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

Scoop Editor "Ask me anything" : Scoop's 'Invisible Paywall'

Operation Chrysalis: The Final Countdown - Thanks & There's Still Time To Pledge

Phew! We are now counting down the hours to the end of this crowd-funding campaign at 11pm on Sunday. Thankyou to all those Scoop readers and supporters who have pledged already. You have been awesome. But this is not over yet. More>>

 
 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Myth Of Steven Joyce

Gordon Campbell: The myth of competence that’s been woven around Steven Joyce – the Key government’s “Minister of Everything” and “Mr Fixit” – has been disseminated from high-rises to hamlets, across the country... More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: No Public Submissions On International Government Procurement Deal

“The government is preparing to assent to the Government Procurement Agreement, a World Trade Organisation Treaty which opens up New Zealand Government contracts to foreign companies and closes the door on local businesses and their workers. However the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee is refusing to take public submissions on the decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Pacific Spying

So New Zealand spied on its friends and allies in the Pacific – and has not only been passing on the results to the NSA, but has apparently passed on the details of the Pacific’s relations with Taiwan to our other best friends, the Chinese. On the side, the Key government has also been using the security services to gauge the chances of Trade Minister Tim Groser landing the top job at the WTO... More>>

ALSO:

State Housing Transfer: Salvation Army Opts Out

The Salvation Army has decided against negotiating with Government for the transfer of Housing New Zealand stock.
More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news