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  • The OIA for Ministers and agencies: A guide to processing official information requests

    Official information
    The purpose of this guide is to assist Ministers and government agencies in recognising and responding to requests for official information under the OIA.
  • The LGOIMA for local government agencies: A guide to processing requests and conducting meetings

    Official information
    The purpose of this guide is to assist local government agencies in recognising and responding to requests for official information under the LGOIMA.
  • Making official information requests: A guide for requesters

    Official information
    If you are seeking information from a Minister, or central or local government agency, you may be able to ask for it under either the OIA or LGOIMA.
  • Conclusive reasons for refusing requests: A guide to the conclusive withholding grounds in section 6 of the OIA and LGOIMA

    Official information
    This is a guide to section 6 of the OIA and LGOIMA, which provides conclusive reasons for withholding official information. These reasons are not subject to a public interest test.
  • Request for briefing notes relating to state visits

    Case notes
    Inspection on conditions in order to identify the documents required provided means of resolving s 18(f) refusal
  • Adequacy of ex gratia payment to remedy mistake by Customs

    Case notes
    NZ Customs officer rejected passenger on flight because water damage on passport—Ombudsman found officers failed to process the passport adequately and caused considerable cost to passenger because of this failure—complainant upheld and complainant received full payment to cover financial losses
  • Department of Internal Affairs provides reasonable service and advice to traveller on temporary passport

    Case notes
    Whether the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) reasonably handled revalidation of a passport for New Zealand citizen travelling on temporary passport—Ombudsman concluded DIA had made every effort to inform the complainant of the steps needed to have his passport validated
  • Ombudsman not authorised to consider terms and conditions of service of armed forces

    Case notes
    Complaint about Government decisions regarding exposure of Viet Nam veterans to Agent Orange—Ombudsman declines to intervene—one reason being that s/he is not authorised to investigate any matter concerning the terms and conditions of service of a member of the defence forces
  • Department of Internal Affairs not unreasonable to cancel passport

    Case notes
    Department of Internal Affairs—decision to recall and cancel complainant’s NZ passport – position determined by terms of legislation
  • Inland Revenue Department not unreasonable to decline ex gratia payment

    Case notes
    Inland Revenue Department (IRD) refused to provide financial compensation for error—complainant not affected financially by error—Ombudsman concluded IRD reasonable to offer apology and instalment plan for repayment of money sent in error to complainant
  • Inland Revenue agrees to offer ex gratia payment for error

    Case notes
    IRD delayed advising student of loan liability—IRD agrees to offer complainant ex gratia payment representing the accrued interest for the period the loan repayment had been outstanding
  • Charge for supply of information about Maori interests in the management of petroleum

    Case notes
    Charge avoided by allowing inspection subject to conditions
  • Inland Revenue Department not unreasonable to pay tax refund to estranged wife

    Case notes
    Inland Revenue (IRD) decision to pay complainant’s tax refund to estranged wife appropriate in the circumstances
  • Veterans Affairs New Zealand unreasonable not to allow appeal because incorrect form presented

    Case notes
    Complaint about Veterans Affairs’ decision not to allow appeal because the person appealing failed to fill out the application form properly—Ombudsman found that decision unreasonable and Veterans Affairs agreed to allow the appeal
  • Request for report on suicide and the media

    Case notes
    Strong public interest in requester having access—participation in making of laws and policy— release on conditions
  • Request for information contained in tender documents for upgrade of New Zealand’s Orion aircraft

    Case notes
    Requester sought information contained in the tender documents for the upgrade of New Zealand’s Orion aircraft—information contained details of the proposed functional upgrade of the aircraft—release would allow an informed reader to be aware of their resultant capabilities
  • Inland Revenue’s policy and procedures deficient in case of child support repayments

    Case notes
    IRD reviewed child support payments for liable parent resulting in $180 per month increase backdated 3 months—parent advised he could not pay arrears in lump sum and sought payment in instalments—IRD agreed—custodial parent complained to Ombudsman—Ombudsman reviewed instalment policy—IRD’s decision made in accordance with policy—however policy did not require full disclosure or scrutiny of liable parent’s financial situation—Ombudsman of view decision in this case not unreasonable as followed policy, but policy and procedures deficient and unreasonable—IRD agreed to review policy and procedures
  • Request for NZSIS files concerning two NZ scholars

    Case notes
    Writer sought NZSIS files on two individuals—Refused under s 6—bulk of information had been provided by overseas authorities under strict confidentiality agreements—various agencies consulted—some consented to release whereas others did not—complainant agreed to contact overseas agencies directly—ss 6(a) and 6(b) applied—release contrary to agreement would compromise quality and supply of similar information in future which would prejudice NZ’s security—some information released with identifiers deleted
  • Inland Revenue provided incomplete advice therefore was unreasonable to decline remission application

    Case notes
    Provisional taxpayer advised by IRD of date tax due—advice relied on was wrong—late provisional tax resulted in ‘Use of Money Interest’ imposed by IRD—remission sought on grounds that taxpayer relied on IRD advice—remission declined as advice considered to be correct on the basis of details originally provided by taxpayer—Ombudsman formed view that information provided by IRD was correct but incomplete therefore decision to decline remission application unreasonable—partial remission appropriate in circumstances
  • IRD delays verifying student’s address and unreasonably charged late payment penalties

    Case notes
    Student believed her student loan repaid by grandmother and she had had no contact from IRD for eight years—there was no evidence the loan was repaid and IRD accepted there had been an unreasonable excessive delay in contacting student due to lack of valid address—however the IRD had no power to write off initial loan balance but following the Ombudsman’s investigation, agreed to reinstate loan in the current year and cancel accumulated interest and penalties
  • Inland Revenue Department paid ex gratia payment to compensate loss incurred when Company relied on incomplete information contained in IRD Company Tax Guide, 1997.

