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Government & legal system

Challenging decisions and conduct of government agencies

Help from officials overseeing specific areas

Specialist commissioners and authorities that can help

There are a number of specialist bodies or officials that have been appointed under an Act to oversee and hear complaints about particular areas of life or particular types of misconduct:

  • Privacy and information – The Privacy Commissioner’s office can hear and investigate complaints about breaches of the privacy and information rules in the Privacy Act – for example, if a government agency won’t tell you what information they hold about you or give you access to it, or if you’re unhappy with how the agency went about collecting information from you (see, in this chapter, “Getting access to information that’s about you: Privacy Act requests”, and also the chapter “Privacy and information”).
  • Discrimination – If you think you’ve been discriminated against by a government agency or other public body, you can complain to the Human Rights Commission, which provides a mediation service for resolving complaints. If mediation doesn’t work, you can take your complaint to the Office of Human Rights Proceedings (OHRP), which can in turn decide to take your complaint to the Human Rights Review Tribunal. (See the chapter “Discrimination”).
  • Health and disability services – If you have a complaint about a public health or disability service, like how you were dealt with in the emergency department of a public hospital, you can complain to the Health and Disability Commissioner (see the chapter “Disability rights”).
  • Police conduct – If you’re unhappy about how the police have treated you, you can complain to the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) (see “Complaining about the police” in the chapter “Police powers”).

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Dealing with government agencies

Where to go for more support

Office of the Ombudsman


Free phone: 0800 802 602

Email: office@Ombudsman.parliament.nz

Privacy Commission


For information about the Privacy Act, the role of the Privacy Commissioner and how to make a complaint:
Phone: 0800 803 909
Phone: (04) 474 7590
Email: enquiries@privacy.org.nz

Directory of Official Information


This lists all central government bodies alphabetically along with the types of information that each one holds.

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