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Letter: Open letter demanding transparency

Wednesday 12 June 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Letter: Open letter demanding transparency

Dear Editor, Subject: Open letter to Honourable Albert Nicholas, Minister for Cook Islands Investment Corporation. I bring to your attention, To Tatou Vai (TTV) have yet to acknowledge an information request dating back to February 2023.

The Official Information Act applies to public entities including state-owned enterprises and statutory corporations. The Act requires response to an information request within 20 working days.

To Tatou Vai is a statutory corporation; it is a ‘body corporate’ established by an Act of Parliament. However, the author of the To Tatou Vai Act failed to have the water authority added to the Official Information Act Schedule.

In March 2024, the Ombudsman advised that TTV are now using this oversight to refuse an information request. This is a case of To Tatou Vai using inept legislative drafting to side-step public scrutiny.

Presuming there to have been communication between the Ombudsman, the TTV CEO and Board of Directors, this culture of non-response can only be attributed to failed governance.

I humbly call upon the Minister to take action to ensure To Tatou Vai operate in a transparent and accountable manner.

Justine Matatoa Flanagan

Te Vai Ora Maori

Reply

The letter referred to was emailed to me on 28 February 2023. I thought I had immediately acknowledged this email, but as it transpired, I had not acknowledged upon receipt, and for that I apologise.

To Tatou Vai (TTV) is well aware that the Official Information Act applies to it. At the time the request was received I needed to seek clarification as to whom owned that information – was it TTV or the National Environment Service (NES)?

My understanding is that the information requested in the 28 February email has been provided to Justine Matatoa Flanagan, representing Te Vai Ora Maori by the National Environment Service (NES). Information was also provided to the Ombudsman as per requests made.

Should Ms Flanagan believe she has not received the information requested, I encourage her to contact me directly.

Tereapii Timoti

CEO

To Tatou Vai