How to get hold of our information (OIA requests)

We’re an open book. Find out where to access the public information we hold and how to ask for other information from us.

You can find our information in many places: our website, reports, online databases, our media releases and social media posts.

If there is something you want to know – and if you can’t find what you are looking for in the information we have online – you can contact us to ask to ask for information we may not have published.

This is generally known as an “OIA request” because the right to ask government agencies for their information is set out in the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA).

Download a copy of the Official Information Act 1982 (pdf 653KB)

Read our transparency statement for our information-gathering activities

How to ask for information from the EPA Plus

There are a number of ways you can ask us for information:

  • email your request to ministerials@epa.govt.nz
  • send a letter to: the OIA team, Environmental Protection Authority, Private Bag 63002, Wellington, 6140
  • deliver a written request in person to our reception at Level 10, Grant Thornton House, 215 Lambton Quay, Wellington
  • call us on 04 916 2426

You can ask us for:

  • written documents and reports
  • our internal and external correspondence, such as emails
  • video and audio recordings
  • maps and photographs
  • other information, such as databases

What happens once we receive your request

We will confirm that we have received your request, and will send a response within 20 working days.

We will find out if we hold the information you are after. If we don’t, but we know the organisation that does, we will send your request there.

If you’re after a lot of information, or if we need to talk to other organisations, we may need more time to reply to you. If this is the case, we will always let you know when we expect to reply. (Note: over the Christmas holiday period, we may take a little longer to reply.)

Sometimes – if finding, gathering and preparing the information for release will take a lot of time – we may charge a fee. This doesn’t happen often, and if it does we always get in touch with you to confirm that you wish to proceed with your request. We can also work with you to narrow your query, if you prefer.

Information that we cannot or will not release

Every now and then we refuse a request, and sometimes we withhold information, but we always explain why. If your request is for something that is already available online, we will tell you where to find it. There are other cases where we might withhold part of the information or decline your request if, for example:

  • we are concerned about the privacy of a person that is mentioned in a document
  • the information might be commercially sensitive
  • releasing the information might prevent us from doing our jobs of providing free and frank advice to ministers.

If you want to know more about why we might refuse parts of a request, check out sections 6, 9 and 18 of the OIA.

Download a copy of the OIA (pdf 653KB)

Contact us to discuss your request

Phone: 04 916 2426

Email: ministerials@epa.govt.nz

Tips for making OIA requests Plus
  • Be specific. This helps us find what you want faster.
  • Check whether we are likely to hold the information. Make sure the information doesn’t belong to another government agency, such as the Ministry for the Environment, WorkSafe New Zealand or the Department of Conservation.
  • If you are looking for specific information, give us some detail. You don’t have to explain why you want the information, but sometimes giving us some context or a more detailed description helps us to find things more easily.
  • If you are asking for a particular document, name it or give us a description with some details, such as the author, date or topic.
  • If there are certain types of information you’re not interested in (e.g. draft documents, emails), let us know.
  • If you are looking for information about a certain topic over a period of time, be specific about the timeframe.
  • If you are asking about why a decision or recommendation was made by the EPA, say so in your request.
  • Please contact us to discuss your request if you are not sure how to word it. This will help the person responsible for answering your request to understand what you are asking for.
  • If your request is urgent, explain why and tell us when you hope to receive our reply.

Download this template if you need some help writing your letter (docx 21KB)

Our responses to recent OIA requests Plus

People ask us frequently about some topics. Check our recent OIA responses to see if we’ve already answered your question.

Requests received recently

The OIA requests we received in February 2019

Date received

Organisation

Request

1 February 2019

Member of public

Ministerial work program OIA, to be drafted by MFE. EPA to provide the "Minister's Letter of Expectation to the EPA", which is already public.

11 February 2019

Member of public

Please provide copies of all reports you have regarding the 2018 aerial application of compound 1080 toxin in the Mapara area of the North Island of New Zealand.

15 February 2019

Radio NZ

  • A full list and/or map (if there is one) of any sites nationwide where PFAS has been detected showing (where this information is available): The type of PFAS; Test results showing exact levels of PFOS, PFHxS (or a combination of those 2) and PFOA at each site where any of these chemicals exceed any of the main guidelines pertaining to surface water, groundwater, soil and biota; The source or suspected source of the PFAS contamination; Any ongoing or further sampling or tests expected at that site.
  • A list detailing any EPA plan or programme for further sampling, tests, investigations or remediation of any contaminated matter.
  • Any prosecution or sanction, ongoing or in the last 12 months, of any type by any govt agency including EPA or local body authority, that EPA is aware of if not responsible for, of any party related to any form of PFAS contamination at any time.

18 February 2019

Greenpeace NZ

OMV has received EPA approval for an 11-well offshore exploration and appraisal programme. Please could you provide copies of:

  • the Environmental Impact Assessment supplied by OMV for this programme;
  • the Marine Consent Application supplied by OMV for this programme; and
  • a copy of the decision report.

21 February 2019

Green Party

All EPA internal communications, including notes, regarding glyphosate for 2015 and 2016.

26 February 2019

Greenpeace NZ

Questions in regards to the EPA investigation into PFOS firefighting foams:

  • Is the investigation complete? If not, when do you expect to complete the investigation?
  • Have any charges been laid?

26 February 2019

Member of public

Questions regarding Trans-Tasman Resources application

27 February 2019

Member of public

Follow up questions from response provided to a previous enquiry on 26/02

The OIA requests we received in October and November 2018

Date received

Organisation

Subject

17 September 2018

Forest and Bird

Questions about the legal status and environmental impact of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

5 October 2018

Climate Justice Taranaki

Whether legal advice sought about joint processing of EEZ applications in the September 2018 decision and any reports or correspondence.

12 October 2018

Member of public

Any test results over a 50 year period of fluoridation levels in the environment and people to compare with levels measured after the use of 1080.

16 October 2018

Member of public

Questions regarding dust from 1080, brodifacoum and other VTAs.

16 October 2018

Whangarei District Council

How many times (and in which years) the Environmental Protection Authority has formally advised the Minister for the Environment that it considers that insufficient or unnecessary inspection and enforcement action has been taken by WorkSafe (or its predecessor agencies) under section 99 of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 since the inception of that Act?

17 October 2018

Member of public

A copy of the following document and all related notes: Lowe M, 1994. 1080 in honey from possum baits Rahotu, Taranaki. Taranaki Healthcare May.

17 October 2018

Independent News

Information about expenditure on the recent OMV hearing.

19 October 2018

Member of public

The permit holder name, area covered by the permission and permission expiry date for current Aquathol permissions. 

10 October 2018

Not released

Copy of the file relating to contamination of 230 Marsden Point Road.

8 November 2018

Mahony Burrowes Horner

Why a previous OIA requesting copy of the August 2018 PFOS Management Plan prepared by GHD for Nelson Airport was declined.

23 October 2018

Sustainability NZ

Information between the EPA, ministers and MfE relating to the reassessment process and any proposed change to the law regarding this.

15 November 2018

Member of public

How much of the 50,000m3 limit that CRL has dumped this year?

29 November 2018

Not released

Copy of The EPA in 5 to 10 Years PowerPoint – Tuesday 28 August.

23 November 2018

Ecolibrium Biologicals

Original part 5 applications documents for three HSNO applications, HSNO approval no HSR001654, HSR007942 and HSR001747.

26 November 2018

Greenpeace NZ

Use of PFOS by Shell in Taranaki.