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 it, or to refuse your request. Some reasons why the information may be withheld/refused under the OIA 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
  • the information is commercially sensitive.

This is not an exhaustive list. All grounds can be found within the OIA legislation.

How to request official information from the Ministry of Health

Anyone eligible can make a request any way they choose.

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

How to get the most out of your request

Anyone eligible can make a request any way they choose.

If we clearly understand what you are requesting it will greatly assist us to get the information you want to you in a timely manner. As such we ask that you please:

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

What you can expect from the Ministry of Health after you have made your request

The OIA legislation instructs the agency it must communicate it’s decision on your request for official information “as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days”

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

Timeframe Action
Upon receipt of request Confirmation of receipt of request.
Within 7 working days of receiving the request: Contact from us if we have any questions or clarifications about your request. We may need you to specify parts of, or even narrow, the scope of your request if it is very broad and / or for large amounts of data.
Within 10 working days of receiving the request If we don’t hold the information you have asked for but we believe another agency might, we may transfer the request to that agency. You will receive notice of the transfer no later than 10 working days. Transfers can involve the whole request or some part of the request.
Within 20 working days of receiving the request You will receive our decision via letter in response to your request for official information. We aim to include all the requested information with the letter.
Sometimes, if the request contains masses of data, we may have to stagger the release of all the information requested. We will only provide your information in this way if unavoidable.
We may decide to extend the time required to complete your request. Under the OIA we are able to extend for a reasonable period any time within the first 20 working days.

The reasons we may need for extending requests are:

  1. The information you have asked for requires extensive collation and we’re unlikely to have this completed within 20 working days
  2. Your request will require considerable collaboration between internal and / or external parties that may delay the response above 20 working days.
When extending a request we will advise you of the new date by which you should expect the response.

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 Private 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, and to ask that we correct it if it is wrong. This will be treated as a Privacy Act (1993) request. To request this type of information you can email us at or write to us at:

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

Published information on this website

We publish a considerable amount of information on this website, so you may want to check the information you are after is not already publicly available before making a request. Search the Ministry of Health’s website using the search at the top of this page.

In the future we will also publish certain OIA request responses that may be in the public interest.

Making a complaint

You can make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman if you have concerns regarding the way we treated or processed an OIA request. Those concerns can relate to the refusal to provide information, the breach of a statutory time frame, the decision to extend a time frame or impose a charge, or the imposition of conditions on the release of information.

The Ombudsman’s role is to investigate and review our decision. The Ombudsman does not release the withheld information itself but may issue a recommendation to us to release the information if the Ombudsman considers release appropriate.

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