MPs are now being coached to avoid questions under the Official Information Act. This activity arises from explosive claims made by rebel MP Dr Gaurav Sharma in a recent interview.
Apparently, MPs are taught how to minimise information having to be provided in an Official Information Request by routing e-mails through the Labour Party Office, thus providing a 3rd party “cut out”.
They are also schooled on how not to say anything that the Prime Minister may later be questioned on by the media.
You would think this sort of behaviour was preposterous and unbelievable in New Zealand.
Even the Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, has written to the Prime Minister seeking assurances her Government understands its transparency obligations.
I reckon Ardern and her fraudulent Government wouldn’t know Transparency if it bit them in the arse!
The Chief Ombudsman wrote saying :
“I am aware of the allegations made by Dr Sharma about the workshop advice and training given to Labour MPs on the Official Information Act.”
This issue was brought to my attention by one of my mailing group when they copied me with the letter they have sent to the Chief Ombudsman requesting an investigation by his office into this odious practice.
They wrote –
Hi Peter and Team
It is with great sadness that I write this request today about the way the present Labour Government is treating OIA questions with disdain; Running training courses on how to avoid them and suggesting that MP’s send information through the Labour Party Office so there is no paper trail.
They don’t put anything in writing so there is no paper trail to answer from an OIA question. “Walk down and talk to someone, but never put it in email” they’re instructed!
That is so there is no traceable information for OIA questions, even using a split in the Parliamentary services between teams of different people so the questions can’t be answered. So it can’t be traced.
These are really serious allegations.
Is this the current state of our democracy? Who is responsible for holding this government to account if information can’t be sought?
Journalists from around NZ have complained about how OIA questions aren’t even being answered or they are being stonewalled and so much is being redacted that it makes them worthless.
Thanks to DR Sharma we now know why.
At least four training courses have been run in his short time in parliament on how to avoid information getting into an OIA question.
I would ask that you set up an urgent interview with him so all the facts can be obtained. He appears to be a very good note keeper.
There must be a full enquiry by your office to uphold the public perception of how a democratic government should function .
I note on your website the following strapline, Fairness For All.
Can you honestly say that is happening at the moment for the NZ people with the way Parliamentary services are handling the OIA Questions?
I have taken these excerpts out of your guidelines and I would ask you if the spirit of them are currently being upheld by this current government and the Prime Ministers Team?
The Principle of Availability
The principle of availability underpins the whole of the OIA. The act explicitly states that:
The question whether any official information is to be made available … shall be determined, except where this Act otherwise expressly requires, in accordance with the purposes of this Act, and the principle that the information shall be made available unless there is good reason for withholding it.
This principle should always be kept in mind when an agency is considering how best to respond to a request for official information.
The Purposes of the Act
The key purposes of the OIA are to:
Progressively increase the availability of official information to the people of New Zealand to enable more effective public participation in the making and administration of laws and policies; and promote the accountability of Ministers and officials; and so enhance respect for the law and promote good government; and protect official information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the preservation of personal privacy.
I would suggest all the areas highlighted above are under serious question at the moment under this Labour Government and it needs to be sorted out by your Office.
I await your reply ….
From what I can gather the schooling in this nefarious scheme was handled by one Neale Jones. Neale Jones has extensive experience in New Zealand politics, including most recently as Chief of Staff to Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.
Jones is also a director of Capital.
Capital is a public affairs agency offering government relations, strategic communications, digital marketing and polling and data advice.
So, here we have duplicity and dishonesty being honed by one of the huge numbers of spin doctors, that Ardern’s Government employs, paying them millions, using taxpayers’ money!
Just makes me sick to my stomach.
Jacinda Ardern, I think you have aided and abetted the destruction of race relations in New Zealand.
You have endorsed Grant Robertson’s profligate borrowing, thus endowing future generations with a debt mountain,
You have actively and vigorously pursued an agenda designed to demolish democracy.
You have presided over the adulteration of our mainstream media via thinly veiled bribes.
And now, you are presiding over a government that has to resort to deceit and deception to minimise scrutiny!
Jacinda Ardern you are a disgrace to the Office of Prime Minister
Regrettably for New Zealand, you seem very satisfied with your achievements!
John Porter is a citizen, deeply concerned about the loss of democracy and the insidious promotion of separatism by our current government. This article was first published HERE