Official Information Act requests

The Official Information Act

The Official Information Act 1982 (the OIA) is a law allowing official information to be requested from Government agencies.

You are entitled to make a request for official information if you are:

  • a New Zealand citizen
  • a permanent resident of New Zealand
  • currently in New Zealand
  • a body corporate incorporated in New Zealand.

The official information you request will be made available unless there is a good reason to withhold or to refuse your request. Some reasons why the information may be withheld/refused are:

  • the information doesn’t exist
  • the information is already in the public domain
  • to protect the privacy of natural persons
  • the information is legally privileged
  • the information is under active consideration by a Minister
  • to prevent improper pressure or harassment of public officials.

This is not an exhaustive list. You can find all the reasons within the OIA legislation.

How to request official information from the Ministry of Health

You can make an OIA request by filling out an online form or emailing us.

When you make your request, please:

  • be as specific as possible
  • specify which documents you want, if known
  • make your request in simple, precise language.

This will help us to get the information you want to you in a timely manner.

Published information on this website

We also publish a considerable amount of information on this website. You may wish to search our website using the search function at the top of this page. This can assist you in locating publicly available information.  

We operate a proactive release policy where the Ministry publishes information on this website. As part of the policy we publish selected OIA responses that may be of public interest. We may publish the OIA response we send to you with your personal details redacted.

Go to Responses to OIA requests to find previously published responses.

What you can expect from the Ministry after making your request

We must communicate our decision to you on whether to grant your request for official information ‘as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days’.

The 20 working day count begins on the first working day after we receive the request.

Timeframe Action
Upon receipt of request We will send written confirmation of receipt of your request, usually via email.
Within 7 working days of receiving the request: We may contact you if we have any questions or need clarification on aspects of your request. We may need you to narrow the scope of your request if it is very broad or for large amounts of data.
Within 10 working days of receiving the request If we don’t hold the information requested but believe another agency might, we will transfer the request to that agency. We will notify you of the transfer. Transfers can be made in whole or in part. This will be specified in the notice you receive.
Within 20 working days of receiving the request We will communicate our decision in response to your request for official information via letter. We aim to include all the requested information along with the letter.
We may occasionally stagger the release of the information requested if unavoidable.
We may decide to extend the time required to complete your request, by a reasonable period. If we do, we must notify you within 20 working days of receiving your request, via written notice to you. We will advise you of the new date by which you should expect the response.
 
Reasons we may need to extend your request include:
  1. the information you have asked for requires substantial research and collation, meaning we’re unlikely to have this completed within 20 working days
  2. the information requires considerable collaboration between internal and/or external parties that may delay a decision being reached within 20 working days.

Please note:

  • If you would like information from a district health board you will have to contact them directly. Our contact list for DHBs and primary health organisations can be found here
  • Requests for your own personal information held by the Ministry will be managed as a Privacy Act request.

Requesting personal information

You have the right to view any personal information about yourself that the Ministry holds. This will be treated as a Privacy Act (1993) request. To request this type of information you can email us at information@moh.govt.nz or write to us at:

Privacy Request
National Contact Centre
Ministry of Health
PO Box 3015
Whanganui 4501

Making a complaint

You can make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman if you wish.

The Ombudsman’s role is to investigate and review our decisions.

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