An independent public watchdog has ordered Wellington’s mayor to review his council’s procedures for sharing information with ratepayers.
This week, Ombudsman Leo Donnelly told Wellington City Council to review the way it responded to requests for information made under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA), and to remind its staff of their obligations. …
The move comes after a complaint was made by Stuff when the city council ignored requests for information related to the $500 million development of Wellington’s Shelly Bay, which will likely involve the lease or sale of ratepayer-owned land for $7.8m.
The law requires a decision be made on a LGOIMA request no later than 20 working days after it is received.
The Stuff request was received by the council on January 6 and despite numerous reminders, no response has been received.
Donnelly ruled the council’s refusal was a failure to meet the requirements of the request. He ordered the council to make a decision and communicate to Stuff as a priority.
Another Stuff request for information relating ratepayer money spent on the Wellington Sevens’ tournament was submitted on January 18.
The Ombudsman found the council failed under the act and said he had reminded the council that timeliness, and compliance with LGOIMA, were “fundamental” obligations.
Many local Councils seem to think that LOGOIMA compliance is voluntary and just flagrantly breach the law by ignoring the deadlines and sometimes not even responding. Wellington City Council appears to be one of the worst offenders. It is not acceptable.