People in New Zealand can request government information (official information) and can expect it to be made available unless there is a good reason to withhold it. The Official Information Act 1982 (or OIA) enables citizens, permanent residents, visitors to New Zealand, and body corporates registered or with a place of business in New Zealand, to make a request for official information held by government agencies, including the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
Before making a request for information
Before requesting official information from the Ministry, we encourage you to check out the sources of information below as you may find the information you need is already publicly available:
- Cabinet papers
- Media releases
- Briefings to Incoming Ministers
- Accountability reports
- Research reports
- Official Information Act statistics
Making a request
Your request should be as clear and specific as you can possibly make it.
Alternatively you can call the Ministry on 04 499 4229 or send your request to:
Ministry for Culture and Heritage
Public Trust Building
131 Lambton Quay
If you make your request by phone or in person, we will either confirm it in writing ourselves or, if we’re not sure what you’re seeking, we may ask if you’d mind putting it in writing. We may also need to contact you to ask you for more details about your request, or to clarify what it is you are asking for.
The Ministry will acknowledge your request, and is required by law to give you our decision on your request as soon as possible, and no later than 20 working days after we receive it. You can use the Ombudsman due date calculator to find out when your response is due.
If the Ministry needs more time make our decision on your request, for example if you are requesting a lot of information, we will let you know and give you an idea of how long it will take. If the Ministry does extend the time limit for responding to your request, under section 14 of the OIA, we will contact you with the reason for the extension and a new due date. If you are not happy about the decision to extend a response you can complain to the Office of the Ombudsman.
If the Ministry believes another agency holds the information you have requested we will transfer your request to them and let you know within 10 working days after we receive the request.
Requesting official information is free, though the Ministry can charge a reasonable amount if it will take a lot of work to supply the information requested. There's no charge for the first hour spent on your request or for the first 20 pages of photocopying. More information about charging can be found on the Ministry of Justice charging guidelines. If you are not happy about the decision to charge you can complain to the Office of the Ombudsman.
What if I am not satisfied?
You may wish to contact us in the first instance to see if we can resolve the issue. You can also make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman if you:
- have concerns regarding the decision we made on your request
- were unhappy about the way your request was treated or processed.
These concerns can relate to the withholding of information, extending the timeframe to respond, any charges for providing the information, delays in providing you with a decision, or your request being transferred.
The Office of the Ombudsman can investigate and review our decision and may make a recommendation to us if it is considered appropriate.
Updated on 19th November 2020