Official Information Act

Start date
04 March 1997
04 473 3453
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Project Overview

This project reports on the law which should govern the action to be taken in a national emergency. The First Report on Emergencies: Use of the armed forces (NZLC R12 1990) was largely implemented by the Defence Act 1990. The Final Report addresses the balance of emergency powers. As its extent indicates, it covers a wide range of matters. The Commission recommends that when emergency powers are required they should be conferred in sectoral legislation, that is, legislation tailored to the needs of the particular kind of emergency.

Terms of Reference 

The terms of reference are to:

1. Examine sections 9(2)(f) and 9(2)(g) of the Official Information Act 1982, in particular the provisions relating to the confidentiality of advice (section 9(2)(f)(iv)) and the free and frank expression of opinion (section 9(2)(g)(i)), with a view to ascertaining whether it is possible to define more precisely the interests that are intended to be protected;
2. Examine the adequacy of sections 12(2) and 18(f) of the Act with particular reference to broadly defined requests and requests for large amounts of information;
3. Consider the appropriateness of the time limits set in sections 15(1) and 29A(1) of the Act;
4. Consider whether there should be an ability under section 15 of the Act to charge for time spent and expenses incurred in deciding whether or not to release information;
5. Consider the appropriateness of the rules set out in sections 15(4) and (5) of the Act;
6. Consider whether some or all of the grounds for refusal set out in section 18(d)-(f) of the Act should apply in relation to requests for personal information;
7. Consider, with particular reference to section 29A of the Act, what the responsibilities of decision makers should be vis a vis the Ombudsmen, where the decision maker's actions are subject to a review by the Ombudsmen;
8. Consider the appropriateness of the Order in Council procedure prescribed by sections 32-34 of the Act and whether there should be any change to those provisions;
9. Consider whether there should be special rules governing the treatment of some or all classes of diplomatic documents.