This is a single section from Chapter 8. Read the full chapter here.

Have the Privacy Commissioner, the Ministry of Justice and the Government Chief Privacy Officer (GCPO) been consulted?

The Privacy Commissioner, the Ministry of Justice and, when appropriate, the GCPO should be consulted when developing new policies and legislation that may affect the privacy of individuals.

The Privacy Commissioner and Ministry of Justice should always be consulted where policy and legislative proposals potentially affect the privacy of individuals.[1] In addition, the following uses of information raise specific issues on which further advice should also be sought from legal advisers, the Privacy Commissioner, and the Ministry of Justice:

  • Public register— A database or register that contains personal information and that members of the public can search through.[2]
  • Personal information sharing— including either approved information sharing agreements (under Part 7 Subpart 1 of the Privacy Act) or information matching programmes (under Part 7 Subpart 4 of the Privacy Act).[3]
  • Transfer out of New Zealand— Information privacy principle 12 sets out when an agency may disclose information to a foreign person or entity in relation to information privacy principle 11. Information sent outside New Zealand may no longer have the protection of the Privacy Act 2020 or other New Zealand laws or values. Also, the receiving jurisdiction may not have comparable safeguards to those found in New Zealand law. An appropriate level of additional safeguards should therefore be provided after consideration of the grounds in principle 12.

If the proposed legislation involves the management and governance of privacy in the provision of State services, the GCDO[4] should be consulted.[5]

Statistics New Zealand, which leads the government’s work on data and analytics, should be consulted on proposed approved information sharing agreements.

If legislation is to propose sharing court information, the Ministry of Justice should be consulted and consideration given to consulting the judicial branch (through the Ministry of Justice).[6]


[1] The Privacy Commissioner has a number of functions in respect of privacy, including examining proposed legislation that makes provision for the collection of personal information by any public sector agency or the disclosure of personal information by one public sector agency to another: Privacy Act 2020, section 17(1). The Ministry of Justice administers the Privacy Act 2020.

[2] Privacy Commissioner What’s a public register? (2013)

[3] Privacy Commissioner Approved Information Sharing Agreements (2015)

[4] The GCPO leads an all of Government approach to privacy, including setting standards, developing guidance, building capability within agencies, and providing assurance to Government.

[5] Note the Cabinet Manual departmental consultation expectation: Cabinet Office Cabinet Manual 2017 at 5.19-5.20; Cabinet Office CabGuide Cabinet paper consultation with departments.

[6] “Court information” means information held by the Ministry of Justice on behalf of the Court, as described in Schedule 2 of the Senior Courts Act 2016 and in Schedule 1 of the District Court Act 2016.

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