Make an information request

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The Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) helps New Zealand Citizens, permanent residents and anyone in New Zealand access information held by Government organisations and Ministers. This promotes openness and transparency and enables greater public participation in government..

Thinking about making an OIA request? – Read this first

Send your request to the right place or person

You should make your request directly to the agency, local authority, Minister or other government entity you believe to hold the specific information you want, or to be most closely related to the topic of your request.  Making your request to the incorrect place or person can contribute to delays, as your request will need to be formally transferred to the correct place or person.  Transfers can take up to ten working days to be finalised and your request is not able to be progressed further until the transfer has been completed.

To find the right place or person to send your request to, you could google search the topic of your request or search the Ministry of Justice Directory of Official Information.  If you already know the organisation you need, you can find contact information for them on their website.    

An extensive list of email addresses for government agencies, Ministers, Local Bodies, District Health Boards and State Owned Entities is available for download.  

Contacts for Cabinet Ministers are also found on the Beehive website.

If you want to request statistics or datasets from any government agency, and you think they could be of value to the public, consider making your request through data.govt.nz, as the agency’s response will then automatically be published on that website.

To request information the government holds about you personally or about another person, make your request via the AboutMe tool on the Privacy Commissioner’s website

The information you are interested in may already be publicly available

You can find proactively released information, including completed OIA requests on most organisation’s websites. Government Ministers also proactively release cabinet papers on their portfolio agencies websites.   You may like to check out the links below, as the information you need may already be publicly available.

How to make a request

See the Ombudsman’s Making official information requests - A guide for requesters (Ombudsman website), or the State Services Commission guide (SSC website) explaining how agencies will respond to requesters. This guidance explains the process in more detail.

To help us identify the information you are looking for, try to be as specific as you can about the documents, information-types or time period you need.  If we are not sure what information you are looking for, we may need to contact you to ask before we can begin working on it, so please remember to include your name and a contact address (email or postal).

To request information about the activity of the Department of Internal Affairs:

Email: OIA@dia.govt.nz

Post:
OIA Request
Department of Internal Affairs
45 Pipitea St
Thorndon

PO Box 805
Wellington 6011

Or call Freephone: 0800 25 78 87 (New Zealand only) to make your request

How long will the request take?

We will respond to your request as soon as possible, and no later than 20 working days after we receive it. If your request is very large or if it requires consultation, we may extend the time limit under section 15A of the Official Information Act. If this happens, we will contact you to let you know when you can expect our decision.

If there is significant public interest in the topic of your request we may sometimes choose to respond by making the requested information publicly available online.  If we choose to do this, we will let you know when and where the information will be made accessible. 

You can see data on the number of requests we receive each year and the timeliness of our responses in the annual statistics published by the State Services Commission.

Will there be a charge?

Usually there will be no charge for the Department’s response to an OIA request, however if there is a substantial cost to the Department for providing the information, you may be asked to meet some or all of the cost of your request.  If this happens, you will be told of the charge, or given an estimate for the cost, and can choose whether or not to continue with the request.  Wherever possible, we will try to help you refine your request in such a way that it will not result in a charge.

Will all information be released?

Requests may sometimes be refused, or information withheld, when a good reason exists under the OIA for not providing the information, such as to protect people’s privacy, or because the information is already publicly available.  If this happens in your request, we will tell you the reason for the decision.  For more information about why requests may be refused, or information withheld see sections 6, 9, and 18 of the Official Information Act.

Complaints

If you believe the Department has not followed the Official Information Act correctly, or you are unsatisfied with how we have responded to your request for another reason, you can:

  • Contact us and let us know in the first instance so that we can try to resolve the issue immediately.
  • Submit a complaint to The Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will decide whether to investigate and review our decision and may make a recommendation to us.