Briefing notes for Question for Oral Answer

Alex Harris made this Official Information request to Minister of Energy and Resources

The request was refused by Minister of Energy and Resources.

From: Alex Harris

Dear Minister of Energy and Resources,

Today in the House the Minister was asked a question about electricity prices from SOEs and private providers (Question for oral answer 6: "Power Prices—Comparison of State-owned Energy Companies with Private Companies". Sitting date: 19 June 2012. Volume:681;Page:11). During the response, the Speaker criticised the Minister's officials for not preparing a proper answer for the Question, and the Minister did not correct him.

In the interests of public accountability, I would like to request under the Official Information Act all briefings and correspondence relating to this Parliamentary question. In particular, I am seeking the draft answers offered by officials, so that it can be determined whether the non-answer is their responsibility, or the Minister's. This I think constitutes an exceptionally strong public interest in release. Its not everyday that officials get criticised by the Speaker for effectively hanging their Minister out to dry.

I am fully aware that there is strong precedent from the Ombudsman on the matter of draft answers to Parliamentary questions, and that the Minister can likely withhold this information. However, there's no obligation to do so, and if what the Speaker said in the House today was true, the public would benefit from its release. Conversely, if the Minister refuses release, then the public can and will draw its own conclusions.

I would prefer to receive an electronic response. Queries about this request will be automatically forwarded to me by the website.

With regards to s12 of the OIA, I am an NZ citizen and in NZ.

Yours faithfully,

Alex Harris

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From: Jamie Gray (MIN)
Minister of Energy and Resources

Ref: ERPH 11-12/1444

Dear Alex

On behalf of Hon Phil Heatley, Minister of Energy and Resources, I acknowledge receipt of your email below of 19 June 2012 requesting, under the Official Information Act 1982, information in relation to oral question number six in Parliament on Tuesday, 19 June 2012.

Your request was received in this office on 19 June 2012 and is being treated in accordance with the provisions of the Official Information Act 1982.

Yours sincerely

Jamie Gray
Private Secretary to Hon Phil Heatley, Minister of Energy and Resources
Office 4.1R, Executive Wing, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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From: Carol Cowie (MIN)
Minister of Energy and Resources

Attachment Slevel4 co12071716190.pdf
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Alex Harris,


Please find attached the response to your OIA request of 19 June 2012.







Office of Hon Phil Heatley

Minister of Energy and Resources  |  Minister of Housing  |  Member of
Parliament for Whangarei

Parliament Buildings  |  Private Bag 18041  |  Wellington 6160




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