Making an official information request

Learn about official information and making requests under the Official Information Act 1982.

What is official information?

Official information is any information held by the government. This includes Ministers of the Crown in their official capacity and government departments and ministries, including the Ministry of Education.

The Official Information Act 1982 (or OIA) enables any eligible person to request official information. We are committed to complying with the purposes, principle and requirements of the OIA.

Official Information Act 1982 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Before you make an OIA request

It may be useful to check whether the information you are looking for has already been released on our website.

We publish useful information online on a regular basis which may answer your question.

You can find the information we publish here:

Information releases

You may also want to read our responses to recent OIA requests:

Responses to OIA requests

You might like to make a general enquiry before making an OIA request:

How to request official information

You can contact us to request information in a number of ways:

By email:

By phone:+64 4 463 8000

By post: PO Box 1666, Wellington 6140

When you contact us, please include your name, your contact address (email or post), and your request for information. We may ask you for more details.

Be specific

  • To help the Ministry and ensure that you receive the correct information, be as specific as you can in identifying the information you want.
  • The information you are requesting must be specified with 'due particularity' meaning that the Ministry must be able to identify the information you have asked for.
  • Any request that lacks due particularity will not be valid. If this is the case we may contact you to clarify your request.

Making official information requests: A guide for requesters – Ombudsman(external link)

Who can request information?

Anyone who is in New Zealand can request official information. New Zealand citizens overseas and corporate bodies with a place of business in New Zealand can also request information.

Do you have to pay?

Not usually, but there is a provision for a charge to be made.

It must be a reasonable one. You should be told of the charge, or given an estimate, before the information is provided.

Charging guidelines for OIA requests – Ministry of Justice(external link)

How long will it take to process my request?

We will make and communicate a decision on your request as soon as reasonably practicable. This will be no later than 20 working days after it was received (unless an extension is made).

We may extend the maximum time limit for transferring a request or making a decision and communicating it to you if your request is for a large quantity of information or consultation is needed to make a decision on your request. Any extension must be for a reasonable period of time in the circumstances.

If you decide to amend or clarify your request, the amended or clarified version will be considered to be a new request and the 20 working days will start from the day after this new request is received.

Can information be withheld or refused?

Requests can be refused or information withheld, but only if a good reason exists under the OIA for not providing the information.

We will inform you of the reason for the refusal and of your right to ask the Ombudsman to investigate the refusal if you are not satisfied with the response.

What if I disagree with a decision made on my request?

If you do not receive a response to your request for official information within the statutory time limit or you are unhappy with the response you receive, you can complain to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman’s role is to investigate and review our (and other agencies) decision (or lack of decision) on your request.

This includes looking at:

  • refusals and deletions
  • delays and extensions
  • charges
  • the manner in which information is released
  • conditions on release.

The Ombudsman can be contacted through their website: 

Contact the Ombudsman – Ombudsman(external link)

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