Mandatory reporting requirements soften in Privacy Bill

Thursday 20 June 2019

Authors: Tania Goatley and Kristin Wilson

The Privacy Bill began its second reading before parliament on Tuesday 18 June. The proposed legislation is set to reshape the privacy landscape and bring New Zealand in line with global trends.

A few of the key points already raised in the House:

  1. The Select Committee has raised the threshold for when an agency must notify the commissioner of a breach in an attempt to exclude trivial notifications while ensuring effective compliance. Notification would now be mandatory where it is reasonable to believe the breach has caused or is likely to cause serious harm.

  2. The Committee has clarified the application of the Bill to overseas agencies. This comes in response to two competing concerns: on the one hand, the importance that key overseas actors are compliant, and on the other hand the threat of legislative overreach. The committee attempts to resolve that tension by stating that application will be in respect of “actions taken and information collected…in the course of carrying on business in New Zealand".

  3. Finally, the committee has broadened the definition of “news activity", so that the proposed exemption also applies to journalism in less traditional forms (not least, internet publications), as well as to Television New Zealand and Radio New Zealand, provided those activities are overseen by a regulatory body.​

While the reading is still underway, early signs demonstrate strong cross-party support for these amendments. The debate is scheduled to recommence tonight.​

We are closely following the developments of the Privacy Bill. If you have any questions about these proposed amendments, please get in touch with the authors or your usual Bell Gully advisor.


This publication is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.

For more information
  • Tania Goatley

    Partner Auckland
  • Tim Clarke

    Partner Auckland
  • Laura Littlewood

    Partner Auckland
  • Rachael Brown

    Partner Wellington
Related areas of expertise
  • Privacy and data protection
  • Information, communications and technology
  • Consumer law
  • FinTech
  • Media