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OIA: Rotten

Written By: - Date published: 5:42 pm, October 16th, 2014 - 70 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags:

As story after story comes out about Official Information Act requests, it shows how much contempt for transparency and the law this government has, and how little  it intends to be held to account.

Judith Collins ushering OIAs out in 2 hours to Slater.

John Key’s “Office” getting out SIS hits on Goff.

Paula Bennett delaying an MSD report OIA release, getting told by the Ombudsman to release it… and still holding onto it until after the election.

John Key now admitting to casually breaking the law they’re meant to go above and beyond (with the “highest ethical standards” required by cabinet), and delaying OIAs 20 days because it’s politically convenient.

If I was a journalist I’d be livid.

I am anyway.

OIAs have been with us 30 years, and the flagrancy of the breaches of the law have never been worse.

The Ombudsman is deliberately underfunded (funded to process 2/3 their average amount of complaints), and even if they uphold complaints they’re ignored.

They need teeth.

And a spotlight needs to keep shining on this until National’s behaviour improves.  We need to keep showing the public the contempt they’re being held in.

National are saying: you only get to hear about the good stuff to judge us on, and once we’ve got your vote, you have no right to hold us to account for 3 years.


70 comments on “OIA: Rotten ”

  1. And a spotlight needs to keep shining on this until National’s behaviour improves. We need to keep showing the public the contempt they’re being held in.

    I don’t think that will work.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1


      You can deplore the gang smashing the old lady in the street as much as you want, and they won’t stop until someone stops them.

    • BM 1.2

      I agree.

      The public is so politiced out with the election just gone, it doesn’t matter what Key does he’ll get away with it, especially after such a nasty shitty one, the public just doesn’t want to know.

      He could sell every one in NZ off into slavery and no one would bat an eyelid.

      The 6-12 month period after an election really is a free hit zone,

      • SHG 1.2.1

        ESPECIALLY with the Labour leadership deathmatch still to come. Key has a VIP pass to do anything right now.

      • Lanthanide 1.2.2

        “He could sell every one in NZ off into slavery and no one would bat an eyelid.”

        You mean, sign the TPPA?

        • left for deadshark

          Don’t even listen to the prick,while hes distracting you here,they just nicked your car.

      • NZJester 1.2.3

        What do you mean “He could sell every one in NZ off into slavery and no one would bat an eyelid.” BM.
        He can’t do that any more as he already sold us all off in the last 3 years. Our current overseas owners will not be happy if he tries to sell us off for a second time.

      • Tom Jackson 1.2.4

        I think this is a bit more permanent than that. Democracy only really works if everyone puts the integrity of the system and its checks before their partisan interest, or at least if enough people exist who can punish those who don’t. It feels like we don’t have that any more.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Isn’t it a crime to conspire to break the law? Key’s arrogant verbal incontinence is evidence that he does just that.

    Graham McCready to the rescue.

  3. coaster 3

    In the final analysis at the end of the day I think for the most part nice mr key could bs himself out of almost anything.

  4. SHG 4

    …Phil Goff demanding an OIA release be delayed when he found out the request came from Cameron Slater…


  5. Descendant Of Sssmith 5

    The Ombudsman should ask the GG to get rid of this government because they have just owned up to not having any respect for the laws they are supposed to obey.

  6. RedLogix 6

    Now imagine if he did …

  7. I apologise, but I gotta leave this here for the other nerds …

  8. philj 8

    A fish rots from the head. And a demockary …… ?

  9. Whateva next? 9

    Nah, Key has had 6 years to get “his people” in the powerful places, so it’s all too easy now

  10. adam 10

    So for all you social democrats where is the point that this government forces you to crosses the Rubicon?

    Just a question that I’d like you of a social democratic bent to think about, and not answer straight away.

    The 4th labour government did it for me – but for you, where’s that point?

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    We need to fully fund the Ombudsman so that governments can held to account. We also need to make it a criminal act if a minister interferes with the release of information under the OIA.

    • Tracey 11.1

      if anyone is found to unduly delay, obstruct or refuse an oia then it should be the equivalent of contempt of court. give them the number of days behind bars they delayed the release of info.

      a minister or ministers office that blocks an ombudsmen ruling shall carry the penalty of resignation from parliament and the loss of superannuation, travel and any other perk.

      lets start making ministers accountable for their departments again.

      i also think it is unwise to have law commissioners who have ever served as members of parliament, for any party… lets start getting them from law schools and by appointment of the chief justice.

