Frequently asked questions
What is official information?
‘Official Information’ includes documents and papers but also information in any format, including drafts, videos, recordings, and photos.
It can also include official information held in an official’s memory or in their personal device or email account as long as it was sent, received, created or used in an official capacity.
Any New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, or anyone who is physically in Aotearoa New Zealand, can submit a request for official information.
What should I do before making a request?
Check to see if we already have the information you’re looking for published on our website. You can find this information in:
The media centre
Our media centre has press releases, proactive releases including Cabinet material, and information on significant projects and issues.
Our document and image library contains further materials related to the business of NZDF including strategic documents, reports, and legal documents.
How I make an official information act request?
You can request official information held by central or local government organisations1, under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA).
An OIA request does not need specific wording or to be in a particular format, and can be made with a simple phone call. As soon as you make the request for information held by the agency, by definition it’s a request for official information.
Contact the Defence Public Affairs – Media Team on +64 21 487 980 to make an official information request.
What does it cost?
Under normal circumstances, making an official information request will not cost you anything.
If the request is particularly large or time-consuming, or if you submit multiple requests on the same topic, we may charge a fee.
We’ll let you know how much your request will cost you before we start any work.
How will I receive the information I've requested?
If the information is in a document, we may give you:
- a reasonable opportunity to inspect the document, or
- a copy of the document, or
- a written transcript (if the document is a recording), or
- an excerpt or summary of the document, or
- oral information about the contents of the document.
We publish any responses to requests for information we feel are important to the public interest but we won’t publish the personal information of those who request this information.
How long will it take to receive the information I've requested?
In most cases, we’ll respond to your request within 20 working days.
We might have to extend this time limit for a reasonable period if:
- you’ve requested a large amount of information
- your request involves searching through a large amount of information
- consultation is required with other parties in order to make a proper decision.
We’ll let you know in writing if we need an extension and why.
Do you deny requests?
We have the right to withhold information if there is a good reason that exists under the Act for not releasing it.
- the national security or defence of New Zealand
- the maintenance of the law
- trade secrets and commercial confidentiality
- personal privacy
- legal professional privilege
- the health and safety of the public
- the effective conduct of the decision making and policy advice processes of government
- the administrative capacity of the organisation concerned to process a request.
Sometimes you may be given some, but not all, information requested, e.g. a document with sensitive parts deleted.
If we do refuse your request, we’ll tell you why in writing. You have the right to complain to the Ombudsman if:
- you are refused access to any information
- the person handling your request does not reply to you within the time limit
- you are not happy with the length of an extended time limit
- you believe that you have been charged an unreasonable amount of the information
- you are not happy with the way the information has been made available or with any conditions placed on the use of the information.
Make an official infomation request
Defence Public Affairs – Media Team
+64 21 487 980
Send a message