OIA project will help open government - but more resources needed

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Government agencies and the Office of the Ombudsman need greater resources if the Official Information Act is to be fit for purpose, the PSA says.

The State Services Commission will work with the Ombudsman to help state sector agencies improve responses to OIA requests, including the volume of requests and the time taken to respond.

The Commission notes the work is needed in order to meet New Zealand’s requirements under the international Open Government Partnership.

"The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi welcomes the joint work being undertaken," PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.

"We are particularly pleased at the focus on the proactive release of official information, and the capability of government agencies to improve their practices.

"But in order to be effective, this work needs to be accompanied by a proper commitment from government to fund agencies appropriately.

"This is especially true of the Ombudsman’s office, which needs to be able to deliver support and training to government agencies on top of its enforcement role.

"Any moves to increase transparency of government decision-making are to be celebrated - but without the resources to do so, it’s questionable how much this work can really achieve."