Cost of requests made to Government

Megan Pledger made this Official Information request to Parliamentary Service

Parliamentary Service did not have the information requested.

From: Megan Pledger

Dear Parliamentary Services,

It was reported in the NBR that the National party made 6524 written questions to the Government in the last month.

Can you please tabulate the number of hours that were needed to put together those questions and the cost of putting together those questions i.e. the amount of wages that the staff and MPs were paid for the time it took to put those questions together and other incidentals e.g. power, computer use, printer use etc.

Furthermore, can you tabulate the number of hours that were needed to answer those questions and the cost of answering those questions by the government and their staff (as above).

If you are not the correct department to furnish these answers, can you point me to the correct department.

Yours faithfully,

Megan Pledger

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From: David Stevenson
Parliamentary Service

Hi Megan

Parliamentary Service is not responsible for this work, I suggest you contact Andie Lindsay from Office of the Clerk at [email address]


David Stevenson
General Manager
E [email address]
Parliamentary Service Te Rātonga Whare Pāremata
Private Bag 18041, Wellington 6160, New Zealand

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Luke C left an annotation ()

One would be hard pressed to put a figure on the time and wages spent on constructing questions, and answers to the questions.

First you have the unknown quantum of the time it took. I don't think anyone in opposition would have been keeping watch of that.

Then you have the situation of whether it was the opposition spokesperson that created the question or whether it was their advisor/staffers that did that/ There will be a pay differential between the two.

Then not all questions have been answered to-date, so even if the hours and wage figures for determining answering the questions could be ascertained, we are not at the point where all the questions have yet been answered.

I think your request is a great question, but I just don't know how feasible it is that you could get it answered. It's almost better to ask someone who has worked in opposition and/or a minister's office who could probably look through some of the questions/answers and for them to estimate how much time certain ones took so you then extrapolate it to the 6524. Even then the resultant sum total may not be accurate because it was just an estimate.

Also bear in mind that under the OIA, you cannot ask for work to be completed, you can only ask for information that exists. For instance, you asked the responding agency to tabulate hours and wages. If the information is there, then that may be reasonable, but if the information wasn't in an easily manipulable format or easily extracted, then creating a spreadsheet from a lot of manual work could not be expected from the agency.

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Luke C left an annotation ()

Some insight on the process of answering questions has been written by a previous ministerial press secretary at

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