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


Ministers given licence to delay, cover up


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.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Key In NY: Prime Minister Addresses United Nations

    Prime Minister John Key has addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, focusing on a call for action in Syria and on other conflicts, reform of the veto process and on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. More>>.


    Gordon Campbell: On The Lack Of Accountability Over Philip Smith

    In New Zealand, accountability is an exotic creature rarely glimpsed at ministerial level, or among senior management. The flight to Rio by the paedophile /murderer Philip John Smith/Traynor is no exception. More>>


    More On Corrections

    Gordon Campbell: On Putin’s Diplomatic Coup Over Syria

    There’s a simple historical precedent for what is occurring in Syria. During WWII, the Allies joined forces with a known butcher and tyrant – Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union – in order to defeat a greater evil, Nazi Germany… More>>


    Key 'Didn't Know': Brownlee Seeks Pandas In China

    While Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is in China pushing a taxpayer funded deal to bring two pandas to New Zealand, the country’s military look set to be hit with a pay freeze, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. More>>


    Scoop Business: GCSB Willing To Extend Cyber-Attack Programme To Local ISPs

    The Government Communications Security Bureau’s ‘Cortex’ cyber-security programme has been successful in helping identify and mitigate a series of cyber attacks since its introduction and an extension to cover local internet service providers is still on the cards... More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news