The People Demand Health Sci Data

The People Demand Health Sci Data

OIA’s potential wasted on entry rate requests

Over half of the Official Information Act (OIA) requests sent to the Uni through revolve around getting into health professional programmes. 40% of these were about getting into med.

Under the OIA, any citizen of Aotearoa New Zealand is able to ask for any official information held by a Government agency, and the agency legally has to respond within 20 working days of the request being made. is a website owned by media company NZME, where people can file OIAs which are then published online. 

In the last year (from August 2020), 62 OIA requests were made to the University of Otago, via the website. These requests asked for everything from whether the Uni planned to renovate Harlene’s house in 2020 (they didn’t), to the ethics application form for their nightmare jaw magnetoclamp (been there, done that) and the Uni’s contracts with Chinese universities (mostly redacted).  

However, of all the OIAs exhaustingly searched by Critic Te Arohi, one theme overwhelmingly stood out: getting into health professional programmes. 35 of the 62 requests made in the past year (59%) were related to getting into med, dent, pharmacy or physio. Like some sort of horrifying Groundhog Day, the vast majority of them were asking about the same things: entry score cutoffs or UCAT scores. For comparison, only seven OIAs were filed in the past year relating to law entry scores. 

Not surprisingly for anyone who has ever talked to a health sci, one course stood out far above the rest. 14 requests were made specifically for entry scores to get into the medical programme. Another seven people asked for dentistry entry scores, while six supremely ambitious individuals asked the Uni for entry scores for both dent and med.

The Uni may want to consider automating responses to such queries. A link to “Fuck You” by CeeLo Greene would suffice.

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2021.
Posted 2:57pm Sunday 22nd August 2021 by Denzel Chung.