  12. Penny Bright 12

    If the Public Records Act 2005 was fully implemented in a proper way, then the Office of the Ombudsman would have a LOT less work to do.

    They would not have to chase up Official Information if it was already available for public scrutiny.

    However, in my considered opinion, those responsible for enforcing the Public Records Act 2005, the National Office of the Archives, have proven, in my experience, to be spectacularly useless.

    My home is literally on the line, because the Public Records Act 2005 is NOT being implemented in a proper way by Auckland Council.

    I have disputed and refused to pay Auckland Council rates, because the public are NOT being given the ‘devilish detail’ explaining EXACTLY where rates monies are being spent on private sector consultants and contractors.


    Part 2

    Recordkeeping requirements

    Subpart 1—Key duties

    17 Requirement to create and maintain records

    (1) Every public office and local authority must create and maintain full and accurate records of its affairs, in accordance with normal, prudent business practice, including the records of any matter that is contracted out to an independent contractor.

    (2) Every public office must maintain in an accessible form, so as to be able to be used for subsequent reference, all public records that are in its control, until their disposal is authorised by or under this Act or required by or under another Act.

    (3) Every local authority must maintain in an accessible form, so as to be able to be used for subsequent reference, all protected records that are in its control, until their disposal is authorised by or under this Act.

    However, Auckland Transport, which is an Auckland Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) does make following ‘devilish detail’ available for public scrutiny, by publishing this information on their website, but Auckland Council and the other Council Controlled Organisations do NOT.


    Auckland Transport is committed to ensuring its procurement activities are undertaken in an ethical and transparent manner.

    The attached lists detail all of the contracts awarded in the previous six months that are valued over $50,000.00. Details include:

    the contract number,
    the contract name,
    the supplier, and the
    award value.

    View the latest awarded contracts list (PDF 64KB)

    ( https://at.govt.nz/media/618879/NZTA-Awarded-Contracts.pdf )

    Disclaimer: we endeavour to list all contracts awarded above the value of $50,000.00 in the previous six months. Whilst all possible care and effort has been taken to ensure accuracy in this list, we accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions. Accordingly, this list should be used for reference only.

    I am making a stand for transparency and accountability, and will NOT budge.

    The hearing of my Application to Set Aside Judgment will be heard on Thursday 23 October 2014 at 10am in the Auckland District Court.

    It appears that this courtroom will be packed ……

    Penny Bright

  13. NZJester 13

    The situation will improve dramatically this next 3 years as you forgot to mention how with the new positions John Key has set up under his new government they have created a number of positions that are not answerable under the current OIA request laws.

    I guess them just ignoring the OIA requests was getting to much attention so they decided to just legally find a way to prevent getting them in the first place.

    I doubt you will see to many flagrant cases of them Ignoring those OIA requests now when no one will be able to request them in the first place!

    • Tracey 13.1

      well seymour will be having most charter school documents routed through his office so as to avoid OIAs

  14. finbar 14

    National, have just won a election.Our Prime Minester passed has run his rule with,i have not been informed,my Ministers have not told me,my office has not informed me,i dont know,it must have been my offices mistake..

    This ignorant i don!t know,is going to be our Prime Ministers downfall in his term of leadership,if the other grasping other side are up to it.Prime Minister,why do we need you,you never lay claim to what you say,your claim is i have not been informed,or i must have missed that.Prime Minester,why do we need you,all you tell us that your officials have not told you.Prime Minister,your lie and your way of it is starting to wear thin.

    Do you like Labour,i most certainly do,up for a stand up walk out scrap.

  15. Tracey 15

    unless there is a un resolution or similar key has no mandate to commit on the ground troops to iraq… isnt that the same coin as his asset sales mandate claim?

  16. Whateva next? 16

    US has congress and senate, UK has House of Lords and commons, (and the queen) etc etc.
    I am asking how we ensure absolute power does not corrupt absolutely?

  17. srylands 17

    “John Key now admitting to casually breaking the law … and delaying OIAs 20 days because it’s politically convenient.”

    Are you seriously suggesting that this was not standard practice in Helen Clark’s Government?

