The Official Information Act
The Official Information Act (OIA) is an important part of New Zealand's constitutional framework. The OIA allows New Zealanders to have access to information that enables their participation in their democracy and hold governments and Public Sector agencies to account.
The OIA allows New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, and anyone who is in New Zealand to request any official information held by government agencies - including the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry has adopted an OIA Policy that outlines its obligations.
You can ask for:
- access to any specified official information the Ministry of Health holds;
- reasons for decisions made about you;
- internal policies, principles, rules or guidelines
- meeting agendas and minutes of public bodies.
Before you make an OIA request
There is a lot of information and statistical data about the Ministry and the health sector available online. Some commonly requested areas of interest are below.
For comprehensive information about New Zealand’s COVID-19 response, including vaccination, alert levels, overseas travel and departure tests, visit the Unite against COVID-19 website.
- COVID-19 case numbers are published daily by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research
- The Ministry of Health also publishes COVID-19 case data.
- COVID-19 Situation Reports.
- COVID-19 vaccination data.
- COVID-19 vaccine approvals. Information about approval of all medicines and vaccines is held by New Zealand’s Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority, Medsafe, which publishes a range of information and data, including data about adverse effects.
- Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) Facilities. The Ministry of Health holds limited information about MIQ as they are predominately managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The annual provisional suicide statistics since 2011 are published by the Chief Coroner.
Medical and immunisation records
The Ministry does not hold information on individual immunisation or medical records. Please contact either your local District Health Board or your general practitioner.
National Health Number (NHI)
There is a process to obtain any information held against your NHI number.
Proactive information releases
The Ministry proactively publishes responses to OIA requests, regulatory impact statements (RIS), advice provided to Ministers and Cabinet material.
Drinking water quality
Health and Disability Review
The review of New Zealand’s health and disability systems is being led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Mental health and addictions
The Ministry publishes a range of information, reports and data about mental health and addiction services.
Te Aho o Te Kahu: The Cancer Control Agency publishes a range of reports and data.
End of Life Choice Act
Information about the implementation of the Act is available on the Ministry website.
How to request official information from the Ministry of Health
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic response, Ministry of Health continues to experience significantly higher volumes of requests for information. This means we may take some time in responding to your request.
The Ministry can only answer requests for information that it holds. There is no requirement for the Ministry to create new information, compile information it does not hold, or to provide an opinion.
If you believe a different agency holds the information, please request the information from that agency. For example, if you are after your medical records, please contact your DHB or GP.
For information from other agencies check out the Directory of Official Information to find out what information each agency holds, and their contact details.
Requests for information from the Ministry of Health can be sent to:
Email: [email protected]
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013
Requests should include:
- your name
- your contact details (email address or postal)
- details of the information you want - your request should be as clear and specific as possible.
You can specify the format you want the information presented in – for example by email or by post.
How long will it take?
We will acknowledge your request as soon as practicable and are required by law to respond no later than 20 working days after we receive it.
For large requests or those requiring consultation, the Act allows for a reasonable extension to this time limit. If so, we will let you know and give you a specific due date.
We may also transfer your request, either in full or part, to another agency subject to the Act if they are better placed to respond to that part of your request. We will advise both you and the agency we have transferred your request to of this decision.
If you amend your request, the 20 working days will start from the day after this amendment has been received. If we need to clarify your request and do so within the first seven working days, the 20 working day timeframe will begin again once the clarified request is confirmed.
The OIA says information should be made available unless there is good reason to withhold it. We may only withhold information for specific reasons set out in the Act. If this occurs, we will let you know why.
Requesting personal information
You have the right to view any personal information about yourself that the Ministry holds. This will be treated as a request under the Privacy Act 2020. To request this type of information you can email us at [email protected] or write to us at:
National Contact Centre
Ministry of Health
PO Box 3015
If you are unhappy with our response, you have the right to complain to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Chief Ombudsman recommends contacting us in the first instance to see if we can resolve the issue. The Ombudsman can be contacted at:
Email: [email protected]
Freephone: 0800 802602
Office of the Ombudsman
PO Box 10152