Maungakiekie MP Denise Lee has introduced a private members bill that would enable elected members of local authorities to perform their duties more effectively by providing them greater access to official information.

Ms Lee, who is also the National Party spokesperson for Local Government (Auckland) says the bill creates a system that will bridge the information gap between Mayors and other elected councillors.

“My bill, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings (Rights of Members) Amendment Bill, removes many of the barriers faced by members of a local authority when requesting information,” Ms Lee says.

“It reduces the required response time and limits the reasons that can be used to withhold information, while also introducing safeguards around the use of that information.

“Under the current system, councillors are treated like any other member of the public when trying to access official information. The flow of information is often very tightly controlled from the Mayor’s office - and the recent report on a new stadium from Auckland Council is just one example of how Councillors are often kept in the dark about important decisions.

“When Councillors are forced to go to the Ombudsman in order to access information it is clear the system is broken, and this bill will fix it. Councillors are responsible for making the big decisions on behalf of their constituents, but they can’t do that without having access to all the relevant information.

“My bill is about empowering Councillors to better perform their duties, which will lead to better outcomes for the public,” Ms Lee says.

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