Has Minister instructed officials to refuse OIAs?

The Green Party is challenging the Education Minister to say whether she has instructed officials to refuse to issue information under the Official Information Act in order to protect the Government from being held accountable.

“The Government is refusing to release information related to 30 mouldy and leaking schools, and possibly 30 or more additional schools, and the Minister needs to explain why,” Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

“It appears the Ministry of Education is being used to protect the Minister from accountability. This would mean the Government’s interests are being put ahead of kids, including the unknown number who are being taught in dangerously mouldy schools.

“There are a number of concerns about how the Ministry is responding to OIA requests, including complaints to the Ombudsman.

“I want to know if the Minister has instructed the Ministry to refuse to answer OIA’s properly.

“If the Minister hasn’t instructed the Ministry to not answer OIA’s, then she needs to instruct them to answer OIA’s properly.

“The default position of Government officials should be to answer public and political questions about school safety, about school closures, and other information which should be publicly available.

“The default position under the current Education Minister appears to be refusing legitimate requests as a matter of course

“The Ministry refusing to let the public know which schools have been identified as being leaky and mouldy is a prime example of this.

“The public, and parents of kids in affected schools, have the right to know what is going on,” Ms Delahunty said.