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Prime Minister must tell Bennett to follow privacy law

15 August 2012

Prime Minister must tell Bennett to follow privacy law

John Key should instruct Paula Bennett to act in accordance with the Privacy Act, in light of her refusal today to rule out releasing private information on benefit recipients in the future, said the Green Party.

The Human Rights Commission determined today that Paula Bennett breached the privacy of a benefit recipient when she leaked her benefit details to the media.

“Given the very significant breach of privacy at ACC recently I would have thought the Prime Minister would instruct Paula Bennett to act in accordance with privacy law,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“John Key needs to treat Paula Bennett’s refusal to guarantee she won't release private information again very seriously. This is a Minister who has access to hundreds of thousands of personal files.

“The Ministers openness to releasing private information puts every New Zealander at risk should they choose to legitimately state a view on Government policy, as the person who won this complaint did.

“Paula Bennett seems to think she is above the law, and her refusal to rule out the release of private information in the future is very concerning for any New Zealander who has personal information held by a department she may be in charge of.

“Paula Bennett should give a proper apology for her privacy breach as well as the impact of that breach on the complainant and her family.

“All New Zealanders have the right to speak out and not be silenced by fear that National Government Ministers will expose their private information in retaliation.”

ENDS

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