Information gathering transparency statement

This statement explains how the Ministry of Justice collects and uses information it needs to protect people, information, and property, and to fulfil its regulatory compliance responsibilities. It does not apply to information collected to support courts or tribunals in their judicial function.

We collect and use information, including information about individuals, to support our legislated functions and obligations and, in limited circumstances, we share that information with other public sector agencies to enable them to do the same.

The Ministry does not have any statutory crime detection or prevention functions, but does collect information to provide administrative support to court functions, execute court orders, and trace Legal Aid and fines and reparations debtors.

Regulatory compliance and law enforcement

Most information we collect or receive is provided directly by individuals or other agencies such as the New Zealand Police and the Department of Corrections. This information is collected and used in accordance with relevant legislation to support court functions and enable us to carry out court orders.

We share information with private debt collectors and with other state sector agencies in accordance with relevant legislation and information sharing agreements to trace Legal Aid and fines and reparations debtors where no other contact information is available. Information gathering for this purpose is subject to strict internal controls and oversight.

Protective security

Purpose of collection

We have a responsibility to ensure we keep everyone who interacts with us safe. This includes keeping people physically safe on our premises and taking care of the information we hold about them.

We also have a duty of care to our staff to ensure they do not suffer harm in the course, or as a result of, doing their jobs, and are responsible for ensuring the safety and independence of the judiciary.

We take care to gather the information we need to support our protective security responsibilities lawfully and appropriately. We have clear policies and procedures to ensure we meet our obligations under the Privacy Act 1993, the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, the Bill of Rights Act 1990, the State Services Code of Conduct, the Ministry of Justice Code of Conduct, the State Services Information Gathering Model Standards, and all other laws, standards, and regulations under which we operate.

When making decisions to collect or use information for these purposes, the factors we consider include:

  • whether the collection, use, or disclosure is lawful, and under which enactment
  • the nature, severity, and likelihood of the harm or threat to people, information, or property we are responsible for addressing or averting
  • the impact our action may have on individuals and their privacy
  • the relevance of the information to the harm or threat we are seeking to address
  • how we will verify the information
  • how we will validate the source of the information
  • our public law enforcement and security responsibilities
  • our ethical and legal obligations as a state sector agency.

Where we are collecting information to prevent or address significant harm, we may collect that information in a way that has increased impact on an individual’s privacy. This includes collecting information about them from a source other than themselves or, in strictly limited circumstances, from them without making them aware we are collecting it.

We carry out such collection in accordance with the exceptions allowed under principles 2 and 3 the Privacy Act 1993 for the avoidance of prejudice to the maintenance of the law, including the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution, and punishment of offences. Such collection is subject to strict internal controls and managerial oversight, and is carried out in accordance with the State Services Information Gathering Model Standards.

Our information collection and handling policies apply to us, our contractors, and any other third party we may engage to carry out services on our behalf. We have auditing and assurance processes to check our policies are complied with.

Where we collect information from

We collect information to support our protective security responsibilities from a wide variety of sources. These include information from:

  • internal reports about security incidents or concerns on our sites or on sites our staff may visit in the course of their work
  • CCTV footage, including internal and external cameras positioned in public areas on our sites
  • online sources, including websites, social media, public registers, and other publicly available information such as published court records, blogs, and news media sites
  • other government agencies such as the New Zealand Police and the Department of Corrections
  • our own systems and electronic devices, including auditing for unauthorised access or use.

We take all practicable steps to verify the accuracy and relevance of information we collect or receive, and only collect the information we require.

We do not collect information from non-public court files.

We do not engage external security consultants to collect information on our behalf.

How we use information

We use information to inform our protective security strategy, plans, policies, and responses to ensure the safety of:

  • our clients
  • our people
  • the judiciary
  • their information
  • our premises, systems, and information.

When we share information

We share information where necessary to carry out our legislated functions and support our protective security obligations, and to assist other state sector agencies to fulfil theirs. We share information in accordance with our statutory powers and in compliance with relevant legislation and information sharing or matching agreements.

We take all reasonable steps to ensure any information we share is only used for the purpose for which we provide it, and that we only share the information necessary for that purpose.

How we keep information secure

We manage information in accordance with our Privacy and Personal Information Policy, ICT Acceptable Use Policy, and Data and Information Policy, and our staff must comply with the Ministry’s Code of Conduct.

We restrict access to the information we hold to those personnel who need it to do their jobs and, as required, we audit our information systems for any unauthorised or unusual access or activity. Any unauthorised access, use, or disclosure of information is subject to an internal employment investigation with consequences up to and including termination of contract or referral for prosecution.

Ask a question, give feedback or make a complaint

If you have a question, feedback or want to make a complaint about how the Ministry collects and uses information to meet our protective security and regulatory compliance obligations, please use our feedback form.

Question, feedback or complaint form