Radio NZ reports:
The release of the $935,000 consultants’ report on a downtown stadium on Friday was the third time RNZ had to resort to the Ombudsman’s Office to extract public information.
The information was eventually found to have been wrongly withheld by Auckland Council.
The Council knows it is illegally withholding information. They just make people appeal to the Ombudsman as a delaying tactic.
All three directly involve the mayor Phil Goff.
The Goffice is responsible for the refusal to release.
The council argued initially that the report was only a draft, and therefore not required to be released under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA).
Wrong, said Ombudsman Leo Donnelly in an opinion he sent to Auckland Council and released to RNZ.
“There is no basis for a blanket withholding of drafts under LGOIMA until they are completed and finalised,” he wrote.
“To have a standard approach of withholding draft reports until they have been fully signed off, leaves the process open to exploitation by agencies who want to hold off release of information until it is most convenient.”
A smart Ombudsman. You can indefinitely delay info being released if you are allowed to do so on the basis it is draft.