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The Politics of Freedom of InformationHow and Why Governments Pass Laws that Threaten their Power$
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Ben Worthy

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097676

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097676.001.0001

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Ireland and New Zealand: a legacy and an assault from within

Ireland and New Zealand: a legacy and an assault from within

(p.151) 9 Ireland and New Zealand: a legacy and an assault from within
The Politics of Freedom of Information

Ben Worthy

Manchester University Press

This chapter looks at two countries that offer deviant cases-one where the legislation was passed through a consensual process and one where it was ‘imposed’ upon a new government by its predecessor. • The Consensus Model in New Zealand: agreement between senior politicians and officials led to a consensual process around developing policy, driven by those who, elsewhere, frequently formed the core resistance to the process (White 2007; Snell 2001). This led to a step-by-step, conciliatory process and a dynamic and flexible law, frequently judged one of the strongest in the world (White 2007; Aitken 1998). • The Imposed Model in Ireland: a series of controversial court cases and a scandal over infected beef in 1990s placed FOI on the agenda of two successive reformist governments. In 1997 legislation was passed as a ‘legacy’ policy in the dying days of a government which was then replaced with a successor deeply sceptical of FOI (Kearney and Stapleton 1998). The process meant FOI became a contentious and controversial issue from its inception (Felle and Adshead 2008). This represents another reason for FOI being passed, seen also in South America, whereby legislation is fostered upon a government as a legacy issue (Michener 2010).

Keywords:   New Zealand, Ireland, imposed

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