The change in Government this coming week has given us time to consider how users of FYI.org.nz make requests to Ministers, Associate Ministers and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries.
In the past, we have added each portfolio as a requestable authority - such as “Minister of Education” - with requests sent to whichever individual holds that role at the time.
In the past few years especially, there have been a number of people assigned roles in the latter two functions, and based on recent media reports the roles will continue to exist. This creates a challenge for the old way of doing things where we worked on the assumption that there is 1 Minister, 0-1 Associate Ministers and 0-1 Parliamentary Under-Secretary. Some roles are naturally quite large, or there is a desire to spread the work and we’ve started seeing portfolios such as Education getting split amongst 4 people.
Having requestable ‘authorities’ for roles no longer cuts the mustard. In fact, the last time we updated the Ministerial authorities, we left the Associate portfolios alone because we just had no way to handle the duplication.
We now have the chance to put things right, once the old Ministerial warrants for the Caretaker/Old Government are resigned we will start implementing the following plan:
- All old Ministerial authorities (i.e. Minister of Education, Minister of Transport, NOT Ministry of Education, Land Transport New Zealand) will be disabled to prevent new requests.
We will start creating new authorities for every individual who holds a ministerial role subject to the OIA (Ministers, Associate Minister and Parliamentary Under-Secretary).
These new authorities will be in the form of “Minister for Sunshine (James Gordon)”, “Associate Minister for Sunshine (Kate Kane)”, “Associate Minister for Sunshine (Jack Ryder)”, “Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Sunshine (Harley Quinn)”, etc. (We find it unlikely there will be a Minister for Sunshine however)
We are unsure how long this will take, as it’s plausible that not all e-mail addresses will be published immediately. In case we cannot complete this process in one go, we will post updates at our post-General Election 2017 Updates page.
We hope this will make FYI.org.nz easier to use, and create better historical records of to whom records were originally filed to, and also make our job easier during reshuffles, resulting in quicker updates, and fewer OIA transfers.
- FYI Admin Team