2018-02-14 - Customs and Excise Bill - Committee Stage - Information disclosure - Video 1
Meka Whaitiri,Anne Tolley,Iain Lees-Galloway
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Members we now return now to the Customs and Excise bill in accordance.
Thank you in accordance with a determination of the Business Committee.
The debate will be conducted on the following four themes, information, disclosure powers and obligations, revenue and trade and mechanics and miscellaneous.
There will be no debate on clauses 1 or 2 1, & 2.
But Clause 2 may be referred to in relation to the commencement of provisions as they are debated.
The chairperson will determine the length of the debate on each theme.
So there will be no closure motions accepted.
There is no limit.
However, on the number of calls per member, however, the practice will continue that.
No more than two consecutive calls will be given per member.
All questions will be put at the end of the debate members.
We come first to the debate on information.
Disclosure, comprising parts 5, sub parts 5, &, 6 year, I call the Honourable mica, Fighter, madam chair.
Thank you very much it's indeed, a privilege and a pleasure to oversee the ushering of this very important bill, the customs in exercise bill by way of opening discussion, Madame cheek and I.
First acknowledge the former ministers, Minister your honourable to make.
And oh, and of course, the Honorable Maggie berry who definitely had a hand in this bill that we are discussing tonight madam chair, I'm, looking Suzie ethically for the contributions that I know are going to appear as we deal with theme by theme, madam chair, despite the time I know that these to be a lot of contribution and given to this very important legislation, madam chair.
This is a non-controversial piece of legislation.
But as is very important piece of legislation.
We are attempting to modernize the customs exercise bill, which hasn't been one nice or up to 20 years.
And some parts of the the act is about a hundred years that hasn't been touched.
So this is a tip to bring it into the modern world.
Madam chair, the legislation is attempting.
It will be more flexible to respond to a changing global environment and changes in business and border management practices.
And the bill will balance the protection of the nation and and with individual rights just for members.
And for information, the bill carries over most of the current act with of course, the key policy changes to bring the anthem to line with modern technology and business practices for members of the House I want to acknowledge that business have been involved.
Madam chair throughout the policy development stages of the bill and consulted on the draft.
If there was an exemplar bill that we would put up with stakeholders have been actively involved in its crafting.
Then I would definitely nominate this one customs will continue madam Speaker to engage with business and developing regulations, customs rules and staff guidelines.
The major policy changes is in relation to greater information, sharing between customs and other government agencies, disclosing information on people and goods crossing the border for national security, law enforcement, public health and safety purposes.
Information will also be able to be disclosed to implement or guide government policy, such as free trade agreements, or to maintain regulatory regimes to increase students II about how customs must manage its information and circumstances and conditions under which information may be disclosed.
The bill provides for information sharing agreements made at the ministerial level, domestic arrangements or executive-level, International, Arrangements agreements will specify protection for personal and commercially sensitive information and give a more efficient and transparent process for the sharing of information men and cheerless.
This bill attempts to be beautiful businesses.
There will be easier for traders and traders to do business.
And to interact with customs.
The bill also is attempting to provide greater certainty around exercise liability, greater certainty for the fuel industry around when exercises do and collect additional five million dollars PN and crown revenue, avoiding future litigation and also clarifies when exercisable goods are subjected to the control of customs it's.
Also about a modern flexible powers to protect New Zealand.
We this bill confirms the majority of customers existing powers while recognizing privacy concerns.
It also provides greater scope in flexibility to address smuggling and national security concerns the bill also introduces a modern sanction framework, a range of penalties have been increased than be consistent across the bill and other legislation to ensure ongoing compliance madam Speaker in terms of opening statements, I think it's important that the members are also made aware that the Privacy Commissioner Commissioner and the law society made submissions of many of the substantive policy changes in this bill.
And these submissions have informed the Select Committee's report back to the house so I now to the members attention to theme 1 in in its title of information disclosure.
And and focusing on this particular part of the bill now, just for the benefit of members, inform that the bill provides a coherent, legislative framework framework for managing information while protecting privacy this part of the theme, the dog madam chair I could the bill contained continues the information matching arrangements contained in the current act, and which are working well, the permit permitted information matches relate to matters, such as student loans fines enforcement in child support.
Any information disclosure agreement made by customs under the new provisions must be consulted with the Privacy Commissioner prior to it being approved by the relevant ministers within domestic government err or the chief executive international in agreements, with the private sector.
It's also about sensitive personal information, such as the passenger name record data in biometric information can only be disclosed under restricted circumstances to increase accountability in transparency about how customs must manage its information.
The bill provides for agreements with other government agencies, including for direct access to customs information to be made at the ministerial level to miss the currents.
The Privacy Commissioner will have active oversight greater information disclosure by customs.
So other government agencies will contribute to national security, law enforcement and public health and safety, the bill retains, the ability for the current act for customs to disclose information to overseas authorities under a formal written agreement cheeks and balances are written into the agreement.
The bill also retains the ability from the current act for customs to disclose information to overseas Authority outside of a formal written agreement.
This ability is restricted to the limited range of functions of the overseas Authority and the type of information that can be disclosed.
This form of information disclosed as necessary to meet operational consideration when the trade and trade flows between New Zealand.
And the other country are not sufficient to warrant a formal written agreement, the Committees of the Select Committee considered and leave you how beast the bear the need for transparency.
And the collection use in disclosure of information with parliamentary oversight I want to acknowledge the work on the Select Committee.
