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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT): Thank you, Mr Chair. It’s a relief to see you there. Look, I just wondered if we could just get the Minister to be totally clear about what he just said. So he’s putting in place a new power for the Chief Statistician to delegate the considerable powers of the Chief Statistician to anybody, but he doesn’t think it’ll be used very often, and he’s not able to give the committee a single example of, hypothetically, how it might be used. Now, I want the Minister to put on record that he’s been involved in drafting and designing this legislation, putting together this policy, and at no time can he tell the committee, at no time can he tell Parliament, at no time has he ever had suggested to him, ever had any advice about what sort of example there might be for delegating a power under this Act. Is he really telling us he decided he’d put it in there just for, in his words, “a theoretical possibility”? If he has had advice, and it has included examples of somebody that power might be delegated to, then I want him to tell us (a) has he had any advice; and (b) if he has, what were the examples? On the other hand, if he’s never had any advice about how this new power might hypothetically be used, then why is it in there, and will he take it out?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK (Minister of Statistics): What I would note is that while the current Act doesn’t contain this delegation in it, the Public Service Act applies anyway. So this is making it explicit that that power applies. It’s also true that that has then enabled a clear explanation about the publishing of information of any delegations, to have transparency, and that was something that the Privacy Commissioner sought so that there would be transparency around any powers that were being delegated in this respect.