Subpart 2—Functions of Privacy Commissioner

17 Functions of Commissioner

(1)

The functions of the Commissioner are—

(a)

to exercise the powers, and carry out the functions and duties, conferred on the Commissioner by or under this Act or any other enactment:

(b)

to provide advice (with or without a request) to a Minister, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary, or an agency on any matter relevant to the operation of this Act:

(c)

to promote, by education and publicity, an understanding and acceptance of the information privacy principles and of the objectives of those principles:

(d)

to make public statements in relation to any matter affecting the privacy of individuals:

(e)

to receive and invite representations from members of the public on any matter affecting the privacy of individuals:

(f)

to consult and co-operate with other persons and bodies concerned with the privacy of individuals:

(g)

to examine any proposed legislation (including secondary legislation) or proposed government policy that the Commissioner considers may affect the privacy of individuals, including any proposed legislation that makes provision for either or both of the following:

(i)

the collection of personal information by a public sector agency:

(ii)

the sharing of personal information between public sector agencies (including parts of public sector agencies):

(h)

to monitor the use of unique identifiers:

(i)

to inquire generally into any matter, including any other enactment or any 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 individuals is being, or may be, infringed (for powers of the Commissioner in relation to inquiries, see section 203):

(j)

to undertake research into, and to monitor developments in, data processing and technology to ensure that any adverse effects of the developments on the privacy of individuals are minimised:

(k)

to give advice to any person in relation to any matter that concerns the need for, or desirability of, action by that person in the interests of the privacy of individuals:

(l)

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 the information is maintained according to the information privacy principles:

(m)

to monitor the operation of this Act and consider whether any amendments to this Act are necessary or desirable:

(n)

to report to the responsible Minister on the results of—

(i)

any examination conducted under paragraph (g):

(ii)

the monitoring undertaken under paragraph (h):

(iii)

the research and monitoring undertaken under paragraph (j):

(iv)

the monitoring and consideration undertaken under paragraph (m):

(o)

to report to the Prime Minister on—

(i)

any matter affecting the privacy of individuals, including the need for, or desirability of, taking legislative, administrative, or other action to give protection or better protection to the privacy of individuals:

(ii)

the desirability of New Zealand accepting any international instrument relating to the privacy of individuals:

(iii)

any other matter relating to the privacy of individuals that, in the Commissioner’s opinion, should be drawn to the Prime Minister’s attention:

(p)

to gather any information that will assist in carrying out the functions in paragraphs (a) to (o).

(2)

The Commissioner may at any time, if it is in the public interest or in the interests of any person or body of persons to do so, publish—

(a)

reports relating generally to the performance of the Commissioner’s functions under this Act:

(b)

reports relating to any case or cases investigated by the Commissioner.

(3)

Subsection (2) applies regardless of whether the matters to be dealt with in a report under that subsection have been the subject of a report to the responsible Minister or the Prime Minister.

Compare: 1993 No 28 ss 13(1), (2), 26(1)

Section 17(1)(g): amended, on 28 October 2021, by section 3 of the Secondary Legislation Act 2021 (2021 No 7).