In New Zealand, every citizen has the right to access information held by public bodies. By law, they have to respond.
Essentially that we, the public, own the information that’s held by government. And we’re entitled to see it on request unless there’s good reason to withhold it. “Good reason” isn’t just any old reason the government thinks is justified. There is a careful list of “good reasons” for refusing to give you information in the OIA (such as prejudice to national security or international relations). If the government can’t find a good reason from that list, it has to give you the information.
The Official Information Act is a New Zealand law intended to give New Zealanders better access to official information. The legislation states that:
‘…information shall be made available unless there is good reason for withholding it’
The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act is a similar piece of legislation aimed at local authorities.
What Kind Of Information can you ask for? Correspondence, minutes of meetings, memos, reports, studies, options papers, cost-benefit analyses, agendas, internal rules affecting decisions, briefings, budget bids, submissions, consultants’ reports, costings, policy papers.
HOW TO MAKE A REQUEST?
For Auckland Council simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Try FYI.org.nz a New Zealand website that sends, manages and publishes official information act requests. See what questions others have asked, or send your own. FYI has lots of good information about the process.