9 Sep 2018

Possibility for Clare Curran's emails to be made public through OIA

9:08 am on 9 September 2018

The National Party is calling on the Prime Minister to release the emails from Clare Curran's personal Gmail account ,which relate to her role as Minister.

Clare Curran answering questions in parliament, 5 September 2018

Photo: Screengrab / inthehouseNZ

However, Ms Curran is no longer personally subjected to the Official Information Act (OIA), as she has now resigned from the position.

National Party Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media spokesperson, Melissa Lee said the National party is still chasing the e-mails and any other correspondence from the former Minister, using other applications for official work.

"There are existing OIA requests that have already been put through to her office, that was done before Minister Clare Curran resigned and I would assume any work that was done by a Minister regardless of whether she has now resigned or not, those details are discoverable," said Ms Lee.

"Only she knows what is in those emails and we will be pursuing it," she said.

Former Ombudsman and current Special Council with Chen Palmer Law, Leo Donnelly said all Ministers are subject to the Official Information Act , irrespective of the format.

"But once the Minister ceases to be a Minister then the Official Information Act no longer applies and the information is no longer official information in their hands."

Mr Donnelly said if a requester does know emails were sent to a person or agency subject to the OIA, a request could be made.

"If there's not, then really it turns into a fishing expedition which may be too wide for the Official Information Act to actually cope with," he said.

He said under the Public Records Act every public office must create and maintain full and accurate records of its affairs and in an accessible form.

"It turns on the fact whether in fact ministers leaving office do actually or have actually recorded that information," he said.

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