The Official Information Act

Maori with Lived Experience of Disability, and New Zealand Disability Data: a case study


  • Paula King
  • Gabrielle Baker
  • Bernadette Jones
  • Tristram Ingham



disability, Maori, Official Information Act, Waitangi Tribunal


This article presents a case study of the use of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA), for research commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal in 2018 into disability-related issues for Mäori. The responses of Crown organisations to OIA requests examined in this research highlight both issues with inconsistent application of the OIA, and limited access to information held and made available by Crown agencies for Mäori with lived experience of disability.1 The statutory time frame for responses to OIA requests was rarely met. Organisations also resisted providing information, while crucial information for ensuring equity for Mäori with lived experience of disability was often not able to be released because it was not collected at all. The impact of these limitations is discussed, particularly pertaining to core government roles of performance monitoring and ensuring accountability. In addition to querying who benefits from, and is privileged by, the OIA and its application, questions are raised around the necessary components of a legislation rewrite in order to deliver on a modern approach to official information that ensures equitable, high-performing and truly democratic public administration.


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