Appendix A: Recommendations

Chapter 14 – Scope of the acts

Maintaining the schedules to the OIA and LGOIMA

R116The schedules to the OIA and LGOIMA should be comprehensive and identify all agencies covered by the OIA and LGOIMA respectively.

R117Wherever practicable, the schedules should list individual agencies rather than categories of agencies.

R118There should be a statutory responsibility on all agencies subject to the OIA and LGOIMA to state that fact on their website.

R119There should be a statutory responsibility on the oversight office to:

(a)maintain the schedules to the OIA and LGOIMA; and

(b)maintain and make publicly available a list of the agencies that are subject to the OIA and LGOIMA.

R120A new provision in the OIA and LGOIMA should state that the Acts’ schedules may be updated by Order in Council when an agency is established or abolished, or its name is changed.

R121The Ministry of Justice should convene a working group, including representatives from central and local government, to examine the schedules to the OIA and LGOIMA to eliminate anomalies and bring within coverage organisations with such a relationship to central or local government that they should properly be included.

Parliament and the OIA

R122The Offices of Parliament (the Ombudsmen, the Office of the Controller and Auditor-General and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment) should be subject to the OIA by inclusion in Schedule 1. Information relating to any audit, assurance work, inquiry or investigation undertaken by an Office of Parliament should be excluded from the definition of “official information” in section 2 of the OIA.

R123The Parliamentary Counsel Office should be subject to the OIA by inclusion in Schedule 1.

R124The Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Parliamentary Service should be subject to the OIA by inclusion in Schedule 1. The definition of “official information” in section 2 of the OIA should state that, in relation to these agencies, “official information” includes only:

(a)statistical information about the agency’s activities;

(b)information about the agency’s expenditure of public money;

(c)information about the agency’s assets, resources, support systems, and other administrative matters.

R125The Speaker in his or her role as responsible Minister in relation to the Office of the Clerk and Parliamentary Service should be subject to the OIA by inclusion in Schedule 1. The definition of “official information” in section 2 of the OIA should state that only information held by the Speaker in that capacity is included.

R126Section 2 of the OIA should state that “official information”, in relation to information held by a parliamentary agency, does not include:

(a)any information held by a parliamentary agency solely as an agent for, or on behalf of, the House of Representatives or a Member of Parliament; or

(b)any information held by a parliamentary agency about a Member of Parliament in relation to the Member’s performance of his or her role and functions as a Member; or

(c)any information held by a parliamentary agency that relates to the development of political policies by a recognised party or an independent Member of Parliament.

Consideration should be given to whether the exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (UK) that apply to individual Members of Parliament should be included in the OIA or in guidance.

R127To avoid doubt, a new provision in the OIA should state that nothing in the OIA limits or affects any privileges, immunities or powers of the House of Representatives.

R128Section 31 of the OIA should be amended to provide that the Ombudsmen must not recommend making available any official information held by a parliamentary agency or the Speaker, if the Speaker certifies that making the information available would be likely to limit or affect any privileges, immunities, or powers of the House of Representatives.

R129Section 9(2)(g)(i) of the OIA should be amended so that the withholding ground covers the free and frank expression of opinions between:

(a)an officer or employee of a parliamentary agency;

(b)the Clerk;

(c)the Speaker; and

(d)a Member of Parliament.

 

Courts and the OIA

R130Section 2 of the OIA should be amended so that the definition of “official information” includes, in relation to information about the courts, only:

(a)statistical information about court cases;

(b)information about expenditure; and

(c)information about court buildings, resources, support systems and other operational matters;

and excludes:

(d)information about specific court cases;

(e)judicial communications including judges’ papers or notes; and

(f)information about a judge in relation to the judge’s performance of his or her role and function as a judge.

SOEs and the OIA; CCOs and the LGOIMA

R131State Owned Enterprises should continue to be subject to the OIA and council controlled organisations should continue to be subject to the LGOIMA.