News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Privacy Commissioner On Guthrie Tests



I have considered the judgments of Justices Salmon and Morris regarding the use of a blood sample taken and retained on the Guthrie card. The public policy issues were argued but are not traversed in detail in the judgments. I am not aware whether there will be any appeal.

There are privacy issues as well as other issues of public policy involved in making these blood samples available for purposes of genetic identification. It is, as far as parents are concerned, an unexpected use of the baby's body sample given for health purposes only.

I intend to enquire generally into the collection, retention, use and disclosure of these samples and to see if there appear to be any changes which ought to be made in the law, information supplied to parents, retention of the samples and to consider the implications of their use and disclosure in civil and criminal cases.

It is important that parents have confidence enough in these matters to give their consent in the interests of their babies.

I will consult widely including the Ministry of Health and the Health and Disability Commissioner, consumer and professional groups.

I will consider whether any changes to the Health Information Privacy Code 1994 ought to be considered.

At this stage I cannot predict how long my enquiries will take.

BH Slane
Privacy Commissioner
17 August 1999

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Renée, Wystan Curnow, Michael Harlow:: PM's Awards For Literary Achievement

Feminist and working-class stories, poetry as song, and a deeper understanding of New Zealand art – these are just some of the frontiers explored by this year’s winners of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement. More>>


It's A Coo: Kererū Crowned Bird Of The Year For 2018

With a whoosh-whoosh, the kererū has swooped to glory for the first time, in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition. More>>


Mustelids: Zealandia Traps Weasel Intruder

Zealandia has successfully trapped a weasel discovered within the protected wildlife sanctuary... The female weasel was found in a DOC200 trap by a Zealandia Ranger, at the southern end of the sanctuary where the animal was first detected. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Stray Echoes Leave No Trace

Writer and director Dustin Feneley's feature debut is a beautifully lyrical and cinematic tone poem that brings an unflinching eye to loneliness and isolation. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland