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Privacy breaches a warning for tax share plans

Privacy breaches a warning for tax share plans

The near-daily revelations of major privacy breaches dogging this Government raise serious questions over plans to radically increase sharing of taxpayers’ private information, say Labour’s Revenue spokesperson David Cunliffe and Police spokesperson Kris Faafoi.

Under the Government’s proposal unnamed officials in Inland Revenue, Police and other agencies would make decisions about when and how to share previously private taxpayer information.

David Cunliffe said: “Given the litany of privacy and information security disasters in recent weeks, including three today, New Zealanders will be very concerned about National’s plans to pass around their personal tax information.

“It’s not like people have faith in IRD – that department breached 6,300 people’s privacy in the space of 12 months.”

Kris Faafoi said: “Labour is always resolute in fighting serious crime including white-collar crime and tax evasion. However adequate safeguards must be in place to protect Kiwis’ personal privacy.

“The fact is Police can get this information through search warrants. This new plan risks the potential for a fishing expedition and breaches the longstanding separation of the revenue department from other coercive government powers. If people don’t have faith in the IRD, they won’t pay their taxes.

“National’s proposals provide no additional independent oversight mechanism to ensure these processes could not be abused, as seems to have occurred within the Government Communications Security Bureau.”

David Cunliffe said. “John Key says ‘trust me’. With well over 100,000 people having their privacy breached in recent months that trust is being eroded.”


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