Promise: Jacinda Ardern promised a more open and transparent government than previous administrations.

Non-delivery: Ardern refused to supply the 38 page document (that mysteriously shrunk to 33 pages) detailing the coalition negotiations between the Labour Party and NZ First. Ardern was supported by the Chief Ombudsman when complaints were made under the Official Information Act 1982 despite NZ First leader and deputy prime minister Peters previously describing the agreement as “a document of precision on various areas of policy commitment and development”.

Non-delivery: National spammed the government with written questions in the house after being stonewalled by the government.

“We are not getting answers inside or outside of Parliament. That necessitates us asking more detailed and specific questions. If we were getting answers to what we feel are reasonable questions, we wouldn’t have to ask so many.”

Bridges said his party would continue to ask questions, but numbers would drop if “good, basic” answers were provided.

“Ultimately this is the start of a new Government where there is massive uncertainty around what they are doing in housing, in immigration, where there has been changes of policy position[…]not only do we have a right to ask this, but we also have an obligation to try understand what advice they are getting, who they are meeting and so on.”

A Newspaper

Non-delivery: Housing Minister Phil Twyford was admonished by the speaker for his answers to written questions, saying his answers treat the office he holds with “contempt”.

Five written answers from Twyford were specified by the Speaker as being out of order on Thursday.

All of the questions were asked by National’s housing spokeswoman Judith Collins, and all five contain a note of attack but not a direct answer to a question.


Non-delivery: Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran was not transparent about her secret meeting with experienced journalist and former TV3 newsreader Carol Hirschfeld, who was working for Radio NZ at the time and subsequently lost her job. A year after Curran was sacked from cabinet she announced she would not be standing for parliament in 2020.

Clare Curren. Photoshopped image Pixy

Curran had initially omitted the meeting with Hirschfeld from a list of meetings when she was asked about it in a Parliamentary written question in December.

She later corrected her answer to the written question to include the meeting with Hirschfeld.

Otago Daily Times

Non-delivery: Another incident of non-disclosed communications saw Claire Curran fail to adequately defend her use of her private Gmail account for Government business, citing “intolerable” pressure.

When Curran was fired from Cabinet she proactively released a chain of emails, texts, and Twitter direct messages between her and Handley setting up the meeting.

But one of Handley’s emails indicates that other communications may have been exchanged, at one point saying he wants to check “one final time” about the meeting and that he appreciates Curran might not have the time to respond to his “emails”.


Non-delivery: Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter refused to release the letter to Phil Twyford regarding the indicative $6.4 billion transport package for Wellington – Let’s Get Wellington Moving.

“The associate transport minister’s excuses for keeping her letter hidden from the public have worn thin to the point where the chief ombudsman is now investigating her conduct”, Mr Bishop said.

“It took repeated questions and some stern comments from the speaker of the House for her to even admit it was written on her ministerial letterhead”, he said.

Getting openness and transparency from this government is like getting blood out of a stone.”

Radio NZ

Non-delivery: David Farrar bemoans the loss of Treasury reports on the status of public sector reports to assist in the evaluation of major risks around government projects.

The Treasury says it has stopped publishing a regular report on the status of major public sector investments, despite acknowledging that might be viewed as a step back for transparency.

The “major project reports” were introduced in 2015 under the last National government to provide a quick view of whether major government investments, such as large information technology projects, were tracking to plan.
Projects were “colour-coded” from green to red to provide readers an easy means of assessing projects that were in trouble and they usually provided a short but candid assessment of their cost, benefits, progress and challenges.