web analytics

Fisher on the OIA arms race

Written By: - Date published: 11:26 am, October 23rd, 2014 - 27 comments
Categories: accountability, journalism, Media - Tags: ,

Over at Public Address, Herald reporter David Fisher has written a long and fascinating piece on his experiences in getting access to public information. Short form – NZ has over the last 25 years gone from a good place to a very bad place indeed. A couple of extracts below, but go read the whole thing on Public Address


David Fisher: The OIA arms race

At the moment, there is an inquiry underway into whether a blogger gained some advantage in receiving information from the SIS for political purposes. There are also allegations of preferential treatment over the OIA involving the same blogger and the former Justice Minister.

The police are also facing allegations of trying to cover up juked stats by burying an OIA. And a former Customs lawyer has said his organisation preferred to let requests languish in the Ombudsman’s office than dealing with them.

In the 25 years I have worked as a journalist, there have never been so many questions, or such a loss of faith, all at once.

The shift really began after the 2005 election, when Helen Clark’s third term threatened to get away from her. I believe what happened then perverted all that has come since, when it comes to media and the public service.

The “no surprises” policy had been a feature of coalition agreements since 1996, and part of the SOE model. … But before long, it crept out of SOEs and political agreements and spread its grip through the public service.

There are far darker, grimmer views out there than mine. Simply, we don’t trust you. By commission or ommission, we think many of those who handle our OIA requests don’t have the public interest at heart. We don’t trust the responses we get.

Of course, we may be completely wrong. We may have made a terrible mistake. But how would we know otherwise? You don’t talk to us anymore. You’re too scared to. Caught between the Beehive and the media, you don’t know which to face.

27 comments on “Fisher on the OIA arms race ”

  1. Tracey 1

    hooton admits deliberately breaching the law. key too. that hoots was ever in a position to so is sobering.

    I dont care who is in govt. the oia is a safeguard for democracy. anyone flouting it for political ends does not care for democracy

    noted that fisher did not have this published by the herald?

    • tc 1.1

      admission is easy when you’re confident there are no consequences.

      • Tracey 1.1.1

        yup and it makes those who routinely behave in their own lives with no ethics feel better about themselves when such a likeable ordinary bloke like key does it too.

    • CnrJoe 1.2

      ‘sobering’ Tracey?
      Remember Hooton was on 3-4 bottles of red wine a day up until a couple of weeks before the 2014 general election, I can imagine he’s broken a whole lot of things over the years 😉

      [lprent: It is rather irrelevant for this post. I strongly suggest you put a cork in it. We all know where that kind of statement leads too.. ]

      • Tiger Mountain 1.2.1

        In publicly declaring his relationship with alcohol Hooton has done a difficult and if others experience is anything to go by, potentially foolhardy thing. If you want to give something up don’t tell the whole world because they will only applaud if you take up the ciggies, go powder or sauce again.

        But anyone that gets beyond denial and tries to make changes deserves some support not snide remarks whatever their politics. Apart from Judith Collins of course in Twitter rehab.

        • wekarawshark 1.2.1.1

          +1

          enough with the addict intolerances and prejudices please.

          • adam 1.2.1.1.1

            But balance that with being firm with Matthew at the same time – we do him no favours by encouraging him into old habits. He will slip back into the bottle if he keeps playing political games. From what I’ve heard from him, he needs a major lifestyle change. I wish him the best of luck stopping, but, I would encourage him to look after himself, and change what he does for a living.

            • wekarawshark 1.2.1.1.1.1

              it’s really none of our business what Hooton does with his drinking. If you think it is our business, then please explain why say Slater shouldn’t take an interest in my drinking. See where this goes?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Matthew has reached out to this community on many occasions: his personal life isn’t our business it’s our solidarity with our fellow citizens without fear or favour.

                I want better wingnuts – how is failure to acknowledge brother Hooton’s cries for help going to achieve that?

                • wekarawshark

                  🙄

                  My objection is to people presuming they know shit about someone’s addiction just because it’s been mentioned online. And to people using someone’s addiction against them. If it’s ok for lefties to do that to Hooton, then it legitimises Slater doing it to lefties.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Yes, people will use it against him: part of that is abominable and part of it is pragmatic.

                    His arguments are valuable more for what they reveal than what they say, and I wish what part of his brain can still think independently well all the same.

              • karol

                Or an interest in my non-drinking. As someone who is teetotal, I am very aware of the way consumption of alcohol is seen as the norm for social occasions, and often as the defining feature of such occasions.

                Some people apply all sorts of pressures to get me to take just one drink for the occasion. It must make life extra difficult for anyone who had to struggle to give up booze, when some people are pretty insensitive.

                I’m with weka on not using a decision to abstain a means of attacking a person, whether I agree with that person’s politics or not.

                • wekarawshark

                  people still do taht pressure thing? Shit, that’s bad.

                  It’s not like we don’t have enough material from Hooton to take him to task over either.

                  We have no way of knowing if someone’s drinking affects their work. Some addicts are high functioning. Using the addiction as stick hurts all addicts. Pretty much the same as other prejudices really.

