Privacy as a Stakeholder Interest in New Zealand: Transparency in Corporate Governance Practices

Mr. Gehan Gunasekara

Considerable public anxiety exists as to the extent to which business protects personal information. This article argues that corporate governance theory, through the stakeholder principle, provides a means by which this anxiety may be relieved and, at the same time, compliance with privacy laws ensured. It examines all publicly available corporate governance documents of companies listed on the New Zealand exchange in order to assess the extent to which privacy protection is recognised as a stakeholder interest, as opposed to other interests such as the protection of confidential and corporate information. Comparisons are drawn with overseas-based companies listed in New Zealand and a random sample of companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The results demonstrate that overseas companies outperform New Zealand ones in their recognition of the importance of protecting privacy and that New Zealand companies can learn from aspects of overseas best practice in this area.

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