Dom Post accuses DIA of mislading it

March 9th, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Whale Oil has some documents from the in regards to how theyhandled media inquiries into Winston’s non-returned cars, and they show a Department that stonewalled so much, the Dom Post Chief reporter gets really upset:

DIA staffer e-mailed his bosses saying:

“I have managed I think to get TVNZ, TV3 and the DomPost to terminate their interest in this non-story.”

Then after the Sunday newspapers lead with the story, the Dom Post Chief Reporter e-mails Feslier

“I was extremely disappointed to read in the Sunday Star-Times today (1/2/09) that Winston Peters was still in possession of his ministerial car.

This after two of our reporters had very clear correspondence with you last week, asking about this very issue, to which you responded by giving the very clear impression that the car was “sold back, or under our control”.

I struggle to see how a car that is parked outside a minister’s house, with no clear plans to pick up the keys or get it back to Wellington except to send another driver up to Auckland at some stage has been “sold back or under our control”

The fact is that as of Friday at least, Winston Peters still had possession of his ministerial car. It had not been returned. We asked about this and you misled us.”

Kudos to for submitting the OIA requests to expose this. More bloggers should do the same (including me).

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26 Responses to “Dom Post accuses DIA of mislading it”

  1. llew (1,286 comments) says:

    Wow, there’s a lesson in how to use departmental email for you.

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  2. Inventory2 (9,373 comments) says:

    Big ups to WhaleOil for exposing this. I wonder if Mr Feslier is dusting off his CV today.

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  3. gd (1,780 comments) says:

    Well done Whale And how many other cases of misuse dare I say fraudulent behaviour has our estemmed civil service been either guilty of or aiding and abetting

    Given the corrupt KLARK KULLEN administration and that the fish rots from the head one can be sure there have been plenty of bad activity going on in the bowels of the civil service.

    the AG needs to get in there and start kicking arses big time

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  4. s.russell (1,649 comments) says:

    It does kind of show why Govt Depts have employed all those millions of high-paid communications managers etc: to prevent inconvenient communications.

    The whole purpose of such divisions in the Depts seems to be making the dept (and Govt) look good, rather than facilitating the provision of information to the public – which ought to be their No 1 job.

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  5. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    I think it would be valuable for someone to post easy step-by-step instructions for submitting OIA requests. Anyone game? Not me. I’m hopelessly stupid.

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  6. Brian Smaller (3,966 comments) says:

    Big ups to WhaleOil for exposing this. I wonder if Mr Feslier is dusting off his CV today.

    I seriously doubt it. If the head of corrections gets a pass and “must try harder”, a straight out liar will probably get promoted.

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  7. gd (1,780 comments) says:

    IMHO the more depressing part of the current situation is the gut wrenching bad governance that we have been exposed to for the past 9 years.

    At least we seem to be getting a little bit better standard but the report to date from gd to JK is must try harder.

    You do have a lot of work to do but you must get tough with these morons and bozos both in the public and the private sector.

    they have been having a lend of us for far too long and need sorting out.

    Change the employment laws if they are an impediemnt

    The taxpayers will appauld you when they see the head on spikes of the CEOs in both sectors who have been guilty of the most appalling behaviour from waste in the publci sector to out and out fraud and theft as a servant in thr private sector

    Come on JK you know you can do it Step up to the plate

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  8. pkiwi (78 comments) says:

    What most people don’t realise (incl. within govnt) is that any request for information is deemed to be, and has to be treated as an OIA even if you don’t mention the OIA. Would be interesting to ask the same request, first without referencing the OIA and then quoting it and see whether you get the same info! The main issue, like with ministerials, is asking the right question.

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  9. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    “We asked about this and you misled us.”

    Funny ain’t it, that an “experienced” reporter like Hayden Dewes (Dom Post Chief Reporter) apparently does not know any better than to take a bureaucrat at his word.

    Maybe this is why all we ever get from NZ’s mainstream media is virtual government press releases with little searching into whether such releases are accurate or not.

    Today’s journalists just don’t seem to understand their job at all.

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  10. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    DPF:

    Kudos to Whale Oil for submitting the OIA requests to expose this. More bloggers should do the same (including me).

    Yeah … OIA.

    Whaleoil:

    This is based on a whole series of email correspondence related to the retrieval of the car which has fallen into my possession fifth hand via Beehive sources.

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  11. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Sounds like a much better effort by whale oil than that appalling thing about “Islam’s banned list” that he ran last week…

    (He’s a good little blogosphere soldier that whaleoil, but some of his rants are just scary!)

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  12. gd (1,780 comments) says:

    Graeme E Its only via whistleblowers that the taxpayers and citizens get to know the details of the grubby corrupt behaviour.

    Problem is We dont know what we dont know but we do know that we peobably only get to see hear the tip of the iceberg.

    I never cease to be amazed at the naiveity and innocence of the populus.

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  13. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    “He’s a good little blogosphere soldier that whaleoil, but some of his rants are just scary!”

    He’s not little, he doesn’t rant, and if you find his informative posts “scary”, then that’s a good thing. You need to be scared commie.

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  14. dad4justice (6,594 comments) says:

    Poor frightened communist scum. Wimps make me sick. You are one scary moon module rat butter.

