24 Aug 2012

Greens want all state-sector privacy security reviewed

12:49 pm on 24 August 2012

The Green Party is calling for a review of privacy security at all government departments in the light of the findings of two reports into privacy breaches at the Accident Compensation Corporation.

Green MP Jan Logie says the findings indicate there could be wider problems with the handling of private details held by all state-sector agencies.

As a result of the reports, ACC will implement seven recommendations for its policies and practices.

Ms Logie says privacy security should be reviewed at all government departments, because people need to be confident their information isn't going to get into the wrong hands.

She says ACC is not the only state agency dealing with intensely private information.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie says the commission is considering requesting state-sector chief executives to review their systems for handling private information.

He acknowledges the report has wider implications for the sector, and says that's why he believes a review of privacy systems might be necessary.

Mr Rennie says a loss of confidence in state-sector agencies handling sensitive information could risk undermining overall trust in state servants.

Peters sceptical about things improving

Earlier, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the privacy failings at ACC have been occurring for years, and he is sceptical about the prospect of improvement.

"There's nothing that's happened hitherto to suggest that they will do what they promised to do - because their past performance over years when this was growing as an issue showed that they learnt nothing from their experience or from the public's anxiety about what was going on."

The Green Party's ACC spokesperson, Kevin Hague, said that while the reports are very damning, a lot of culture change can be achieved quite quickly.

He says a lot of staff in frontline positions "want to be doing the right thing but have been diverted away from doing the right thing by the wrong leadership".

Mr Hague says Ms Collins should lead the culture change herself.