07 June 2024

Acting Public Service Commissioner Heather Baggott said today that action is underway to ensure the serious allegations involving the misuse of personal data during last year's general election are thoroughly investigated.

“Today I convened a meeting of the heads of Stats NZ, the Ministry of Health and Health New Zealand, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Internal Affairs, Te Puni Kōkiri, Oranga Tamariki and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,” said Ms Baggott.

The Electoral Commission and NZ Police were also in attendance.  The meeting was a first step to ensure that all relevant agencies are acting to examine the recent allegations. It has been alleged that personal information was improperly shared and used at last October’s general election. It is also claimed that taxpayers’ money may have been misused.

The following actions are underway:

  • Stats NZ has initiated an independent investigation and assurance review into the allegations of misuse of the census data. The Terms of Reference will be released today. 
  • The Ministry of Health and Health New Zealand are seeking urgent assurance that Covid and other immunisation information has been appropriately used and managed. 
  • Oranga Tamariki have processes underway to provide assurance that data provided to Manurewa Marae has been appropriately used and managed.

NZ Police have received complaints and they have an investigation underway. The Privacy Commissioner has been notified by Stats NZ and has also requested information and assurances in relation to the reported allegations.

“These are serious allegations that go to the core of trust and confidence in our public institutions and our democratic processes.

“If true, the allegations represent a serious misuse of citizens' personal information and an unacceptable breach of public trust.

“It is important for all involved that the facts are established. I encourage anyone with relevant information to contact the appropriate authority.

“It is essential New Zealanders can trust their personal information is secure and not exploited, and trust the integrity of our electoral system.”

Media queries: Grahame Armstrong 021 940 457 or grahame.armstrong@publicservice.govt.nz