Greens back proposed OIA move by Ombudsman

  • 20/03/2016
Metiria Turei (File)
Metiria Turei (File)

The Greens support the new Chief Ombudsman's plan for ranking tables to name and shame Government departments about non-compliance with Official Information Act requests.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier told The Nation programme he plans to shake up enforcement of the act, which allows New Zealanders to request information from most Government departments.

He said league tables to rank departments for their OIA responses were on the cards by July 1.

"We pretty much know who are the good compliers and who are not, and probably it would be good for the public to know that as well," he said.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei thinks it's a good idea.

"A league table ranking Government agencies' compliance with the law is a brave move by the Ombudsman to fix the unlawful practice of not releasing legitimate information," she said.

She said the Government had politicised the process of releasing information under the Act and there was evidence that embarrassing information was not being released.

A league table would put pressure on Government agencies to apply the law properly, she said.

The Ombudsman's Office deals with complaints about OIA requests but issues can often take more than a year to resolve, sometimes making the complaint process of little value to journalists.

Mr Boshier said the department aimed to go from 37 percent of appeals taking longer than a year to 70 percent being done in three months.

Mr Boshier is the former principal Family Court judge and had a high profile in that role for eight years.