Chief Ombudsman recommends regular and proactive disclosure of information about Ministerial conflicts of interest
Chief Ombudsman | January 31, 2013
The Prime Minister and Cabinet have approved a system of regular and proactive publication of information about the management of Ministerial conflicts of interest from 30 September 2013 as a result of the Chief Ombudsman’s investigation into the Cabinet Office’s refusal of a series of requests for such information. The Ombudsmen will have a monitoring and audit role to ensure the information that is released is a fair summary of the fuller details recorded by the Cabinet Office.
Dame Beverley Wakem’s opinion, released today, was that the “good government” provisions of the Official Information Act provided good reason to withhold both Ministers’ declarations of interest at Cabinet and Cabinet Committees and correspondence between Ministers and the Cabinet Office about actual or possible conflicts of interest. However, Dame Beverley did not believe there was good reason to withhold all of the information requested concerning actions taken to manage identified conflicts of interest.
Dame Beverley considered that the degree of transparency necessary to maintain public trust and confidence can only be achieved by regular and proactive publication of a summary of actions taken when Ministerial conflicts of interest are identified.
The Prime Minister accepted Dame Beverley’s view that the public interest in transparency about how Ministerial conflicts of interest are handled requires a proactive disclosure regime. Public trust and confidence in the good government of New Zealand would suffer if there was insufficient transparency about measures taken to manage Ministerial conflicts of interest.
You can read the Chief Ombudsman’s full opinion here.Back to top ↑ Back to top ↑