By email: [FYI request #15789 email]
Ref: PMO 2021-123
Dear Terry Thomas
Official Information Act request relating to the 'They Are Us' movie
Thank you for your Official Information Act 1982 (the Act) request, received on 14 June 2021.
“communications and briefings sent to and from you [the Prime Minister] and/or your
office staff regarding the proposed film They Are Us sent, received or written in the time
period up til 11 June 2021.”
On Wednesday 9 June 2021 at 2:09 pm, the Deputy Chief Executive of Ministry for Culture
and Heritage (MCH) made a phone call to the Private Secretary Arts, Culture and Heritage in
this Office, notifying that MCH received advice from NZ Film Commission (NZFC) that a film
relating to the March 15 attacks was being announced in the next 24-48 hours.
The following day on Thursday 10 June 2021 at 11:29 am, the Private Secretary Arts, Culture
and Heritage made a phone call to NZFC requesting further information on the film. Following
this phone call, this Office received an email from NZFC with the production’s embargoed
press release and backgrounder. I have decided to release this email chain to you with some
information withheld under section 9(2)(a) of the Act, to protect the privacy of individuals.
Also in scope of your request are text messages between members of staff in this Office,
which I have made the decision to withhold in full under section 9(2)(g)(i) of the act, to maintain
the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions by or
between or to Ministers of the Crown or members of an organisation or officers and employees
of any department or organisation in the course of their duty.
There are no briefings which have been identified within the scope of your request.
Accordingly, this part of your request is refused under section 18(e) of the Act on the basis the
document alleged to contain the information requested does not exist.
The Prime Minister has stated publicly that she had no prior knowledge or involvement of the
film and confirmed that she only became aware of it following a message just prior to the
announcement. You may wish to refer to the following media articles where the Prime Minister
has discussed this:
• https:/ www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/christchurch-mosque-shootings-they-are-