The CPPA executive also works on supporting members with curly questions. We go to the source to find out the answers …

Question to Ministry of Justice on behalf of members …

To whom it may concern

A wondering we have at our local Canterbury Primary Principals Association – we like many government agencies, are subject to a number of OIA which takes us some time to research, respond. We wondered if we can charge for this work to provide the information requested?

Answer:

Thank you for your enquiry. The short answer is you can charge for OIAs but it’s often better to ask the requester to clarify the scope of their request first (bearing in mind you should do so within seven days of receipt of the request).

Substantial collation and research are good grounds for refusal, particularly if the requester declines to refine the scope of your request. You can also advise a requester you have ‘interpreted their request as being for…’ but I recommend you endeavour to re-scope in the first instance.

Some requesters will obtain grants to pay OIA charges, so ensure any proposed charges are accurate to avoid further expense to the school concerned.

The Ministry publishes charging guidelines, found here: https://www.justice.govt.nz/about/official-information-act-requests/directory-of-official-information/charging-guidelines-for-oia-requests/

The Ombudsman’s website is also helpful concerning charging: https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/resources/charging-guide-charging-official-information-under-oia-and-lgoima and around substantial collation and research: https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/resources/substantial-collation-or-research-guide-section-18f-oia-and-section-17f-lgoima

I hope this is helpful and come back to me if you need to.

Ngā mihi,

Jan

Jan Morison

Team Leader | Ministerial Relations and Services

Office of the Chief Executive

DDI 04 4662188 |Ext 64158

jan.morison@justice.govt.nz