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October 2008 on Zenbu

November 21, 2008

I am a bit late in posting this monthly review, in fact I completely forgot! Luckily a keen reader called me on it so here it is. Sorry for the delay. (The actual numbers are always available in real time from www.zenbu.co.nz/recent if I am late)

1690 edits from 92 users in October.  Thanks to everyone who took part. The big editors were

zenbu 739
GaryMck 308
hexzed 171
Glars 109
burgla 44
Addwords 37
barnaclebarnes 34
2dollarshop 23
HiggyRSQ 20
kitchen 18
MauriceWinn 16
vrod_rider 12
pablothesquirrel 10
Asgard 10

Some more of the local councils came to the party. Kawerau (thanks to barnaclebarnes), Nelson, and Invercargill (thanks to GaryMck). A few more councils (Napier, Ruapehu) surprised me by flat out declining to provide the information citing the privacy act. There are several problems with this to me

1. The privacy act applies to “living persons”, not businesses.

2. The trading name and physical address of a business which serves the public (part of the reason they require an Environmental Health license) is already in the public domain. I can walk down the street and see it. How can this be private?

3. I claim common sense, not legal knowledge, so I could be entirely wrong in the above, or the law may not reflect common sense, in which case all the councils who have provided the information must have been breaking the Privacy Act to do so. To date 15 councils have supplied the information free of charge, 3 more have offered the information for a fee [surely charging fees to provide privacy protected data would be cause for an enquiry!] and only 2 have claimed the privacy act. Another 18 have not responded, despite a legal requirement to do so, but that’s a different issue….

The only option left is to take the matter to http://www.ombudsmen.parliament.nz. (The Ombudsman is an independent investigator who investigates complaints about the administrative acts and decisions of central and local government agencies.) No progress beyond the notification of receipt so far, I’ll keep the blog posted.

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