The Official Information Act and media responses

The Ministry of Social Development takes seriously its obligations under the Official Information Act 1982. That includes responding to requests for official information via media queries.

Please note that requests for comment or interview are not defined as official information and therefore are not covered by the Official Information Act.

Reasons for refusal

The Ministry’s Media team help media with the information they need, within media timeframes wherever possible, without diverting requests unnecessarily through the Ministry’s specialist Official Information team.

However, there will be times when the Media team is not able to provide the information requested, either because there is a legal reason for refusing the information, or because the request cannot be completed within media timeframes.

Where timeframes are an issue, the Media team will clarify with the requestor whether they wish to proceed with their request, and if so, refer that query to the Official Information team for a response.

The reasons why the Media team may have refused some or all the information you requested is given below. Telling you about these reasons ensures that the Ministry is fulfilling its obligation under the Official Information Act to provide a reason for the refusal (section 19 of the Act refers).

If you are unsure about the reason, or would like a further explanation, please contact the Media team. You have the right to ask the Ombudsman to investigate and review any response from the Media team.

Explanation from the Media Team

Section of the Act

The information is covered by a court order


The information isn’t available now, but it will be soon


We do not have a copy of that document


Providing that information requires substantial collation or research


We do not have that information


The information would harm the maintenance of the law because the matter is, or will be, before the courts (including the Coroner)

18(a) and 6(c)

The information can’t be provided on grounds of privacy

18(a) and 9(2)(a)

The information is commercially sensitive

18(a) and 9(2)(b)

The information is confidential

18(a) and 9(2)(ba)

The information would harm negotiations

18(a) and 9(2)(j)

The information is legally privileged

18(a) and 9(2)(h)

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