The guiding principle of the Official Information Act is that information must be made available if requested, unless a reason exists under the Act for withholding it.
The Commission is progressively developing a suite of guidance to help agencies meet their obligations under the Act in terms of:

The Commission is also available to provide advice and assistance to agencies subject to the OIA.  Click here to send us an email.

Managing OIA requests

Guidance for practitioners

The guidance for practitioners covers different aspects of responding to a request for official information with hints and tips to help agencies manage and respond to these.  It complements the guidance published by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Practice notes

The Office of the Ombudsman has also produced guidance on the application of some areas of the OIA. The guides typically explain the subject matter and provide case studies, step by step worksheets, and template letters. They also point to any other related guides, opinions, and case notes. Published guides include:

  • The OIA for Ministers and agencies
  • Consulting third parties
  • Substantial collation and research
  • Free and frank opinions
  • Confidential advice to government
  • Frivolous or vexatious requests
  • The public interest test

Managing agency OIA systems and processes

The Commission also provides the following guidance on OIA systems and processes:

  • Agency website guidance outlines how agencies can structure their websites to make it easy for New Zealanders to request information.  The guidance includes webpage structure and content, and provides links to tips for requesting official information and how agencies will respond to information requests on the Commission's website for agencies to link to.
  • Proactive release of official information provides guidance on developing internal policies and practices in relation to the proactive release of official information, including responses to requests for information under the Official Information Act.  See also Proactive release .
  • OIA statistics guidance:
    • encourages agencies to publish their OIA statistics with relevant commentary on their websites
    • clarifies which OIA requests should be logged for the purposes of consistent statistics collection and performance reporting
    • encourages agencies to consider and report a range of statistics internally and publicly, beyond those published by the Commission.

For more information on the OIA statistics regularly published for agencies in the Public services see Official Information Act statistics .

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