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Saturday, 18 August 2012

A new approach to Official Information Act requests

Website is dedicated to assisting New Zealanders make Official Information Act (OIA) requests of public bodies.

Ever wanted to ask Minister Brownlee, Mayor Bob Parker or CERA chief executive Roger Sutton a question about what is going on? And have some expectation of getting an answer? Try the FYI website.

I have just had a go, asking the Christchurch City Council whether they have been approached by CERA about cutting off of services in the Residential Red Zones after the 30th of April 2013.

The process is a bit cumbersome, especially as it is not clear you have to sign up to the service before the process can be finalised. Having signed up and verifying my e-mail address the request was added and sent off. My request was:

Dear Christchurch City Council,

Has the Christchurch City Council, either elected members or staff, received formal or informal enquiries from CERA about what services can be cut off in the Residential Red Zones after 30 April 2013?

If yes, please advise what requests have been made and how copies of them can be obtained.

Yours faithfully,

Lawrence Roberts

You can see the request online here.

The website might be a bit clumsy to start with however the idea is brilliant. Anyone who is interested can follow a particular question and see the outcome. Imagine if members of a community group used this as a means of getting access to information.

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