The black art of OIAing

Despite promising to be one of the most open and transparent governments ever reality is quite different. Refusals to disclose information seems to be becoming more of a black art than ever.

That prompted this quip:

Promised transparency was an election promise that could have been kept by all parties in Government, but power seemed to change their minds quite quickly.

Stuff in December: For a Government vowing to be more transparent, it really is stuck in the mud

For a Government vowing to be the most transparent and open the country has ever seen, it really did get stuck in the mud this week.

That 38-page secret coalition document that’s stored in a not-so-secret safe in Winston Peters’ office has caused all sorts of headaches, for the prime minister in particular, who has been visibly frustrated about the position she’s been put in.

On Monday, it was revealed the prime minister’s office was refusing to release the document that NZ First leader and deputy prime minister Peters had previously described as “a document of precision on various areas of policy commitment and development”.

Newsroom in April: Grading the Government

Open government and transparency – F

Perhaps its biggest failure. Promising to be the most open and transparent government ever, the coalition has instead stumbled repeatedly over its own good intentions. Just five weeks in it found itself defending its right to withhold a crucial governing document while the Prime Minister’s plans to proactively release cabinet papers and briefings had been pushed to the side.

The Official Information Act continues to be treated with disdain, with many journalists holding the opinion that their requests are taking longer, and returning poorer results, than under National who was not exactly known for its transparency.

Meanwhile, the minister tasked with opening up the Government to greater transparency found herself mired in a murky case of secret coffee meetings and mysterious voicemails while the Labour Party couldn’t even be open with its own leader when news of sexual assault at a youth camp broke. Soon after the Government was formed I wrote that despite all the promises, things were unlikely to change. Of course, I hoped I would be wrong but all signs point in the other direction – Shane Cowlishaw 

The signs are still pointing in a far from transparent direction.

Like this: Clark’s holiday further proof of Govt’s lack of transparency

Jacinda Ardern promised her Government would be the most open and transparent the country’s ever seen, but they’ve failed. The fallout from the country’s biggest industrial spat in the health sector in a generation put paid to that.

The hum from the spinning top in the Beehive was deafening, it was always the minister’s intention to be back in the country before the strike began and for its duration, he insisted.

Bollocks. If this Government wants to be taken seriously it’s got to be what Ardern promised it would be, transparent.

Yet again another case for this Government of spin over honesty.

Will this black art…

…become a symbol of Ardern’s government’s ‘transparency’?


Leave a comment


  1. Gezza

     /  18th August 2018

    [Redacted] Alan Wilkinson will probably [Redacted] [Redacted] like a flaming [Redacted] [Redacted] when he reads that post. Because he’s such [Redacted] [Redacted] with a [Redacted] about [Redacted] bureaucrats!

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  18th August 2018

      That’s ‘(deleted) a (deleted) (deleted) (deleted) ( deleted). You (deleted) (deleted) (deleted) (deleted) (deleted)

      Apart from that, it’s not (deleted) or (deleted)

  2. Corky

     /  18th August 2018

    OIA…Our Intentional Alternative….to the truth.

  3. NOEL

     /  18th August 2018

    Why cant the put up the original question for context?

  4. PartisanZ

     /  18th August 2018

    Do they cite reasons for the censorship? I’ve heard “commercially sensitive” is used a lot …?

    Here’s another good reason for a codified Constitution and a Judiciary capable of forcing the government to more release information …

  5. PartisanZ

     /  18th August 2018

    Redacted Official documents have been an enduring symbol of successive governments for some time …

    I wouldn’t mind betting there’s another correlation here between government secrecy and Rogernomics, Ruthanasia plus FIIRE economy systems justification and maintenance …?


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