Consultation opens on establishing a consumer data right

Published: 05 August 2020

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has released a discussion document on options for establishing a consumer data right that would better meet the needs of consumers and allow them to harness the power of their data.

Hamish Grant-Fargie, Policy Director, in the Commerce, Consumers and Communications Branch says establishing a consumer data right could deliver a range of benefits for both consumers and businesses.

“Creating a system whereby people consent to sharing their data with trusted third parties in a safe and secure way would provide consumers with access to a wider range of products and services.

“We are considering options for creating a consumer data right, which would give individuals and businesses greater choice and control over the increasingly large volumes of data held about them by companies like banks and utilities. This would mean people can manage their finances more easily, compare products or services across multiple providers, and seamlessly switch between different providers without losing their data.”

As businesses hold increasingly large volumes of data about consumers, the opportunities associated with using data more innovatively are potentially significant, Mr Grant-Fargie said.

“Giving consumers greater access to how their data is used will facilitate innovation and competition. One such area is in payment systems. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a sharp increase in the volume of business conducted online or via contactless card payments. A consumer data right could pave the way for new and innovative ways of making payments that can reduce the costs for businesses and consumers, while building the digital economy and enabling sectors such as fintech to thrive.”

The consultation asks whether a consumer data right is needed in New Zealand, and if so how it should be designed to ensure that consumer data is handled safely and securely.

Mr Grant-Fargie says it’s vital that data can only be shared with the consumer’s informed consent and in a way that is safe and secure. “An accreditation regime that ensures data holders have robust protections in place is a likely cornerstone of a consumer data right. We’re seeking feedback on the best ways to protect consumer data while still allowing consumers to benefit from their data.”

Read the discussion document and provide feedback.

MBIE media contacts

Phone: 027 442 2141