Activist told to pay for council reports

Information should be in the public domain

Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012

Relevant offers

After spending $25,000 in the past year answering an anti-fracking activist's queries, the Taranaki Regional Council is now asking for payment before answering any more.

But activist Sarah Roberts is refusing to pay for information she believes should be freely in the public domain - especially for people living next to oil wells.

Ms Roberts recently requested copies of about 230 reports and was told this would cost close to $5000 for staff time and photocopying.

The reports would have to be retrieved from the archives, then checked to see the information was able to be released to the public, then photocopied, the council's director of resource management, Fred McLay, told her.

"It isn't unusual for councils to charge for large requests."

Charging is allowed under the Official Information Act.

In August, the council decided to stop answering Ms Roberts' "mischievous and vexatious" questions. However, it has continued to answer her requests under the act.

Last month, Mr McLay told Ms Roberts that to respond to another request would cost about $7080 - $6080 for the time and an estimated $1000 for the photocopying. It would take a staff member two weeks to find and copy the information, .

After the council supplied Ms Roberts with information free of charge she narrowed her request and the cost dropped to $580. But she says she will not pay because she does not want to set a precedent. The reports should be on the council's website, she said.

Ad Feedback

- Taranaki Daily News


Special offers
Opinion poll

What's your expectation of former tropical cyclone Pam?

To hit East Cape and Hawke's Bay with substantial punch

Heavy rain and wind, but no more

A mild storm at most

A fizzer

Vote Result

Related story: Cyclone Pam hits New Zealand

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Follow the Taranaki Daily News on Twitter

Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates

TDN North Taranaki Midweek

The North Taranaki Midweek's online

Get your mid week news fix

TDN South Taranaki Star

South Taranaki Star online

Get your South Taranaki news online