web analytics

How did Nats know parents’ addresses?

Written By: - Date published: 6:57 am, February 10th, 2010 - 31 comments
Categories: education, national/act government - Tags:

You’ll recall that last week National spent $200,000 of taxpayer dollars on a proganda drop defending its national standards. This was a targeted exercise – 350,000 of the pamphlets were produced, enough for the parents of each primary school pupil.

So, how did they know what addresses to send them to? You can’t get information on who has primary school kids from the electoral roll or any other public list. They may have gained the addresses by profiling people on the electoral roll, but prolfiling is a hit and miss affair. As far as I can see, there’s only one database that gives you the residential addresses of every school pupil – the Ministry of Education’s National Student Index.

The Education Act limits the use of the National Student Index to: “Monitoring and ensuring student enrollment and attendance, ensuring education providers and students receive appropriate resourcing, statistical purposes, research purposes, and ensuring that students’ educational records are accurately maintained”

Did National use the Index, in violation of the law, to get the list of pupils’ addresses? I can’t be sure but it looks bloody suspicious. I think the possibility that private information may have been misused is serious enough for me to raise the question and ask for clarification.

If you know what happened, you can tell us in confidence at thestandardnz[at]gmail[dot]com

31 comments on “How did Nats know parents’ addresses? ”

  1. Jenny 1

    Under the pretext of identifying benefit fraud, the last administration passed a bill that allowed the sharing of all data bases across government departments and administrations.

    My guess, is that this act over rules any specific limits written into these different government department data bases.

    I remember at the time, that critics of this bill warned that it would allow this data to be used for other purposes.

  2. tc 2

    NACT is a corporate model so anything within the corporate body belongs to the corporation to further its goals…….bennett’s use of welfare data being the more obvious.

    Is it allowed or isn’t it ? They don’t care and neither would the bulk of NZ’ers ….bigger fish people, focus please.

  3. zelda 3

    But the letter was sent out under National Party letterhead and the funds used were for party political purposes. So it cant be used for sharing between government departments and then end up on a National Party computer and then on the computer of a direct mailer.

    On past experience watch Tolley hide on the floor of her ministerial car to avoid answering this one

  4. Very good question.

    I wonder why the Privacy Commissioner still has not reported on the Bennett complaint. It happened months ago.

    Unless the Education Act has been specifically amended the limitation for the use of the information still ought to apply.

  5. Red Rosa 5

    Shades of ‘IBM and the Holocaust’.

    When the German census data was encoded on IBM cards in the 1930s, it was a simple matter for the Nazis to run the cards through a ‘race’ sort a few years later. All Jews were identified with names and addresses, and it made picking them up so much easier.

    A nice little earner for IBM, but the results are well known.

    Of course this could never happen in New Zealand.

  6. Richard 6

    I take it wouldn’t be possible to OIA the National Party for the details of where their mail database came from.

    But it should be possible to OIA the Education Ministry to see if they were the source?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1

      The National party is not covered by the OIA. Thats why an email leaker had to give it up for Don Brashs secrets.
      The OIA would be obstructed all the way. So would be a waste of time.

      The Privacy act would be the one . as it has real penalties, and Key would be the one to cop the blame in a court of law

      • Richard 6.1.1

        The National party is not covered by the OIA…

        Yes, that was why I said that it wouldn’t be possible to OIA the National Party.

        If the source really is the Education Ministry, however, then I think that should be discoverable by an OIA. But you would probably effectively need to know the answer as to who provided the database beforehand (so that you can word your OIA request appropriately).

        You are right that if there is evidence to be discovered that the OIA request would be obstructed. But that is interesting in and of itself.

    • We (taxpayers) funded the letter so it should be OIAable.

      I suggest a second look however, Natioal Student numbers appear to apply to tertiary students.

      • Marty G 6.2.1

        nah, all students have one:

        The NSN has been used for tertiary students and senior secondary school students sitting the National Certificate of Educational Achievement since 2001. In 2006, a change to the Education Act 1989 gave the Ministry of Education authority to extend the NSN to all parts of the education sector.

        • mickysavage

          Right you are.

          Fron the Education Act 1989

          “343 Assigning national student numbers
          (1) The Secretary may assign a national student number to any student who—
          (a) is enrolled with an education provider; or
          (b) has been granted an exemption under section 21 or section 22.
          (2) On the date on which this Part comes into force, every national student number that is already assigned to a person is deemed to be a national student number assigned under this section to that person.

