Dealing with government agencies

How to challenge their decisions and get information from them

What this chapter covers

This chapter is intended to help you know your rights when dealing with government departments and other public bodies, like Work and Income, Inland Revenue, Housing New Zealand and ACC.

In particular, the chapter focuses on how to go about challenging a decision if you’re not happy with it, or complaining about the organisation’s behaviour, and who you may be able to appeal or complain to about this. That section of the chapter (see “Challenging decisions and conduct of government agencies”) explains about:

  • the role of the Ombudsmen as watchdogs over government, and how you can complain to them
  • specialist bodies or officials you can complain to, like the Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission
  • going to the courts to challenge decisions of government departments and officials (“judicial review”)
  • departmental policies, including what legal status they have and when you may be able to challenge them.

The second section of this chapter (see “Getting information from government”) explains how to go about getting information out of government organisations and officials, including both:

  • information that’s about you specifically (which comes under the Privacy Act), and
  • other kinds of information (which comes under the Official Information Act).
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