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McCully’s cult of secrecy


Phil
GOFF
MP for Mt Roskill


Tuesday, 4 September 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

McCully’s cult of secrecy

Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, has today come under scathing criticism from his Labour counterpart, Phil Goff, for operating under ‘a cult of secrecy’ and refusing to follow legal requirements on him under the Official Information Act.

In the latest incident, Mr McCully has refused to release Treasury documents on this year’s Foreign Affairs Budget - sought under the Official Information Act by Mr Goff nearly seven weeks ago. The Official Information Act requires the Minister to respond within no more than 20 working days.

“Mr McCully was the only Minister in Cabinet to withhold Treasury documents on his Ministerial portfolio. Every other Minister released the papers automatically on 29 June. Mr McCully explicitly instructed that the papers be withheld,” Phil Goff said.

“When asked why he had not released them, he hid behind the defence that they had not been requested. He went further attacking me for being too lazy to ask for them. Yet a month and a half after they were officially requested, and contrary to the law, he has still not released them.

“Earlier this year the Minister’s office came under criticism from the Auditor-General in the Financial Review for responses to Official Information Act requests being persistently late.

“And he began his second term in office by deleting two thirds of the briefing to him as incoming Minister including refusing to divulge over the Ministry’s priorities!

“No other Minister has gone to such extreme lengths to avoid transparency and accountability in this way,” Phil Goff said.

“Mr McCully shows utter contempt for the openness required of him by the law. He has an arrogance more befitting a Soviet commissar than a Minister in a democracy,” Mr Goff said.



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