Freedom of information – WCC is the worst city council in the country

Wellington City Council is the worst city council in New Zealand accounting for 17% of all Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act complaints to the Ombudsman.  The number of complaints concerning the council has risen a shocking 33% between 2008/09 and 2009/10. Even North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams had got his act together by the time of the SuperCity elections.

The Ombudsmen’s annual report was tabled in Parliament today by the Speaker the House of Representatives, the Minister responsible for the Ombudsmen.  See page 39 for details on comparative city council compliance with the LGOIMA.

LGOIMA complaints

City Council 2008/08 complaints 2009/10 complaints
Wellington 13 19
Auckland 16 14
Christchurch 11 14
North Shore 21 12
Dunedin 11 11
Invergargill 2 10
Total – all councils 89 121

Will the culture of obstruction and secrecy at WCC change under the new Green administration?  Can we expect that this foundation of participatory democracy will be properly respected?  We’ll be watching.

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9 responses to “Freedom of information – WCC is the worst city council in the country

  1. Per capita the two southern cities seems the worst.

    Perhaps Wellingtonians are just a bit more savvy about not putting up with council officers withholding information inappropriately.

    • you [comment moderated] – do you think that if the number of complaints is biased, the number of complaints upheld is less so?

    • I agree but that has not been reported. I suppose another LGOIA is required. Also not sure whether the parking criteria discussion in the report applies to WCC or not?

    • sorry again for my previous immoderate reply.

      i agree with you that the number of complaints to the Omb is not a good indicator of openness, partly because of bias. indeed you are right that the number of complaints upheld will give a better indication of openness, but it still can’t give a comparative measure of openness because it doesn’t correct the bias that you have previously identified.

  2. WCC Watch :
    Hey – can we tone down the language please! Disagreeing with someone is not a reason to call them a moron.

    yeah sure. apologies for tone.

  3. can i put my hand up and say that i filed a info request with WCC, and they were very, very helpful.

    which i actually found surprising…

  4. I’ve filed a handful of LGOIMA requests over the years and they’ve generally been answered in or around the 20 day time limit. And the information supplied has generally been pretty good, in stark contrast to some of the PR flannel dressed up as facts that you get back from MPs.

    It would be interesting to find out whether WCC actually track their LGOIMA requests and response times centrally – in other words, whether they have a business process and system to ensure they get better at answering requests.

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