    [lprent: So give examples rather than just asserting. Otherwise you are just myth making. Right? ]

  18. Tom Gould 18

    Did anyone else hear the interview with Beverley Wakem the Chief Ombudsman on RNZ in which she said “when you’re in Opposition you love the OIA and when you’re in government you hate it” in dismissing Opposition and media complaints the Tories are gaming the OIA for political ends, despite Key admitting as much? Worse, she puffed up and said she could ‘alert the Minister concerned’ and then alert ‘the PM’s office’ if the gaming continued. How pathetic. They are the ones doing the gaming. No wonder a complaint to the Ombudsman is seen as waste of time and the Ombudsman as a sad joke.

    • Tracey 18.1

      alert them to what? they just admitted gaming, whats she going to do, put them on a last last last warning?

      • whateva next? 18.1.1

        exactly, who does hold Key to account, as other governments are held? Is his power now unfettered? In which case, no amount of bleating will make a difference until we work out how this basic principle is addressed.

  19. RRM 19



    This sort of thing is why Labour failed dismally in the election.
    Stop looking under stones for the next mega scandal, stop planning the revolution.

    Tell us 20 small, manageable things Labour is going to do about health, education and employment, slightly differently than the status quo, that will each make the country a little bit better than is is now.


    People will vote for that.

    • The Standard is “just a welcome outlet for the expression of views”, you got a problem with that?

      We aren’t Crosby-Textor here, and we don’t represent Labour. We’re (mostly) just people with opinions.

      Why don’t you share your exalted wisdom about marketing strategies on a thread that is actually relevant?

      • RRM 19.1.1

        I don’t have a problem with it at all… the longer the left operates in this echo-chamber like fashion, and the longer the Labour party devotes its energies (via their primary system) to trying to cater for the kinds of opinions and world views that get expressed on here… the longer National will be in Government, and that’s good for New Zealand.

        Danyl McLaughlin was dead right: the left’s experiment with social media has been a failure. It mobilises a huge amount of website traffic but not enough votes.They don’t know how to take anything they read with a grain of salt, and they seem to think the kind of people who read and comment on political blogs are a demographic worth looking after.

        This is relevant to EVERY thread on The Standard…

        • Labour isn’t run by The Standard, mate. Plus, it’s only the number 4 blog in NZ, way behind right wing hate machines WhaleOil and KiwiBog. Why don’t you go and scold them with your fuckwittery?

          Also, the sentiments expressed here are not that unusual. Read the comments on some of the Herald’s more fawning shonkey puff pieces.

          Does your crappy advice come from Key’s “office”?

          Social media is just a part of a proper election strategy, and Obama won on the strength of grassroots activism. Please stop your bullshit attempts to silence dissent. It’s very rude.

          • RRM

            LOL – I have no power to “silence” anything, get over yourself!

            And no I have no connection to John Key’s office, (beyond the fact that I voted him into it.)

            You have to admit, whatever Labour’s doing right now, it isn’t working, yeah?

            • blue leopard

              You are conflating articles discussing the corrupt practices of this current government with ‘what Labour does’.

              The public are entitled to discuss current affairs. They should not be framed as ‘being Labour’ when they do that.

              Your comments are amounting to right-wing propaganda, RRM.
              You really should learn to be less gullible.

            • Tracey

              can you link to your similar posts at wo and kiwiblog

    • whateva next? 19.2

      http://youtu.be/CsmIfDNeKLY, just watch this and you will wonder why you support a right wing government.

    • Tracey 19.3

      yea fuck govt transparency and accountability.

      • RRM 19.3.1

        “yea fuck govt transparency and accountability.”

        Thanks for the laugh!

        The left screams “dirty politics” because it’s a handy meme that people who can’t really commit facts to memory but think it’s cool to fight the Man can chant, to drown out the reality that the left are every bit as dodgy as the right.

        Where was the accountability and transparency when Helen Clark passed a law to retrospectively validate illegal Labour Party campaign spending?

        Where was the accountabilty and transparency when the Labour Party president took an undisclosed number of taxpayer funded staff on a dirt-digging trip to Melbourne, hoping desperately to find muck he could smear on Key before he was even elected?

        Where was the accountability and transparency when Helen Clark passed off a painting as her own work? (Oh but it’s for a charity…)

        Where was the accountability and transparency when Len Brown refused to resign after his undisclosed acceptance of free goodies from Sky City came out?

