Privacy Act 1993

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Reprint as at 13 February 2012

Privacy Act 1993

Public Act1993 No 28
Date of assent17 May 1993
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in this reprint.

A general outline of these changes is set out in the notes at the end of this reprint, together with other explanatory material about this reprint.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.



1 Short Title and commencement

Part 1
Preliminary provisions

2 Interpretation

3 Information held by agency

4 Actions of, and disclosure of information to, staff of agency, etc

5 Act to bind the Crown

Part 2
Information privacy principles

6 Information privacy principles

7 Savings

8 Application of information privacy principles

9 Postponement of application of principle 11 to lists used for direct marketing

10 Application of principles to information held overseas

11 Enforceability of principles

Part 3
Privacy Commissioner

12 Privacy Commissioner

13 Functions of Commissioner

14 Commissioner to have regard to certain matters

15 Deputy Commissioner

16 Term of office [Repealed]

17 Continuation in office after term expires [Repealed]

18 Vacation of office [Repealed]

19 Holding of other offices

20 Powers relating to declaratory judgments

21 Directories of personal information

22 Commissioner may require agency to supply information

23 Privacy officers

24 Annual report

25 Further provisions relating to Commissioner

26 Review of operation of Act

Part 4
Good reasons for refusing access to personal information

27 Security, defence, international relations, etc

28 Trade secrets

29 Other reasons for refusal of requests

30 Refusal not permitted for any other reason

31 Restriction where person sentenced to imprisonment [Repealed]

32 Information concerning existence of certain information

Part 5
Procedural provisions relating to access to and correction of personal information

33 Application

34 Individuals may make information privacy requests

35 Charges

36 Commissioner may authorise public sector agency to charge

37 Urgency

38 Assistance

39 Transfer of requests

40 Decisions on requests

41 Extension of time limits

42 Documents

43 Deletion of information from documents

44 Reason for refusal to be given

45 Precautions

Part 6
Codes of practice and exemptions from information privacy principles

Codes of practice

46 Codes of practice

47 Proposal for issuing of code of practice

48 Notification of intention to issue code

49 Notification, availability, and commencement of code

50 Codes deemed to be regulations for purposes of disallowance

51 Amendment and revocation of codes

52 Urgent issue of code

53 Effect of code

Specific exemptions

54 Commissioner may authorise collection, use, or disclosure of personal information

55 Certain personal information excluded

56 Personal information relating to domestic affairs

57 Intelligence organisations

Part 7
Public register personal information

58 Interpretation

59 Public register privacy principles

60 Application of information privacy principles and public register privacy principles to public registers

61 Complaints relating to compliance with principles

62 Enforceability of principles

63 Codes of practice in relation to public registers

64 Effect of code

65 Power to amend Schedule 2 by Order in Council

Part 8


66 Interference with privacy


67 Complaints

68 Mode of complaint

Investigations by Commissioner

69 Investigation of interference with privacy of individual

70 Action on receipt of complaint

71 Commissioner may decide to take no action on complaint

72 Referral of complaint to Ombudsman

72A Referral of complaint to Health and Disability Commissioner

72B Referral of complaint to Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security

72C Referral of complaint to overseas privacy enforcement authority

Proceedings of Commissioner

73 Proceedings of Commissioner

74 Settlement of complaints

75 Parties to be informed of result of investigation

76 Compulsory conferences

77 Procedure after investigation

78 Procedure in relation to charging

79 Breaches of certain principles occurring before 1 July 1996

80 Commissioner to report breach of duty or misconduct

Special procedure relating to intelligence organisations

81 Special procedure relating to intelligence organisations

Proceedings before Human Rights Review Tribunal

82 Proceedings before Human Rights Review Tribunal

83 Aggrieved individual may bring proceedings before Human Rights Review Tribunal

84 Remedies that may be sought

85 Powers of Human Rights Review Tribunal

86 Right of Director of Human Rights Proceedings to appear in proceedings

87 Proof of exceptions

88 Damages

89 Certain provisions of Human Rights Act 1993 to apply

Part 9
Proceedings of Commissioner

90 Procedure

91 Evidence

92 Compliance with requirements of Commissioner

93 Extension of time limit

94 Protection and privileges of witnesses, etc

95 Disclosures of information, etc

96 Proceedings privileged

Part 10
Information matching


97 Interpretation

Information matching guidelines

98 Information matching guidelines

Authorised information matching programmes

99 Information matching agreements

100 Use of results of information matching programme

101 Further provisions relating to results of information matching programme

102 Extension of time limit

103 Notice of adverse action proposed

104 Reporting requirements

105 Information matching programmes to be reported on in annual report

106 Review of statutory authorities for information matching

107 Amendment of information matching rules

Avoidance of controls on information matching

108 Avoidance of controls on information matching through use of exceptions to information privacy principles

109 Avoidance of controls on information matching through use of official information statutes

Part 11
Law enforcement information

110 Interpretation

111 Access by accessing agencies to law enforcement information

112 Local authorities may be authorised to have access to law enforcement information

113 Amendment of Schedule 5 [Expired]

114 Expiry of power to amend Schedule 5 by Order in Council

Part 11A
Transfer of personal information outside New Zealand

114A Interpretation

114B Prohibition on transfer of personal information outside New Zealand

114C Commissioner's power to obtain information

114D Transfer prohibition notice

114E Commissioner may vary or cancel notice

114F Offence in relation to transfer prohibition notice

114G Appeals against transfer prohibition notice

114H Application of Human Rights Act 1993

Part 12
Miscellaneous provisions


115 Protection against certain actions

116 Commissioner and staff to maintain secrecy

117 Consultation with Ombudsmen

117A Consultation with Health and Disability Commissioner

117B Consultation with Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security

118 Corrupt use of official information [Repealed]

119 Exclusion of public interest immunity

120 Adverse comment


121 Delegation of functions or powers of Commissioner [Repealed]

122 Delegate to produce evidence of authority [Repealed]

123 Revocation of delegations [Repealed]

124 Delegation of powers by local authority

125 Delegation of powers by officers of local authority

Liability and offences

126 Liability of employer and principals

127 Offences


128 Regulations

128A Power to amend Schedule 5A

Amendments, repeals, and revocations

129 Amendments, repeals, and revocations

Transitional provisions and savings

130 Final report of Wanganui Computer Centre Privacy Commissioner

131 Privacy Commissioner to complete work in progress of Wanganui Computer Centre Privacy Commissioner

132 Savings

133 Transitional provision

Schedule 1
Provisions applying in respect of Commissioner

Schedule 2
Public registers

Schedule 3
Information matching provisions

Schedule 4
Information matching rules

Schedule 5
Law enforcement information

Schedule 5A
Basic principles of national application set out in Part Two of the OECD Guidelines

Schedule 6
Enactments amended

Schedule 7
Enactments repealed

Schedule 8
Orders revoked

Reprint notes

An Act to promote and protect individual privacy in general accordance with the Recommendation of the Council of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Concerning Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data, and, in particular,—

  • (a) to establish certain principles with respect to—

    • (i) the collection, use, and disclosure, by public and private sector agencies, of information relating to individuals; and

    • (ii) access by each individual to information relating to that individual and held by public and private sector agencies; and

  • (b) to provide for the appointment of a Privacy Commissioner to investigate complaints about interferences with individual privacy; and

  • (c) to provide for matters incidental thereto