Here’s hoping Guyon Espiner now grills Callaghan Innovation about its OIA practices…

Before exposing his moral indignation about the Taxpayers’ Union using false names to file Official Information Act requests, Radio New Zealand’s Guyon Espiner should have consulted  the publisher of No Right Turn.

This blog and the Taxpayers Union are poles apart, ideologically.

But political commentator Malcolm  Harbrow – who blogs under the nom-de-plume is an indefatigable champion of the public’s right to request information from public agencies under the OIA and a stern critic of agencies which fail to meet their legal obligations to provide the information requested.

He was astonished by the thrust of an article, published by the New Zealand Herald under the byline of one David Fisher and beguilingly headed How right-wing lobby group NZ Taxpayers’ Union used false identities to make OIA request – and how it got caught.

This article was the prompt for Espiner, on Morning Report today, grilling Taxpayers Union chief executive Jordan Williams about the use of pseudonyms.

Continue reading “Here’s hoping Guyon Espiner now grills Callaghan Innovation about its OIA practices…”

The de-Claring of more openness – Govt to release Cabinet papers (but with some exceptions)

The most open thing done by Clare Curran, the former Minister for Open Government, was resign, commentator Kate Hawkesby wryly observed in a newspaper column.

Indeed, Curran’s apparent fondness for clandestine meetings and her struggle to explain the extent of her use of a private email account for public business did bring her grasp of the open government portfolio into serious question.

The government’s understandable concern to show it does believe in transparency was reflected today in a decision announced by State Services Minister Chris Hipkins. Continue reading “The de-Claring of more openness – Govt to release Cabinet papers (but with some exceptions)”

Psst! If you want to keep a secret, put it in Clare Curran’s custody

We learn today of two Cabinet ministers attending a dinner hosted by Google’s top lawyer under secretive “Chatham House” rules, but they made no notes of what was discussed.

According to a report at Stuff, Google’s chief counsel, Kent Walker, hosted the dinner at  the capital’s Wellington Club. Among the guests were Justice Minister Andrew Little, Open Government Minister Clare Curran and top public servants and lawyers.

In response to requests under the Official Information Act, Little and Curran both said they kept no notes or memos from the event.

National’s spokesman for open government, Nick Smith, accordingly is complaining of Continue reading “Psst! If you want to keep a secret, put it in Clare Curran’s custody”