Secret statistics | The Jackal

20 Dec 2011

Secret statistics

Today, the NZ Herald reported Govt's consultants' bill $375m and rising:

The Government spent more than $375 million on consultants and contractors in 2010-11 as a series of government restructurings made thousands of public sector workers redundant, figures show.


It also paid IT firm Silverstripe $2,500 a day for work on, a project to give the public easier access to government statistics.

WTF! $2500 a day for something Statistics NZ should be doing anyway... and for a website that's a bloody disgrace!

It does have a system for attaining information without going through the Official Information Act 1982 though... let's see how that's working.

On 7 November, Tess Labett requested:
The total number of complaints received by the IPCA each year, shown by gender, age group and region. The proportion of complaints upheld as valid by the police.
14 November Independent Police Conduct Authority respnded:
Data not available for release.
15 November Tess Labett wrote:
Can I have an explanation please as to what that means? Surely this data must exist and isn't it public information?
5 December the IPCA said:
The data is not collected in the format requested. All data relating to complaints can be found in the IPCA annual report at

Here's the IPCA report (PDF), which doesn't have the information requested.

5 December, Tess Labett (Requester) responded:
I have read the IPCA Annual Report, however I cannot find the data I am seeking, which is 'outcomes' of complaints against the police. I understand that the IPCA receive about 2000 complaints each year and dismiss about half of these. I read that most of the remaining 1000 are referred to the police to investigate themselves and that most complaints relate to alleged police misconduct. Where can I find the statistics around the outcomes of their investigations please? What proportion are dismissed by the police, and what proportion of complainants receive an acknowledgement of police misconduct?

It appears that Tess Labett is being ignored by the IPCA, probably because hardly any of the 2052 complaints last year about Police misconduct were upheld.

That particular feature of appears to be set up specifically to waste peoples time in trying to attain information that will never be released without an Official Information Act request.

Even then, with Police Minister Judith Collins having to sign off on any release and the Office of the Ombudsman often being remiss in their duties, there's no guarantee that the information Tess Labett requires will be forthcoming... and that's bloody undemocratic!