26 Mar 2013

EQC breach prompts noisy scenes in Parliament

9:23 pm on 26 March 2013

Questions about last week's privacy breach by the Earthquake Commission prompted unruly scenes in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon as the Speaker, David Carter, struggled to control MPs.

Prime Minister John Key angered Opposition MPs by fobbing off questions about the breach.

John Key talking to reporters on the EQC leak.

John Key talking to reporters on the EQC leak. Photo: RNZ

The EQC has had to apologise twice for accidentally emailing information about 83,000 Canterbury earthquake claimants to someone outside the organisation.

Labour Party leader David Shearer pointed out a number of government agencies had now been responsible for serious privacy breaches and asked Mr Key what he was doing to prevent them.

The Prime Minister said government agencies were expected to use secure mail to protect confidential information but mistakes did happen.

"My understanding also is that the chief technology officer will once again be reiterating to those departments that that's the process that should be followed but I say, Mr Speaker, in the modern world of modern technology, people will make mistakes."

Mr Key repeatedly referred to the mistake Mr Shearer had made by not declaring his New York bank account to Parliament's register of pecuniary interests until this year.

It prompted a series of points of order, with Opposition MPs accusing the Speaker of giving Mr Key special treatment.