Official Information Act

Under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) and the Privacy Act 1993, you can ask any government department about the information it holds.

Is the information you seek publicly available?

If you are considering an OIA request, we suggest you find out first whether the information you seek is already publicly available.

Many of the policies and practice frameworks that guide our mahi can be found at our Practice Centre:

Practice Centre website

How to request official information

We need to know:

  • your name
  • postal or email address
  • phone number
  • specific details to help us identify information that you request.

The Office of the Ombudsman has guidelines and advice to help you make your request.

View the Office of the Ombudsman's guidelines

Email your request to:

How long does it take?

We will acknowledge your request as soon as practical and respond no later than 20 working days after we receive it. Sometimes for large requests or those that need consultation, the Act allows for an extension to the time limit. If this is the case, we will let you know and give you a specific date.

Young woman in kitchen

What does it cost?

Requesting official information is free. But in some cases where a lot of mahi is required we may charge a reasonable fee. We will let you know if there is a fee before you are charged.

Withholding information

We may withhold information for specific reasons. If this happens, we will explain why.

Refer to sections 6, 9 and 18 of the Official Information Act

What if I am not satisfied?

We suggest you contact us in the first instance to see if we can resolve the issue. If you're still not happy you can make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman if you:

  • are not happy about the decision we made about your request
  • are unhappy about the way your request has been treated or processed.
    This may relate to the withholding of information, extending the timeframe to respond to you, any fee you were charged, delays in providing you with a decision or information, or the transfer of your request.

The Office of the Ombudsman can investigate and review our decision and may make a recommendation to us if the decision is considered appropriate.

Contact the Office of the Ombudsman

Improving transparency under the OIA

The Public Service Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman have a programme to improve transparency under the OIA. This includes reporting on the volume of:

  • requests
  • complaints to the Ombudsman (and the outcomes).

The reports are published here:

Public Service Commission - Official Information Act statistics

Office of the Ombudsman – OIA complaints data

Published: December 21, 2017 · Updated: September 12, 2023