The key purposes of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 are to:progressively increase the availability of official information held by agencies, and promote the open and public transaction of business at meetings to enable more effective public participation in decision-making, as well as promote the accountability of members and officials protect official information and the deliberations of local authorities to the extent consistent with the public interest and the preservation of personal privacy.and protecting it where necessary .
Any individual or group  may make a request for official information. This can be made to anyone in the council and does not need to refer to the LGOIMA. The LGOIMA contains rules for handling requests and provides a right to complain to the Ombudsman in certain situations.
The principle of availability
A fundamental principle is that official information should be made available unless one or more of the grounds for withholding (which are listed in LGOIMA) applies . This is the ‘principle of availability’ and should always be kept in mind when considering how best to respond to a request.
The LGOIMA also contains provisions dedicated to the conduct of council meetings. With some exceptions, Part 7 requires that:
Meetings are publicly notified
Agendas, reports and minutes are publicly available
Meetings are open to the public unless there is good reason for excluding them.Members of the public can ask the ombudsman to investigate if dissatisfied with the council’s conduct of meetings.