Reform official information laws and refocus the Open Data and Information Programme to publish social, environmental, and budget expenditure data

The IRM researcher recommends the following actions when amending the OIA:

  • Align OIA eligibility for requests with eligibility of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (i.e. removing the residence and citizenship requirements to make a request);

  • Apply the OIA to certain parliamentary information, excluding Members of Parliament’s constituency work;

  • Add proactive release to the OIA protection against certain actions (§48);

  • Amend the OIA withholding grounds (§6) to make them subject to a public interest


  • Extend the scope so the OIA applies directly to private organisations providing

    public services under contract; and

  • Provide the Ombudsman with powers to specify what kinds of information

    government agencies should proactively publish.

The Open Government Information and Data Programme makes public government-held information for people, communities, and businesses to reuse. While this and the first action plan have addressed open data access and practices, the IRM researcher recommends that the next action plan also include commitments on open data and focus on identified user demand. This should include regular open format publishing of government’s open and aggregated social (including housing) data, as anticipated in the previous IRM researcher’s recommendation three and go some way towards addressing the previous Government’s decision to stop publishing The Social Report. Reporting on environmental outcomes should also continue, and reporting on actual budget expenditure and public procurement contracts should be expanded, as suggested during consultation on the first and second action plans. As these datasets are assessed annually in the Open Data Barometer (ODB), this activity may also improve the government’s low ODB implementation score (currently only 58%).


Why the contribution is important

Commitments on access to information and open data practices have been a focus of New Zealand national action plans. While New Zealand traditionally has had high Global Right to Information (RTI) ratings, Section II of this report clearly demonstrates how the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) has been criticized for allowing government agencies to delay information requests, for requiring fees and for excluding some parliamentary information. Due to these criticisms, reforming information laws is a top priority for the new Government.

by NAP2_IRM on April 19, 2018 at 11:52AM

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  • Posted by gregfullmoon May 09, 2018 at 15:40

    I particularly appreciate and support this specific initiative; "Amend the OIA withholding grounds (§6) to make them subject to a public interest override;"

    Section 6a and 6b of the OIA 1982 provide the NZ Government with legal cover so that it does not self incriminate itself in criminal conspiracies where allied powers wage Aggressive War. NZ may not be the initiator, however, as a Five Eyes spying treaty partner NZ gains intelligence which would incriminate allied powers and their leaders were the information made public and actionable at law.

    Through Section 6a and 6b the New Zealand Government are provided with a legal defence to not self incriminate. Remove the defence and the motivation to prevent war or hostilities on false premise is enhanced. People would be more secure were foreign relations conducted on the basis of factual and full public information.

    Where NZ is committed to the principle in the UN Charter to build peace it is imperative that the public have the opportunity to object when the NZ Government relies on Sec 6a and 6b to block information critical to public comprehension of matters of interest.

    I was informed by the Honourable Phil Goff Labour representative at the FADT select committee 28 November 2014, in relation to Countering Foreign Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill that New Zealand was informed by its Intelligence services that there was no justification for the 2003 Iraq War. Where that is a fact, how is it that the New Zealand Government did not make an official statement to the UN where the US was making the case for the war on Iraq on the basis of Weapons of Mass Destruction. NZ could have altered history by making the statement there was no case for the war. I've asked for information in respect to the advice in Goff's testimony to be continually frustrated by Sec 6 denials.

    I've asked questions in relation to both the UK Skripal incident and the alleged nerve gas attack of 7 April in Syria's Douma district only to be denied account Sec 6 of the OIA.

    The UK were looking to ramp up tensions with Russia over the Skripal event and France UK US and Israel did act against Syria and assets in Syria in retaliation for the Douma incident prior to OPCW investigations in either matter. We need to uncover why our allies are hungry to commence hostilities.

    New Zealand needs full transparency in order to stop the war party from waging more attacks and destabilising the planet of people and their nations.
  • Posted by ecoccw May 18, 2018 at 12:13

    I support this proposal BUT there should be caveats and restrictions around the disclosure of info from private or other providers to government to restrict this to info about the government commissioned work.

    Charging of costs should also be restricted.
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