The Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) allows people in New Zealand to request government information (official information). It must be made available unless there is a good reason to withhold it.

Before making a request for information

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade proactively releases a  range of official information. We encourage you to check the resources section of our website. A range of information about our strategic direction and our work on trade, aid and development, the environment, peace, rights and security is available on our website, and you may find the information you need is already publicly available. 

How to make an OIA request

Your request should be as clear and specific as possible. Before making a request, check our other sources of information listed above.

Contact us to request information by:

  • Email: enquiries@mfat.govt.nz
  • Telephone: +64 4 439 8000
  • Mail: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 195 Lambton Quay, Wellington, 6011

We would like:

  1. your name
  2. contact address (email or postal)
  3. details of the information you want

We may ask you for more details.

If you make your request by phone or in person, we will either confirm it in writing or, if we’re not sure what you’re seeking, we may ask you to put it in writing.

The Office of the Ombudsman provides advice on making official information requests [PDF, 610 KB].

Find out more about the Official Information Act 1982 (external link) (Section 12 details OIA requests)

How long will it take?

We will acknowledge your request and are required by law to give you our decision as soon as possible, and no later than 20 working days after we receive your request.

For large or complex requests or those requiring consultation, we may need to extend the time limit under section 14 of the Official Information Act. If this happens for any particular reason, we will let you know and give you a specific due date.

You can complain to the Office of the Ombudsman (external link) if you’re not happy with our decision to extend the timeframe.

The Office of the Ombudsman also provides guidance on how agencies respond to OIA requests.

You can see data on the number of requests we receive each year and the timeliness of our responses on the State Services Commission website (external link).

What does it cost?

Requesting official information is free, although we can charge a reasonable amount if it will take a lot of work to supply the information requested. There's no charge for the first hour spent on your request or for the first 20 pages of photocopying.

Agencies must adhere to the guidelines [PDF, 28 KB] set out by the Ministry of Justice regarding charging for OIA requests.

What if I’m not satisfied?

You might want to contact us to see if we can resolve the issue.

Or you can make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman (external link) if you:

  • have concerns regarding the decision we made on your request
  • are unhappy about the way your request was treated or processed.

The Office of the Ombudsman can choose to investigate and review our decision and may make a recommendation to us if it's considered appropriate.