A record number of Official Information Act requests have been declined by the State Services Commissions in the past year, despite the agency being responsible for implementing the Government’s pledge to be the most open and transparent ever, National’s State Services spokesperson Nick Smith says.
“At the agency’s annual review before the select committee today, the State Services Commission admitted declining 22 Official Information Act requests in the past year, compared with a total of six declines over the previous seven years.
“This makes a joke of the Government’s pledge to be the most open and transparent ever.
“When Official Information Act requests are provided, the State Services Commission isn’t showing much openness. Included in the State Services Commission’s numbers for Official Information Act requests that were approved is the release of the Open Government Strategy in response to National’s Official Information Act request that had 90 per cent of the document redacted.
“This poor record on openness of disclosures and information is compounded by the State Services Commission doubling its budget for public relations and communications from $403,000 to $845,000. This equates to $50,000 for each of the 17 press releases issued by the State Services Commission.
“These numbers show the Government has put spin ahead of substance and far from being more open, its lead public service organisation is declining a record number of information requests while doubling its expenditure on spin doctors.”