displays a lot of hypocritical antithetical behaviour; do as I say, not as I do. People are getting fed up with this and rightly so. We want to be treated better and with more respect.

  8. red-blooded 8

    Bridges looked pretty uncomfortable when grilled about this on The Nation this morning. He kept insisting that the benefits of a roading project were “1.9” when the business case had said “between 1.4 and 1.9”, and saying that his office was right to try to stop the details of the rail project being released, because it was an “old report”, when he was happy to make claims about the roading project based on a report done at the same time. Not exactly convincing!

  9. Skinny 9

    I had a good laugh when someone shared this petition page to me. Classic Geoff Simmons from TOP sums it up perfectly;

    “Is it because a freight rail line doesn’t offer the same photo opportunities?”

    https://www.change.org/p/nz-prime-minister-bill-english-transport-minister-simon-bridges-must-resign/u/20573273

  10. georgecom 10

    English should have Bridges in his office first opportunity next week instructing him to approve the report being released to the public. He then should make it absolutely clear at his next caucus meeting that no national party MP will be obstructive with OIAs.

  11. Sacha 11

    A commenter at Greater Auckland blog (ex-Transportblog) has suggested the most likely explanation I’ve seen for Bridge’s office feeling quite so uncomfortable with the 3rd main rail business case being released: https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2017/06/16/third-main-business-case/#comment-242945

    Whole post and comments are worth a read, but this seems to be the nub of it.

  12. A lot of good comments here . The bottom line is rail IS more efficient than private trucking firms. Not only that , but it is more environmentally friendly and can lower the costs of bulk transport and the costs of road maintenance.

    FOUR THINGS that the rest of us want but this bunch of globalist neo liberal subversives will go to any lengths to discourage. And for them ?

    The profits are HUGE.

    THAT’S WHY they do not want any report being made public about the benefits of rail and how it has been suppressed and described as an ‘ old ‘ report.

    You never wanted this country run by a bunch of subversives?

    Too late. You already have.

    Vote the shitters out this coming September and be done with them and having to discuss things like this.

  13. greywarshark 13

    We don’t want to know that. Too much information. And we, the gummint, don’t want you to know ..whatever… either.

  14. web-developer 14

    Yes, according to the Greater Auckland link – apart from the fact the third main takes a significant amount of time off the Auckland – Wellington rail run, making rail much more competitive against the trucking lobby, part of the report revealed plans to consolidate some reasonably large staging yards to a location elsewhere. This relocation/consolidation would almost entirely remove the need for the trucking lobby’s beloved East-West motorway link. What a disaster.

  15. Philj 15

    Webdev. Putting Corporate interest ahead of private interest? Surely not! Is this treason or just Business as usual?

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