        The hypocrisy of the left over “corruption” and “#dirtypolitics” is staggering.

        • Where is the Herald campaign proclaiming “Democracy Under Attack” for the many things exposed in Hager’s book, and that’s not even mentioning underhanded bullshit about the TPPA and GCSB ?

          Your outrage is completely misdirected. Compared to the misdeeds of Key and cronies your list of gripes is very small potatoes.

          • RRM

            LOL – did you notice the song and dance the Herald made out of a business dinner that Judith Collins attended in China? It ended up being one of the nails in the coffin of her Ministry.

            The political right are as adamant the Herald is a partizan left-wing mouthpiece, as you appear to be that it is a partizan right-wing mouthpiece.

            That gives me some hope that they are probably doing an ok job…

            • blue leopard

              @ RRM,

              If a media outlet prints facts about corruption in the right-wing and that adversely affects the right-wing – that is not left-wing bias.

              If a media outlet prints factually incorrect stories i.e. about corruption that doesn’t, in reality, exist and that adversely affects the left-wing that is right-wing bias.

              Can you really not see the difference?

              • RRM

                Yes I can see the difference very clearly indeed.

                REAL corruption is anything the right does.

                • whateva next?

                  If it only serves to make the rich richer, how is that not corrupt?

                • blue leopard

                  Absolute bollocks RRM

                  The Donghua Liu affair was a complete exaggeration – to the point of being a fabrication. This is not the case with Collin’s actions.

                  If you have cognitive dissonance over a right-winger conducting themselves in an unprincipled and destructive manner, I recommend that you address that, rather than spreading ridiculous accusations over how ‘the left’ would respond to similar behaviour from a left-winger.

                  I suggest this because such sentiments are just making you look incapable of accepting reality.

                  And what is worse, you end up being an apologist for behaviour that doesn’t even serve your political views, let alone wider concerns over what it takes to have a sound democracy.

                • RRM if you had bothered to read TFA, you might understand that National’s abuse of the OIA process is just one example of the culture of malfeasance that has infected this government.

                  But no, you’re off making shit up about the corporate media, and complaining about stuff Labour did a decade ago. This is fantasyland stuff, if you don’t admit NZ democracy has serious problems you’re either simple or complicit.

                  Are you happy for OIA abuses to continue, for the underclass to be ignored, and for the government to sell thousands of state houses to overseas buyers?

            • whateva next?

              “That gives me some hope that they are probably doing an ok job…”
              or just spinning everyone around whilst they carry on doing exactly as they please (which is to look after themselves and their mates)
              “….and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

            • Tracey

              the dinner she denied and then admitted and the visit on the way to the airport that was in the opposite direction, and the note from her tmfat to include the shis on the dinner with the border official, and that she was minister for justice not mfat or primary industries…

              please post links to the media outlets who ran any headlines called for collins to resign or be sacked.

              • You_Fool

                That is the thing, even if you take her version of events as true she is the most corrupt politician we have ever had, and should have been forced to resign from parliament and tried for corruption.

        • Tracey

          i stopped voting labour at that very next election? when did you stop voting national or act or uf?

          i have posts here stating my views that if brown cheats on his wife he cant be trusted on other matters. when did you stop voting national?

          fucking someone behind your partners back is not cool (refer above) , but it is not equally analagous to deliberately rorting the one system we have to keep our government honest about its statements. when did you stop voting national, act or uf?

        • Tracey

          wll there was definitely transparency when you move a bil to an act. you cant hide that yet.

          under which govt dept was mike williams trip, and which dept was funding it and can you show me the decline under the oia to release obligated documentation on it.

          the difference, it appears, between you and i, is that i am demanding higher standards from al mps and depts, while you seem to be sating if labour behaved badly that is a free pass to this govt. is this what you teach your children?

        • You_Fool

          So you are for greater transparency in government and ministers (including prime ministers) being held to account over their actions, and where their actions are fraudulent, corrupt or downright despicable they should be made to face their crimes in a court of law?

          You agree that there needs to be checks and balances on the power of those in charge and ordinary people should have an avenue to ensure that the checks and balances are enforced, above and beyond our democratic right every 3 years.

          Because you are right, it doesn’t matter which colour the hats, those in power should be held to higher ethical standards.

          Or were you being hypocritical as well? Oh the irony in that case…

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