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Entering a formal insolvency procedure has a real and lasting impact on a debtor’s privacy. This is one of the reasons people should not take a decision to apply for a formal insolvency procedure lightly.
What personal information do we collect?
When you enter an insolvency process, the Insolvency Act requires you to give us a great deal of personal information.
Much of that information is sensitive. It includes details of your employment, debts, assets, financial transactions, passport and driver’s licence, other names that you have used, and, sometimes, information about your partner or business associates.
Your creditors will also provide information, in order to support their claim.
You also need to provide further information during the administration, such as changes of employment, plans to travel overseas and repayments and other financial information.
If you are a creditor, you will need to provide information about the amount and nature of your claim.
If you have a valid claim, you can set up an on-line account, with a user name and password, so that you can access some further information relating to our administration online.
We do not collect personal information about people who conduct searches of the public registers.
Why do we need the information?
We need the personal information to identify a debtor’s assets and liabilities, to assess the validity and priority of claims, to manage on-line accounts and verify that access is authorised, and to complete our administration.
What happens if I don’t provide the information?
If you want to enter a formal insolvency procedure, you do not have a choice about whether you give us the information that the law requires. If you do not give it to us, we will not be able to accept your application.
If the court declares you bankrupt, the law also requires you to provide the information. Failure to do will lead to your bankruptcy being extended and so may lead to further court proceedings.
When do we disclose information?
The Insolvency Act requires us to make some information about insolvencies available. In particular, debtors should note that some details must be made available online to the public as a whole.
Publicly available information
When you are made bankrupt, enter a No Asset Procedure, or are covered by a Summary Instalment Order, certain information is published on one of the public registers that the Official Assignee is required to administer. This information is:
- What type of insolvency procedure you are in
- Your insolvency (reference) number
- Your full name and any alternative name you may use or have used
- Your month and year of birth
- Your address when you become adjudicated
- Your current address
- Your insolvency status (for example “current bankrupt”)
- The date that you were adjudicated
- The Court where you were adjudicated (if relevant)
- Your occupation at time of adjudication
- Your employment status
- Where your case is being managed, so people can make enquiries.
This information is fully available on the internet to any member of the public who wishes to search the register. This means that it is also available to businesses such as credit reporters, banks and employers, for them to collect and use or disclose in any way that the law allows. We are not responsible for what individuals or organisations do with information that they collect from the public register.
For a first bankruptcy, the information stays on the public register until 4 years after you have been discharged or the discharge becomes unconditional. For No Asset Procedures, the details appear on the register for 5 years from acceptance. For Summary Instalment Orders the details appear in the register for the length of the order only.
If you become insolvent more than once (whether through bankruptcy or NAP), your information will remain on the public register permanently.
When you enter into a formal insolvency procedure, your name, address and date of acceptance must also be sent to the New Zealand Gazette for publication. We are also required to publish details of recent insolvencies on the home page of our website.
Information available to creditors
If you are a creditor, you are entitled to receive key information about your debtor, including information about the amounts and priorities of other claims, their assets and liabilities and the progress of administration.
Other laws may require disclosure
From time to time, it may be necessary to disclose information for law enforcement purposes, for court proceedings, or because disclosure is required by other laws.
Can I ever suppress my details from publication?
People usually cannot ask for their details to be suppressed. The purpose of the register is to make the information available.
However, if you have a domestic protection order or a harassment order in your favour, you should let us know, so that we can take steps to protect your safety by suppressing some of your contact information.
Your name will still be published, so that claims against the estate can be identified.
Individuals can access information that we hold about them
Debtors and creditors can set up an account that enables them to access core information on the progress of the administration.
If you wish to access other information about yourself that we hold, you can ask us for that information by [emailing:] or [phoning].
If you believe that information that we hold is incorrect, you can ask us to correct the information. You can also update limited types of information yourself, through your account.
If there is disagreement about whether the information is correct, you can ask us to add a statement to the file, containing a statement of what you believe the correct position to be.
How long do we keep information?
Information about your Bankruptcy or No Asset Procedure stays on the public register until 4 years after the insolvency has been discharged or becomes unconditional. If you become insolvent more than once, your information will remain on the public register permanently.
We keep other information for as long as we need to administer that particular insolvency. We may continue to keep information after you are discharged from insolvency, for as long as we have a valid purpose to keep that information.
We are careful to keep information secure
Information that is on the public registers is available for anyone to find and to use.
However, we take reasonable steps to keep all remaining information secure, so that it can only be accessed or modified by people who have the appropriate authority to do so.
Every endeavour has been taken by the Insolvency and Trustee Service to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date. The legal information contained in this website is intended as a general guide and is not a detailed legal analysis.
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