How to make an Official Information Act request

Government information is made available unless there is a good reason to withhold it

The Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) enables citizens, permanent residents, visitors to Aotearoa New Zealand, and body corporates registered or with a place of business in Aotearoa New Zealand, to make a request for official information held by government agencies, including Te Arawhiti.

Before making a request, check our other sources of information. You may find the information you want is already available:

Making a request

Your request should include:

  • your name
  • your contact details (email or postal address)
  • details of the information you want

Your request should be as clear and specific as you can possibly make it.

You can specify the format you want the information presented in (by email or by post, for example).

If you make your request by phone or in person, we will either confirm it in writing ourselves or, if we’re not sure what you’re seeking, we may ask if you’d mind putting it in writing.

The Ombudsman gives tips for making requests for official information (external link)

Send your request for information from Te Arawhiti to our email or postal address.


Postal address

Official Correspondence – Te Arawhiti
Level 3, 19 Aitken Street
Wellington 6011

What can I request?

The OIA sets out your rights to request official information. ‘Official information’ means any information held by the agency including:

  • reports, memos, letters, notes, advice and emails
  • materials like tape recordings, videos or computer records
  • internal policies or guidelines for decision-making
  • reasons for decisions made about you

How do I know the right agency to contact?

You can find an outline of information held by different agencies in the Ministry of Justice directory of official information (external link)

If we do not have the information you have asked for, and we think that another agency or minister may have the information, we will transfer your request to them.

We will do this promptly and within 10 working days, although it is possible to extend this timeframe in certain circumstances.

We will let you know if we have transferred your request and who we have transferred it to.

How long will it take?

We will acknowledge your request and are required by law to give you our decision on your request as soon as possible, and no later than 20 working days after we receive your request.

If we need more time to make our decision on your request, for example if you are requesting a large quantity of information, we will let you know and give you an idea of how long it will take.

If you’re not happy with our decision to extend the time, you can complain to the Ombudsman (external link)

You can see data on the number of requests we receive each year and the timeliness of our responses in the Public Service Commission OIA statistics (external link)

You can find further guidance on how we will respond to your request in the Ombudsman OIA guide for ministers and agencies to processing official information requests (external link)

What does it cost?

Requesting official information is free, though we can charge a reasonable amount if it will take a lot of work to supply the information requested. These charges must be reasonable and may reflect some of the cost of labour (including to retrieve and collect the information) and materials in meeting your request.

The Ministry of Justice and the Ombudsman each have guidance on charging.

What if I am not satisfied?

You may want to contact us first to see if we can resolve the issue.

You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman if you are unhappy about:

  • the decision we made on your request
  • the way your request was treated or processed

You could be unhappy that we:

  • withheld information
  • extended the timeframe to respond to your request
  • charged for providing the information you requested
  • delayed in providing you with a decision or the information
  • transferred your request

The Ombudsman can:

  • investigate and review our decision
  • make a recommendation to us