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Report 40

Review of the Official Information Act 1982

October 1997

Wellington, New Zealand

Table of Contents

The Law Commission is an independent, publicly funded, central advisory body established by statute to undertake the systematic review, reform and development of the law of New Zealand. Its purpose is to help achieve law that is just, principled, and accessible, and that

reflects the heritage and aspirations of the peoples of New Zealand.

The Commissioners are:

The Honourable Justice Baragwanath – President
Joanne Morris obe
Judge Margaret Lee
DF Dugdale
Denese Henare onzm

The Director of the Law Commission is Robert Buchanan

The office is at 89 The Terrace, Wellington
Postal address: PO Box 2590, Wellington 6001, New Zealand
Document Exchange Number: sp 23534
Telephone: (04) 473–3453, Facsimile: (04) 471–0959

Report/Law Commission, Wellington, 1997

issn 0113–2334 isbn 1–877187–10–0

This report may be cited as: nzlc r40

Also published as Parliamentary Paper E 31AC

7 October 1997

Dear Minister

I am pleased to submit to you Report 40 of the Law Commission, Review of the Official Information Act 1982, in response to your reference to report on certain aspects of the Act. The Commission has taken the opportunity to comment on certain issues affecting the operation of the Act which fall outside the terms of reference, but which are of major importance.

We are satisfied that, in general, the Act works relatively effectively to further its stated purposes. Since 1982 there has been a substantial increase in the availability of official information. Public participation in the making of laws and policies, and the accountability of Ministers and officials, has been enhanced.

This report identifies a number of factors which inhibit the effective operation of the Act, and as a result the wider availability of official information.

The Commission recommends the enactment of a number of specified amendments to the Official Information Act 1982, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, and the Ombudsmen Act 1975. Also of importance are administrative steps to ensure that the legislation operates more smoothly. We are confident that these measures will ensure that the Official Information Act continues to serve as a model for freedom of information legislation.

Yours sincerely

The Hon Justice Baragwanath

The Hon Douglas Graham
Minister of Justice
Parliament House

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