Official Information Requests
This page outlines how to access official information from the Council.
How to make Requests for Official Information
Requests for official information (under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 or the Privacy Act 1993) may be written or oral, and should be directed in the first instance to:
The Chief Executive
Porirua City Council
PO Box 50-218
Telephone: (04) 237 5089
Fax: (04) 237 6384
Under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (the Act) any person may request information from the Council. Any request for information is a request made the Act. You do not have to say you are making a request under the Act.
Once a request is made the Council must supply the information unless reason exists for withholding it.
The Act says that information may be withheld if release of the information would:
- endanger the safety of any person
- prejudice maintenance of the law
- compromise the privacy of any person
- reveal confidential or commercially sensitive information
- cause offence to tikanga Maori or would disclose the location of waahi tapu
- prejudice public health or safety
- compromise legal professional privilege
- disadvantage the local authority while carrying out negotiations or commercial activities
- allow information to be used for improper gain or advantage.
The Council must answer requests within 20 working days (although there are certain circumstances where this time frame may be extended). The Council may charge for official information under guidelines set down by the Ministry of Justice.
Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987
With the enactment of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, access to official information has been formalised.
The main purposes of this Act are:
(a) To provide for the availability to the public of official information held by local authorities, and to promote the open and public transaction of business at meetings of local authorities.
(b) To provide for proper access by each person to official information relating to that person.
(c) To protect official information and the deliberations of local authorities to the extent consistent with the public interest and the preservation of personal privacy.
There are two categories of information defined by the Act with differing rules for dealing with requests and different review procedures. The categories are OFFICIAL INFORMATION and PERSONAL INFORMATION.
"Personal information" means any official information held about an identifiable person. The only persons who have a legal right to information about a person (natural person, or group whether incorporated or unincorporated) are the subjects of that information or their authorised agent.
"Official Information" is defined as any information held by a local authority. The Act also specifies different types of information which are not included as official information being exempt from the Act such as library or museum material. Information on the administrative affairs of a library or museum and their operations as departments of a local authority are not exempt.