    Case notes
    Provisional tax paid by both a company and its individual directors using Standard Formula method rather than Estimate method calculations—reliance placed on information published by Inland Revenue Department in 1997 IR4 Company Tax Guide—large overpayments resulted at end of tax year—company and directors not eligible to receive ‘use of money interest’ from Department—Department agreed that IR4 Company Tax Guide was misleading
  • Request for access to building plans submitted for resource consent

    Case notes
    Request for access to building plans submitted for resource consent—plans marked ‘confidential’—plans amended—request declined for copyright and security reasons—public interest in effective participation in process—Building Act 1991, ss 27(1), 27(3)
  • New Zealand Customs Service questioned over acceptance of deposit pursuant to legislation

    Case notes
    Refusal to pay interest following resolution of dispute over Customs value of goods—whether relevant documentation provided at the time of importation—whether s 140 of the Customs Act 1966 (repealed) conferred authority on Department to take deposit—investigation discontinued following discovery that company did not exist as legal entity at the time complaint was made
  • Inland Revenue Department accepts misleading advice caused detriment to holder of student loan

    Case notes
    Inland Revenue Department (IRD) provided misleading advice to student about status of his student loan account— he undertook on-going financial commitments in reliance on that advice— IRD was found to have erred by not providing regular statements of the student loan and accepted that this had caused detriment to the student—there had also been unreasonable delay in responding to the student’s wife’s inquiries about the loan debt and whether it had been cleared—in resolution, IRD agreed with the Ombudsman’s recommendation to put the student back into the position he would have been without relying on misleading advice and to pay an ex gratia payment of $2,400 which was credited to the loan account
  • Inland Revenue Department’s unreasonable use of discretion to withhold information under the Tax Administration Act

    Case notes
    IRD refused to provide details of internal investigation of complaint under s 81(4) of the Tax Administration Act 1994—the information the complainant wanted concerned an investigation into his allegation of improper actions by IRD staff—Ombudsman found that the Commissioner’s discretion to withhold the information was unreasonable because the complainant was entitled to information about an investigation concerning him—IRD agreed with the Ombudsman’s decision and made most of the information available
  • Inland Revenue Department asked to compensate complainant following errors made on GST claim

    Case notes
    IRD failed to provide reasons for decisions to refuse a GST refund claim—there was no evidence for the basis of the refusal but the claim was accepted when similar supporting evidence was provided from another source—IRD gave no explanation for the change of decision—claimant sought compensation for unnecessary expenditure he had incurred to support his claim—Ombudsman found against IRD for errors made and IRD agreed to make an ex gratia payment of $1500 to the complainant
  • Inland Revenue Department agrees to review decision to withhold information under Tax Administration Act

    Case notes
    Inland Revenue withheld information requested by taxpayer relating to audit and prosecution and contained on taxpayer’s income tax review file and penal action file—the reason for withholding was pursuant to s 81(4)(I) of Tax Administration Act—the Department was encouraged to reconsider the discretion used in this case in light of Tax Disputes Resolution Procedures introduced subsequent to the decision having been made—IRD agreed and on review released most of the information, hence the investigation was closed as the complaint was resolved
  • Inland Revenue agrees to write-off Child Support debt in circumstances

    Case notes
    Woman was overpaid Child Support when the child was no longer in custodian’s care—despite advising the then Department of Social Welfare (now Ministry of Social Development) and the then Child Support Agency, Inland Revenue Department advised custodian she needed to repay payments—complainant custodian claimed she had no means of knowing payments were being made incorrectly—Ombudsman’s investigation indicated appropriate action had not been taken by the Department when the complainant made inquiries—as a result, IRD agreed to write-off the debt in accordance with s152 of the Child Support Act 1991 and apologise to complainant
  • Department of Conservation resolves impasse concerning ivory-key piano held by New Zealand Customs

    Case notes
    Refusal to release piano imported from United Kingdom—family heirloom from 1920s—need for approval of Department of Conservation under CITES because of ivory content—conflict between New Zealand legislation implementing CITES and European Community Regulations—impasse resolved by acceptance of statutory declaration by family—conflict to be raised with CITES Secretariat
  • Request for papers presented to Government leading to decision to withdraw troops from Bosnia

    Case notes
    Request for papers presented to Government leading to decision to withdraw troops from Bosnia—extensive deletions made under ss 6(a) and 6(b)—some further information released following the investigation and review