25 Jul 2012

Law Commission recommends extending reach of OIA

7:52 pm on 25 July 2012

The Law Commission has recommended extending the reach of the Official Information Act to cover both Parliament and the courts.

In a report on the Act the Commission also recommends tightening the reasons public agencies can use for refusing requests for information.

Aside from recommending Parliament and the courts be covered by the Official Information Act the commission also believes it should include the Ombudsmen's Office and the Office of the Auditor-General.

Law commissioner John Burrows says the Commission believes any agency spending public money should be covered.

Professor Burrows says the Commission believes the reasons agencies and ministers often use for rejecting requests need to be clarified.

He says those reasons relate particularly to privacy, commercial sensitivity and the argument that releasing information would compromise the free and frank exchange of advice.