Official Information Act requests

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.

Manatū Hauora has adopted an OIA Policy that outlines its obligations.

Official Information Act Policy (PDF, 653 KB)

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.

Manatū Hauora has also recently developed its proactive release policy and charging policy for the supply of official information.

The proactive release policy confirms our commitment to the proactive release of information and outlines its requirements and procedures.

The charging policy has been made consistent with the Charging Guidelines for the Public Service and includes information on:

  • considerations when deciding whether to levy a charge
  • tasks that the Ministry can and cannot charge for
  • what the public can expect when the Ministry charges for the supply of information.

Official Information Act charging policy (PDF, 147 KB)

Manatū Hauora official information trends

Manatū Hauora operates a centralised and collaborative model for responding to requests under the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act) whereby OIA Services in the Government and Executive Services Directorate, work with teams in other Directorates and business units to respond to requests.

Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Manatū Hauora has played a central role in leading the health response to COVID-19, including the approval, purchasing and distribution of millions of doses of vaccines.  As a result, the Ministry has seen a significant increase in the number of requests under the Act and the number of employees in OIA Services has consequently increased.

Manatū Hauora has also recently developed its proactive release policy and charging policy for the supply of official information. The proactive release policy confirms the Ministry’s commitment to the proactive release of information and outlines its requirements and procedures.


The key driver in the change in the volume of published information from Manatū Hauora over the last three years has been COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last three years:

  • At its peak, the volume of Official Information Act requests tripled with request volumes reflecting public health activity relating to the COVID-19 pandemic including lockdowns, vaccine mandates, international borders, and case numbers
  • In the 12 months to 30 June 2022, Manatū Hauora has issued 540 media releases and news updates on the COVID-19 response
  • During the same period Manatū Hauora has either hosted or contributed to 100 media stand-ups (more than 300 in total since the COVID-19 pandemic began)
  • Significant changes have been made to improve and increase the publication of health data
  • Accessibility of information has been a focus for web-enhancements.

Over the January to June 2022 period:

  • Manatū Hauora has focussed on ensuring the New Zealand public has been informed about the health system and, in particular, the COVID-19 pandemic response, through a range of channels
  • Timeliness of replies to Official Information Act requests fell as a result of the Ministry’s high request volumes including a lag from the end of the 2021 calendar year, and the organisation’s focus on leading the COVID-19 public health response
  • Timeliness had returned to above 95 per cent at the end of the reporting period
  • Deficiencies found by the Ombudsman related to six Official Information Act requests from 2019 and 2021.



July - December 2019 (base)

January - June 2020

July - December 2020

January - June 2021

July - December 2021

January - June 2022

OIA requests completed







Increase/decrease on base period







OIA requests completed within statutory timeframes







Percent of requests completed within statutory timeframes







Responses published on agency website







Ombudsman complaints notified as a percent of requests completed







Final opinions by Ombudsman (deficiency)







Ombudsman complaints

Manatū Hauora is committed to meeting its responsibilities under the Act. That commitment is outlined in its Official Information Act Policy, adopted in June 2021.

Under the Act, requesters have the right to seek a review by the Ombudsman on any decisions made by Manatū Hauora under the Act, including transfers, extensions and refusals. Many complaints are resolved informally, without the Ombudsman needing to open a formal investigation.

Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic the number of referrals to the Ombudsman has increased, reflecting the significant increase in the volume of requests received and completed.  Despite this increase, however, the number complaints notified as a percentage of the requests completed has remained relatively static at less than three percent.  The number of final opinions issued where the Ombudsman has made a formal finding following that Manatū Hauora did not meet its statutory obligations have also remained static at less than one percent of completed requests.  

Manatū Hauora has a continuous improvement approach to OIA Services and works with the Ministry’s legal team to ensure any learnings from complaints improve performance.

Before you make an OIA request

There is a lot of information and statistical data about Manatū Hauora 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.

Suicide statistics

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.

Health statistics

The Ministry publishes a range of health statistics data and you can also make a request for health data.

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

The Ministry publishes its Annual Report on Drinking-water Quality. (The review of New Zealand’s water, waste-water and stormwater system is being led by the Department of Internal Affairs.

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]

Online form

Postal address:

Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013
Wellington 6140

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.

Withholding information

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.

For more information refer to sections 6, 9 and 18 of the OIA

If you would like information from a district health board, you will have to contact them directly. Please consult our contact list for DHBs and primary health organisations.

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:

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


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

Postal address:
Office of the Ombudsman
PO Box 10152
Wellington 6143

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