Transparency and scrutiny of executive action

Key statutes

  • Human Rights Act 1993
  • Independent Police Conduct Authority Act 1988
  • Privacy Act 2020
  • Official Information Act 1982
  • Ombudsmen Act 1975
  • Judicial Review Procedure Act 2016

Key secondary legislation

  • Human Rights Regulations 1993
  • Human Rights Review Tribunal Regulations 2002
  • Ombudsmen Rules 1989
  • Privacy Regulations 2020

Information/links to recent or currently underway reviews

  • Human Rights Act 1993: See Constitutional - human rights domestic

  • Privacy Act 2020: See Civil law - privacy

  • Official Information Act 1982: In March 2019, the Ministry engaged in public consultation on whether the OIA should be reviewed. Approximately 300 submitters provided feedback. The Minister of Justice has announced that he will consider the potential for a review of the OIA later in the parliamentary term.

  • Ombudsmen Act 1975: A partial review was completed in March 2019, which culminated in the passing of the Ombudsmen (Protection of Name) Amendment Act 2019. This Act restricts use of the name 'Ombudsman' to the Office of the Ombudsman, and public sector agencies. It did not address the core functions or powers of the Ombudsman.

In 2012, the Law Commission published The Public’s Right to Know: Review of the Official information Legislation. To date, it is the most exhaustive commentary on the system’s performance. The report recommended that the Office of the Ombudsmen not take on an oversight role in the operation of legislation, and should instead remain separate in its responsibility to investigate complaints and ensure the transparency of the Government. Instead, it signalled that the Ministry of Justice could be considered due to the role played in providing policy advice on constitutional and public law matters, a watchdog role that can be seen as encompassing official information.

See: The Public's Right to Know: Review of the Official Information Legislation(external link)

  • Judicial Review Procedures Act 2016: See Courts and Tribunals - process and powers (civil) section

Forward work

  • Human Rights Act 1993: See Constitutional - human rights domestic

  • Privacy Act 2020: See Civil rights - privacy

  • Ombudsmen Act 1975: While no review of the Act is planned, the Children’s Commission and Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System Legislation Bill will expand the powers and functions of the Ombudsman in relation to the Oranga Tamariki system. This Bill is expected to be introduced shortly. 

See: Strengthening independent oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system(external link)