About Official Information Act requests

Find out how to make an OIA request, and how we'll respond.

What is an OIA request?

The Official Information Act 1982 ('the OIA') is a law that enables citizens, permanent residents, visitors to New Zealand, and body corporates registered or with a place of business in New Zealand, to make a request for official information held by government agencies, including the Climate Change Commission. Information can be provided in hard copy or electronic formats and must be made available unless there is a good reason to withhold it.

Before making a request for information

Check if the information is already available. We are committed to proactively releasing a range of official information and resources about our work. You may find that the information you need is already publicly available.

Our website provides a wide range of information about the Commission, its mandate, and advice that the Commission has published and given the Minister.

We also encourage you to check our Official Information Act requests page to see our completed OIA responses.

How can I make an OIA request?

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

You can make a request via:

To help us respond to your request, we will need:

  • your name
  • your contact address (email or postal)
  • the details of the information you want.
  • We will acknowledge your request and may ask you for more details.

More information about making an OIA request is available on the Office of the Ombudsman website.

What happens if we are not the right agency?

If we do not have the information you have asked for and we think that another agency may have the information, we will transfer your request to them. We may also transfer your request if we believe the information you have asked for is more closely connected with the functions of another agency.

We will do this promptly and within 10 working days, although it is possible to extend this timeframe in certain circumstances. We will let you know if we have transferred your request and who we have transferred it to.

What if we don’t understand your request?

If we don’t understand your request, we will get in touch with you to clarify the information you want to receive and work with you to resolve your request.

What happens if you need to change your request?

If you would like to change your request, then you can get in touch with us at oia@climatecommission.govt.nz and make a change. If you do change your request we will let you know whether or not this will impact on the timeframe it will take us to respond.

Can you request information about yourself?

As an individual you can request information about yourself. Requests for personal information held by the Commission are processed under the Privacy Act 2020.  

Companies or incorporated societies can also request information about themselves. These requests are considered under the OIA rather than the Privacy Act.

We will always make sure to tell you whether we have responded to your request under the OIA and/or the Privacy Act.

How long will it take?

We are required by law to respond to your request as soon as reasonably practicable, and no later than 20 working days after we receive your request, unless it is extended.

For large or complex requests or those requiring consultation, we may need to extend the time limit for responding, 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 if you are not happy with our decision to extend the timeframe.

The Office of the Ombudsman also provides guidance on how agencies respond to OIA requests. We will treat each request on its own merits and in line with our responsibilities under the OIA.

You can see data on the number of requests we receive each year and the timeliness of our responses on the Public Service Commission website.

How do we make a decision on your request?

We will find all the information you have asked for and review it carefully. We may need to consult others (for example, other agencies or people who might be affected by release of the information) to make our decision on your request.

When will we withhold information?

We will make the information you request available to you, unless there is a reason why we are unable to do so (for example, the information isn’t held or can’t be found) or there is ‘good reason’ for withholding it.

Reasons for withholding are specified in the OIA. They apply when release would harm a protected interest, such as the maintenance of the law, personal privacy, confidentiality, or commercial interests.

Some reasons for withholding are subject to a ‘public interest test.’ As part of our decision on your request we will consider whether there are public interest considerations that mean we should release the information.  We will balance the public interest against the harms that we see from release of the information.  If the public interest is greater than the harm we see, then we will release the information.

When we withhold information, we will tell you which part of the OIA applies. 

Common sections applied to withhold information are:

Conclusive reasons to withhold official information


Prejudice New Zealand’s defence, security or international relations.

Section 6 (a)

Prejudice any international government or organisations entrusting information to the government on a basis of confidence.

Section 6 (b)

Prejudice the maintenance of the law (including the prevention, investigation, and detection of offences and the right to a fair trial).

Section 6 (c)

Endanger the safety of any person.

Section 6 (d)

Seriously damage the economy by prematurely disclosing decisions to change or continue with Government economic or financial policies.

Section 6 (e)

Managers must withhold the information if any of the following reasons are identified:

Other reasons to withhold official information


Protect the privacy of natural persons (including the privacy of a deceased person).

Section 9 (2) (a)

Protect information where the making available of the information would disclose a trade secret or would be likely unreasonably to prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied or who is the subject of the information.

Section 9 (2) (b)

Protect information which is subject to an obligation of confidence or which any person is compellable to provide, where the making available of the information would be likely to prejudice the supply of similar information or information from a similar source and it is in the public interest that such information should continue to be supplied, or it would be likely otherwise to damage the public interest.

Section 9 (2) (b)

Avoid prejudice to measures protecting the health or safety of members of the public.

Section 9 (2) (c)

Avoid prejudice to the substantial economic interests of New Zealand.

Section 9 (2) (d)

Avoid prejudice to measures that prevent or mitigate material loss to members of the public.

Section 9 (2) (e)

Maintain the constitutional conventions which protect confidentiality of communications by or with the Sovereign or her representative, collective and individual ministerial responsibility, the political neutrality of officials, and the confidentiality of advice tendered by Ministers and officials.

Section 9 (2) (f)

Maintain the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions by, between, or to, Ministers, officers and employees of a Department or members of an organisation, in the course of their duty, or through protection of any of them from improper pressure or harassment.

Section 9 (2) (g)

Maintain legal professional privilege.

Section 9 (2) (h)

Enable a Minister or Department to carry out commercial activities.

Section 9 (2) (I)

Enable a Minister or Department to carry out negotiations without prejudice or disadvantage.

Section 9 (2) (j)

Prevent disclosure or use of information for improper gain.

Section 9 (2) (k)

Requests for official information may only be refused for one or more of the following administrative reasons:

Reason to refuse a request for official information


Good reason (conclusive, special, or other) to withhold the information exists

Section 18 (a)

The reason in section 10 require a response that neither confirms nor denies that the information exists.

Section 18 (b)

The release is contrary to another Act or could constitute contempt of court or the House of Representatives.

Section 18 (c)

The information is, or will soon be, publicly available.

Section 18 (d)

The information could be, or has been, sought by a defendant (or person acting for a defendant) under the [Criminal Disclosure Act 2008].

Section 18 (da)

The information does not exist, or is not held by the Department.

Section 18 (e)

The information requires substantial collation or research.

Section 18 (f)

The information is not held by the Department and is held by another department, or connected closely with the functions of another department.

Section 18 (g)

The information is trivial, or the request is frivolous or vexatious.

Section 18 (h)

What if you are not satisfied?

Please contact us at oia@climatecommission.govt.nz to see if we can resolve the issue.

Or you can make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman if you:

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

These concerns can relate to the withholding of information, extending the timeframe to respond to you, any charges for providing the information you have requested, delays in providing you with a decision or the information, or your request being transferred.

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