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Funding boost for Privacy Commissioner

Funding boost for Privacy Commissioner

Budget 2014 boosts funding for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to protect Kiwis’ private information in a more collaborative and technologically driven environment, Justice Minister Judith Collins says.

“Safe and efficient collection, storage and exchange of personal information leads to better services, helping to modernise the state sector for the good of New Zealanders and the wider economy,” she says.

Over the next four years, the Government will add an extra $7 million to the Privacy Commissioner’s four-year budget and will maintain a similar level of funding into the future.

“This additional funding will enable the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to carry out its new role, set out in the Privacy Amendment Act 2013, of reviewing and monitoring information sharing agreements among government agencies to ensure privacy concerns are adequately addressed.

“The funding injection also comes at a time when advances in technology are dramatically changing how personal information is collected, stored and shared,” Ms Collins says.

Demand for services from the Privacy Commissioner has risen, with the number of enquiries increasing by 36 per cent and the number of notifications rising from 16 to 107 over the past four years.

“It’s fantastic that this funding boost will also complement other government privacy initiatives, such as the establishment of a Government Chief Privacy Officer to provide privacy leadership and support across state sector agencies.”

The Privacy Commissioner’s current operational budget is $3.2 million a year. Along with a $336,000 injection this financial year, the Office will receive an additional $7 million in operating funding over the next four years – $1.9 million in 2014/15 and $1.7 million a year thereafter.

The Government signalled reforms following a Law Commission review that recommended updating the law, and details of proposals to update the Privacy Act will soon be provided.

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