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Complaint to Ombudsman over OIO’s Failure to Provide Official Information

(Link to media cutting - Westport news 23rd Sept 2019)

20 September 2019

Chris Leitch, Leader


Social Credit has lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman over the way the Overseas Investment Office is handling its official information request for disclosure of documents on the sale of Westland Milk Products to Chinese company Inner Mongolian Yili.
The official information request was launched on July 30th and the OIO was required to respond within 20 working days - by August 26th. It is now 36 working days since that request was filed and the OIO has extended the timeframe several times.
It has provided a list of the documents it holds in relation to the approval, but so far only two of the documents, citing the need to consult with the parties involved.
Those parties appear to include government ministers as well as the two companies, their lawyers, and parties in China.
The degree of consultation with those third parties, which appears to have been both on the lists and then subsequently on the documents themselves, seems extraordinarily complex and quite unnecessary.
Due to the commercial nature of the transaction it is understandable that there may be some sensitivity about the release of some documents, but it is beyond credibility for the OIO to suggest that all the other documents they have require such extensive consultation.
Efforts to get the OIO to commit to a specific time frame by which the requested documents will be provided have so far proved fruitless.
The delay over providing that time frame, and the documents themselves, raises a concern over just what it is the OIO, or parties to the transaction, don't want us to see.
Social Credit is taking a stand on the continuing avalanche of New Zealand assets and land being bought up by overseas entities and further actions are being contemplated.
We remain concerned about the legality of the OIO’s decision to grant consent for thetransaction, and expect to have further announcements in the near future.

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