Expand OIA eligibility

The Official Information Act 1982 should be amended to provide that any person (whether a citizen of New Zealand, resident in New Zealand or otherwise) can make a request for information.

Why the contribution is important

The Official Information Act 1982 currently only permits requests to be made by New Zealand citizens or residents (or corporate equivalents). This reflects its datedness; in 1987, when the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act was passed, requester eligibility had been expanded to permit requests by any person. The Law Commission considered this inconsistency in chapter 15 of its 2012 review of the Official Information Act ("The Public's Right to Know", R125), and recommended that the OIA provision be amended to be consistent with LGOIMA and allow requests by any person.

This would require legislation. The Ministry of Justice, as the agency responsible for the OIA, should have responsibility for this commitment.Milestones would include the drafting, introduction, and final passage of the bill.

by IdiotSavant on August 12, 2016 at 03:45PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 5.0
Based on: 2 votes


  • Posted by JohnJacobson August 23, 2016 at 22:19

    The eligibility requirement is throughly out of date, and is only used by agencies as a means to slow down responding to requests. People ineligible to make a request under the OIA can already complain to the Ombudsman under the Ombudsmen Act if the department's response is not 'reasonable', so there is likely to be minimal additional cost to government of removing this anachronism.
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