1000 Jobs number quoted RE Kapiti Expressway

B M Murrah made this Official Information request to Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The request was successful.

From: B M Murrah

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

John Key has been quoted in the Dominion Post as saying the Kapiti Expressway RONS project will create 1000 jobs: (Link here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/new... ).

Under the Official Information Act 1982 I request information and documentation relating to the source of that number and the evidence used to support it.

Yours faithfully,

B. Morgan Murrah
NZ Citizen

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From: B M Murrah

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

Please refer to my OIA request 9 May 2013:

"9 May 2013

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

John Key has been quoted in the Dominion Post as saying the Kapiti
Expressway RONS project will create 1000 jobs: (Link here:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/new...
).

Under the Official Information Act 1982 I request information and
documentation relating to the source of that number and the
evidence used to support it.
"

Please acknowledge you have received this OIA and a response is progressing.

Yours faithfully,

B M Murrah

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From: Anna Whiskin
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


Attachment Reply Murrah B M.pdf
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Please find attached a scanned copy of the response to your information request to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. If you would like the original of this letter posted to you, please provide a postal address and we will send it.

Kind regards
Anna Whiskin
DPMC OIA Coordinator
Email: [email address]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

The information contained in this email message is for the attention of the intended recipient only and is not necessarily the official view or communication of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, copy or distribute this message or the information in it. If you have received this message in error, please destroy the email and notify the sender immediately.

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From: B M Murrah

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

On your website one of your quoted roles is to provide:

"Administrative support to the Prime Minister
This includes preparation of replies to Parliamentary questions, and dealing with Official Information Act requests and other correspondence. A totally separate body, the Office of the Prime Minister, also advises the Prime Minister: it is the primary point of responsibility for managing political issues and relationships with other political parties and for providing administrative and media support."

In retrospect if I had considered this I would have not accepted your decision to transfer the request for information about the Kapiti Expressway jobs number quoted to the Dominion Post and sought review to the Ombudsman.

Please answer this very simple and direct question promptly and source the information from the Prime Minister's office or the man himself as necessary as providing administrative support for OIA requests your declared role. What is the source of the quoted 1000 Job number that the Prime Minister saw fit to quote to the Dominion Post?

I will be reviewing this request to the ombudsman on June 7th if I have not received a response for breaching the statutory time period given that this question is exactly within the stated role of the DPMC.

Yours faithfully,

B M Murrah

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B M Murrah left an annotation ()

Just FYI I have made a complaint to the Ombudsman regarding the DPMC's decision to shift this question (clearly within their stated official role) out of their department and in effect delay answering the very simple and direct OIA.

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Luke left an annotation ()

Hi

1. I've reviewed the decision to transfer the request, and taken into account the extract you posted from the DPMC website about the role of the DPMC and the Office of the Prime Minister.

2. While it is the role of the DPMC to answer OIA requests, it is also the role of the Office of the Prime Minister to answer OIA requests too. Based on the fact that the quote was made by the Prime Minister, it is logical and reasonable for the Office of the Prime Minister to answer your OIA request.

3. The decision to transfer your request was made within the statutory timeframe (10 days after the date on which your request was received), and the transfer was supported by two premises. These were that:

a. the DPMC did not hold the information you seek, and

b. the DPMC judged your request to be more closely connected with a Minister (the Prime Minister). For example, the quotation about the 1000 jobs made be made by the Prime Minister himself, rather than the Prime Minister acting on advice from the DPMC.

Based on these premises, the test has been met by section 14 to transfer your request.

3. Your decision to decide what "is exactly within the stated role of the DPMC" does not override their statutory role to decide whether to transfer a request. It is their decision to decide on a transfer.

4. The exercept you posted explains that the Office of the Prime Minister also provides administrative support (ie. answering requests for information), and so your view that your request falls within their "clearly stated role" is not quite correct. It could fall into either DPMC or the Office of the Prime Minister, and in this case, it has been judged that it better falls into the Office of the Prime Minister.

5. If the DPMC was able to answer your "simple and direct OIA" they would have.

6. You say that they should ask "the man himself" (the Prime Minister). Perhaps. But that is why they chose to transfer the request, because it is more closely connected with the Office of the Prime Minister (the office of the man himself).

6. Rather than take up the time of the Office of the Ombudsman, who are already overwhelmed with requests, it would be better if you had not made a complaint (even though you are entitled to do so) because I don't beleive your complaint that DPMC were wrong to transfer the request would be sustained. I think that they would find in favour of the DPMC, for the reasons I've outlined above.

7. Rather than making a complaint, it would be sensible (and helpful to everyone) if you gave the Office of the Prime Minister time to deal with your request. Once they respond with their decision and/or the information, you could then assess whether to take teh issue to the Ombudsman.

Regards

Luke

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B M Murrah left an annotation ()

I accept your reasoning. For that I have sent an email rescinding my complaint.

I am still incredibly tired of having requests bounced around endlessly and by design answered on the final day possible. Why is this the norm?

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Luke left an annotation ()

Hi

1. I’m not familiar with the details of your other requests that were transferred so I can’t comment on why they were transferred. However I can comment more generally why it is the norm that requests are answered on the last day of the 20 working day time limit.

2. S15(1) of the OIA says that an agency is obliged to make a decision on a request “as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days after the day on which the request is received by that department or Minister of the Crown or organisation”.

3. The Law Commission’s report on the OIA (Law Commission, 2012, p.173) says that the Commission noted there was a concern that “agencies in practice work to the maximum 20 working day limit, rather than the primary obligation to respond to a request as soon as reasonably practicable.”

4. They cite Nicola White’s findings of interviews of public servants, where she concluded that “very often ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ is much the same as 20 working days in a government organisation of any size. Simple requests can usually be satisfied well within the 20 working day limit, but for anything complicated, the 20 working day limit becomes the real deadline and for hard requests the 20 working day standard will be too short and an extended time period will be required.” (White, 2007, as cited in Law Commission, 2012, p.174).

5. In cases where requests are:

• complex (cannot be answered simply because it has many parts)

• require collation or searching of internal information sources in order to find the information,

• political, or

• seek sensitive information requiring consultation with a third party to assess potential for prejudice,

requests will often taken longer, and as such the official working on the request may most certainly give themselves the full 20 working day time limit to respond, or if necessary extend the time limit by which to respond.

References

Law Commission. (2012). The public’s right to know: Review of the official information legislation. Wellington, New Zealand: Author.

White, N. (2007). Free and frank: Making the official Information Act 1982 work better. Wellington, New Zealand: Institute of Policy Studies.

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From: Sarah Boyle


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