MEDIA RELEASE of 8 May 2017

Privacy in Australasia Gets a Boost

The Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) turns 30 in July 2017.

APF, the oldest privacy advocacy body in the world, is delighted to welcome the youngest.

The Privacy Foundation of New Zealand (PFNZ) launched on Monday 8 May 2017.

PFNZ comprises a body of professionals who have individually made substantial contributions to privacy protection. The organisation has declared as its mission:

independent, informed and fair public comment on privacy

The Foundation Chair spent a term as the Privacy Commissioner, and prior to that was the NZ Cabinet Secretary. The Board-members include senior lawyers, academics and a chartered accountant.

Further details are in the attached PFNZ Media Release.

People in both Australia and New Zealand are having surveillance society thrust upon them as a result of government agencies and corporations applying technology in ways that unjustifiably intrude into people's lives.

The world needs specialist advocacy organisations like APF and PFNZ to counter these excesses, and to recover fair balance between the interests of government and business in social and economic control, and the needs of human beings for personal space.

Contacts for This Media Release:

Roger Clarke
(02) 6288 6916


Media Statement for immediate release – 8 May 2017

Today marks the public launch of the Privacy Foundation of New Zealand, an independent civil society group that has been established to help to advocate for people’s privacy and personal information rights in New Zealand. 

The Foundation aims to be a new and strong voice that offers independent, informed and fair public comment. It will help to keep an eye on government and business uses of our personal information, and will make statements on law and policy proposals where it sees a potential erosion of rights, or introduction of unnecessary intrusions. The Foundation will also conduct research on important privacy issues, as capacity permits.

Foundation members are all volunteers with expertise or interest in privacy issues. Its members include people from the business, IT, health and legal sectors, as well as from a variety of academic disciplines. 

Former Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff and Associate Professor Gehan Gunasekara of Auckland University Business School are the Chair and Deputy Chair of the newly formed organisation. Other founding committee members are Associate Professor Alex Sims (Auckland University Business School), Alida van Klink (Chartered Accountant, Auckland), and Kathryn Dalziel (Christchurch) and Katrine Evans (Wellington), both specialist privacy lawyers in private practice. We are pleased to announce that Dame Silvia Cartwright has agreed to be Patron of the Foundation.

Chair Marie Shroff said today “Control over our personal information is a crucial 21st century human rights issue. Hardly a day goes by without a fresh report of loss, carelessness or deliberate misuse of our information. Also, the complexity of our information environment leads many people to wonder how much control they have in the big data age. They are rightly worried about whether anything is off limits to government and business. They are concerned for the safety and rights of both themselves and their children.

"The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has a crucial and sometimes lonely role in upholding the Privacy Act 1993, in resolving privacy complaints from the public and working to influence government and business practice. While the Foundation is separate from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and our views may sometimes differ, we expect to be able to complement and support its work in most instances". 

Deputy Chair Gehan Gunasekara said "The Foundation is an independent, voluntary organisation and its role will be to stand outside the system as an informed advocate for public rights. Protecting privacy rights in the digital age is now a priority which will benefit from more independent firepower.”

The Foundation welcomes support from individuals, businesses and other organisations that respect privacy and individuals' rights to fair and lawful treatment of their personal information. See Foundation website for details on how to join.

The Foundation is grateful for the generous contributions it has received to assist with its start up process, including donations from business and individuals.

Contact for media enquiries: Gehan Gunasekara phone 09 923 5218; or email Marie Shroff –

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