| Latest Political News | Wednesday October 24 2012 13:57
There's been yet another breach of privacy at Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) this afternoon, the third in recent days.
Labour MP Jacinda Adern says she's been told a client was given someone else's details alongside a list of available jobs
It follows revelations this morning paperwork with clients' personal details were given to a Masterton woman.
The piece of paper containing the personal details of clients had been used as scrap paper for a hand-written note between staff.
Head of Work and Income Debbie Power has called the incident "completely unacceptable".
"From what we understand, a staff member appears to have handwritten on a piece of paper without checking what was on the other side of the paper.
"We do not recycle documents as scrap paper.
"There is process for the secure disposal of these types of documents. The process was not followed in this case."
She said the incident appeared to be a case of human error and poor judgement, and would be addressed with staff and appropriate action taken.
All Winz offices contain locked, secure disposal bins for the destruction of personal information, but procedure was not followed in this case.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett also said it sounded like a case of human error.
"You always hope something like this won't happen so it's disappointing when it does."
The clients involved in the latest leak were being contacted, and the Privacy Commissioner's office was being notified.
However Jacinda Adern says these breaches suggest it's not just human error, but a systemic failure at Work and Income.
"Does the fact that a Work and Income staffer raised concerns about the security of the Work and Income kiosks a year ago, but had these concerns dismissed by a local manager, constitute human error or a systemic failure?"
Ms Bennett''s rebutting opposition claims it, and other breaches, might be due to systemic failings within her Ministry.
"No I'm not going back and saying this is systemic but what I'm saying is that human errors occur."
The Privacy Commissioner's office confirmed it received notification of this morning's breach.
The latest blunders come on the heels of the Ministry of Social Development closing self-service kiosks at Winz offices across New Zealand after blogger Keith Ng revealed he was able to access thousands of private files on ministry servers.
An independent inquiry will now look at how the breach occurred and what will be done to prevent another.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is blaming human error..
John Key says he doesn't believe any action should be taken against the Work and Income employee.
"I wouldn't sack someone in the private sector for that. I'd be disappointed in them and I'd ask them to be a bit more careful, but If we're going to sack every New Zealander that makes a pretty simple mistake like that we better get used to sacking everybody because I've made mistakes.
"What does someone want me to do? Do they want me to walk down there and ask the Chief Executive of WINZ to fire that person, who's probably worked they butt off for the Government for 20 years. I don't think that's right."
Additional reporting by APNZ
Photo: NZ Herald