13 Functions of Commissioner
  • (1) The functions of the Commissioner shall be—

    • (a) to promote, by education and publicity, an understanding and acceptance of the information privacy principles and of the objects of those principles:

    • (b) when requested to do so by an agency, to conduct an audit of personal information maintained by that agency for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not the information is maintained according to the information privacy principles:

    • (c) to monitor the use of unique identifiers, and to report to the Prime Minister from time to time on the results of that monitoring, including any recommendation relating to the need for, or desirability of taking, legislative, administrative, or other action to give protection, or better protection, to the privacy of the individual:

    • (d) to maintain, and to publish, in accordance with section 21, directories of personal information:

    • (e) to monitor compliance with the public register privacy principles, to review those principles from time to time with particular regard to the Council of Europe Recommendations on Communication to Third Parties of Personal Data Held by Public Bodies (Recommendation R (91) 10), and to report to the responsible Minister from time to time on the need for or desirability of amending those principles:

    • (f) to examine any proposed legislation that makes provision for—

      • (i) the collection of personal information by any public sector agency; or

      • (ii) the disclosure of personal information by one public sector agency to any other public sector agency,—

      or both; to have particular regard, in the course of that examination, to the matters set out in section 98, in any case where the Commissioner considers that the information might be used for the purposes of an information matching programme; and to report to the responsible Minister the results of that examination:

    • (g) for the purpose of promoting the protection of individual privacy, to undertake educational programmes on the Commissioner's own behalf or in co-operation with other persons or authorities acting on behalf of the Commissioner:

    • (h) to make public statements in relation to any matter affecting the privacy of the individual or of any class of individuals:

    • (i) to receive and invite representations from members of the public on any matter affecting the privacy of the individual:

    • (j) to consult and co-operate with other persons and bodies concerned with the privacy of the individual:

    • (k) to make suggestions to any person in relation to any matter that concerns the need for, or the desirability of, action by that person in the interests of the privacy of the individual:

    • (l) to provide advice (with or without a request) to a Minister or an agency on any matter relevant to the operation of this Act:

    • (m) to inquire generally into any matter, including any enactment or law, or any practice, or procedure, whether governmental or non-governmental, or any technical development, if it appears to the Commissioner that the privacy of the individual is being, or may be, infringed thereby:

    • (n) to undertake research into, and to monitor developments in, data processing and computer technology to ensure that any adverse effects of such developments on the privacy of individuals are minimised, and to report to the responsible Minister the results of such research and monitoring:

    • (o) to examine any proposed legislation (including subordinate legislation) or proposed policy of the Government that the Commissioner considers may affect the privacy of individuals, and to report to the responsible Minister the results of that examination:

    • (p) to report (with or without request) to the Prime Minister from time to time on any matter affecting the privacy of the individual, including the need for, or desirability of, taking legislative, administrative, or other action to give protection or better protection to the privacy of the individual:

    • (q) to report to the Prime Minister from time to time on the desirability of the acceptance, by New Zealand, of any international instrument relating to the privacy of the individual:

    • (r) to report to the Prime Minister on any other matter relating to privacy that, in the Commissioner's opinion, should be drawn to the Prime Minister's attention:

    • (s) to gather such information as in the Commissioner's opinion will assist the Commissioner in carrying out the Commissioner's functions under this Act:

    • (t) to do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the preceding functions:

    • (u) to exercise and perform such other functions, powers, and duties as are conferred or imposed on the Commissioner by or under this Act or any other enactment.

    (1AA) Without limiting subsection (1), the functions of the Commissioner in relation to information sharing under Part 9A are—

    • (a) to make submissions on an information sharing agreement for which approval by Order in Council under section 96J is being sought:

    • (b) to report to a relevant Minister, under section 96P(1), on any matter relating to privacy that arises or is likely to arise in respect of an approved information sharing agreement and on any other matter specified in that section:

    • (c) to publish a copy of a report referred to in paragraph (b) in accordance with section 96P(3):

    • (d) to receive and investigate complaints about any alleged interference with privacy under an approved information sharing agreement in accordance with Part 8:

    • (e) if appropriate under the circumstances, to exempt an agency, under section 96R, from the requirement to give notice of adverse action under section 96Q or to reduce the period of notice required under that section:

    • (f) to conduct a review under section 96W on the operation of an approved information sharing agreement:

    • (g) to report to a relevant Minister under section 96X on the findings of a review conducted under section 96W:

    • (h) to require a public sector agency to report, in accordance with section 96S, on the operation of each approved information sharing agreement for which it is the lead agency.

    (1AB) In subsection (1AA), adverse action, approved information sharing agreement, information sharing agreement, lead agency, and relevant Minister have the meanings given to them by section 96C.

    (1A) Except as expressly provided otherwise in this or another Act, the Commissioner must act independently in performing his or her statutory functions and duties, and exercising his or her statutory powers, under—

    • (a) this Act; and

    • (b) any other Act that expressly provides for the functions, powers, or duties of the Commissioner (other than the Crown Entities Act 2004).

    (2) The Commissioner may from time to time, in the public interest or in the interests of any person or body of persons, publish reports relating generally to the exercise of the Commissioner's functions under this Act or to any case or cases investigated by the Commissioner, whether or not the matters to be dealt with in any such report have been the subject of a report to the responsible Minister or the Prime Minister.

    Compare: 1991 No 126 s 5

    Section 13(1AA): inserted, on 27 February 2013, by section 6 of the Privacy Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 1).

    Section 13(1AB): inserted, on 27 February 2013, by section 6 of the Privacy Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 1).

    Section 13(1A): inserted, on 25 January 2005, by section 200 of the Crown Entities Act 2004 (2004 No 115).