                  • karol

                    Well, I haven’t had that sort of pressure for a while, but I have no way of knowing if that’s because I’m older.

                    Yep. Focusing on someone’s addiction is not a useful line of attack.

        • Tracey 1.2.1.2

          my use of sobering was not a play on words.

          I have no time for hooton and if he genuinely is fighting an addiction rather than it being part of some strategy good luck to him.

          may it make him a generous honest and compassionate human who no longer behaves badly cos its in his dna

          • CnrJoe 1.2.1.2.1

            all very well. I personally believe it was a ‘play’. It gave him and the P.M (or his office, or his cat) a diversionary line of conflict, some ‘distance?’.
            He claimed this addiction on twitter and elsewhere and yet the whole time was playing the high-octane election and Dirty Politics post-publication fall-out at a million miles and hour. Exceltium, television, radio, columns, twitter, blogs parenting, consulting, soooo busy busy……and a rather massive alcohol intake? Yeah, Right.
            Yes LPrent, I’ll ‘leave it out’ but I don’t really know how the man lies straight in bed.
            Apologies for threadjack or whatever. ‘Fomenting merry mischief’ or somesuch defence.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3

      noted that fisher did not have this published by the herald?

      Russell Brown (in comments):

      Tim Murphy was actually the first to retweet the link to yesterday’s post, where I mentioned this speech, and I asked him if the Herald would run it, or whether I could. He kindly suggested we both could, so a shorter version may yet turn up on the Herald website.

  2. Wayne 2

    New Zealand has gone “to a very bad place indeed.”

    Seriously, you need to connect back to reality. Just about every international measure places New Zealand near to the top.

    So if we are a “very bad place indeed”, the rest of world must be a total disaster.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      So, you think relative comparisons are ok.

      Fisher makes a relative comparison using not national boundaries, but a timeline as his comparative method.

      To put it another way, he’s saying we once set a higher benchmark. I’m afraid your argument is just another “he did it too”, Dr. Mapp.

      Edit: I note “loss of trust” is (yet) another symptom of increased inequality. Slow clap.

    • Anne 2.2

      Just about every international measure places New Zealand near to the top.

      That was before “Dirty Politics”. Goodness know where NZ would end up after a Royal Commission of Inquiry. John Key knows, which is why he won’t agree to such an inquiry eh?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        The establishment knows, which is (one reason) he no longer has sole charge of the security services. Loose lips sink ships, and Key leaks like an incontinent weasel. Not as Pry Minister, obviously. That would be wrong 🙄

      • Wayne 2.2.2

        Anne,

        You grossly over estimate the effect that “Dirty Politics” will have on our international reputation. It will have about the same effect as it did on the average New Zealand voter.

        • vto 2.2.2.1

          Wayne, you are being too clever – and failing.

          It is clear, as OAB says, that Fisher was referring to a timeline comparison i.e. NZ today is in a “very bad place” compared to 25 years ago.

          It was clear wasn’t it wayne.

          You just ignored that major component of the post in order to support your own political affiliations.

          so see through ….

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.2.2

          That’s a lovely shiny benchmark you have there Dr. Mapp. Did you polish it yourself?

    • wekarawshark 2.3

      “Just about every international measure places New Zealand near to the top.”

      What, like our youth suicide stats?

  3. Tracey 3

    Please find attached a letter advising of need to transfer your request to the Minister of Social Development for response. We apologise for the delay in transferring your request and are working with the Minister’s office to try and prevent this late transfer from unduly delaying your response.

    Regards

    I made the following oia request on 22 october 2014

    Sent: Wednesday, 22 October 2014 11:07 a.m. To: OIA_Requests (MSD) Subject: RE: Response to Your Official Information Act request – Unemployment statistics

    Please provide as a matter of urgency pursuant to the OIA the “research” MS Bennett was relying on when she stated

    ““research had shown there were “touchpoints” for people going from work back onto a benefit -at six months and again at 12-14 months.”” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm? c_id=1&objectid=11326254

    As this document will be readily accessible, as she has already referred to it, I expect to receive it as soon as reasonably practicable, and not on the 20 th working day.

    i received an acknowledgement as shown…

    “Thank you for your email received 22 October 2014, under the Official Information Act 1982. Your request has been forwarded to the appropriate officials at National office to respond. You may expect a response to be sent to you as soon as possible.

    Regards

    Official and Parliamentary Information team | Ministerial and Executive Services

    Ministry of Social Development”

    Today i received this

    “.Please find attached a letter advising of need to transfer your request to the Minister of Social Development for response. We apologise for the delay in transferring your request and are working with the Minister’s office to try and prevent this late transfer from unduly delaying your response.

