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Wikileaks: the big question

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

In all of the controversy about Wikileaks, one central question seems to remain unresolved: how should we pronounce “Assange”? Is it “an” as in “dance” or “blancmange” or “flange”? [Update: these sites suggest that the first is correct]. The main lesson of the Wikileaks saga for me is that we should be skeptical of government assertions that the […]


Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

NoRightTurn has done some excellent work compiling statistics on whether government Ministers are complying with the time limits in the Official Information Act. His conclusion: too often, they’re not. Only one Minister, Chris Finlayson, met the legal standard of responding to requests “as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 […]

Open up Parliament too!

Friday, June 11th, 2010

The latest Ministers’ expense relevations once again demonstrate the value of transparency and the shakiness of the assurances that “systems are in place to ensure propriety”. Good on National for increasing the level of transparency. But since they’re so hot on it, why not bring Parliament under the Official Information Act too (and the Attorney-General […]

The right to receive information revived…

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I have long thought that our official information laws ought to be affected by the NZ Bill of Rights Act’s guarantee of freedom of expression, which says: Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form. Surely, I thought, […]

What can Crown lawyers say to the media?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

The Crown Law Office has put out a very sensible, but rather general, protocol containing guidance for prosecutors when dealing with media inquiries. It doesn’t mention civil proceedings, but it does apply to the Crown Law Office itself, and the general principles at the beginning seem broad enough to cover civil cases too. It makes […]


Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Speaking of the Law Commission, they’re seeking your views on whether we should be changing our official information laws. Online survey here. You’ll have to be in quickly though: they want the feedback by January [Update: new deadline is 15 February].

MPs expenses: some thoughts

Friday, July 31st, 2009

It’s good, but it’s not enough. Why can’t we have more details about the travel and accommodation? And how much are they each spending on mail-outs? One thing I find striking: if New Zealand was prepared to invest half as much on funding to political parties’ campaigns once every three years as we currently spend on our […]

Veitch material un-juncted

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Not surprisingly, it seems that Tony Veitch has withdrawn his injunction proceedings. That still leaves interesting questions about the police’s unusual willingness to release so much information here.

Veitch injunction

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Who would have guessed it? (Not me). The injunction barring the media from publishing the information released by the police under the Official Information Act, seems to be based on breach of confidence. The Veitch team (headed up by heavyweight litigator Jack Hodder SC) argued that Veitch was not consulted on the release; he had […]

Time to turn the lights on in Parliament

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

The MPs’ expenses scandal rages on in Britain. MPs have expenses, you understand. Quite rightly, they can recover those that are “wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the performance of a Member’s parliamentary duties.” And what MP could effectively and conscientiously perform his or her duties without spending 2000 pounds to replace a leaking pipe […]

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