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

 

Trade Threat Rumours: PM Censures Trade Minister For 'Head Of A Pin' Answers

Prime Minister John Key has censured his newbie Trade Minister, Todd McClay, for "dancing on the head of a pin" in answers he gave to both Key and news media when first asked about alleged trade threats from China over steel imports. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The IOC’s Treatment Of Russian Sport, And Lone Wolf Terrorism

A blanket ban on Russian athletes would also have exposed the IOC to criticism that its treatment of Russia would have been marked contrast to its treatment say, of the track and field team from Kenya – a country about which the IOC has very similar doping concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Sounds Like A Plan: Auckland Council Receives Unitary Plan Recommendations

A key milestone in New Zealand planning history was reached today when the Independent Hearings Panel delivered the reports containing its recommendations on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. More>>

ALSO:

National Park Expansion: Forests And Coast Of Kahurangi Protected

Five parcels of high value land totalling more than 890 hectares have been formally gazetted as part of the National Park. More>>

ALSO:

PPP Go-Ahead: SkyPath Gets Unanimous Support

Auckland’s SkyPath project has been given the go-ahead to be delivered through a public private partnership, after a unanimous decision at today’s Finance and Performance Committee. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Reserve Bank, The UN Shortlist, And Trump

Can there really be there any link between the US presidential elections and yesterday’s RBNZ signals on interest rates and the NZ dollar? Well, maybe. And it would be this: the improving US economy is reportedly putting a tailwind behind the US dollar, and rendering the actions of our Reserve Bank virtually irrelevant. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On What John Key Should Be Asking Joe Biden

No doubt, US Vice-President Joe Biden will be updating Prime Minister John Key on the chances of a TPP vote taking place in the ‘ lame duck’ session of Congress that’s held between the November’s election and the inauguration of a new President in January. More>>

ALSO:

Make NZ Make Again: Greens Will Establish A Minister For Manufacturing

The Green Party announced today that it will establish a Minister for Manufacturing in Cabinet, to better represent the interests of manufacturers and ensure they thrive. The Minister will be inside Cabinet and have responsibility for the long-term interests of the manufacturing sector. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news