September 28, 2015
Iwi joins TPPA challenge
The High Court has been told Ministers cannot make blanket refusals to release documents under the Official Information Act without reviewing them first.
The court is hearing a challenge from Ngati Kahungunu and others against the withholding of information about the Trans Pacific Partnership investment agreement.
Lawyer Matthew Palmer told the court a request for information from Auckland University law was rejected with neither the minister nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bothering to review the documents in question to determine whether parts that were either in the public domain already or were uncontroversial could be released.
He says the government can’t contact out of its obligations under the official Information Act by invoking the strict confidentiality agreement between the 12 TPP nations.
Professor Kelsey says New Zealanders, including MPs, need access to background information to assess the implications of the agreement, hold the government to account, and pressure it not to exercise its executive power of ratification.
Keri Nuku from the New Zealand Nurses Organisation says the public has a right know the costs, risks and purported benefits the TPPA could bring to a health system that is currently failing some of the most vulnerable populations.
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