The Briefings to Incoming Ministers, which government departments produce after each election, give the public (via the media) an insight into on coming challenges in portfolios, elaborate on how election promises will be converted into real policies, and – most importantly – reveal things the government is planning that weren’t election policies. So, it’s disturbing that the Nats are censoring them.
It was only a bit over three years ago that a Nice Man called Mr Key promised you and me that he would lead a more transparent and accountable government.
Since then, we’ve seen numerous attacks on democracy and accountability: The Auckland Supercity, Bennett bashing the solo mums who dared criticise her policies (they’re still waiting for that apology, Paula), abuse of Urgency to a completely unparalleled degree, attacks on journalists culminating in the tea tapes saga, dictatorship in Canterbury (with Christchurch about to head the same way), CERA and CERA 2, using NZ on Air as a backdoor to close down troublesome TV programmes, Key running from the Debating Chamber to avoid questions… to name but a few
So, add censoring BIMs to the list.
Fully two-thirds of the Foreign Affairs BIM is blanked out. National won’t even let us know what the minister’s priorities in the portfolio are (although, this being Murray McCully, we can safely assume they are chasing skirt, employing blondes half his age, and racking up big alcohol bills on the taxpayers’ card). You don’t have the right to know even the broad outlines of your country’s foreign policy according to National.
Amy Adams has censored the sections of the ICT BIM on upcoming decisions and actions needed within six months.
The Ministry of Transport BIM has half the section on Ports blacked out – one can only guess at what clues the missing section gives on National’s plan of action over Ports of Auckland.
The same pattern is repeated throughout the BIMs. Huge swathes of critical information – which has been released in previous BIMs – has been censored by the government.
Is this the open and transparent government that we expect and deserve in the 21st century?