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Individual rights & freedoms

Complaining about a breach of your privacy

Complaining to the relevant organisation directly

Privacy Act 2020, Part 5

Who can I complain to if my privacy is breached?

If you think that one of the rules in the Privacy Act has been breached, you should usually start by complaining directly to the particular government agency, business or other organisation that you’re unhappy with. Sometimes, letting that organisation know what the problem is can resolve it without having to take it further. If you complain directly to the Privacy Commissioner’s office, the Commissioner may decide not to deal with your complaint until you’ve tried to resolve the problem with the relevant organisation.

All organisations should have someone who’s been appointed as a privacy officer to deal with privacy issues. This privacy officer will usually be the best person to talk to about the problem. You can ask who the organisation’s privacy officer is, and then complain to them directly, either verbally or in writing. If the organisation doesn’t have a privacy officer, then talk to a manager or other senior person there.

What is the role of a privacy officer?

Privacy Act 2020, s 201

Every organisation must appoint someone to be its privacy officer. The privacy officer’s responsibilities include:

  • encouraging the organisation to comply with the privacy laws,
  • dealing with requests made to the organisation about individuals’ information,
  • working with the Privacy Commissioner when they investigate complaints, and
  • otherwise making sure that the privacy laws are complied with.

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Privacy and information

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Privacy Commission

The Privacy Commissioner website provides information about your rights and responsibilities under the Privacy Act 2020 and the Privacy Principles. It also outlines the role of the Privacy Commissioner and how to make a privacy complaint.

Website: www.privacy.org.nz
Email: enquiries@privacy.org.nz
Phone: 0800 803 909

To make a complaint online: www.privacy.org.nz/your-rights/making-a-complaint

Privacy of your health information

Information on the Health Information Privacy Code 2020:  www.privacy.org.nz/privacy-act-2020/codes-of-practice/hipc2020

Mental health: this pamphlet provides you information about the Programme for the Integration of Mental Health Data: www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/hp7310-primhd-dl-v6-web.pdf

Nationwide Health & Disability Advocacy Service

The Nationwide Health & Disability Advocacy Service offers free, independent, and confidential advice to support you making a complaint about health and disability services.

Website: www.advocacy.org.nz
Email: advocacy@advocacy.org.nz
Phone: 0800 555 050

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