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The Official Information Act (OIA) is an important part of New Zealand's constitutional framework. The OIA allows New Zealanders to have access to information that enables their participation in government, and hold governments and government agencies to account.
The OIA allows people to request any official information held by the Ministry.
New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, and anyone who is in New Zealand, has the right to request information held by the Ministry of Justice.
Court or tribunal documents cannot be requested under the OIA. This is because the judiciary is independent of the Executive branch of government. To access court documents, you must apply directly to the court.
There’s a lot of information and statistical data about the Justice sector available on the online. The Ministry of Justice Datalab provides our back catalogue of research and evaluation, and Statistics New Zealand provides comprehensive data on prosecutions, convictions and victims.
Check these sources before requesting information under the OIA:
Requests can be sent to:
Please note: The Ministry of Justice cannot answer requests for information that is only held by other agencies -it is better to send your request to that agency. For example, if you are after a police file, please contact New Zealand Police first.
Ministry of Justice
Write the address as written above and send it the same way as any other mail. You can use an NZ Post mail box. If you use a DX mail box your mail will get to us faster (external link)
Requests should include:
Your request should be as clear and specific as possible. You can specify the format you want the information presented in – for example by email or in hard copy.
We’ll acknowledge your request as soon as practicable and are required by law to respond no later than 20 working days after we receive it. For large requests or those requiring consultation, the Act allows for a reasonable extension to this time limit. If so, we’ll let you know and give you a specific due date.
If you amend your request, the 20 working days will start from the day after this amendment has been received. If we need to clarify your request and do so within the first seven working days, the 20 working day timeframe will begin again once the clarified request is confirmed. This is because we’ll be unable to process your request until it is clear.
The OIA says information should be made available unless there is good reason to withhold it. We may only withhold information for specific reasons set out in the Act. If this occurs, we’ll explain the reasons why.
If you are unhappy with our response, you have the right to complain to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Chief Ombudsman recommends contacting us in the first instance to see if we can resolve the issue.
Directory of Official Information
This directory contains contact details for all Government organisations covered by the Act, and enables people to find out where exactly their requests for information should be made.
Charging Guidelines for Official Information Act 1982 Requests
Outlines what the Government regards as reasonable charges for the purposes of the Official Information Act.
Justice Datalab (external link)
The Ministry of Justice's back catalogue of research and evaluation.
Ombudsman’s Official Information Guides (external link)
A series of guidance documents relating to OIAs.
Stats.govt.nz (external link)
Browse for statistics about crime and justice.
Annual Court Statistics (external link)
Court statistics that provide a picture of court workloads on a monthly basis.
Official Information Act 1982 (external link)
A copy of the current legislation.
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