Make a request for Official Information

Find out how to request official information from Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People as outlined in the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA).

What is Official Information?

Official Information is any information held by the Government, including Ministers of the Crown in their official capacity, Government departments and Ministries, including the Ministry of Social Development. Official Information can include written documents and reports, electronic files and manuals, e-mails and letters as well as information on other people.

Responses to selected Official Information Act (OIA) requests are published by Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People on a monthly basis on our responses to OIA requests page.

Can anyone request information?

Almost. 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 apply.

In order to assist 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.

How to make an Official Information Request

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

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

Can I request information in a specific format?

You can ask for information to be provided to you in a specific format. For example, you can for ask oral information to be provided to you, or to review information in person. You can also ask for information to provided in an digital, paper, or alternate accessible format. 

If we are unable to provide information in the way you have asked for, we will explain why, and you can make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman external URL if you are unhappy with our response. 

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.

Read more about charging guidelines for OIA Requests external URL on the Ministry of Justice website. external URL

How long will it take to process my request?

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

The Ministry 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. The Ministry 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” the agency’s 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.

If you'd like to make an OIA complaint, please contact the Ombudsman external URL .