          “344 Use of national student numbers

          (2) The Secretary may authorise or require an authorised user to use national student numbers only for the purpose of, or for a specific purpose falling within, any 1 or more of the following:
          (a) monitoring and ensuring student enrolment and attendance:
          (b) ensuring education providers and students receive appropriate resourcing:
          (c) statistical purposes:
          (d) research purposes:
          (e) ensuring that students’ educational records are accurately maintained.”

          There may be an issue about if it use of the information generally or use of the number only but well worth further investigation.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    The best way would be to have someone who got a letter then sue John Key directly, not as PM , but as leader of the Parliamentary party, for misusing the Student Index.

    His name is all over it so he is the legal person ‘responsible’. let him wear the mud that will stick

    That way you have a court process of discovery rather the political one which National controls , plus they would have to use party funds to defend it rather than taxpayers and Crown Law

  8. Trevor Mallard 8

    I’m interested to hear if anyone who doesn’t have a child at school got one which would mean that profiling which i think is ok was used.. The idea that the Ministry would allow the use of their database is almost unbelievable. But we live in unusual times.

    And you are right – John Key is personally responsible for this one – although if the database was used on Tolley’s instructions she will be in big trouble too.

    • ieuan 8.1

      Yes Trevor a friend of ours got one of the leaflets but does not have a child at a school. They do have a young son and I think he goes to a pre-school (or play centre) but so does our child and we did not receive a leaflet.

      I also doubt it is was an old address that was is still on a database because they have been at their house for a number of years.

    • Marty G 8.2

      I guess a written question to the minister would be a good way forward.

    • Zorr 8.3

      Same as ieuan here Trev. 2 young boys but neither of them even preschool age yet but we still got the mailer.

      • lukas 8.3.1

        zorr, this will also effect your children in a couple of years… would you have preferred to not get it and be left in the dark as to what is going on?

  9. Marty G 9

    I genuinely can’t think of how you would get a list of primary pupils’ addresses otherwise.

    Had one email from someone saying they got one and have a primary age child but you wouldn’t have picked them if you were profiling from the electoral roll (they’re someone who knows a bit about how that profiling is done)

  10. Paul 10

    Parents at my school didn’t get a letter at all. We are in the Far North and pretty small (100 children) so maybe we weren’t considered important enough.

  11. Paul 11

    On a further matter why are private schools exempt from the National Standards (National except for the rich? or maybe there just might be a direct correlation between socio economic status and educational achievement), If so which of the following will have the greater affect on the standards of achievement in New Zealand’s schools – National Standards or the rise in GST and the tough line on Welfare?

  12. I just asked my colleague who has a primary aged child (mine is only 2) and he hasn’t received the pamphlet. Profiling probably would have excluded their family as he works for a union.

    • Matthew Hooton 12.1

      I have a child at school but I don’t get the letter either. I don’t work for a union.

      • Lew 12.1.1

        Matthew, you also don’t need a pamphlet to be converted to the cause.


        • Matthew Hooton

          Yes, but a ministry database wouldn’t know that.

          • Lew

            If someone could be excluded due to working for a union, someone could certainly be excluded for having the surname “Hooton”.

            I’m not saying this is what happened — only that your single data point is only a single data point.


            • lprent

              Given any database with some basic information in it (name, address, IRD, etc) and matching against something like say the tax records (or electoral roll) that has occupation in it; I’d have very little difficulty in doing either selection exclusion.

              I routinely do this with the electoral roll and other associated data for targeted canvassing in the electorates I volunteer for. However I know where all of that info is coming from. I’m very uncertain where the ministry of education could have gotten theirs from legitimately.

              Of course they could have just compiled a list of people that they wanted excluded from a mailout as well. But that raises just about as many questions.

  13. randal 13

    must have come from from the ministry.
    I listened to the speeches in the house last night and most of the tories couldnt even read their own speeches properly so looking through data would be impossible for them.

  14. randal 14

    new words from the tory backbench.

  15. tracey 15

    The next question then is did anyone with no children get one? profiling or no profiling, people without children also pay taxes which go into children’s health and education. We do have a right to be informed and to have a say. Otherwise, if we follow the logic of the nats on this mailout, only dog owners and people who have been mauled by dogs will be educated on proposed dog legislation and so on…

  16. Roflcopter 16

    Well duh!

    Just get the Ministry to send it on behalf of, and have all their costs covered. The party doesn’t need to even see the addresses.

    It’s not rocket science, but it makes a great story, right?

