7 Nov 2013

Parliament considers adopting privacy principles

6:32 pm on 7 November 2013

Parliament is considering adopting a set of privacy principles to help protect MPs and journalists.

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff told Parliament's privileges committee on Thursday that adopting the principles would help ensure there are no future disclosures of private information.

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff.

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff. Photo: SUPPLIED

The committee is holding hearings into the release of the phone and email records of United Future leader Peter Dunne and Fairfax reporter Andrea Vance to the inquiry investigating the leak of the report on the Government Communications Security Bureau.

MPs on the committee are now trying to decide what rules need to be put in place to stop it happening again.

Mrs Shroff says the adopting the principles in the Privacy Act could help.

"I'm not suggesting that the Privacy Act should apply as such - that's been well established that Parliament needs to operate within its own sphere - but clearly, it might be useful for the Privacy Act principles to be used as some sort of a guide within the Parliamentary precinct when difficulties occur over the use of information."

Mrs Shroff says it is possible that such principles could be adopted as part of Parliament's Standing Orders.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the Speaker should be responsible for deciding whether information should be released.