November 30, 2020 Matthew Smith




On 1 December 2020, a new Privacy Act 2020 will come into force in New Zealand, replacing the existing 1993 Act. While many features of the previous Act have been retained, there are some implications for Southpac Group Limited (‘SGL’) which we wish to bring to the attention of clients, referrers, site users and newsletter recipients.

As a New Zealand company, SGL is subject to the 2020 Act and must comply with it when dealing with any person’s personal information. ‘Personal information’ means any information that SGL may hold on any identifiable individual person, regardless as to where they reside, and includes an individual’s name, date of birth, address, telephone number and email address. Under the 2020 Act, SGL is only allowed to collect such personal information as is necessary for the fulfilment of a lawful purpose. In addition, whereas previously an individual could opt out of receiving privacy notices or policies, this is no longer the case.

There is also a new requirement that requires SGL to gain informed consent from those whose personal information we hold to disclose that information to a foreign entity. Our Cook Islands and Nevis trustee companies are regarded as foreign entities for this purpose.

Finally, any unauthorised disclosure of personal information resulting in a privacy breach with the potential to cause serious harm to the individual concerned must now be reported as soon as practicable by SGL to the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner and to the individual concerned. Failure to comply with this requirement is a criminal offence.

The above changes have all been incorporated into SGL’s Privacy Policy, a copy of which is available here. You are strongly advised to read this policy carefully. If you have any questions, please contact us on

Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith joined Southpac’s New Zealand office in March 2017 and is currently employed as Southpac’s General Counsel. He has a particular interest in Cook Islands and Nevis legislation and keeps a close eye on developments in those jurisdictions. Matthew is a dual-qualified lawyer/attorney, having been admitted as a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales in 2008 and as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 2017. Prior to joining Southpac, he worked as a court lawyer at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, UK, where he advised judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal on case law, practice and procedure in appeals and judicial reviews across a variety of practice areas.
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