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

  • Tuvalu language revival and COVID-19
    Te Vaiaso o te Gana Tuvalu 2021 - Tuvalu Language Week moves online due to the uncertainty around COVID-19 said the Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  “However it is a timely reminder of the power of embracing both traditional and new ways of doing things. It has been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Strengthened reporting will improve abortion and sterilisation services
    Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall has announced new data and reporting regulations which will help improve abortion and sterilisation services in New Zealand, by painting a clearer picture of the need in our communities. “The Government is committed to ensuring everyone who needs to access abortion services can, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • United Nations General Assembly: 76th General Debate Statement
    E ngā Mana, e ngā Reo, Rau Rangatira mā o tēnei Whare Nui o te Ao Prestigious people, Speakers of note, Chiefs one and all of this General Assembly Ngā mihi mahana ki o koutou katoa, mai i toku Whenua o Aotearoa Warm greetings to you all from my home ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum prioritises women’s economic empowerment
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today chaired the virtual APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum, which is working to address outstanding issues for women and girls across the region as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum brought together Ministers and representatives from 21 economies to discuss gender ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Upper Hauraki to move to Alert Level 2
    Upper Hauraki will move to Alert Level 2 from 11:59pm tomorrow, 25 September, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. After positive cases were detected in the Upper Hauraki area on Sunday, extra Alert Level restrictions were put in place to immediately prevent any wider transmission of the virus.  “We’ve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Report into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system released
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today welcomed the findings of an independent review into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system, which regulates the export of goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries. Produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General David Parker has announced the appointment of Brett Crowley of Wellington as a District Court Judge.  He is currently the Wellington Public Defender and started his career as a staff solicitor working in a range of litigation including criminal defence work. He went to the bar in 1999 specialising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Mental health stocktake shows strong progress
    The first report of the Government’s Implementation Unit has found strong progress has been made since the Mental Health and Addictions Package was announced in 2019. “The report notes most initiatives funded in the Budget 2019 package are on track to deliver what is expected by 2023/24,” Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Working together to grow the West Coast
    A project that has been crucial in allowing businesses to continue during the tourism downturn is among a number of initiatives to receive a boost from the Government’s Jobs For Nature programme, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Sustaining South Westland is an extension of an initiative set up last year ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Next steps to improve safety in wake of Whakaari White Island tragedy
    The Government is moving to improve safety in light of the Whakaari White Island tragedy and has released proposals to reinforce safety standards in registered adventure activities. The package of proposals includes: Strengthening requirements for how operators, landowners and the regulator manage natural hazard risks Improving how risks are monitored, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand donates more COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX and the Pacific
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio announced today that New Zealand is donating additional Pfizer vaccines to the Pacific and AstraZeneca vaccines to the COVAX Facility, to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. “New Zealand is donating 708,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the Property Council of New Zealand
    Kia ora koutou katoa   Is it a pleasure to be able to speak with you today, and to be able to answer some questions you may have. I would like to acknowledge the organisers of this event, the Property Council. The theme of this year’s conference is City Shapers. Together ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Additional MIQ for Christchurch
    An additional hotel will be added to our network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ COVID-19 response earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Amazon’s Web Services’ (AWS) decision to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery. “Amazon is the second ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand invests in cutting edge cancer R&D
    Scaling up the manufacture of CAR T-cell cancer therapy for clinical trials Advancing New Zealand’s biomedical manufacturing capability Supporting future international scientific collaborations Transforming cancer care with targeted, affordable solutions Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced that the fight against COVID-19 will not stop the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Expert group appointed to lead New Zealand’s future health system
    An outstanding group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience have been appointed to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This Government is building a truly national health system to provide consistent, high-quality health services right across the country. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding to help clean up contaminated sites
    The Government is supporting the clean-up of contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland to reduce risk to people’s health and protect the environment. Environment Minister David Parker said the funding announced today, through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, will help us turn previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Predator Free apprenticeships open up new job opportunities
    The expansion of a predator free apprenticeship programme is an opportunity for more people to kick-start a conservation career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Predator Free Apprenticeship Programme is focused on increasing the number of skilled predator control operators in New Zealand through a two-year training programme. “The Trust ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further NCEA support confirmed for Auckland students
    The number of Learning Recognition Credits for senior secondary school students will be increased for Auckland students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. This recognises the extended time these students will spend in Alert Levels 3 and 4. “It means students in Auckland will have a fair opportunity to attain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
    The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and also sets out how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago