Number of requests for information

Nathan Weaver made this Official Information request to Ministry of Justice

The request was partially successful.

From: Nathan Weaver

Dear Ministry of Justice,

What is the total number of requests for information under terms of FOIA received by all government agencies of New Zealand in 2012 calendar year?

I need an overall number of requests in simple form (like '109111' or '5584012' etc), without detailed information on every agency, RECEIVED (not processed) during last calendar year.

Yours faithfully,

Nathan Weaver

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Joshua Grainger left an annotation ()

This information is going to be rather unlikely to be available. Due to the broad nature of New Zealand's Official Information Act a simple request such as "when does the library open?" is a request under the OIA.

In addition, it would be very unlikely that the Ministry of Justice would record OIA request numbers from other government agencies, especially given that it is known that some agencies (such as the Christchurch City Council) do not record the number of OIA requests that they themselves have received.

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Luke left an annotation ()

1. I also agree with Joshua's comments.

2. Information I have seen suggests that official statistics of OIA requests received across all-of-government are not kept. See the following pages (clauses are in parentheses) from the Law Commission’s review of the official information legislation, entitled ‘The public’s right to know’, published 2012 at:

p. 203 (10.45) in respect of statistics on cost
p. 296 (13.1 (d))
p. 313 (13.70-13.75)
p. 329 (13.134) in the UK
p. 394-395 (R107 & R110)

3. Steven Price’s 2005 paper at pages 5-6 is congruent with the Law Commission’s findings (

4. One alternative option would be to ask an agency or agencies that deal with the subject-matter of your topic for the total number of OIA requests that they have received. A list of agencies is at:

5. A second alternative option, is you could ask each of the central agencies -- which comprise the State Services Commission, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and The Treasury -- for the total number of requests they have each received. These agencies represent the corporate office of executive government and could be one indicator. You would then aggregate the number of requests received by each of those three agencies. Of course, some government agencies receive less OIAs and some receive a lot more. Agencies dealing with controversial issues for example.

6. Figures for 2012 on its own may not be so meaningful to the recipient of the information. Depending on how you are wanting to use the statistic of the number of requests received, you may want to consider whether a graph showing the trend across time would be a useful perspective. In this case, you would obviously need to request a total number from the past 3-4 years from your chosen agencies.

7. As you have done in your primary OIA request of 29 May 2013, you should make it clear that you are seeking a single rounded figure without a breakdown nor analysis.

8. Lastly, we don’t have "FOIA" in New Zealand. The Act and requests made pursuant to it, is reffered to as the 'OIA'.


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From: official correspondence
Ministry of Justice

Attachment Nathan Weaver.pdf
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Dear Mr Weaver,
Please find attached the response to your Official Information Act

Official Correspondence Team I Ministry of Justice

PO Box 180 I Wellington 

Phone +64 4 918 8800



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