12 Feb 2008

Cook Islands Government introduces freedom of information legislation

4:53 pm on 12 February 2008

The Cook Islands Government has introduced freedom of information legislation into Parliament.

The Official Information Bill,tabled in Parliament today by the Deputy Prime Minister Sir Terepai Maoate, is is designed to give the public greater access to government information.

The Act will be administered by the Ombudsman Office and Ombudsman Janet Maki has asked for a 12 month delay before it comes into force to allow heads of ministries and government officials to familiarize themselves with the legislation.

The 12-months will also allow departments to upgrade recording keeping and get all their records in order.

Ms Maki says some government departments need to be more accountable with the information they keep.

She says she has held discussions with her New Zealand counterpart and asked for technical assistance to help the implementation of the legislation.

Sir Terepai Maoate says government officials should not be uneasy about the Act or uncomfortable with releasing official information to the public.