Treasury chief executive Gabriel Makhlouf says a media lock-up for the Budget will go ahead as usual but the practice could be reviewed in future.

Mr Makhlouf has written to media, saying he had "taken stock" of Treasury's stance on the three-and-a-half-hour media "lock-up" before the Budget after the Reserve Bank announced it was cancelling all lock-ups following the discovery of a leak of information by Newshub, which is owned by MediaWorks.

Mr Makhlouf said he had decided the briefing for the Budget on May 26 would continue as usual. "However, I will continue to review both the overall status of future Budget briefings, and the ability of organisations to attend, in light of the adherence to lock-up conditions."

He warned media of the importance of the embargo rules, saying a "high degree of trust" was placed in media at the lock-ups. The Budget lock-up is held at Parliament and attended by media, commentators and analysts. Under the lock-up rules nobody can receive or transmit information from outside the room until the Budget is formally released at 2pm. Treasury warns it will monitor compliance with that.


Mr Makhlouf, who signed his email "regards, Gabs", said such briefings "play an important role in enabling open and transparent government, so that the public can receive timely and accurate information about the Budget.

"Media lock-ups are a key enabler contributing to that. I trust you can see the value in observing embargo conditions, to ensure this mutually beneficial practice can continue."

The Reserve Bank halted its briefings on market-sensitive material such as the monetary policy statement for media and analysts after a breach of the confidentiality by a MediaWorks reporter who emailed an embargoed story on the change to the official cash rate in March through to their main newsroom an hour before the lock-up ended. An investigation found a staff member at MediaWorks overheard others talking about it and informed a blogger, who later told the Reserve Bank about the breach. The OCR is market sensitive and the Reserve Bank opted to halt all lock-ups as a result. MediaWorks has apologised to the Reserve Bank and said it had changed its processes since.