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Trans-Tasman travel window to close at midnight tomorrow
    A further 500 MIQ rooms released for managed returnees from NSW Further Government actions announced today are balanced to provide more certainty for Kiwis wanting to return from Australia, while continuing to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Ayesha Verrall says. The actions were foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Govt investing millions in Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti schools
    Napier Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools are among those set to benefit from a $16.5 million investment in the Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti region, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced today. The Government has set aside money in Budget 2021 to accelerate five projects in Napier, Hastings, Havelock North ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Game changing Jobs for Nature investment for Northland
    Conservation Minister Kiri Allan has announced Jobs for Nature funding for a portfolio of projects that will create ‘game changing’ gains for nature and communities across Northland/Te Tai Tokerau as part of the Government’s acceleration of the economic recovery from COVID. “This portfolio of 12 projects will see over $20 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Third COVID-19 vaccine receives provisional approval
    New Zealand’s regulatory authority Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older, Acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. New Zealand secured 7.6 million doses (enough for 3.8 million people) of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Bowel-cancer screening programme is saving lives
    More than 1000 New Zealanders have had bowel cancer – New Zealand’s second-most-common cause of death from cancer - detected under the Government’s National Bowel Screening Programme, Health Minister Andrew Little said today. More than 1200 New Zealanders died from bowel cancer in 2017. The screening programme aims to save ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Govt welcomes draft report on the retail grocery sector
    The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Christchurch’s Youth Hub ‘set to go’ thanks to further Government funding
    Construction of New Zealand’s first, purpose-built centre for youth well-being is ready to get underway thanks to an extra $2.5 million of COVID-19 response funding, Housing Minister and Associate Minister of Finance, Megan Woods announced today.  “The Christchurch Youth Hub is about bringing together all the things young people need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Next step to protect Milford Sound Piopiotahi
    Expert group lays out plan to better protect iconic UNESCO World Heritage site Milford Sound Piopiotahi and its surrounds Funding confirmed for dedicated unit and Establishment Board to assess the recommendations and provide oversight of the process from here Milford Opportunities Project a test case for transformational change in tourism ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Funding for projects to reduce waste from construction and demolition
    The Government has announced funding for projects in Auckland and the lower North Island to help reduce construction and demolition waste. “Construction is the main source of waste sent to landfill, and much of this could be reduced, reused and recovered,” Environment Minister David Parker said. “The Government is funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Plan to eliminate hepatitis C as a major health threat by 2030
    A plan to eliminate hepatitis C in New Zealand, reducing liver cancer and the need for liver transplants, has been released today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. “Around 45,000 New Zealanders have hepatitis C, but only around half know they have it,” said Ayesha Verrall. “Symptoms often ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • School upgrades and new classrooms for West Coast, Tasman and Canterbury
    A funding injection from Budget 2021 to complete four shovel ready projects and new classrooms at six schools and kura will provide a real boost to local communities, Minister Dr Megan Woods announced today. “This Government has committed to providing quality fit for purpose learning environments and 100,000 new student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Warmer Kiwi Homes smashes annual target
    The Government's highly successful insulation and heating programme, Warmer Kiwi Homes, is celebrating a key milestone with the completion of more than 38,000 insulation and efficient heater installs in the year to the end of June, smashing its target of 25,000 installs for the year. “The Warmer Kiwi Homes scheme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Exemption granted for Wallabies to enter NZ
    Bledisloe Cup rugby will be played in New Zealand after the Australian rugby team received an economic exemption to enter New Zealand. Travel between Australia and New Zealand was suspended on Friday for at least eight weeks following the worsening of the COVID outbreak across the Tasman. New Zealanders have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced three New Zealand Head of Mission appointments. They are: Mike Walsh as Ambassador to Iran Michael Upton as Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union Kevin Burnett as Ambassador to Indonesia Iran “Aotearoa New Zealand has a long-standing and constructive relationship with Iran, despite a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for West Coast and Marlborough
    The Government has activated Enhanced Task Force Green (ETFG) in response to the West Coast and Marlborough floods, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “To assist with the clean-up, up to $500,000 will be made available to support the recovery in Buller and Marlborough which has experienced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt support for upgrade of Eden Park players facilities
    Minister for Sport and Recreation Hon Grant Robertson has announced funding to upgrade the players facilities at Eden Park ahead of upcoming Women’s World Cup events. Eden Park is a confirmed venue for the Rugby World Cup 2021, the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, and a proposed venue for matches of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More jobs and quicker public transport motoring towards West Auckland
    Work to improve public transport for West Aucklanders and support the region’s economic recovery by creating hundreds of jobs has officially kicked off, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff this morning marked the start of construction on the Northwestern Bus Improvements project. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government backs critical health research
    Research into some of New Zealanders’ biggest health concerns including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease is getting crucial support in the latest round of health research funding, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. The funding, awarded through the Health Research Council of New Zealand, covers 31 General Project grants ($36.64 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Bay of Islands hospital facilities to bring services closer to home
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little have joined a ceremony to bless the site and workers for Phase Two of the redevelopment of the Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa today. The new building will house outpatients and primary care facilities, as well as expanded renal care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Raukokore re-imagined with ‘smart’ relocatable rent to own housing
