Complaining over competent political management

April 8th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports Annette King:

The Ministry of Health process for handling Official Information Act requests has been called “laundering” after different ways of treating requests from the public, media and politicians were revealed. …

The Herald sought the ministry process showing warnings for officials about releasing “politically sensitive or controversial” details to the public. It has six possible checks for releasing information before it was sent to Mr Ryall’s office, where the minister and staff were given five days to review it.

When people from Parliament sought information, the number of steps increased to eight, and to nine when the request came from media. …

Opposition health spokeswoman has labelled the scheme an “OIA laundering process” designed to keep information from the public.

Oh this is silly, Keeping the Minister’s office in the loop when Opposition MPs or media file OIA requests is a no brainer. There is a world of difference between an OIA request from Mrs Smith-Jones wanting to know how much something about her local hospital and from say the Opposition Spokesperson asking for a copy of a briefing paper to the Minister.

What matters is not the process,, but the outcomes. Does keeping the Minister in the loop mean the Ministry of Health is not meeting the 20 day deadline for responding?

No Right Turn compiled OIA stats in 2012, and 85% of Ryall’s OIA responses are done within 20 days, with an average of 16.5 days. Now this is for OIAs to him, not the Department, but it suggests a good compliance regime.

If Annette wants to score some points against Ryall, she needs to do far better than complaining about internal processes which are simply competent political management.

What I’d be interested in is what the compliance rate is for the Ministry of Health in terms of the 20 day deadline, and how often do they decline information and get over-ruled by the Ombudsman? That *might* help her to make a case, but this silly story just highlights how competent is.


15 Responses to “Complaining over competent political management”

  1. Manolo (21,954 comments) says:

    The poor Full Moon King better sharpens up if she wants to unseat the incompetent Luddite Wade Brown in order to become Wellington’s mayor.

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  2. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    85% compliance isn’t particularly impressive. Most govt contracts with private sector providers require high 90s or 100% for similar requests.

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  3. tvb (5,510 comments) says:

    The Labour Party will round up their activists to make these requests and pass them on to King. That is why when I worked on these matters firstly we always put the request on paper that said “released under the OIA”, so it cannot be characterised as a leak. And in some cases especially with media requests a general release was made so that the inquiring journalist cannot claim a scoop.

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  4. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    It is a global Tory tactic to curb democracy through the slow release of information.

    One has to ask why Ryall thought it was OK to break the law 15% of the time.

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  5. RRM (12,545 comments) says:

    Say ” #Toryscum” for me Hams!


    Say it.

    Just once!

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  6. Elaycee (4,536 comments) says:

    HamboneV2: Again I have to ask what the hell this has got to do with British politics….

    But thanks for sharing your application for lifetime membership of the Morons Club.


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  7. Cunningham (954 comments) says:

    hamnidaV2 (129) Says:

    April 8th, 2013 at 2:18 pm
    It is a global Tory tactic to curb democracy through the slow release of information.

    So how does Labour compare then when they were in govt? You must know otherwise you wouldn’t make that statement surely??

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  8. simonway (507 comments) says:

    The “deadline” is not 20 days, it is “as soon as reasonably practicable” for the request to be completed. 20 days is just an upper limit on the amount of time it can be completed on. If the Department or Ryall are introducing unnecessary delays, then they are in fact violating the OIA.

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  9. sparky (235 comments) says:

    Annette King needs to talk, she was the most incompetent Minister of Health ever. She should be ashamed of herself, the way she treated a number of Cancer Patients under her watch, telling them there cases for Cancer Treatment were not urgent. Thank goodness the Oncologists put her in her place.

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  10. virtualmark (1,602 comments) says:

    And perhaps we should compare the equivalent statistics for when Annette King was the Minister of Health?

    I’d be the first to admit that I don’t know what they were. But I would also enter into a wager that they weren’t any better.

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  11. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (1,293 comments) says:

    It is high time grandmother Annette “King Hit” King retires. Such a waste of space and waste of time. To the other Labour morons posting here – publish the corresponding statistics during the wasteful 9 years of Labour and then bark.

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  12. Black with a Vengeance (2,182 comments) says:

    Outcomes over process?

    The end justifies the means…hardly fucking ever!

    Checks and balances bitches!!!

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  13. peterwn (4,281 comments) says:

    Another case of Labour politicians moaning about the treatment they allegedly get from the Government when the same Labour politicians played hardball with OIA requests even trying to delay them in the hope the subject matter went ‘stale’.

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  14. elscorcho (172 comments) says:

    While this particular point is – as DPF points out – a lame duck, the much larger issue is how horrifically bad OIA compliance has become under National since 2008.
    The Ombudsman is swamped. Swamped. Yet despite the massive increase in complaints, and a resultant backlog, it has been starved of funds.

    If we are a real democracy, surely we need to fund the Ombudsman to a proper extent. Surely it’s a little more important to have a functioning democracy than find a few extra dollars for Tiwai Point subsidisation or similar.

    I’ve been waiting over a YEAR for one request (still with Ombudsman, no investigator yet allocated).My request was specific, time-bound, gave a reason for the request, and even noted which file numbers the information might be found in. I’ve heard similar horror stories from other people too.

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  15. Mark (1,611 comments) says:

    This does not surprise me about Wade-Brown. She should resign over such incompetence.

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