New Zealand Law Society - Nearly 700 OIA complaints in six months

Nearly 700 OIA complaints in six months

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The Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, has released the Office’s latest data on Official Information Act complaints and outcomes.

The Office of the Ombudsman received 673 OIA complaints in the last six months of 2017.

Of those, 407 came from private individuals - more than three times as many as from media organisations, who made 138 complaints. The remainder were lodged by trade unions, MPs, and local authorities.

Most complaints concerned the refusal in full of an official information request (147 complaints). Next are complaints about refusal in part of a request (179), and complaints about delays in a decision (114).

Mr Boshier encourages agencies to use the data to monitor their OIA performance.

“The OIA is central to our open democracy. It gives people access to information about the decisions that affect their lives, and it’s good for trust and engagement with government. My Office will continue with its programme of incentives and interventions with agencies to encourage an overall lift in OIA performance.

“I believe this work has contributed to New Zealand’s public sector being ranked as the least corrupt in the world according to Transparency International’s 2017 world rankings released last week.”

Peter Boshier says, in the future, he intends to include data on complaints and outcomes under the OIA’s ‘twin legislation’, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

At the same time as the Office published its complaints and outcomes data, the State Services Commission published its data on OIA requests and response times. It shows that the vast majority of agencies achieved more than 90% compliance with timeliness requirements.