25 Oct 2023

Ombudsman pulls councils up for too many closed-door meetings

From Morning Report, 6:47 am on 25 October 2023

The Chief Ombudsman is reminding local councils official information should be available to the public, unless there's good reason to withhold it... not the other way around.

It follows years of concerns raised by communities and journalists about closed-door or "secret" workshops with council staff briefing elected officials.

The Ombudsman investigated what was happening at eight councils, finding at least two - Rotorua Lakes Council and Taranaki Regional Council - were effectively closing all workshops to the public by default.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier says such secrecy inevitably breeds suspicion.

He spoke to Corin Dann.