INDEPENDENT NEWS

Taxpayers’ Union Will Cooperate With Ombudsman And Calls For Applicant Blind Rule

Published: Tue 6 Dec 2022 12:54 PM
New Zealand’s largest user of the Official Information Act and Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act is backing the Ombudsman’s newly launched investigation into a dozen public agencies and is calling on his Office to support an “applicant blind” rule to prevent officials telling Ministers’ offices the identity of requesters, including journalists.
Jordan Williams, a spokesman for the Union, said:
“Everybody has a right to access official information, and decisions should be made based on the information, not the purpose or identity of the requester.
“We are particularly pleased to see the Ombudsman publicly call for current and retired bureaucrats to speak out. In 2018, we provided his office a whistleblower from Callaghan Innovation who reported that requests by the Taxpayers’ Union were being treated differently and that we were being lied to. To our surprise, the Ombudsman’s final report on the issue did not even mention the whistleblower, or their evidence.”
“It appears the Ombudsman’s Office has had a change of approach. We welcome this.”

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