Section 27 privacy act

D Lohr made this Official Information request to Accident Compensation Corporation

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Accident Compensation Corporation should have responded by now (details and exceptions). The requester can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: D Lohr

Dear Accident Compensation Corporation,

A colleague of mine received a communication referencing Section 27 (1)(c) Privacy Act 1993. Upon looking at this section of the Act, it references an agency being able to refuse the disclosure of private information, about a private individual, that would otherwise be required under Principle 6 of the Privacy Act. My apologies, in advance, for the number of questions, due to my confusion.

Section (1)(c) references the valid withholding of information as a matter of maintenance of the law, but in the same sentence discusses "fair trial." Therefore, my questions are:

1. How does ACC balance the 2 apparently disparate goals of this sentence in Section (1)(c) ?

2. What is ACC's interpretation of this section?

3. What is ACC's interpretation, or interpretation of "a fair trial?" Is it viewed in light of a "fair trial" for ACC? Or "fair trial" for the individual concerned? Or both? Can you tell me why?

4. How does ACC measure what is "fair" and "not fair," according to this section?

5. Can you reference at least 2 cases where this section was relative to the outcome for ACC, when that case went to court? Can you give me an example where the withholding of information was beneficial to ACC in one case, and detrimental in another?

6. In what way does ACC measure, or decide, what information to release to a private party, about himself or herself, especially if the information contained could be wrong, and possibly prejudicial to the person concerned, thereby reducing the possibility of a fair trial?

7. Who is the party, or what is the title of the person, who weighs objectively what is and is not released, according to ACC's interpretation of Section 27 (1)(c) Privacy Act 1993?

8. Is the measure of what is and what is not released subjective, or measured by other means?

9. If measured, how is it measured? By what objective means, or processes, does ACC measure what material is to be released about a private individual requesting information it holds about him or her?

10. If ACC might refuse to release information held about a private individual, under the guise of acting in "maintenance of the law," how would that same individual correct wrong information in his file, if ACC is withholding it? In other words, how would ACC withhold information from a private individual, that could be wrong and prejudicial, yet depriving that person of the ability to correct wrong information held in his file, if, at the same time, that person maintain the right to a fair trial? (In answering, if you would like to list examples and/or scenarios, to help illustrate, that would be fine).

11. Who, or what department, or employee of ACC, would have the final say on what is and is not released, in light of this section? Please state for me the name, title, and job description of that person or department. If there is more than one person, or a chain of people who decide, please let me know the description of those parties.

Yours faithfully,

D Lohr

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