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Taxpayers’ Union Calls On Privacy Commissioner To Open Formal Investigation Into Alleged Misuse Of Census Data


The Taxpayers’ Union has written to the Privacy Commissioner this morning calling on him to launch an investigation into alleged misuse of census data by Auckland’s Manurewa Marae, entities associated with John Tamihere, and Te Pāti Māori.

Taxpayers’ Union Spokeperson, Jordan Williams, said:

“The allegations made this morning on a Newstalk ZB interview with Allan Hulse, an employment representative for workers at the Marae and MSD, suggest that various agencies were told of the allegations but failed to act prior to the matters becoming public on Sunday.”

“When part of the allegations are that Government agencies failed to act despite being tipped off by whistleblowers, it is not appropriate for the agencies to be managing the investigations.

“Earlier this week, Stats NZ announced that it has commissioned an external investigator to look into whether Census data has been misused. It is not clear whether the scope of that includes the allegations made by Allan Hulse, but in any case, without the ability to compel witnesses, or require third parties to provide information, it will be hopeless.

“If the allegations are true, and census data ended up in the Te Party Māori’s political databases, are they really going to hand over that information without being legally required to do so? Stats NZ are either kidding themselves or want a report that states ‘nothing to see here’.

“That’s why it is most appropriate for the Privacy Commissioner to lead this. He has the power to summons witnesses, examine under oath, and require the production of information and documents.

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“The integrity and protection of census data is among the most important to be protected in a democratic society. Public confidence should be guarded at all costs. We can’t think of a more appropriate circumstance for the Privacy Commissioner to use all the powers at his disposal to get to the bottom of what has happened and provide public confidence in the handling of the allegations.”

The Taxpayers’ Union letter to the Privacy Commissioner is available on the Union’s website here.

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