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


Final Opinion on coalition negotiation document

Chief Ombudsman releases Final Opinion on coalition negotiation document

The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has confirmed the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is entitled to refuse requests for a document relating to coalition negotiations.

He has published his Final Opinion this morning after reviewing the complaints and a full copy of the coalition negotiation document in question.

As part of his investigation, he sought an explanation from the Prime Minister’s office about the formation and use of the document and met with her officials about the decision to withhold the information.

"In the past few days, I have also consulted the Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters’ office."

Mr Boshier says his starting point when considering the complaints was the definition of ‘official information’ contained in section 2(1) of the Official Information Act, which states that it includes information held by a Minister of the Crown ‘in their official capacity.’

"Ministers can also hold information as a result of wearing a number of different hats. They can hold information as private citizens, Members of Parliament or as members of political parties. This only becomes official information as defined by the law if it is later used for official ministerial purposes."

Mr Boshier says the document was created during the negotiations between the Labour Party and New Zealand First leading up to their coalition agreement and the formation of the government.

"It is quite clear that at this time, Ms Ardern held the information in her capacity as Labour Party Leader. Although it was considered during the coalition negotiations, this document did not form part of the final coalition agreement."

Mr Boshier says he asked the Prime Minister’s Office whether the document has been in use since the formation of the new government, and its contents shared with any Ministers, government departments, or anyone else subject to the OIA.

"Her officials have advised me that the document has not been used by any Minister to carry out their official duties. It has played no part in policy decisions, and it is not available to Ministers as reference material nor does it contain any directives or guidance that Ministers apply when making official decisions."

"After carefully considering those comments and the nature and purpose of the document, I accept that the document is still held solely in Ms Ardern’s capacity as Labour Party Leader. I am satisfied she was entitled to refuse to release the document because it was not official information."

"Mr Peters has also confirmed that the information was created during the course of coalition negotiations between his party, New Zealand First and the Labour Party and does not contain any directives or guidance for Ministers nor has it been used by him in his official capacity since he was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister."

Mr Boshier says he has completed his enquiry in just over a fortnight.

"I wanted my investigation to be both thorough and timely given the considerable public interest in the case."

A copy of the Final Opinion is available at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Wealth: Two NZers Own More Than Poorest 30%

A staggering 28 per cent of all wealth created in New Zealand in 2017 went to the richest 1 per cent of Kiwis, while the 1.4 million people who make up the poorest 30 per cent of the population got barely 1 per cent, according to new research released by Oxfam.

The research also reveals that 90 per cent of New Zealand owns less than half the nation’s wealth.

The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>


Employment: Joint Working Group On Pay Equity Principles Reconvened

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway, and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, are reconvening the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles as the next step in pay equity for New Zealand women. More>>


Hapū: Prime Minister And Clarke Gayford Expecting First Child

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, have announced that they are expecting their first child in June. “We’re both really happy. We wanted a family but weren’t sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting." More>>


Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care. Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More >>

Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>


Gong Time: New Year's Honours List

Jacinda Ardern today congratulated the 179 New Zealanders named on the 2018 New Year’s Honours List. “Although this list was compiled and completed by the last government, it is a pleasure to welcome in the New Year by recognising exceptional New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said. More
Full list

Roads: National launches bid to save highway projects

The National Party has launched a series of petitions aimed at saving regional highway projects at risk because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland trams…More>>





Featured InfoPages