An official finding of "adequacy" in respect of New Zealand's privacy legislation against European Union standards may be close.
Such a finding would make it easier for New Zealand companies to do business in Europe; in fact according to Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff last year at least one Kiwi firm had complained that slowness in concluding the EU deliberations on adequacy was handicapping business.
Earlier this month, the chairman of the relevant EU body, the "Article 29 working party", Jacob Kohnstamm, wrote to Viviane Reding, the Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship at the European Commission, saying the working party had held NZ legislation adequate (following some small amendments) on April 4 last year, shortly following Shroff's statement. Uruguay's legislation had been approved by the working party in October 2010, but it had still not had the tick from the EU top echelons.
"Since more than a year has passed, I would like to urge the Commission to make progress on both files and convene a meeting of the [relevant] committee as soon as possible," Kohnstamm writes.
Some watchers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement currently under negotiation between nine non-European countries have predicted some possible strain in seeking to tweak privacy law to simultaneously satisfy TPPA requirements and those of the EU.
A spokesperson at Shroff's office says "We are unable to comment on [TPPA]; you'd need to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for further information." Trade Minister Tim Groser has already said detailed information on the TPPA negotiations will not be released publicly without the permission of all negotiating parties.