Official Information Act (OIA) requests

​The Official Information Act 1982 is designed to make government activities more open and transparent to the public. It has two very important roles:

  • to make official information more freely available to the public; and
  • it protects official information to the extent consistent with the public interest.

Information will be made available unless there is a good reason to withhold it. The OIA sets out a number of reasons for which information may be withheld. These reasons include preservation of personal privacy and protection of information which has been received in confidence. However even where there is good reason for withholding it, information will still be released if there are overriding considerations which mean it is in the public interest to release it. More information about how the OIA operates can be found on the Office of the Ombudsman website.

Responses to OIA requests

Click here for Customs’ published responses to selected OIA requests.

The reply letter from Customs to the requestor explains what information, if any, has been withheld under the OIA and under which grounds. The requestor's name and address are removed.

Documents are only available in Adobe PDF format and are listed in release date order, with the most recently released responses at the top. 

Making an OIA request for information held by Customs

If you wish to make a request for information held by Customs please send an email to

We will to respond to you as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days after the day on which the request was received by Customs.

Please note that if your request is for a substantial amount of information or if gathering the information will require significant resources, there may be a charge for your request or we may refuse to provide the information because it cannot be made available without substantial collation or research.

If we propose to impose a charge, we will let you know what information is available and advise you of any charge before we proceed with your request. Any charge set will be in line with the Ministry of Justice Charging Guidelines (currently set at $38 per half hour after the first hour).

The type of information Customs holds includes:

  • statistical information on:
    • drug, weapon and counterfeit item interceptions
    • the number of arriving and departing travellers using SmartGate,
    • the number of transactions through the Trade Single Window
    • the amount of excise tax paid
    • the amount of revenue Customs collects on goods imported into New Zealand
  • internal reports on projects and programmes of work
  • information on our detector dogs and the drugs and cash they find
  • information relating to the movement of both people and goods across the border.

Latest OIA statistics

The number of OIA requests received and responded to.

1 October to 31 December 2016

​Border Ops (Airport and Marine) 15 ​Tariff 0
Human Resources 1 Policy 6
​Minister's office 2 Insurance claims 3
​Import, Export, and Trade ​30 ​Corporate 0
Media 57 ​Other 5
Travel movements ​15
​Parliament ​0
120 14

Note: These stats do not include the 148 requests received and actioned by Queenstown staff.

Note: The November 2016 earthquake impacted on Customs’ ability to meet all OIA response deadlines.
Affected requestors were advised of the delay in line with advice from the Office of the Ombudsman.                   


Click on the links below to view the number of OIA requests received and responded to in time.

1 October to 31 December 2016

1 July to 30 September 2016

Making a complaint

You can make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman if you have concerns regarding the way an OIA request was treated or processed by Customs. Those concerns can relate to the refusal to provide information, the breach of a statutory time frame, the decision to extend a time frame or impose a charge, or the imposition of conditions on the release of information.

The Ombudsman’s role is to investigate and review Customs’ decision. The Ombudsman does not release the withheld information itself but may issue a recommendation to Customs to release the information if the Ombudsman considers release appropriate.

This description was last updated on: Friday, 17 February 2017