Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register
Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

High Court finds Govt in breach of OIA

13 October 2015

High Court finds Govt in breach of OIA

The Government must change its arrogant approach to the public’s right to know about official information, following a court decision that Trade Minister Tim Groser acted unlawfully by refusing to make the slightest release information about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), the Green Party said today.

“A High Court decision today that Trade Minister Tim Groser acted unlawfully in a blanket withholding of information about the TPPA must signal the end of the National Government’s abuse of the Official Information Act (OIA),” Green Party open government spokesperson Russel Norman said.

“The Government’s default position has been that the people of New Zealand have no right to know, and it’s very clear that position must now change.

“Today’s High Court decision follows the Prime Minister admitting that the Government routinely delays releasing information despite the OIA requiring information to be released as soon as possible, which effectively encouraged public servants to act unlawfully with the Prime Minister’s approval. The Chief Ombudsman ticked the Prime Minister off over this.

“The Government should treat the Court’s decision as a sharp reminder that it has an obligation to weigh the public interest when it decides whether there are legitimate reasons to withhold information from the people of New Zealand.

“Tim Groser needs to realise that’s he’s not a KGB agent and we live in an open democracy with rules and standards about the free flow of information.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“The Court’s decision shows that Tim Groser wouldn’t let democracy stand in the way of his TPPA crusade.

“It’s important that we acknowledge the groups and people who successfully challenged the Government’s unlawful approach to the OIA – Consumer New Zealand, Ngati Kahungunu, Oxfam NZ, Greenpeace NZ, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, New Zealand Nurses Organisation, the Tertiary Education Union, and Professor Jane Kelsey – because they have fought to uphold New Zealand’s democracy.

“This a somewhat hollow victory as the TPPA has now been finalised, so Tim Groser’s unlawful behaviour has served its purpose of keeping vital TPPA information secret from New Zealanders during the TPPA negotiations,” Dr Norman said.

Background note:

Eight applicants challenged a decision by Trade Minister Tim Groser not to release any information about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that was requested under the Official Information Act.

The judgement of the High Court is available online.


ends

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On National Spreading Panic About The Economy


It is a political strategy as old as time. Scare the public with tales of disaster and stampede them into supporting your ideological agenda because they believe There Is No Alternative. Yet, if the NZ economy truly is as “fragile” as PM Christopher Luxon says it is... Then how come New Zealand has enjoyed a double AA+ credit rating from the international rating agencies for so long? If we have truly been in the thrall of incompetent tax, spend and borrow extremists for the past six years, how come our net government debt burden is only in the middling average of OECD countries, and how come our government debt-to-GDP ratio – however you measure it – is less than half the average for the Asia-Pacific region?..
More


 
 


Labour: Grant Robertson To Retire From Parliament
Labour List MP and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson will retire from Parliament next month, and later in the year take up the position of Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago... More

Government: Budget Will Be Delivered On 30 May

Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence, and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, says Nicola Willis... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.