Government release of documents relating to Covid-19 decisions

The Government have done a Friday data dump of documents they call Proactive Release, despite having being asked for information that informed their Covid-19 decision making for weeks.

At least it’s out there now – or at least everything they haven’t withheld.


Details of this release

This release includes the papers, minutes, and key advice for the decisions the Government has made relating to COVID-19 up to 17 April. Where a final decision has been made after 17 April this will be released in a further update.

A small number of documents and some parts of the released documents would not be appropriate to release and, if requested, would be withheld under the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act). Where this is the case, the relevant sections of the Act that would apply have been identified. Where information has been withheld, no public interest has been identified that would outweigh the reasons for withholding it.

Some information has been withheld in full, from this release in relation to the relevant section(s) of the Act:

  • Section 9(2)(f)(iv) — confidential advice
  • Section 9(2)(ba)(ii) — information provided to the Government under an obligation of confidence
  • Section 6(a) — international relations
  • Section 9(2)(j) — commercial negotiations.

Remarkable admissions from Police Minister Nash

The Government has already received growing criticism for arrogance unusual this early in a first term, and have been already shown to have ignored or not south advice before making important decisions on a number of occasions.

So Minister of Police Stuart Nash’s brash admissions yesterday in Parliament are remarkable in their arrogance and lack of attention paid to advice.

NZH: Police Minister Stuart Nash admits he didn’t read advice on phasing rollout of new police

Police Minister Stuart Nash has admitted he didn’t read official advice on options for phasing in 1800 new police officers over five years.

The Government says it will deliver 1800 new officers over three years. There are concerns that will put more pressure on the prison system.

Nash was questioned on the advice from police by National’s Chris Bishop in a a parliamentary committee on Thursday. He responded:

“I didn’t read any paper that said phasing in over five years. For me, phasing in over five years was just not an option I was prepared to consider.”

“I don’t read papers like that because there is a coalition promise that I will work to deliver. Any paper, any suggestion, that we are not going to meet our coalition deal of 1800 police over three years, certainly one that suggests its going to take five years, I’m just not even interested in seeing.”

Bishop: “You are kidding? Are you seriously saying to the committee that you received a paper about phasing options for the coalition commitment that you are talking about and you didn’t read it?”

“Not even interested,” Nash responded.

Nash said he had not ignored that advice but preferred police advice over that of Justice and Corrections.

“We get advice from all over the place … you have to make a decision on whether you take that advice or whether you take other advice.

“On the balance of probabilities I’ve taken police advice over Justice and Corrections advice.”

Nash said he “absolutely believed” that more police would reduce crime and the number of people in prison.

This looks like another policy that the Government are pushing rejecting any advice warning of potential issues.

The odds are that some Ministers will end up implementing policies that improve things, but there are also high chances of ignored consequences.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this came up again in Question Time today. (As ‘Albert’ noted this won’t be happening today. It’s Friday – my head was still in Thursday when wrote that).

 

 

 

No cost benefit analysis of oil and gas policy

Matthew Hooton is suggesting that James Shaw has done no Cost benefit Analysis of the Government’s oil and gas policy.

The response from James Shaw to an Official Information Act request:


Dear Matthew

I write regarding your Official Information Act request of 15 April 2018 for

all advice to you or other ministers from Treasury, MBIE, MfE or other relevant departments on the effect on New Zealand and global CO2 and CO2 equivalent emissions of the new oil and gas policy announced by the Government last week. This includes short-term, medium-term and long-term effects.

I have been advised verbally by MfE that not exploring for more oil and gas would prevent emissions from oil and gas rising any further than they would anyway if all known reserves of oil and gas are burnt. I cannot speak for other ministers.


It took over three weeks to effectively say ‘none’. What Shaw has responded with is vague verbal waffle.

More important is what Shaw doesn’t say – this indicates he received no advice on the short term, medium term or long term effects of the oil and gas policy announced by the Government last month.

This is what Shaw said after the oil and gas policy announcement:

The Green Party is heralding today’s announcement ending new fossil fuel exploration in New Zealand’s oceans as a massive step towards a stable climate and to protecting our marine life and beaches.

“The Green Party and thousands of New Zealanders have been working for decades towards this day and this decision – that fossil fuels are not our future,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“Ending deep sea oil and gas exploration has long been a key goal of the Green Party and today, in Government, we’ve delivered on it.

“This is truly the nuclear free moment of our generation, and the beginning of a new and exciting future for Aotearoa New Zealand,” said Mr Shaw.

The Green Party have been working for decades towards this, however Shaw effectively admits he has received no advice from any Government department on the effect on New Zealand of the policy.

 

Advice on Pike River Recovery Agency

Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-Entry, has released advice on establishing the Pike River Recovery Agency.


Pike River Recovery Agency advice released

Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little has released advice on the establishment of the Pike River Recovery Agency, Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau mā Iwa.

Mr Little says the Government is committed to being open and accountable, and there will be continued transparency as work progresses on the manned re-entry of the Pike River Mine drift.

“We’ve been up front with the families and public on what we are doing and that remains important in terms of trust and confidence in this process and its robustness.  That’s the sort of openness that this Government is committed to in how we work.

“The families have been clear that safety and transparency are priorities for them and we’re working side by side with them, making sure that they, and their experts, have a voice throughout this work.

“The decision to establish the Pike River Recovery Agency is an important milestone so people should see the information surrounding that decision. Once the agency’s up and running, it will operate on a transparent basis, making sure relevant information is in the public arena.”

The Pike River Recovery Agency will be established on 31 January 2018 by Order in Council. It is expected that the agency will create and execute a plan for complete recovery of the drift by the end of March 2019.

The documents released include the 20 November Cabinet paper and advice provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) ahead of the decision to create a stand-alone government department to plan for decisions on the manned re-entry of the Pike River Mine drift.

The documents are available at: