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Govt facing harsh criticism for not ditching 'disgusting' demand

Author
Gia Garrick,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 Mar 2017, 5:59am
Social Development minister Anne Tolley (Getty Images)
Social Development minister Anne Tolley (Getty Images)

Govt facing harsh criticism for not ditching 'disgusting' demand

Author
Gia Garrick,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 Mar 2017, 5:59am

The government is facing serious criticism for not ditching a demand to agencies helping victims of sexual abuse that they hand over sensitive client information.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley yesterday announced she was delaying - for a year - a requirement for organisations that work with victims of sexual abuse to hand over client details when they apply for state funding.

However, Maori co-leader Marama Fox believes it should be scrapped altogether as information like that must remain confidential.

Fox said it was "unbelievable" the government wanted to get hold of those kinds of details, while Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said it was completely irrational for the government to demand personal details from individuals who are victims, or the services themselves.

Turei said the fact Tolley has only delayed the policy for a year was "disgusting."

"There's actually no need to hold services to ransom over their funding, and their long-term security in funding, because the government wants personal information about the clients they work with," she said.

Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni yesterday revealed in parliament that a child in CYF care had their details inadvertently released.

"The government can't handle the data that they've already got and so to go to that level of identification, that they're expecting organisations to report on, is incredibly concerning," Sepuloni said.

New Zealand First's Ria Bond insisted the government is only discouraging people from coming forward and getting the help they need.

Anne Tolley herself claimed her delay in enacting the privacy sharing programme will make sure it's implemented right.

She said it's hard for providers to have confidence about where and how that information's used, and this will give them time to get a trustworthy system in place.

"We'll have another look at it next and find out what information we do actually need. And that gives us time to work through some quite sensitive issues."

 

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