Getting information from the government
Overview: Using the Privacy and official information Acts
The law gives you certain rights to access information held by government departments and other public bodies and officials:
- Information that’s about you – The Privacy Act 1993 gives you the right to access information that government and private-sector organisations hold about you (for example, your Work and Income file) and to ask for the information to be corrected if it’s wrong.
- Other government information (“official information”) – The Official Information Act 1982 gives the public the right to have access to government documents and information, unless the government has a good reason to withhold it. For example, journalists, as well as advocacy groups and social-justice activists, often use the Official Information Act to get access to government information that’s relevant to their work or areas of concern. The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 provides a similar scheme for getting information from local councils.