Public Records Act 2005

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Reprint as at 30 June 2012

Public Records Act 2005

Public Act2005 No 40
Date of assent20 April 2005
Commencementsee section 2


Changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in this reprint.

A general outline of these changes is set out in the notes at the end of this reprint, together with other explanatory material about this reprint.

This Act is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs.


1 Title

2 Commencement

Part 1
Purpose, other preliminary provisions, and key administrative provisions

Subpart 1Purpose and other preliminary provisions

3 Purposes of Act

4 Interpretation

5 Variations to application of Act

6 Exclusions from application of Act

7 Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi)

8 Act binds the Crown

Subpart 2Key administrative provisions

Archives New Zealand (Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga)

9 Continuation of Archives New Zealand

Chief Archivist

10 Chief Archivist

11 Functions and duties of Chief Archivist

12 Chief Archivist to act independently

13 Delegations by Chief Archivist

Archives Council

14 Archives Council established

15 Function of Archives Council

16 Administrative matters

Part 2
Recordkeeping requirements

Subpart 1Key duties

17 Requirement to create and maintain records

18 Authority required to dispose of public records and protected records

Subpart 2Control of public records


19 Registers


20 Authority to dispose of public records


21 Mandatory transfer of public records

Deferral of transfer

22 Deferred transfer of public records

23 Transfer of public records

24 Temporary return of public archives to controlling public office


25 Discharge of public records

Approved repositories

26 Approval of repositories

Subpart 3Standards, inspection, reporting, and audit

27 Standards

28 Application and content of standards

29 Inspection powers

30 Exemptions

31 Direction to report to Chief Archivist

32 Annual report on recordkeeping

33 Independent audits of public offices

34 Audit of recordkeeping practices of Chief Archivist

35 Audit reports

Subpart 4Estray records, prescribed records, protected records, Ministers’ papers, and private records

Estray records

36 Inspection of estray records

37 Other requirements for estray records

Prescribed records

38 Prescribed records

39 Acquisition of prescribed records

Protected records of local authorities

40 Protected records of local authorities

41 Transitional provision

Parliamentary records, Ministers’ papers, private records, and other records

42 Chief Archivist may accept parliamentary records, Ministers’ papers, and private and other records

Part 3
Public access

Determination of access status as open or restricted

43 Requirement to classify access status

44 Basis for determining access status

Access status of local authority records

45 Requirement to classify access status of local authority records

46 Basis for determining access status of local authority records

Open access records

47 Public inspection of open access records

48 Publication or copying of public archives

49 Prohibition on public access or copying

Restricted access records

50 Period for which restricted access may apply

Part 4
Appeal process and miscellaneous provisions

Subpart 1Appeal process

51 Appeal to Minister by public office or by local authority

52 Commencement of appeal

53 Effect of appeal

54 Process of appeal

55 Recommendation of Archives Council

56 Decision of Minister

Subpart 2Miscellaneous provisions

57 Application of Copyright Act 1994

58 Application of Official Information Act 1982

59 Charges for services

60 Protection of names

Offences and penalties

61 Offences

62 Penalties

Regulation-making power

63 Regulations

Savings and transitional provisions

64 Savings

65 Transitional provisions

Repeals and amendments

66 Repeals

67 Amendments to enactments

Enactments amended

Public Records Amendment Act (No 2) 2010

Reprint notes