First-ever OIA statistics show public servants doing their bit for open government


Public servants are doing a great job in applying the Official Information Act – but more change is needed to ensure a fully open and transparent public service, the PSA says.

The State Services Commission has released the findings of its first survey of how government agencies comply with the Official Information Act.

It found 91 per cent of responses to the public are handled on time, with a third of agencies achieving 99 per cent or better.

“We welcome the news that our members are doing their bit to ensure public confidence in the machinery of government,” PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.

New Zealanders made more than 40,000 requests in the year to June 2016, and more than 11,000 of those were received by the Police.

Mr Barclay says some agencies are inundated with requests, and the government must ensure its agencies are properly resourced to handle them.

He also suggests a move towards more proactive release would help.

“Many of these requests must be for the same or similar information, and we wonder if measures like requiring information released under the OIA to be posted publicly might help.”

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes singled out District Health Boards as not meeting obligations.

“We agree this is not ideal, but would note that DHBs have not been helped by this government’s freeze on hiring administrative and clerical staff,” Mr Barclay says.