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

 

Parliament Today:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news