New Privacy Commissioner appointed

  • Judith Collins

Justice Minister Judith Collins has announced Wellington lawyer John Edwards as the new Privacy Commissioner.

Mr Edwards will replace Ms Marie Shroff, CNZM, CVO who has completed two five year terms in the role.

“Mr Edwards’ public and private sector experience gives him a highly informed perspective on data privacy and data matching issues. He is an acknowledged privacy expert and has a broad, practical understanding of the Privacy Act,” Ms Collins says.

“I am confident Mr Edwards will be highly credible in the role of the Commissioner and will be able to engage both the public and private sectors.”

The Privacy Commissioner administers the Privacy Act 1993. The Act sets out 12 privacy principles that guide how personal information can be collected, used, stored and disclosed.

The Privacy Commissioner's Office has a wide range of functions including – investigating complaints about breaches of privacy, running education programmes, and examining proposed legislation and how it may affect individual privacy.

Ms Collins acknowledges the outstanding service Ms Shroff has given in the position of Privacy Commissioner over the past decade.

Mr Edwards will take up appointment in February 2014.


Mr Edwards is a barrister and solicitor in practice on his own account who has been working in public law and policy for over 20 years. He has been on the staff of the Office of the Ombudsmen, the Privacy Commissioner and the Ministry of Health. He provides general corporate services for a number of smaller Crown agencies, and provides advice and training across the public sector on information law issues. Mr Edwards regularly undertakes investigations and reviews for departments, Crown entities and Ministers.