Official Information requests
The Reserve Bank will publish responses to requests from regulated entities, industry bodies, and news media organisations. Responses to idiosyncratic requests from private individuals are unlikely to be published unless there is broad public interest in the subject matter. Publication will coincide with or follow soon after release to the requester. The Reserve Bank reserves the right to decide what responses it publishes and timing of publication.
Where information has been withheld from a response, the specific section of the Official Information Act that permits the Reserve Bank to withhold information is noted in the relevant documents.
The Reserve Bank Act, the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act, and the Non-Bank Deposit Takers Act require us to keep some information confidential. Information will be withheld from release when these laws require confidentiality. This is typically information used by the Reserve Bank when regulating and supervising banks, insurers, finance companies, credit unions, building societies and similar organisations.
The Official Information Act allows the Reserve Bank to charge for preparing information that we send in response to requests. When charging for responses to Official Information requests, the Reserve Bank works within the guidelines published by the Ministry of Justice - Official Information Act: Charging for Services. Charges are $38 per half hour of staff time after the first hour, and 20 cents per page for printed or copied material provided in response to a request, after the first 20 pages.
The Reserve Bank is resourced to meet disclosure obligations for a reasonable level of Official Information requests and generally will not impose charges for small, simple or infrequent requests. If requests are made for large amounts of information that require substantial collation and research, the Reserve Bank’s first step is to work with the requester to refine the request to a smaller scale or scope that is less likely to involve charges. Where request is still chargeable and likely to be expensive, we will give the requester further opportunity to refine the scope of the request and thereby reduce or eliminate charges.
Basis for charging
The cost of providing free responses to Official Information requests is generally borne by taxpayers. The Reserve Bank believes that requesters should bear some of the costs when requests are made for very large amounts of information, where a response to a request is particularly complex, or where individuals or organisations make very frequent requests.
Guidelines for charging
Charges will be imposed for responses when preparation of the response involves more than one hour of chargeable collation, research and preparation work. If the Reserve Bank decides that information requested can be made available, but that charges are appropriate, we will formally advise the requester of:
- our decision to release the information,
- the estimated amount of proposed charges,
- the basis for proposed charges, and
- the requester’s right to seek an Ombudsman’s review of the proposed charges.
Remission of charges
The need to pay charges may be modified or waived at the Reserve Bank’s discretion, if:
- charges might cause financial hardship for the requester; or
- releasing the information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the Reserve Bank and its work, and release of the information is not primarily for the benefit or interest of the requester; or
- if the information already in the public domain in a form which the requester could acquire without substantial cost.