Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


HIV scare shows stupidity of Privacy Act: Schnauer

Reports that an Auckland primary school did not inform parents that one of its pupils had HIV because the school was not allowed to under the Privacy Act highlights the impractical stupidity of that Act, Patricia Schnauer ACT Justice Spokesman said today.

"Protecting a person's privacy is important. But equally important is the need for the wider public to be properly informed of circumstances which might hurt them.
"The rights of the minority to be protected from disclosure of adverse information are overriding the rights of the majority to be adequately informed and to make appropriate decisions about their future and their lives," Mrs Schnauer said.

"While everyone must feel great sympathy for the child, parents should have the right to know if anyone at the school has HIV so that they can make informed decisions about what to do. The care and protection of all the children is a matter for the whole school community and can only be done when all the facts are available. Rumours and speculation are often more damaging and more divisive than the truth.

"This is at least the second time within a couple of years where we have seen schools being seriously affected by the Privacy Act yet nothing is done to remedy the situation.

"Almost a parallel situation arose at a North Shore College. In that case the College employed a man who had been stealing from his previous employer. The Privacy Act stopped that previous employer telling the College the type of employee they were getting. The employee ended up stealing $1 million from the College. That loss could have been prevented if his previous record had been made known to the College.

"Protecting a person's privacy is one interest, but that right to privacy has to be balanced against the right of other citizens to be told information which could hurt them: financially, as in the College case; medically, as in the primary school case ; or in some other harmful way.

"Situations like this show the interests of the public to be informed are not adequately represented in the Privacy Act. The legislation lacks proper balance and should be significantly changed or thrown off the statute books altogether," Mrs Schnauer said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Zimbabwe: New Democracy, Or A False Dawn?

Gordon Campbell: Robert Mugabe = Hosni Mubarak. The current jubilation on the streets of Harare at the fall of Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is genuine, and one hates to be negative about the country’s future. Yet the situation is eerily similar to the scenes in Cairo in early 2011, when a popular uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election