3 Oct 2015

Privacy rules 'not to blame' for Smith's escape

7:03 am on 3 October 2015

The Privacy Commissioner is rebutting a suggestion that privacy rules are to blame for departmental failings over Phillip Smith.

Phillip Smith composition. Paremoremo prison in Auckland

Phillip Smith composition. Paremoremo prison in Auckland Photo: RNZ / Police

The convicted murderer and sex offender used his temporary release from prison to flee to South America.

A report has found several state agencies were ignorant about how other agencies were doing regarding Smith and Justice Minister Amy Adams has blamed what she called privacy hawks.

But John Edwards said that was misguided.

Mr Edwards said agencies can already exchange data through Approved Information Sharing Agreements created in consultation with his office.

He said he supported data sharing between state agencies to prevent further bureaucratic failings such as those that led to Smith escaping the country.

The report has called for greater sharing of information between state bodies.

Mr Edwards said he welcomed discussions to achieve this.

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