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  15. Manolo (14,166 comments) says:

    “…that appalling thing about “Islam’s banned list” that he ran last week…”

    Just check it yourself before you accuse anyone: http://www.inter-islam.org/Prohibitions/prohibitdex.htm
    Almost impossible to believe in the 21st century, but that’s Islam for you and appeasers of your ilk.

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  16. bobux (315 comments) says:

    Ryan

    This is my advice, as someone who has spent a fair bit of time answering OIAs (I’ve taken time off from reviewing one to type this).

    1) Get address of relevant department
    2) Decide what information you are seeking
    3) Write a letter including the phrase ‘Under the Official Information Act, I request …

    That’s it.

    Pkiwi is correct in that any request for information is supposed to be answered bearing in mind the requirements of the OIA. However, in my department (unsure about others), OIAs have a separate filing and reporting stream to general correspondence, meaning that answers are more likely to be checked for completeness before mailing.

    The important thing is deciding what to ask for. The more specific a request, the more likely it is to be met. Letters requesting (hypothetically) ‘any stuff about violence in the South Island’ will get a ‘please clarify’ response.

    Contra Red, gd and others, the only problems I’ve ever experienced in answering requests in full is when stuff has been lost. No department wants to admit to that, but it happens. The most striking thing about most of the material sent out is how boring and routine it is. New reporters and opposition MPs (two of the bigger customer groups) invariably expect some tale of scandal and incompetence, and very rarely find it.

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  17. MyNameIsJack (2,414 comments) says:

    Didn’t you storm out of here, throwing your toys all over the place? Swore you’d never be back, aye?

    can’t stay out of the limelight long, can you?

    Anyway, I went to church yesterday and the minister preached a long sermon, all about sharing, andf helping, and kindness. Seemed very communist to me.

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  18. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    gd – I didn’t mean to impley Whale did anything wrong in publishing the information, was just noting what I considered DPF’s mis-interpretation of the how the information was obtained.

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  19. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    Manolo,

    Doesn’t seem vastly different from the Mormons. Let us not forget the evils of caffeine.

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  20. Colonel Masters (385 comments) says:

    Why is it that documents shown on television, and released under the OIA, are always stamped in huge letters on every page: “RELEASED UNDER THE OFFICIAL INFORMATION ACT”. Does somebody actually have the job of overprinting these?

    Or is it just State TV adding this lettering to big themselves up?

    [DPF: All Departments stamp that on info released, so it is obvious if it was leaked or released]

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  21. gd (1,780 comments) says:

    Graeme E I wasnt implying that merely making the point that we do seem to have a culture where the bad stuff comes out thru informal whistleblowers

    There has never to my knowledge been a case bought under the Protected Disclosures Act 1999 which doe suggest said Act is woefully inadequate.

    The public confidence can only be served when they percieve there is a process to allow bad stuff to be reported and action taken against the bad bastards.

    Good governance is all about tone at the top Those campaigning for good governance are relying on JK to stamp his mark by sending the shock troops aka AG to shake the trees and see what falls out.

    There is a lot of rotten fruit on the trees. Witness ACC Board. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We need to see all the Socialists appointees gone and some real quality governance professionals installed

    They do exist they are ready to serve CCMAU and others have to start fishing in a different pond rather the same old same old that they have for years.

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  22. Brian Smaller (3,966 comments) says:

    Manolo,

    Doesn’t seem vastly different from the Mormons. Let us not forget the evils of caffeine.

    Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. Talk about a lame attempt at relativism. Morman jihadis come around and mow your lawn if you ask them to. Muslim Jihadis cut your head off.

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  23. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    “Anyway, I went to church yesterday and the minister preached a long sermon, all about sharing, andf helping, and kindness. Seemed very communist to me.”

    You leftists are so fucken dumb. That is not communism, because its voluntary, and people do it willingly. Its charity and compassion. Communism is compulsory, and its stealing.

    Such hopeless morons leftists. Sometimes I wonder, when they display such woeful ignorance as this, if there’s ever going to be any hope for them.

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  24. Monty (899 comments) says:

    The best advice with OIAs is to ask very specific questions that cannot be weasled out of by Civil Servants who will do what they can not to answer the specific question being asked. Do not ask general questions as they will give a general answer.

    The trick is knowing the right question to ask.

    Of course now that National are the government I do not ask the questions so much any more – I want this government to be around a very long time.

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  25. G (14 comments) says:

    OIA advice. Be specific as you can be. Read the Act – point out the public interest in the information you want if you think that some grounds would exist for it being withheld. Don’t be surprised if information doesn’t exist – the Government does not have its finger in every pie (just apple pie). Specify that it is an OIA and you want the documents – the OIA is silent on how to respond (i.e. a legitimate and legal response is to summarise the information).

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  26. tvb (4,553 comments) says:

    The “released under the official information act” started when some people (Michael Laws in the late 1980s) were manipulating releases saying they were leaked (big story) when in fact they were released legitimately. Another strategy is whether documents should merely be released to the requester or whether they should have a wider release or general release as we called them. A journalist could be manipulated over a threat to make a general release (i.e. stopping the exclusive) if they were going to shaft the Department.

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