The Official Information Act allows New Zealanders to make requests for information relating to our work, including the advice we provide to our Minister.
The Official Information Act promotes openness and transparency and enables greater public participation in government. It holds government and government agencies to account. We support those principles.
How to make a request
To assist us, and to ensure you receive the correct information, your request should be clear and as specific as possible. We need to have a good idea of the information you would like us to look for. Try to be as specific as you can about the subject matter, dates and types of documents you are looking for. We will contact you for clarification, if necessary.
If you would like to make a request to us, it helps if you could put it in writing.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail: Ministry for Ethnic Communities, PO Box 805, Wellington, 6140.
- Telephone: 0800 656 656.
If your request is by phone or in person, we will either confirm in writing or, if we are unsure about what information you need, ask you to put your request in writing.
The Official Information Act requires us to provide you with a response in 20 working days (around four weeks). We can extend the deadline if there is a lot of documentation in scope of your request or if we need to consult with other people or agencies to make our final decision.
Certain sections of the Official Information Act allow us to redact information for reasons such as:
- personal privacy
- legal professional privilege
- commercial sensitivity, and
- some processes around the preparation and presentation of departmental advice to Ministers.
These withholding grounds are in sections 6, 9 and 27 of the Official Information Act.
You can find more information about these grounds on the Office of the Ombudsman’s website.
For media enquiries, email email@example.com.
There are two main types of Official Information Act request:
- requests under Part 2 of the Official Information Act, for general information held or created by the Ministry, and
- requests under Part 4 of the Official Information Act, made by bodies corporate, for information we hold about them.
If you want to request the information we hold about you, we would consider that request under the Privacy Act 1993. In this case, we recommend you visit the Privacy Commissioner’s website and use the AboutMe tool.
You can find more information about making an Official Information Act request on the Ombudsman’s website.
We recommend checking whether we are the agency most likely to hold the information you are looking for. The Ministry of Justice maintain a list of agencies and their responsibilities.
The Beehive website has the list of Ministers and their portfolio responsibilities. If you make a request that is better responded to by another agency or Minister, we may organise to have the request transferred.
It is also worth checking if the information you are looking for is already available:
- Some Cabinet material from previous Ministers for Ethnic Communities is available on the Department of Internal Affairs website.
- A large amount of datasets prepared by other agencies across a sizable number of subject ranges is available on Data.govt.nz.
- We also publish corporate publications such as:
- briefings to incoming Ministers
- statements of intent, and
- annual reports.
- Some requests come to us via FYI.org.nz, a privately-run website that allows the public to make Official Information Act requests to Ministers and departments.
Office of the Ombudsman
If you are not satisfied with the response to a request you can ask the Office of the Ombudsman to review it.