The blogger No Right Turn, prompted by the Reserve Bank’s OIA charging policy, lodged requests with all government departments, and the Reserve Bank, about how many requests they had had in the last year, and how many they’d charged for. His results are reported here – unsurprisingly, charging is very unusual.
This chart takes his data on the total number of OIA requests each department received in the previous year (mostly the answers are for the financial year 2014/15). There don’t appear to have been responses yet from Environment and Corrections.
Every agency has different responsibilities, some are much larger than others (and one has to be a little wary of how things are classified, eg there is a note on the IRD response saying that their numbers include only requests handled at National Office (ones from media, MPs, and those of a sensitive nature)), but the Reserve Bank does not stand out among government departments as overburdened by requests. The Ministry for Women, for example, or the Ministry for Pacific Peoples – both with fewer requests – are tiny departments with little or no independent power or responsibilities. The Treasury, it turns out, had five times as many requests as the Reserve Bank in this particular year.
By contrast to MfW or MfPP, the Reserve Bank independently sets monetary policy (with a huge short-term impact on the economy and the sectoral distribution of incomes), it regulates banks, non-bank deposit takers, and insurance companies (and now directly impinges on housing mortgage borrowers), it is a major payments system operator, it takes large financial risks in international markets, and it issues our notes and coins. In some ways, against the backdrop of this data, it is a little surprising that such a powerful independent agency has not received more requests over the years.