11 May 2020
Mr George Morrison
By email: via fyi.org.nz
Dear Mr Morrison
I write to you on behalf of the Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier. Thank you for your request
received via FYI.org.nz on 24 April 2020.
While Ombudsmen are not subject to the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA), successive
Ombudsmen have endeavoured to respond within the spirit of the legislation while having regard
to confidentiality requirements in the Ombudsmen Act 1975. I am responding to you on that
At the time the government was considering the use of its powers under the Epidemic
Preparedness Act 2006, officials from the Ministry of Justice and Department of Internal Affairs
made enquiries of the Chief Ombudsman’s staff about whether temporary amendments to the
OIA and Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA), respectively,
would be necessary or desirable in the circumstances. No officials proposed the suspension of the
OIA or the LGOIMA in its entirety.
The Chief Ombudsman’s staff advised them that, with the exception of certain changes to Part 7
of LGOIMA intended to allow local authorities to hold meetings while under lockdown,1 they saw
no need to temporarily amend any other part of the Acts.
The Chief Ombudsman also discussed the issue with the Solicitor-General, and they agreed that
the law was robust and flexible enough and there were no provisions which required temporary
amendment or suspension.
Manager – Strategic Advice
1 For more information about these changes, see the relevant part of the guide: FAQs about official information
requests during COVID-19
, available at: https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/resources/faqs-about-official-
last accessed 7 May 2020.