27 Mar 2012

Government to overhaul privacy laws

6:51 pm on 27 March 2012

The Government has announced it is going to overhaul the privacy laws, with more powers going to the Privacy Commissioner.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Government will repeal and re-enact the Privacy Act following its review by the Law Commission.

Ms Collins says the current privacy law has been in place for almost 20 years and predates the creation of the internet.

She says huge changes to technology and information flows have occurred during that time and have overtaken the laws.

The Minister says the Commissioner will get more powers under the planned changes.

"The Privacy Commissioner is very keen to have the ability to audit agencies, so that she can see what's going wrong, and how to fix it."

Ms Collins says further announcements regarding specific policy proposals will be made later this year.

Commissioner Marie Shroff has welcomed the announcement, saying the need for reform is urgent.

She says the Law Commission has proposed a package of sensible, practical and balanced recommendations, and she hopes they are accepted into the new law.