Post by Crash Post by Rich80105
At a recent Committee Meeting, Simon Bridges was very concerned about
" "Heres the point, the Government suspended the OIA (Official
Information Act) and weve been waiting over two weeks for your
department to answer written questions," Mr Bridges said.
"Why dont you answer simple health questions to the one parliamentary
committee on this remarkably significant issue?"
"Ill be quite frank with you: I dont think its a resourcing issue.
"I think it comes down to one simple thing. You dont want to answer
because you want to control the information flow and do this in a time
and a way convenient to you and the Government," Mr Bridges said. " "
So it is good to see that he received a prompt, polite and
" "On 6 May 2020, following your questions at the Epidemic Response
Committee (ERC), I undertook to check the timeliness of responses
provided by the Ministry of Health to questions from the Committee.
Requests come to both the Ministry and the Minister. In both
situations the Ministry endeavours to provide timely, factual and
accurate responses. Sometimes the turnaround time expected by the
committee is very tight.
I have been advised that when I most recently appeared in front of the
Epidemic Response Committee there were no outstanding responses.
During the hearing, it was suggested that the government has suspended
the Official Information Act and the ERC has made multiple requests
for information from the Ministry that it is waiting for.
I can assure the Committee that the Ministry of Health has not
received any direction that the Official Information Act 1982 has been
suspended and we continue to respond to OIA requests based on the
Official Information Act 1982.
Every effort is being made to ensure people receive information as
soon as it can be reasonably provided, which includes the large amount
of information that the Ministry is proactively placing online.
If any Committee Member has a concern about a specific request made to
the Ministry, please let me know.
Please note that given the importance of, and public interest in, this
matter, I will make this response available on the Ministry of Health
I am not sure what you are driving at Rich. The response from Dr
Bloomfield was factual and even-handed, precisely what is to be
expected from the DG of Health (or any other Government Department
Chief). Such senior roles require people skilled at leading large
organisations and the ability to communicate clearly is a basic part
of this skill set.
Do you feel that the reply was inappropriate Rich? If so why?
I can remember seeing the video of the meeting of the Committee where
Simon Bridges was clearly very angry at delays in answering requests
for information. His claim that the Government had shut down the
Offical Information Act did not sound right, but I did wonder if in
some small way we had returned to the days of National insisting that
information not be given without approval of Ministers and other
delaying tactics. I have a family member involved in putting together
responses to OIA requests (albeit from another department), and from
that knowledge I thought any funny business was doubtful, but I could
not be sure - it may have been that in a department under considerable
stress some matters had slipped. Even so the extreme reaction from
Bridges did seem to indicate there may well be a problem, so I was
interested when I saw there had been a response.
You are correct that the response was totally what I would have
expected - as I said prompt, polite and professional; I agree with
your description of factual and even handed. From what I have heard,
OIA requests are handled with equal impartialilty and fairness in
Your statement that " Such senior roles require people skilled at
leading large organisations and the ability to communicate clearly is
a basic part of this skill set" is apt. I would add that the ability
to remain calm in difficult situations, to respect those working for
and with you, and to be seen to be fair, considered and honest are
also relevant, and displayed by Dr Bloomfield. Sadly none of these
characteristics were shown by Simon Bridges; whose accusations have
been shown to be at least techinically incorrect, but whose inability
to contain his temper, whose accusation of shutting down an Act of
Parliament was incorrect, demonstrate that the only major problem here
was Simon Bridges himself, who lacks any of hte characteristics of a
leader of any group.
I recognise that, as with Trump in the USA, different people wil see
the circumstances and the reaction differently - and sadly in many
cases support a politician in such actions not on merit but because of
his position as a party leader.
Dr Bloomfield has my respect.