And of course, the officials to impress us go to the stage I look forward to the contributions from the house I call the Honourable viennese Galloway.
Thank you very much.
Madam chair it's, it's, a pleasure to be able to participate in the debate on the information disclosure aspects of this Customs and Excise bill I intend to speak with some particularity to Klaus 293.
But before I do that I would like to make some general statements about the information disclosure aspects of this bill.
Because obviously our Customs Service has the power to collect an enormous quantity of information and data, not just about Goods and items that cross our border.
But about people as they cross our border.
And it is, it is a rich source of information.
And it is appropriate that the government judiciously make that information available for other purposes.
But it is, but it is certainly incredibly incredibly important that it is that judicious judicious is the key word here that we must take extreme care and caution with the information that is gathered about people.
And how that information is shared with other government agencies with with the private sector.
And and how that information is used, it is I I believe that that this these aspects of this bill warrant significant scrutiny by Parliament.
It may it may appear to some members that this is reasonably non-controversial.
There certainly agreement across the house about these aspects, but I think it our duty as representatives of the New Zealand public to ensure that we scrutinize this bill closely given the nature of the of the powers that this that that this legislation provides to not just the Customs Service, but but other government agencies and their ability to use the information that we collect about people, for instance, information that is collected by the Customs Service can be used in the administration of student loans, actually personal information about people to be able to enforce aspects of that legislation was considerably more than two minutes to go.
Can assure you gentlemen, it also can be used in the recovery of financial support under the child support Act.
It can be used in verifying, people's benefit, entitlements so very personal and private information.
Now being used absolutely appropriate uses, but it's very important that we as a Parliament are satisfied that this legislation is carefully crafted and able to ensure that we protect people's privacy.
And we use that information appropriately as I said, I wish to speak, particularly to Clause 293, which deals with the direct access to information for other purpose, other other than the specified purposes that other clauses relate to.
And this allows for government agencies to share information that supports the detection investigation, prosecution and punishment of various offences, the detection investigation of suspected or actual terrorist acts or the facilitation of terrorist act protection of national security and the processing of international passengers protection of border, security protection of public revenue and the protection of public health and safety.
Obviously as Minister for immigration, I have considerable interest in the this information, sheering ability as as Minister I, am regularly briefed on enforcement action that has taken by or extra action, rather rather than enforcement action action that has taken by our Border Services to ensure the integrity of of our border to ensure the integrity of our immigration system and to to ensure that that people who wish to attempt to enter New Zealand for out for unscrupulous purposes, or who are unable to verify the validity of their intentions - for for trying to enter New Zealand are able to be in some cases turned away or are able to be processed in an appropriate manner.
Now the ability to do that is, of course, incredibly and heavily reliant on the ability to gather data from various sources about about those people who met him -.
Thank you very much.
Ma'am, - the heavily reliant on the ability to collect their information.
And so the ability to collect and share that information is important.
But it is as I say vital that we have the right protections in place.
So I am pleased to see that the Select Committee saw fit to elevate the responsibility for entering into these types of data, sharing agreements from the chief executive level to the ministerial level, we as ministers as elected members of parliament, have that accountability to the people of New Zealand in a much greater way that even a chief executive as senior as they are as great a great level of accountability that they have their respective levels of responsibility to members heading off to a leadership meeting I think the it is important that it's, actually the elected officials, the elected representatives who are able to enter into this type of arrangement also important that the privacy commissioner must be consulted, it's, not it's.
Not this is not a it's, not an option for ministers entering into these agreements.
The Privacy Commissioner must be consulted and ministers must have regard to any comments received from the Privacy Commissioner on the proposed agreement.
Again, I think in the 21st century, when people's data is one of the most sought-after commodities that available in the 21st century, I think it's incredibly important that.
And we make sure that those safeguards are included in there.
Now, the legislation also prescribes, what the what these written agreements between ministers must include such as which databases may be access the particular types of class or information that may be accessed and importantly, the purpose for which that information can be accessed.
And we have seen this and passed previous government's that have been little loose with with the the purpose for which they are using information, perhaps have, frankly that they have misused and abused that the access to information that we have as a parliament and and as a government.
And it is important that the exact purpose for which information can be shared for which they act that information can be accessed as set out in those agreements, and that we don't have creep beyond what those specified purposes are.
If once that, yeah, an agreed purpose is set in place if it is determined that maybe it would be useful for the government that there is a that.
There is a genuine and useful reason for going beyond the purposes that are agreed in those initial agreements between ministers, then ministers need to come back to the table, see how that new purpose work with the Privacy Commissioner to make sure that there is a reasonable and sensible purpose, because we cannot early our information to be used incorrectly or inappropriate by you know, by people who are in a position of significant significant power.
Those agreements must also set out how the information is how it should be accessed.
The designations of the people within the government agency who who are will be able to access those databases, the way that the records that are to be kept safeguards that are to be applied at cetera.
So this is all about making sure that we have the appropriate level of oversight, the the appropriate safeguards in place to ensure that where this information is being as being shared.
And as for the specific purposes laid out.
And yet near the actors, the actors actually quite precise in terms of the exact reasons that this information can be I.
Think that is that is incredibly important and I think the improvements that have been made with other changes that have been made by the Select Committee do improve the bill.
And they do go a long way to protecting the privacy of of individuals.
So madam chair I with those comments on this specific part of the of the bill of the aspects of the bill that deal with information.
Disclosure I'm happy.
To conclude, my contribution there, but I suspect that other members have considerably more tonight to say on this part of the book, north of all tonight.