8 Jul 2013

Law lecturer agrees EQC may be being obstructive

11:15 am on 8 July 2013

A Christchurch community action group says the Earthquake Commission is being obstructive in asking for $24,000 to provide documents under an Official Information Act request.

The Wider Earthquake Community Action Network, or WeCan, lodged the request with 83 questions, including what process was used to appoint Fletchers as the main repairer, and why assessors with no previous building knowledge were employed.

The EQC says the fee is fair and reasonable because providing the documents will take considerable time and effort.

Law lecturer Steven Price says normally government agencies fulfil OIA requests for free, but sometimes they do impose significant fees.

Mr Price says WeCan may be right in arguing the commission is being obstructive, because his research has shown that in about 5% of cases agencies impose heavy fees upfront, probably to discourage people from going ahead with their requests.