More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Official Information Act request

Thursday 28 September 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Economy, National


Official Information Act request

Dear Editor, Can I just say a few things regarding the Official Information Act request to parliament by your paper (Cook Islands News, 27 September 2023).

I guess one can understand the work that staff have got to go through and the need for a charge, in order to furnish that information.  

But I would have thought in this modern day (with computers and technology) that with a few clicks of a button and a number of taps on the keyboard, that the information sought should really be at one’s fingertips.   

Over the years – as a former reporter and now a writer/author – I have encountered frustration with government agencies in terms of providing information for – what I believe have been – simple, mundane, requests.  

It doesn’t help when the public servant has this ‘aue tau e’ expression written right across his/her face! 

It tells me one thing. The level of recordkeeping in government agencies is pathetic. Here today, gone tomorrow. I always say to people that it is easier to find information on a London Missionary Society representative who lived here in the 1800s than it is to find out about a prominent Cook Islander who has passed away since the time of self-government.  

I have been dealing with a New Zealand government ministry for the past 16 years and when I complained to the NZ Ombudsman in 2022 about the slowness of an information request – boy, did things move!  

If I put in more than two requests per annum, then I have to pay for anything after my first request.  

The thing is that I can understand the need for payment as the staff have to sort through paper records which are stored in its archives, and belong to people who were part of the organisation over 50 years ago.  

Surely that is not the case with this request to parliament. Or has there been so much travel this year that staff have run out of storage space for the records, or, has everything had to be written in stone? 

Moana Moeka’a 



Tangata Vainerere on 30/09/2023 CINews and Mona - READ AND LEARN!