Environment Act 1986

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Ministry for the Environment
19 Power to obtain information


The Commissioner may from time to time require any person who in the Commissioner’s opinion is able to give any information relating to any matter which is being investigated or inquired into by the Commissioner to furnish to the Commissioner any such information and to produce any documents or papers or things which in the Commissioner’s opinion relate to any such matter and which may be in the possession or under the control of that person.


The Commissioner may summon before the Commissioner and examine on oath any person who in the Commissioner’s opinion is able to give any such information, and for that purpose may administer an oath. Every such examination by the Commissioner shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of section 108 of the Crimes Act 1961 (which relates to perjury).


Any person who is bound by the provisions of any enactment (other than the Public Service Act 2020 and the Official Information Act 1982) to maintain secrecy in relation to any matter or not to disclose any matter shall not be required to—


supply any information to the Commissioner; or


answer any question put by the Commissioner; or


produce any document, paper, or thing to the Commissioner—

if compliance with the requirement would be in breach of the obligation of secrecy or non-disclosure.


Every person shall have the same privileges in relation to the giving of information, the answering of questions, and the production of documents and papers and things in accordance with this section as witnesses have in any court.


Except on the trial of any person for perjury within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1961 in respect of his or her sworn testimony, no statement made or answer given by that or any other person in the course of any inquiry by or any proceedings before the Commissioner shall be admissible in evidence against any person in any court or at any inquiry or in any other proceedings, and no evidence in respect of proceedings before the Commissioner shall be given against any person.


No person shall be liable to prosecution for an offence against any enactment, other than this Act, by reason of compliance with any requirement of the Commissioner under this section.


Where any person is required by the Commissioner to attend before the Commissioner for the purposes of this section, that person shall be entitled to the same fees, allowances, and expenses as if he or she were a witness in a court, and the provision of any regulations in force under the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 shall apply accordingly. For the purposes of this subsection the Commissioner shall have the powers of a court under any such regulations to fix or disallow, in whole or in part, or increase the amounts payable thereunder.

Section 19(3): amended, on 7 August 2020, by section 135 of the Public Service Act 2020 (2020 No 40).

Section 19(7): amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).