18 September 2014 to May 26, 2015
9 months and 8 days. That's the amount of time it took to produce my second child.
I first wrote to the Ombudsman on September 18, 2014 to complain about the non-release of information by a certain government department. It's not a frivolous complaint as the author of the paper also believes it should be released.
I was told around December it still hadn't been assigned to an investigator.
A couple of weeks back I gave them another prod. A couple of days ago, another.
Yesterday I received an e-mail to tell me it has now been assigned.
9 months and 8 days just to reach this stage.
And that has probably only happened because I queried their progress.
Who can I complain...oh, that's right...the Ombudsman.
Duncan Garner recently talked with the editor of the Christchurch Press on his show. One area they were both aggrieved about is the slow or non-release of information by government departments. She thought the stalling started under the Clark administration.
A TV journalist told me he was actually considering doing a story about how poorly the OIA process was performing.
This reluctance to release information must be causing a significant workload for the Ombudsman. Not only are time and money being wasted, the backlog must take its toll on staff morale.
Most importantly, the distinct impression is created that rather than open and transparent government, we have the very opposite.