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Ombudsman tells MPI to apologise for withholding official info

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Forest & Bird’s original request for information on the Kauri Dieback Programme was made on the 17th of August.

Nearly a month later, on the 14th of September, MPI told the organisation they could not reasonably meet the normal 20 day time-frame, and would respond to the request by the 26th of October. At this point, Forest & Bird made a formal complaint to the Ombudsman’s Office.

On the 27th of October, over two months after the original request was made, Forest & Bird had still not heard from MPI, and the Ombudsman’s Office advised they had begun an investigation.

On the 14th December, the Ombudsman, Leo Donnelly, wrote to Forest & Bird to say he had concluded MPI should not have extended the timeframe for responding to the original request, and he’d recommended that MPI apologise to Forest & Bird. He also added that he would begin an investigation into causes of the delay.

The very next day, the 15th of December, MPI provided the requested information to Forest & Bird. It had taken them almost four months to provide meeting minutes and reports on a biosecurity programme, but just one day to do so after being reprimanded by the Ombudsman.

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