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Official information request (LGOIMA)

The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) gives everyone the right to request official information held by Council. 

Read about LGOIMA below and find out how you can make an official information request.

The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA)

The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) gives everyone the right to request official information held by Council. Council holds a large amount of official information including reports, emails, policies, documents, and databases.

The LGOIMA states that any information held by Council is subject to LGOIMA and can be requested.

This is a key principle of LGOIMA and the information you request has to be made available unless there is a good reason for withholding it. This key principle is always kept in mind when Council responds to your request for official information.

The type of information you can request is not limited to documents. The type of information that can requested includes:

  • written documents, reports, memos, letters, notes, and emails 
  • non-written information, such as material stored on or generated by computers and databases, video and tape recordings, maps and photographs
  • information that is known to an agency but which has not yet been recorded in writing or otherwise.

If you want to request official information from Council, you can complete our online form at the bottom of this page, or lodge your request in writing. Please email written requests to  or send to:

Attention: Chief Executive and Mayor
Buller District Council
P O Box 21, Westport 7866

For more information and guidance read the making official information requests guide (pdf 964Kb).

Council must respond to requests as soon as reasonably practicable and no later than 20 working days from receiving the request. In most instances, staff will try to get the information out to you as soon as possible. Urgent requests can be made, but the reasons for making an urgent request must be specified.

The first hour and first 20 pages of information are free.

Council may charge for official information in accordance with the Fees and Charges schedule in Council’s Annual Plan. Under clause 13(4) of LGOIMA Council can request the amounts due are paid in advance of the release of information requested. Go to our Annual Plan’s Fees and Charges  to find out how much it might cost.

Land Information Memorandums (LIMs) are subject to a separate timeframe and charging regime.

There are several reasons for withholding requests for information made under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

Under the Act, Council may withhold information for specific reasons. If so, Council will explain the reason why in its response to your request.

Key reasons for withholding are:

Administrative reasons

  • Making the information available would be contrary to an enactment or constitute contempt of Court or Parliament.
  • The information requested is or will soon be publicly available.
  • The information requested does not exist or cannot be found.
  • The information requested cannot be made available without substantial collation or research.
  • The information requested is not held by the Council and we are not aware of another local authority or government organisation that might hold the information that we could transfer the request to.
  • The request is frivolous and vexatious or for trivial information.

Conclusive reasons for refusal – making the information available would be likely to:

  • Prejudice the maintenance of the law including the prevention, investigation, and detection of offences and the right to a fair trial; or
  • Endanger the safety of any person.

Other reasons
The Council is required to assess whether each of the following withholding reasons is outweighed by other considerations which render it desirable in the public interest to make the information available.

Withholding the information is necessary to:

  • Protect the privacy of natural persons;
  • Protect information where the making available would disclose a trade secret or would be likely unreasonably to prejudice the commercial position of a person;
  • Avoid serious offence to tikanga Māori or avoid disclosure of the location of a waahi tapu (relates to Resource Management Act 1991 matters);
  • Protect information which is subject to an obligation of confidence or which a person has been or could be compelled to provide under the authority of any enactment;
  • Avoid prejudice to measures protecting public health and safety;
  • Avoid prejudice to measures that prevent or mitigate material loss to members of the public;
  • Maintain the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions by or between members, officers, or employees of Council or to protect them from improper pressure or harassment;
  • Maintain legal professional privilege;
  • Enable Council to carry out, without prejudice or disadvantage, commercial activities;
  • Enable Council to carry out, without prejudice or disadvantage, negotiations (including commercial and industrial negotiations);
  • To prevent the disclosure or use of official information for improper gain or improper advantage.

If a non-natural person (such as a company or organisation) makes a request for its personal information, it has a right to access that information (under section 23) unless one of the grounds for refusal in section 26 applies.

If you are unhappy with the information you received, or the decision to withhold information, fees charged, the time frame to process your request, or how Council has dealt with your request, you are able to have the decision reviewed by the Office of the Ombudsmen.

If you are not happy with the outcome of your request made under the Privacy Act you can contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Official information request form