    Iwi, Crown Partnership Relocatable, fully insulated housing, connected to a new solar plant Provides a pathway to home ownership New housing in the remote eastern Bay of Plenty community of Raukokore shows how iwi and Crown agencies can work together effectively to provide warm, dry, energy efficient homes in a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Cabinet accepts Turkish authorities’ request for the managed return of three NZ citizens
    Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year. Turkey has requested that New Zealand repatriate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt delivers more classrooms so children can focus on learning
    Extra Government investment in classrooms and school building projects will enable students and teachers to focus on education rather than overcrowding as school rolls grow across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis say. The pair visited Ruakākā School in Whangārei today to announce $100 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New station a platform for AirportLink to take off
    Every Aucklander with access to the rail network will now have a quick and convenient trip to the airport, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said during the official opening of the new Puhinui Interchange today. The new interchange links the rail platform with a new bus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 10 days sick leave for employees delivered
    Legislation doubling employees’ minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days comes into effect today, bringing benefits to both businesses and employees, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “Our Government is delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy,” Michael Wood said. “COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on Election Win
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tonight congratulated Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on her victory in the Samoa’s general election. “New Zealand has a special relationship with Samoa, anchored in the Treaty of Friendship. We look forward to working with Samoa’s new government in the spirit of partnership that characterises this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with Australia suspended
    Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. From 11.59pm today Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free. This will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Growing conservation efforts in Gisborne
    A big injection of Jobs for Nature funding will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti, and has exciting prospects for conservation in the region, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The projects target local communities most affected by the economic consequences of COVID 19 and are designed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Flood recovery given further assistance
    The Government is contributing a further $1 million to help the flood battered Buller community, Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Buller is a small community which has found itself suddenly facing significant and ongoing welfare costs. While many emergency welfare costs are reimbursed by Government, this money ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Funding for five projects to reduce food waste
    The Government is funding five projects to help address the growing problem of food waste, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “New Zealand households throw away nearly 300,000 tonnes of food every year, half of which could still be eaten. By supporting these initiatives, we’re taking steps to reduce this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for West Coast flooding event
    The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated today - meaning residents on the West Coast of the South Island and in the Marlborough region hit by flooding over the weekend can now access help finding temporary accommodation, announced Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Poto Williams in Westport today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand will be paused from 11.59am (NZT) tonight, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. However, people currently in the state who ordinarily live in New Zealand will be able to return on “managed return” flights starting with the next available flight, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand condemns malicious cyber activity by Chinese state-sponsored actors
    New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Remarks to Diplomatic Corps
    It is a pleasure to be with you all this evening. Some of you may have been surprised when you received an invitation from the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, and I would forgive you if you were. New Zealand is unique in having established a Ministerial portfolio ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Early Pfizer shipment boosts vaccine schedule
    The largest shipment of the Pfizer vaccine to date has arrived into New Zealand two days ahead of schedule, and doses are already being delivered to vaccination centres around the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “The shipment of more than 370,000 doses reached New Zealand yesterday, following a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Backing for Bay of Islands predator free effort
    The Government is throwing its support behind an ambitious project to restore native biodiversity and build long-term conservation careers, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Predator Free Bay of Islands aims to eradicate predators from the three main peninsulas in the region, and significantly reduce their impact throughout the wider 80,000-plus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government commits $600,000 to flood recovery
    The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district this afternoon to assess flood damage and support the local response effort. They have announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government assisting local responses to heavy rainfall and high wind
    Acting Minister of Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says Central Government is monitoring the severe weather across the country, and is ready to provide further support to those affected if necessary. “My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this latest event, particularly communities on the West Coast and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM Ardern chairs APEC Leaders’ meeting on COVID-19
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has chaired a meeting of Leaders representing the 21 APEC economies overnight. “For the first time in APEC’s history Leaders have come together for an extraordinary meeting focused exclusively on COVID-19, and how our region can navigate out of the worst health and economic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health Minister welcomes progress on nurses’ pay
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s decision to take the Government’s improved pay offer to members and to lift strike notices is a positive move towards settling district health board nurses’ pay claims, Health Minister Andrew Little said. “It’s encouraging that the discussions between NZNO and DHBs over the nurses’ employment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Boost for Pacific regional business
    Pacific businesses will get a much-needed financial boost as they recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the new Pacific Aotearoa Regional Enterprise Fund, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  The new $2 million fund will co-invest in Pacific business projects and initiatives to create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago