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Judith Collins

4 February, 2013

Collins outlines plan to improve OIA law

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Government is looking to improve the legislation and processes that govern the openness and transparency of public agencies.

The Government’s response to recommendations in the Law Commission’s recent review of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) was tabled in Parliament today.

“The Law Commission found that the legislation’s underlying principles are sound and are fundamentally working well,” says Ms Collins.

“Last year, New Zealand was ranked first equal in Transparency International’s corruption perception index for having one of the least corrupt, most transparent governments in the world.

“This is good news and reassures the public that we have good practices.

“Given that, and as well as the important priorities already on our agenda, the Government will now progress some of the Commission’s key recommendations including:

  • extending the OIA to the administrative functions of the courts, including information about expenditure, resources and statistical information about court cases
  • supporting improved education and guidance from the Office of the Ombudsman – the independent authority that provides advice to government agencies and helps people in their dealings with the state sector 
  • introducing new protections for commercial information and clarifying how the legislation applies to commercially sensitive information
  • protections for third-party information and other issues related to the Privacy Act.

Ms Collins says the Government will review the operation of the Acts and progress any remaining recommendations as opportunities arise and priorities allow.

“The Government is committed to openness and transparency, streamlining processes and reducing red tape for agencies, businesses and individuals.

“I thank the Law Commission for its comprehensive and detailed consideration of this important part of New Zealand’s democracy.”

The targeted recommendations will be referred to relevant agencies for further consideration.