Statement from NZ Labour Party
The National Government’s decision to vote down a Members’ Bill that would have made ratepayer-owned ports subject to the Official Information Act sends a powerful message that the Government has something to hide, says Darien Fenton.
“My Bill, the Local Government (Council Controlled Organisations) Amendment Bill, had a very simple measure to ensure all publicly-owned entities are held equally accountable by including our ports.
“Every port in New Zealand is either fully or partially publicly owned. But a gap in the current legislation excludes ports from being accountable under the Official Information Act. That means valid questions about the performance of port boards can’t be asked or answered.
“I am gobsmacked that the Government doesn’t believe that ratepayers should have access to information about the management and functioning of the ports they own.
“The Bill wasn’t radical. It would have brought publicly owned ports into line with other information requirements under the Official Information Act and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.
“Thanks to National and its mates, ports will continue to be specifically excluded from official information requests – so ratepayers who own port companies, and those who use them, will continue to have no right to request information about how they are run.
“What does the National government have to hide? Unfortunately, publicly owned ports and the hundreds of millions of dollars expended each year will continue to be a secret to their real owners – the public,” says Darien Fenton.