28 Nov 2017

English: Government 'ten years out of date'

8:43 am on 28 November 2017

The Opposition says it's taken the new government just a matter of weeks to go back on its early promise to be open and transparent.

Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters signing the coalition agreement.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters revealed a 33-page coalition deal between Labour and New Zealand First would eventually be released to the public. But yesterday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she won't be letting the public see the document, arguing it was not a "formal document".

An eight page version has been made public but Ms Ardern said not even an Official Information Act request will persuade her to make the full document public.

"I have not had it in front of me since I was leader of the Labour Party in opposition, it has not been distributed to ministers, so under that classification I do not consider it to be a formal document for the purposes of the OIA," she told RNZ yesterday.

The leader of the Opposition Bill English this morning told Morning Report the document appears to be at the core of the new Government's operations and the public has a right to know what it contains.

National has labelled the new government secretive, saying it is back-sliding on its pledge to be open and transparent.

"Descriptions given by the deputy make it appear to be official information," he said.

Mr English said the "bar has been raised" around transparency in government during the last decade and the coalition must meet the public's standards.

"They have to learn they can't run what they would have 10 years ago. They're 10 years out of date."