Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier says he has commenced another round of self-initiated investigations into the official information practices of selected councils.
Each investigation aims to establish whether the council has the leadership, culture, organisational systems, policies and procedures in place to support good official information practices.
The selected councils are Buller District Council and Invercargill City Council, with two more councils expected to be announced shortly.
"In addition to continuing my practice investigations into how central government agencies fulfil their obligations under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA), this tranche of investigations focuses on the local government sector under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA),’ Mr Boshier says.
"I have spoken to the chief executives of the two councils, and they both welcome the initiative. The selection process takes into account my strategic priorities. For this year, these include a continued focus on how local government is complying with its official information obligations, the public perception of this, and any complaints and contacts my Office has received.
"We want to see if councils are making the same progress as central government. Both the LGOIMA and the OIA are lynchpins of openness and accountability in our democracy. They encourage New Zealanders to take part in issues that affect them, and increase the transparency required by officials."
The Office of the Ombudsman is asking anyone who made a request to the Buller District or Invercargill City Councils under the LGOIMA in the last 12 months or who attended a public meeting at either council to give them feedback on how it went. Survey forms are provided and these are open online until Friday, 20 December 2019.