Purpose of Use


According to the FarmsOnLine Privacy Impact Assessment reviewed with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, FarmsOnLine has purposes of use both for personal information (information about an identifiable individual) and information sourced from the public domain (including physical location, land use and LINZ title information). The purposes for each are set out below.

Purpose of Use for information from the public domain

FarmsOnLine will collect public domain information for the following purposes:

  1. Effective biosecurity responses and adverse event management;
  2. Effective biosecurity surveillance programmes;
  3. Developing and implementing robust policy to secure the future of the rural sector and monitoring and reporting on the success of these policies;
  4. Supporting bona-fide research related to the rural sector, animal plant and human health and food safety; and
  5. Assisting the successful implementation of a wide variety of government and industry programmes.

Purpose of Use for Personal Information

The purpose of use for personal information held in the FarmsOnLine database is:

  1. To support activities sanctioned under the Biosecurity Act 1993, to enable a precautionary biosecurity capability including:

    (a) To facilitate the provision of assurances and certificates in relation to exports of organisms and their products; and

    (b) As a basis for the proper administration of the Act, including the institution of precautionary actions, emergency and exigency arrangements, and pest management strategies; and

    (c) To monitor the effect of pest management strategies; and

    (d) Otherwise to enable any of New Zealand's international reporting obligations and trading requirements to be met.

  2. For MPI internal statistical or research purposes under Information Privacy Principle (IPP) 10(f)(ii) in the Privacy Act 1993. The caveat on this is that the personal information will not be published in a form that can be reasonably expected to identify the individual concerned;
  3. To support any purpose allowed through specific permission (e.g. responding to individual farmer requests for assistance, to prevent or mitigate harm to livestock and crops during adverse events such as severe weather events, voluntary participation by individual farmers in market access schemes where location of origin is relevant); and
  4. To support purposes set out in any existing or new legislation that mandates the provision of personal information held in the FarmsOnLine database (e.g. proposed NAIT legislation).

Access To Information On FarmsOnLine (The Biosecurity Database)

Access to information on FarmsOnline is restricted by law. Section 142C of the Biosecurity Act 1993 (the Act) distinguishes between information sourced from the public domain and information obtained from other sources.

  1. Information sourced from the public domain - The Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) may authorise any person to access such information for any lawful purpose. Access for commercial purposes would not generally be permitted.
  2. Information sourced from non-public domain - The Director-General of MPI has no power to disclose information that has not been sourced from the public domain, unless:

    (a) The requested information falls within a biosecurity purpose under the Act, or

    (b) The Director-General has received permission from the person (or their agent) to whom the information relates, to release the information, or

    (c) Legislation (other than the Official Information Act) requires access to be provided

The Biosecurity Act provisions relating to FarmsOnLine can be accessed on the New Zealand legislation website.