Can you be charged for access to official information?
An agency may charge for the supply of official information, but not the time it takes to consider whether to release or withhold the requested information.
The charge must be ‘reasonable’ and regard may be had to the cost of the labour and materials involved in making the information available. The Ministry of Justice has published charging guidelines for official information requests. These apply to Government Departments, Crown Entities, State-owned Enterprises and all other organisations which are subject to the OIA. However, some local government agencies also use them as a guide in deciding and calculating charges.
Where an agency decides to charge for the provision of official information it should advise the requester of the estimated amount of the charge, how the charge has been calculated, whether all or part payment is required in advance, and of the right to seek a review by the Ombudsman of the estimated charge.
Last updated at 11:21AM on March 6, 2015