Steve Maharey's excuse for repeatedly failing to meet deadlines for responding to Official Information Act requests?
Mr Maharey, the former Social Development Minister, says the sheer volume of requests coming into that office was not acceptable when he was minister.
"I'm not going to have my staff worked to ill health just to satisfy the Opposition's research unit."
I'd say that it's Maharey's excuse, rather than the level of requests, which is not acceptable. The law does not allow a Minister to deny requests or drag their feet simply because they feel that the number of requests is too high. And if staff are being overworked responding to them, there's an obvious solution: hire more. That's what the law requires, and a Minister of all people should be setting a good example for the government by conforming to it.
As for the allegation that National was using the OIA to go on fishing expeditions, that is precisely what the law is for, and the sooner Maharey accepts this fact, the better.