Chapter 14
Requests for information


14.1This chapter describes the new mechanism we have introduced into the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and for the Recovery of Criminal Proceeds Bill (Mutual Assistance Bill) for the Central Authority to request information from other public sector agencies in fulfilling a mutual assistance request from a foreign country.

14.2As noted in the Issues Paper, in the current Act there are operational issues around requests for information (including personal information). Specifically:437
(a) There is no provision in the 1992 Act empowering the Central Authority to seek information from a domestic agency,438 and the current use of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for this purpose is inappropriate. Without the OIA, however, the Central Authority does not have any statutory mechanism to compel the agency to respond within a given timeframe.439
(b) It is not clear whether the information holder can release any personal information under the Privacy Act 1993.440

The new Bill is designed to address these problems.

14.3The Bill also provides parameters around the Central Authority’s power to disclose personal information to the foreign country.

437See generally Law Commission Extradition and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (NZLC IP37, 2014) [Issues Paper] at ch 18.
438Discussed in the Issues Paper, above n 437, at [18.4]–[18.6]. In this context, “information” is distinct from evidence to be used in a criminal proceeding. The 1992 Act does contain processes for seeking evidence: Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992, ss 31–36.
439Discussed in the Issues Paper, above n 437, at [18.7]–[18.11] and [18.19]–[18.20].
440Discussed in the Issues Paper, above n 437, at [18.12]–[18.18] and [18.21]–[18.31].