All posts tagged social media

Are Twitter DMs official information?

A few weeks ago @h_yd_n asked an interesting question on Twitter:

 

The conversation that followed led Di, Hadyn, and I to actually make a request under the Official Information Act.

We asked a pretty straight forward request to see if DMs that were run by Ministers fell under the act in the same way that email does. Our thinking was that Twitter is another communication tool that politicians are increasingly using to communicate and wanted to test (in a non-malicious and not too silly way) whether that was the case.

So here is the response we got today from the Prime Minister’s office. Note that other Ministers are yet to respond.

Twitter DM Official Information Act Request by Jackson James Wood

So what does this tell us?

Di and I think that it confirms DM’s sent by Ministers are OIAable.

In this case because

“Rt Hon John Key does not respond via this account personally, the account is managed on his behalf by staff in this office. The only DMs sent from the account are occasional responses to correspondents suggesting who they should get in touch with regarding their query.”

it does seem fair that there is no public interest in releasing the information and we’re happy to take the PM at his (and his staffs) word.

However, with Ministers like Judith Collins (@JudithCollinsMP) who do personally use their twitter account we might see something interesting.

After all, Twitter is just another way to communicate. It does make sense that “official correspondence” might take place via Twitter, it is pretty cool way to talk to people.

So, in theory, anything that isn’t covered by S9 of the OIA should be released with other ministers when they get back to us.

It will be interesting to see if any official correspondence has taken place via Twitter, this might be a world first if it has!

Our OIA also raises questions about whether Facebook messages and other ‘private’ functions on social media are covered by the act.

We know that there is a grey area between “personal” and “official” correspondence, and we wonder whether the Cabinet Manual should be updated to include rules around social media use and whether the act itself needs to be updated.

We thank the PM and Mr Eagleson for their response and we look forward to the other Ministers replying in kind with the spirit the request was intended.

Update

Will put in all the Ministers responses here.

Connecting Young Leaders Conference 2012

On Saturday I talked to the Connecting Young Leaders Conference run by the US Embassy in New Zealand.

The Ambassador, David Huebner, has made it a goal of the Embassy to spark an interest in politics and leadership amoung youth. Every year he selects students from NZ universities to be “advisors” and every two years he brings them together to meet, learn, and network. It is an awesome programme and engaging with youth is something that the NZ Government could learn a thing or two about.

Anyways here are some photos from the weekend via the Embassy’s Flickr and used under Creative Commons license.

These are all the advisors with some of the speakers. The Ambassador is the chipper looking gentleman on the far right and the gentleman on the far left is the Consul General, James E. Donegan. Continue reading →

Dakar 2012

On Wednesday I am headed off to the Global Greens Conference in Dakar, Senegal.

While there, I am representing the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, the youth wing of the Greens — the Young Greens — and you, if you’re a green-minded New Zealander. Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei and Green MP Kennedy Graham will also be representing New Zealand at the conference.
Continue reading →