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Saturday, March 2, 2013

CERA and OIA requests

Getting official information out of CERA presents a similar range of challenges as will be found with a number of other government agencies (not counting EQC who play harder with delay, wilful obfuscation, obstruction, and antagonism performed at Olympic levels).

Despite the occasional challenges, it is very encouraging to see that CERA now have provided information on how to request official information from them using the internet. The first is via the standard CERA info e-mail address, and the other using a form on their web site. Both of these can be found on the Contact web page here (half way down the page). You can of course use the traditional method of sending a written request.

Not many government agencies do this very simple thing, and hopefully CERA’s lead will be followed by others. One less than helpful agency that should follow this lead is the Christchurch City Council who hide their official information request details deep in their website (here), and try to make applicants limit their requests to either phoning the call centre or visits to the nearest suburban service centre (not appropriate conduct in terms of the OIA).  EQC do have an OIA web page (here), but only because the Ombudsman put a great deal of pressure on them.  When you visit their page it is all about how much they will charge you and nothing about open government or transparency.

Thanks CERA, every little bit helps.

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