    Regards

    Official and Parliamentary Information team | Ministerial and Executive Services

    Ministry of Social Development

    Our Purpose: We help New Zealanders to help themselves to be safe, strong and independent Ko ta mātou he whakamana tangata kia tū haumaru, kia tū kaha, kia tū motuhake …”

    i have forwarded my progress to the ombudsmen.

    this is our open and transparent government in action.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government takes new direction with policy refocus
    Work on the TVNZ/RNZ public media entity to stop; Radio NZ and NZ on Air to receive additional funding Social insurance scheme will not proceed this term The Human Rights (Incitement on Ground of Religious Belief) Amendment Bill to be withdrawn and not progressed this term. The matter to be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • $5 million support package for flood affected Auckland businesses
    The Government is providing a $5 million package of emergency support to help businesses significantly affected by the recent flooding in Auckland. This includes: $3 million for flood recovery payments to help significantly affected businesses $1 million for mental wellbeing support through a boost to the First Steps programme $1 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated to help flood affected Aucklanders
    The Government’s Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated to support people displaced by the severe flooding and landslips in the Auckland region, Housing Minister Megan Woods says.  “TAS is now accepting registrations for people who cannot return to their homes and need assistance finding temporary accommodation.  The team will work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Prime Ministers’ meeting reaffirms close trans-Tasman relationship
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today held their first bilateral meeting in Canberra. It was Chris Hipkins’ first overseas visit since he took office, reflecting the close relationship between New Zealand and Australia. “New Zealand has no closer partner than Australia. I was pleased to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Immediate humanitarian support to Türkiye and Syria following earthquakes
    New Zealand will immediately provide humanitarian support to those affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by these earthquakes. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones affected,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Pākinga Pā site to be gifted back to local hapū
    An historic Northland pā site with links to Ngāpuhi chief Hongi Hika is to be handed back to iwi, after collaboration by government, private landowners and local hapū. “It is fitting that the ceremony for the return of the Pākinga Pā site is during Waitangi weekend,” said Regional Development Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New initiatives to unlock Māori science and research resources
    The Government is investing in a suite of initiatives to unlock Māori and Pacific resources, talent and knowledge across the science and research sector, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Two new funds – He tipu ka hua and He aka ka toro – set to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Advancing our relationship in India
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departs for India tomorrow as she continues to reconnect Aotearoa New Zealand to the world.  The visit will begin in New Delhi where the Foreign Minister will meet with the Vice President Hon Jagdeep Dhankar and her Indian Government counterparts, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government Northland housing investment to spark transformational change
    Over $10 million infrastructure funding to unlock housing in Whangārei The purchase of a 3.279 hectare site in Kerikeri to enable 56 new homes Northland becomes eligible for $100 million scheme for affordable rentals Multiple Northland communities will benefit from multiple Government housing investments, delivering thousands of new homes for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government investment safeguards Waitangi Treaty Grounds
    The Government is supporting one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most significant historic sites, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, as it continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. “The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are a taonga that we should protect and look after. This additional support will mean people can continue to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Battle of Ohaeawai remembered
    A memorial event at a key battle site in the New Zealand land wars is an important event to mark the progress in relations between Māori and the Crown as we head towards Waitangi Day, Minister for Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis said. The Battle of Ohaeawai in June 1845 saw ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More Police deployed to the frontline
    More Police officers are being deployed to the frontline with the graduation of 54 new constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. The graduation ceremony for Recruit Wing 362 at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua was the first official event for Stuart Nash since his reappointment as Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further support for upper North Island regions hit by significant weather
    The Government is unlocking an additional $700,000 in support for regions that have been badly hit by the recent flooding and storm damage in the upper North Island. “We’re supporting the response and recovery of Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Northland, and Bay of Plenty regions, through activating Enhanced Taskforce Green to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • The Princess Royal to visit New Zealand
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has welcomed the announcement that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, will visit New Zealand this month. “Princess Anne is travelling to Aotearoa at the request of the NZ Army’s Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals, of which she is Colonel in Chief, to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government and horticulture sector target $12b in exports by 2035
    A new Government and industry strategy launched today has its sights on growing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural production to $12 billion by 2035, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cost of living support extended for families and businesses
    25 cents per litre petrol excise duty cut extended to 30 June 2023 – reducing an average 60 litre tank of petrol by $17.25 Road User Charge discount will be re-introduced and continue through until 30 June Half price public transport fares extended to the end of June 2023 saving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More Kiwis in work as rising wages match inflation
    The strong economy has attracted more people into the workforce, with a record number of New Zealanders in paid work and wages rising to help with cost of living pressures. “The Government’s economic plan is delivering on more better-paid jobs, growing wages and creating more opportunities for more New Zealanders,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government boosts fund for Auckland flooding
    The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today. “Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Cabinet focused on bread and butter issues
    The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “We need a greater focus on what’s in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister to meet with PM Albanese
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. “The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand’s closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government makes first payment to Auckland Flooding fund
    The Government is providing establishment funding of $100,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “We moved quickly to make available this funding to support Aucklanders while the full extent of the damage is being assessed,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government steps up to assist Auckland during flooding
    As the Mayor of Auckland has announced a state of emergency, the Government, through NEMA, is able to step up support for those affected by flooding in Auckland. “I’d urge people to follow the advice of authorities and check Auckland Emergency Management for the latest information. As always, the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira
    Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira, wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved following Cyclone Hale
    Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to flooding and damaged caused by Cyclone Hale in the Tairāwhiti region. Up to $500,000 will be made available to employ job seekers to support the clean-up. We are still investigating whether other parts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago