Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


MSD to review privacy in serious fraud investigations

MSD to review privacy protections in serious fraud investigations

The Ministry of Social Development will review the best way to gather necessary information about high risk benefit fraud while balancing clients’ right to privacy.

Deputy Chief Executive Service Delivery Viv Rickard says the Ministry has committed to working with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) and beneficiary advocacy groups to review its Code of Conduct in relation to Section 11 of the Social Security Act.

"We’re very serious about protecting the privacy of our clients, but we also have a responsibility to investigate serious benefit fraud allegations in a fair and timely matter.

"We’re taking this step because concerns have been raised by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, and beneficiary advocates, and it is timely to look at our current practice in line with our commitment to clients on privacy matters."

OPC has informed the Ministry it will be inquiring into whether it’s application of Section 11 infringes on a person’s privacy.

Under Section 11 of the Act, in high risk fraud cases, the Ministry generally approaches third parties to obtain information and documents without notifying the person being investigated first, or approaching them for information. This is under a provision that allows the Ministry to do so, as to do otherwise could prejudice the maintenance of the law.

"When we initiated the practice in 2012 we consulted with OPC and understood their view was the Code’s implementation was an operational matter for MSD," Mr Rickard says.

"The practice was made public at the time, and was introduced as part of a range of anti-fraud reforms that were a key focus of the Government of the time. This change was introduced because approaching people directly for information first was delaying investigations, and only yielded the information requested in five percent of cases.

"As an organisation we’ve made a commitment to our clients to respect their privacy through our recently launched new client commitment and to be clear about how we use and share their information through programmes like our Privacy Human Rights and Ethics framework.

"We want to ensure we have the right balance of enabling timely and thorough investigation with fair and appropriate procedures while safeguarding people’s privacy. We welcome working with both OPC and advocates on this."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Coronavirus: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees, And A Possible Future For RNZ Concert

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban extending until next Monday at least, presumably dependent to some extent on what Morrison decides to do later this week.
Our universities are now asking for an exemption to the travel ban for their Chinese students, who would still, the universities assure us, be subjected to strict quarantine procedures upon arrival. Given how the inability of the university system to care for its own students on campus made world news last year, that promise may not do much to reduce the coronavirus fears among the wider New Zealand public. More>>


Water Woes: Wellington Reflects National Problem

Water utilities right across the country face major challenges to upgrade and maintain their underground three waters network. Water New Zealand’s Technical Manager, Noel Roberts says Wellington’s waste water woes are not unique to the capital city. ... More>>


2020 And Beyond: National’s Economic Plan

National Leader Simon Bridges has today outlined National’s economic plan heading into election 2020. “National understands the economy and how it impacts on New Zealanders day to day lives... More>>


Abortion Legislation Committee: Abortion Bill Report Presented To The House

The Abortion Legislation Committee has presented its report on the Abortion Legislation Bill to the House. A copy of the report is available here. The bill seeks to have abortion services provided like other health services... More>>


Local Government NZ: New Report A Pathfinder For Affordable Housing

A report released today by LGNZ provides a roadmap for councils finding their way through the complex policy, regulatory and market tools available to help enable more affordable housing developments for New Zealanders. With demand soaring, rents ... More>>


“Can Do Better”: Sallies Election Year Report Card

This year’s State of the Nation report by The Salvation Army offers a mixed bag of outcomes, with some significant headline progress - but also an ambitious list of “can do better”. Government action is delivering limited improvements... More>>






InfoPages News Channels