NZ introduces new and improved privacy reforms

By Amy Sarcevic
Wednesday, 01 July, 2020

NZ introduces new and improved privacy reforms

A Bill to replace New Zealand’s 27-year-old Privacy Act has passed its third reading in Parliament, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced.

With a focus on early intervention and risk management — above complaint handling following a privacy breach — the Privacy Act 2020 promises to be more proactive and less reactive than its predecessor.

Key changes include enhanced powers for the Privacy Commissioner, better cross-border data flow protections, mandatory breach reporting and new criminal offences.

Andrew Little said the reforms were crucial with more than half of New Zealanders surveyed either ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about privacy and the data protection. This is despite 81% of the respondents being aware of the Privacy Act.

“The protections in the Privacy Bill are vitally important. The key purpose of the reforms is to promote and protect people’s privacy and give them confidence that their personal information is properly safeguarded,” Andrew Little said.

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards welcomed Parliament passing the new Act.

“The new Privacy Act provides a modernised framework to better protect New Zealanders’ privacy rights in today’s environment,” Edwards said.

“I am grateful for the cross-party support of Parliament on this issue. It is an endorsement of the significance of privacy as a universal human right that the Bill was passed with the multi-party support of the House.”

Many of the changes are based on recommendations from the Law Commission’s comprehensive 2011 review of New Zealand’s privacy laws.

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