3 Feb 2009

Cooks forced to delay information act application

4:07 pm on 3 February 2009

A lack of resources has forced the Cook Islands to implement Freedom of Information legislation in only a handful of ministries.

The Cook Islands was the first Pacific Island country to pass legislation last year, with the Official Information Act due to come into effect on February the 11th.

But the Ombudsman, Janet Maki, whose office will administer the Act, says a lack of resources and funding has meant that only seven ministries, and the police will come under the act to start with,

"We've also realised that the work of preparing all the ministries and organisations was a bit ambitious in terms of the 12 months. So what we've done instead is to prepare an amendment to the act which sees the act being staggered in terms of of its application across all the ministries and organisations. In total you're looking at about 70 government entities that the act has to apply to."

Janet Maki says the act will apply initially to the police, and the other six ministries on March the 11th.