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Review of OIA process opens way to transparency

Chris
HIPKINS
State Services Spokesperson

18 December 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Review of OIA process opens way to transparency

The culture of secrecy and suspicion within the public service that has been encouraged by the National Government has to stop, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Chris Hipkins.

“The decision by the Chief Ombudsman today to review public service processes for handling official information requests is timely.

“After all the botch-ups and stuff-ups National has had in the recent past, it’s clear John Key and his government are simply shutting down the flow of information in order to avoid public scrutiny.

“Hekia Parata and her Ministry tried to hide the true extent of their incompetent handling of the rebuild of Christchurch schools by refusing to release information - even to those affected. The Ombudsmen have rightly been critical of that approach.

“But Hekia Parata is not alone. National ministers have gone to great lengths to hide information about their activities. The situation has become so bad that earlier this year the Chief Ombudsman claimed her office was ‘in crisis’ because it couldn’t keep up with the number of complaints it was dealing with.

“In a democracy, the general public are entitled to know what their government is up to.

“Under National New Zealanders are being denied access to the information that will allow them to make informed decisions about the government’s performance.

“The National government can’t conceal its incompetence by hiding information from the public,” Chris Hipkins said.

ENDS

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