13 Feb 2008

Cooks Ombudsman says she will be looking for good buy in over freedom of information bill

2:15 pm on 13 February 2008

The Cook Islands Ombudsman says she hopes to get good buy-in from Government officials for the new freedom of information legislation.

The Official Information Bill is designed to give the public greater access to government information.

The Ombudsman, Janet Maki, whose Office will administer the Act, says there is a culture of secrecy in the public service at the moment, and that will need to be changed to one of openness

She says there will be a 12 month delay in its introduction to give government departments more time to familiarise themselves with the legislation.

"There are some departments that don't actually keep information on computer and are still relying on hand written entries into registers. It's been quite a lengthy process in trying to access information because they don't have systems in place to get the information out quickly."

Janet Maki says she has asked her New Zealand counterpart for technical assistance to help implement the legislation.