John Edwards,Ppt

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John Edwards,Ppt

  1. 1. Freedom of information in New Zealand John Edwards Barrister and Solicitor Wellington, New Zealand
  2. 2. This presentation covers <ul><li>Key elements of NZ law </li></ul><ul><li>Similarities/differences with Chilean proposal </li></ul><ul><li>Things we have learned in 25 years of freedom of information </li></ul>
  3. 3. Key elements of NZ Law <ul><li>Principle of availability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No reason to ask, no justification necessary </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Withhold where disclosure would cause demonstrable harm </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Administrative reasons (will soon be published, would require substantial collation & research) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusive reasons (security, defence, maintenance of the law) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good reasons (privacy, commercial, policy formulation & decision making - subject to public interest override) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Time limits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Respond - 20 working days </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transfer – 10 working days </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Low cost </li></ul><ul><li>Ready access to free appeal </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Has changed the way government business is conducted - much more open/consultative </li></ul><ul><li>Has influenced other laws </li></ul><ul><li>Has affected the outcome of elections </li></ul><ul><li>Has lead to public servants being sacked </li></ul>
  6. 6. Chile vs Nueva Zealandia <ul><li>Chile </li></ul><ul><li>Duty on requester to specify information </li></ul><ul><li>Third party veto </li></ul><ul><li>New Zealand </li></ul><ul><li>Duty on agency to assist </li></ul><ul><li>Can consult – but no veto & subject to public interest </li></ul>
  7. 7. Chile vs Nueva Zealandia <ul><li>Chile </li></ul><ul><li>Secret for 25 years </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency Tribunal </li></ul><ul><li>Free provision </li></ul><ul><li>Real sanctions on officials for improper withholding </li></ul><ul><li>NZ </li></ul><ul><li>Constant revision </li></ul><ul><li>Ombudsman </li></ul><ul><li>Reasonable cost </li></ul><ul><li>Not punitive </li></ul>
  8. 8. Things we’ve learnt <ul><li>Biggest barrier to access is knowing what to ask for </li></ul><ul><li>Training and resourcing is critical </li></ul><ul><li>A disproportionate burden can be imposed by a few requesters </li></ul><ul><li>Officials can be innovative in finding ways to avoid law </li></ul>

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