41 Effect on agency's or Minister's functions

(1) An agency or Minister may refuse to deal with an access application or, if the agency or Minister is considering 2 or more access applications by the applicant, all the applications, if the agency or Minister considers the work involved in dealing with the application or all the applications would, if carried out—

(a) substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from their use by the agency in the performance of its functions; or

(b) interfere substantially and unreasonably with the performance by the Minister of the Minister's functions.

(2) Without limiting the matters to which the agency or Minister may have regard in making a decision under subsection (1), the agency or Minister must have regard to the resources that would have to be used—

(a) in identifying, locating or collating any documents in the filing system of the agency or the Minister's office; or

(b) in deciding whether to give, refuse or defer access to any documents, or to give access to edited copies of any documents, including resources that would have to be used—

(i) in examining any documents; or

(ii) in consulting in relation to the application with a relevant third party under section 37; or

(c) in making a copy, or edited copy, of any documents; or

(d) in notifying any final decision on the application.

(3) In deciding whether to refuse, under subsection (1), to deal with an access application, an agency or Minister must not have regard to—

(a) any reasons the applicant gives for applying for access; or

(b) the agency's or Minister's belief about what are the applicant's reasons for applying for access.