Request official information

People in New Zealand can request government information (official information) and can expect it to be made available unless there is a good reason to withhold it.

The Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) enables citizens, permanent residents, visitors to New Zealand, and body corporates registered or with a place of business in New Zealand, to make a request for official information held by government agencies, including the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Before making a request

Before making a request please check our other sources of information. You may find the information you require is already available:

You may also wish to consider whether the information you are requesting is likely to be covered by our secrecy provisions (see below for further information on our secrecy provisions.

Making a request

To make a request for information to the SFO, please submit your request using our online request form.   Your request should be as clear and specific as you can possibly make it.

Please ensure you provide your name, a contact address (email or postal) and the details of the information you want. We may ask you for more details if required. 

If you make your request by phone, we will either confirm it in writing ourselves or, if we’re not sure what you are seeking, we may ask you to confirm it in writing.

The State Services Commission provide advice on tips for requesting information and guidance on how agencies will respond.

How long will it take?

We will acknowledge your request and are required by law to give you our decision on your request as soon as possible, and no later than 20 working days after we receive your request.

If your request is for a large amount of information, or we need to consult with others, we may extend the timeframe to respond. We will advise you if this is the case and provide you with details of the revised timeframe. 

What does it cost?

Requesting official information is free, however we can charge a reasonable amount if it will take a lot of work to supply the information requested. If this is likely to happen we will advise you before we prepare our response. Any charges will be in line with the Ministry of Justice Charging Guidelines.

What if I'm not satisfied?

You may wish to contact us in the first instance to see if we can resolve the issue.

You can make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman if you:

  • have concerns regarding the decision we made on your request
  • were unhappy about the way your request was treated or processed.

These concerns can relate to the withholding of information, extending the timeframe to respond to you, any charges for providing the information you have requested, delays in providing you with a decision or the information, or your request being transferred.

The Office of the Ombudsman can investigate and review our decision and may make a recommendation to us if it is considered appropriate.

Maintaining secrecy under the Serious Fraud Office Act 1990

Under section 36 of the Serious Fraud Office Act 1990 (the SFO Act), all members of the SFO are required to maintain secrecy in relation to information supplied to or obtained by the SFO through the exercise of its investigation powers. Secrecy will also extend to material that is based on such information including SFO investigation reports or summaries.

The secrecy provisions are important as they provide an assurance that, subject to certain limited exceptions, the information the SFO obtains through the use of its powers will only be used in the detection, investigation and prosecution of serious or complex fraud. Accordingly, when we consider requests made under the OIA that relate to information covered by secrecy, we can only disclose this information if one or more of the criteria set out in s36 (2) of the SFO Act are met.

It is unlikely that we will be able to provide you detail on an SFO case (active or closed), outside of the information provided in our Current cases or Media releases sections.