Despite his changed status in recent times, the Right to Know series will also profile former Minister Peter Dunne’s time as, Minister of Revenue, Associate Minister of Health, and Associate Minister of Conservation in 2012.
In order to shed light on the lack of transparency from government Ministers, my team and I have been researching the adequacy of Ministers responses to Official Information Act requests. In March, we sent a request to all Ministers asking for the number of OIA requests received between 1 January 2012 and 1 January 2013, the number transferred, extended, responded to within the 20 working day limit, responded to late or not responded to at all.
Peter Dunne responded to my OIA request by providing a figure to each one of my questions, ordered within his respective portfolios. For example to the question, ‘How many of the request were received were responded to within 20 working days?’, the Minister responded ‘Twenty’ in respect to his Revenue portfolio.
While it was useful to see a breakdown of the OIA requests received by each of his portfolios, like a number of other Ministers, such as Simon Bridges, we have to take the Minister’s word that these are the correct figures. This is compared with other Ministers who have provided spread sheets with exact dates that OIA requests were received and responded to.
Peter Dunne’s OIA response track record is relatively good, with the then Minister responding to all OIA requests received in the 20 working day period, excepting from three requests which were granted extensions.
Peter Dunne’s office received a total of 45 OIA requests, 30 were responded to in the 20 working day period, 12 were transferred, and three had the time limit extended.
But while his office may have responded to OIA requests quickly, the figures for the information released are not so positive. Of the 33 requests responded to by Dunne’s office 9 were refused in full, 15 requests were partially refused, and only nine requests were released in full. Unfortunately, this means during his time as Minister, Peter Dunne was not particularly transparent in the releasing of information.Unlike a number of Ministers, Peter Dunne did provide a breakdown of the parties or groups that had requested information. The most requests came from journalists with 14 requests, followed by the Labour Party with four, the Green Party, an undisclosed Party and a blogger with one request each.