Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Ministers given licence to delay, cover up

Maryan STREET

Spokesperson for State Services

26 February 2014           MEDIA STATEMENT
Ministers given licence to delay, cover up

Cabinet Ministers are being given licence to cover up embarrassing news during an election campaign, under guidelines just released by the State Services Commissioner, says Maryan Street, Labour’s State Services spokesperson.

“Iain Rennie’s Guidance for the 2014 Election Period: State Servants, Political Parties, and Elections goes much further than rules applying under previous governments about how state servants should respond to Official Information Act requests just prior to an election.

“Section 2.4 of the 2014 Guidelines, dealing with the Official Information Act, advises government agencies on how to respond to OIA requests if the information sought ‘is particularly sensitive or potentially controversial’.

“The new guide gives the Minister more power to meddle in the handling of any OIA request than they had under the previous Labour government. It also advises state servants to consider extending the timeframe for responding to an OIA request.

“The provision to extend the timeframe was first suggested by Mr Rennie in the 2011 guidelines but has been given more blanket application in this version. It did not exist at all in the 2008 guidelines. The 20 day limit for responding to OIA requests should not be a target; it should be a maximum allowed.

“This is a licence for fudging, delay and cover up.

“The election period is a crucial time for the swift release of information in order to keep voters and the media well informed.

“These guidelines, which come with a video about politics and the workplace, say that if any sensitive or controversial material is to be released, the Minister must be consulted and may take over the OIA request.

“Given this government’s record in bullying state servants, even very senior ones, I have no confidence that they will allow state servants to carry out their responsibilities to the public impartially and in a neutral fashion under these guidelines,” said Maryan Street.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Interest Rates: RBNZ Hikes OCR To 3.5%, ‘Period Of Assessment’ Now Needed

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler raised the official cash rate as expected, while signalling a pause in rate hikes to assess the impact of moves so far this year. The kiwi dollar sank after Wheeler said its strength was “unjustified” and that the currency could have “a significant fall.”

“Encouragingly, the economy appears to be adjusting to the monetary policy tightening that has taken place since the start of the year,” Wheeler said in a statement in Wellington. “It is prudent that there now be a period of assessment before interest rates adjust further towards a more-neutral level.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Spending Questions: Claudette Hauiti To Step Aside At Election

National Party President Peter Goodfellow confirms that he has received notification from List MP Claudette Hauiti that she plans to step aside at the 20 September election. More>>

ALSO:

EPA: Board Of Inquiry Rejects Basin Flyover By Majority Of 3 To 1

The independent Board of Inquiry delegated to decide on the Basin Bridge Proposal has, by a majority decision (3 to 1), cancelled the Transport Agency’s Notice of Requirement and declined its resource consent applications for the construction, operation and maintenance of a flyover on State Highway 1 in Wellington City... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Non-Apology To Tania Billingsley

The refusal by Prime Minister John Key to issue a personal apology to Tania Billingsley has been accompanied by an array of excuses... Yesterday though, Key’s choice of words indicated that an apology was the last thing on his mind. More>>

ALSO:

Conventions: Winston Peters On The Nation

Winston Peters opens door to standing in East Coast Bays electorate, says it's an "exciting point" and he's thinking about it. "I’ve had a whole lot of people writing to me and calling up and saying ‘why don’t you have a go in East Coast Bays’." More>>

ALSO:

Waitangi Tribunal: Report On The MV Rena

In its interim report, the Waitangi Tribunal has found that the Crown’s conduct in response to the grounding of the MV Rena on Otaiti (Astrolabe) reef breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. More>>

ALSO:

Gaza: Wellington Protest For Palestine Calls For End To Bombing

Around 300 people gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Wellington on Friday to protest Israel’s occupation of Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Failure To Prosecute The GCSB

So one hand of the state – the Independent Police Conduct Authority – has now washed the hands of its brother agencies, and declared that all hands are clean. Case closed. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news