Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


First they came for the tobacco companies...

First they came for the tobacco companies...

Media companies and Anti-Smoking groups are trying to pry confidential documents from government departments as they battle against freedom of information.

Pirate Party Communications Manager Max Coyle says that The Pirate Party is expressing concern that these organizations are trying to bog down tobacco companies in their Official Information Act requests relating to changes in government legislation which will impact their industry.

"To make matters worse, Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia herself is blockading democracy and the freedom of information and publicly acknowledging that she will push ahead with her agenda regardless of the need to disclose information and give the affected parties time to prepare and plan for the upcoming changes, and respond to them where needed."

The companies are requesting information from the Ministry of Health under the Official Information Act 1982 for documentation relating to plans to ban brand marks and logos on cigarette packets. 'Anyone who is in New Zealand, or a New Zealand citizen overseas or corporate body that operates in NZ can request official information. The purpose of the OIA Act is to increase the availability of official information to promote more effective public participation in the making and administration of laws and policies, and to promote the accountability of Ministers of the Crown and government officials.' (Ministry of Justice - 'Official Information: Your Right To Know')

So under the definitions set out by the Ministry of Justice, it makes sense that these companies need this information to to participate in the making and understanding of the laws which will affect them, and more importantly to hold Ministers like Tariana Turia to account for her actions and what has been well documented as her personal crusade against the companies trade.

"The Pirate Party stands for free and open government and the accessibility of information to all is absolutely crucial to that. The importance of transparency and the general participation in govt outweighs any concerns about Tobacco, which can be adressed perfectly adequately through transparent democratic means. Our interest is in the ethical treatment of this matter and making sure the personal views of Government Ministers are not clouding the issue and halting requests for information allowed by law. We are also concerned with the media treatment of this with headlines such as 'Tobacco firms use 'stalling' strategy' when the parties that seem to be stalling this are the media outlet and the Government, this misrepresentation of the events is not what's necessary for an informed citizenry." Max Coyle said.

"The Official Information Act is a crucial part of the functioning of an open and accountable government in NZ. To begin to deny requests or to take an inordinate amount of time to process them is unacceptable. This incident is not a one off with the Ministry of Education stalling and frustrating the OIA requests made by schools and parents regarding school closure plans in Christchurch. We are consistently seeing information being withheld and attempts to access it stalled by this administration, and we are not amused."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Law Commission: Review Of Search And Surveillance Act Begins

“For example, the Act was drafted before cloud-based storage of data was commonplace. In the light of these and other developments, the Commission will be examining whether the investigative powers in the Act are sufficient for law enforcement purposes. We will also consider whether the safeguards that surround those processes are adequate.” More>>

ALSO:

Houses, Campers And Cops: LGNZ Media Briefing

At their quarterly media briefing today Local Government New Zealand addressed areas where local authorities are feeling pressure and outlined their approach for the upcoming local body elections in September-October. More>>

ALSO:

17 Year Sentences In Baby Moko Case: Attorney General On Plea Bargain

“The Crown’s decisions in this case, including the decision to accept the manslaughter pleas, were motivated by the need to secure convictions for this horrendous killing and to avoid the significant risk that either of the defendants could escape such a conviction because of evidential issues.” More>>

ALSO:

As Govt Cuts Lobby Anti-Smoking Group Funds: On The Nation - Plain Packaging Debate

Imperial Tobacco leaves open possibility of law suit against New Zealand government if plain packaging is introduced, as planned. Says it’s a “last resort” but “of course we will defend the right to use our brands”. More>>

ALSO:

No Rail For New Harbour Crossing: National Giving Up On Rail In Auckland

The National Government’s decision to scrap two planned rail lines in Auckland shows it is giving up on a city-wide rail network in Auckland, and on thousands of commuters who sit in traffic jams every single day, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news