New Zealand Labour Party

Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?

Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says.

“New documents obtained by Labour show Judith Collins did not log OIA requests from Cameron Slater that were completed by her office on December 21 2012 and February 12 2013.

“These requests are missing from a list of OIAs fulfilled by the office of Judith Collins from 2012 to 2014 recently compiled by her successor, Justice Minister Amy Adams.

“It has already been revealed the Whale Oil blogger received requested information on David Bain’s compensation bid from the Justice Minister’s office within a staggering 37 minutes and another response relating to this case within five hours.

“These new documents show Cameron Slater refiled one of his requests just a day later with different dates. How did he know his original date was incorrect? Was he tipped off by someone in the minister’s office to change his request?

“Judith Collins needs to explain why she attempted to keep these OIAs to Cameron Slater secret. Failing to record official information requests – whether through negligence or political intent – may breach the Public Records Act that is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.

“The Official Information Act allows the public to hold government departments and ministers to account.

“The Prime Minister recently admitted he sits on OIA requests until their deadlines when it suits him. National must stop undermining this cornerstone of our democracy,” Megan Woods says.