OIA charging a worrying step

The Green Party would like the Reserve Bank to make public its reasons for changing its policy to charge media outlets for Official Information Act (OIA) requests.

The Green Party would like the Reserve Bank to make public its reasons for changing its policy to charge media outlets for Official Information Act (OIA) requests.

Last week, it emerged that the Reserve Bank is charging for information requests as a standard policy rather than case by case. The policy was implemented in November, according to the Bank.

“Not only are the public and media subject to delays and redactions when they ask for information, the fact that public agencies will now be charging as standard policy is really concerning,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“I would like to know why the Reserve Bank decided to change its policy to start charging for OIA requests from the media. Were the number of requests increasing? Were there cost increases; if so, what were they?

“The default position should be open and free access to information and any restriction must be an exception, not the norm.

“Access to information has gotten harder and harder under the National Government; John Key himself has admitted the Government manipulated the OIA to suit National’s political needs.

“The Green Party doesn’t want to see the public or media cut out of accessing information that they rightfully should have access to. We need to have more transparency and openness, not less,” said Mr Shaw.

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