Official Information Act requests and accessing our information

We’re an open book. This page will help you find out where to access the public information we hold and how to ask for other information from us, including making an OIA request.

You can find our information in many places: our website, reports, online databases, our media releases and social media posts.

If there is something you want to know – and if you can’t find what you are looking for in the information we have online – you can contact us to ask to ask for information we may not have published.

This is generally known as an “OIA request” because the right to ask government agencies for their information is set out in the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA).

How to ask for information from us

There are a number of ways you can ask us for information:

  • email your request to ministerials@epa.govt.nz
  • send a letter to: the OIA team, Environmental Protection Authority, Private Bag 63002, Wellington, 6140
  • deliver a written request in person to our reception at Level 10, Grant Thornton House, 215 Lambton Quay, Wellington
  • call us on 04 916 2426.

You can ask us for:

  • written documents and reports
  • our internal and external correspondence, such as emails
  • video and audio recordings
  • maps and photographs
  • other information, such as databases.

What happens once we receive your request

We will confirm that we have received your request, and will send a response within 20 working days.

We will find out if we hold the information you are after. If we don’t, but we know the organisation that does, we will send your request there.

If you’re after a lot of information, or if we need to talk to other organisations, we may need more time to reply to you. If this is the case, we will always let you know when we expect to reply. (Note: over the Christmas holiday period, we may take a little longer to reply.)

Sometimes – if finding, gathering and preparing the information for release will take a lot of time – we may charge a fee. This doesn’t happen often, and if it does we always get in touch with you to confirm that you wish to proceed with your request. We can also work with you to narrow your query, if you prefer.

Information that we cannot or will not release

Every now and then we refuse a request, and sometimes we withhold information, but we always explain why. If your request is for something that is already available online, we will tell you where to find it. There are other cases where we might withhold part of the information or decline your request if, for example:

  • we are concerned about the privacy of a person that is mentioned in a document
  • the information might be commercially sensitive
  • releasing the information might prevent us from doing our jobs of providing free and frank advice to ministers.

If you want to know more about why we might refuse parts of a request, check out sections 6, 9 and 18 of the OIA.

Read the Official Information Act - New Zealand legislation website

Contact us to discuss your request

Phone: 04 916 2426

Email: ministerials@epa.govt.nz

Tips and useful links for making OIA requests Plus

Tips for making an OIA request

  • Be specific. This helps us find what you want faster.
  • Check whether we are likely to hold the information. Make sure the information doesn’t belong to another government agency, such as the Ministry for the Environment, WorkSafe New Zealand or the Department of Conservation.
  • If you are looking for specific information, give us some detail. You don’t have to explain why you want the information, but sometimes giving us some context or a more detailed description helps us to find things more easily.
  • If you are asking for a particular document, name it or give us a description with some details, such as the author, date or topic.
  • If there are certain types of information you’re not interested in (e.g. draft documents, emails), let us know.
  • If you are looking for information about a certain topic over a period of time, be specific about the timeframe.
  • If you are asking about why a decision or recommendation was made by the EPA, say so in your request.
  • Please contact us to discuss your request if you are not sure how to word it. This will help the person responsible for answering your request to understand what you are asking for.
  • If your request is urgent, explain why and tell us when you hope to receive our reply.

Useful links and resources for making a request

Download this template if you need some help writing your letter (docx, 21 KB)

Read information from the Office of the Ombudsman on making an OIA request

Check the Directory of Official Information to find out if it's the EPA or another agency that's likely to hold the information you want:

Directory of Official Information - Department of justice website

Our responses to recent OIA requests Plus

People ask us frequently about some topics. Check our recent OIA responses to see if we’ve already answered your question.

If the response indicates that documents were attached, please email ministerials@epa.govt.nz to request them.

OIA responses in 2020

OIA responses in 2019

Requests received recently