When I first was tasked with finding a place in order to complete my work experience, I immediately knew I wanted to do something with law and its practical application. However, Palmerston North only really had the city council building and a few law firms and that didn’t seem to quite fulfil what I wanted out of my 2 days of work experience.
At that moment I knew I wanted to come to the office of the Privacy Commissioner. My dad follows John Edwards on Twitter and their website has a list of contacts so it was very easy to get in touch. Once I had contacted the OPC about the possibility of doing work experience there I sent in a CV and a day later they said they would be happy to have me. A month later I made my way over to their Wellington offices.
When I arrived at the OPC I met Sam and Annabel and they showed me around the office. I was given a security card, I signed a confidentiality agreement and I was straight off to the policy meeting. There I met the policy team and we discussed some of the interesting things they were working on. Everyone was really welcoming and friendly.
After the policy meeting was over I went to the Miramar golf course to observe a meeting John Edwards was having with a group of chief medical officers from around the country. It was really interesting to see how the Privacy Act, in this case the Heath Information Privacy Code, affects the lives of people and how it could be interpreted in many different ways. Very quickly after that was done I was handed a sandwich and a cookie and I was straight off to a community meeting about the Credit Reporting Privacy Code in Lower Hutt.
Going to all these different meetings and events was really good because they were all drastically different from each other and I found it really interesting to see all the different aspects of privacy law and perhaps what I might be doing in the not so distant future.
The second day of my work experience was a little more relaxed than the first day. It was all about meeting the complaints and enquiries team which is another important part of the OPC. I attended the investigators team meeting and they discussed different cases on which they wanted to get a second, and maybe a third, fourth and fifth, opinion and cases that were interesting.
After that I had a little tour of the Radio NZ building. It was back to business after that though and I went to talk with the enquiries team to learn about the enquiries process. While I was talking to them I discovered that they take in around 8000 enquiries every year! After that meeting I talked to Stephanie about an interesting case they had recently worked on, and to top it all off I won the weekly bingo competition.
I certainly enjoyed my work experience here at the OPC and I can say with some certainty that law is a career path I’m likely to go down. Seeing all the work that they do here has definitely solidified that decision.
Jacob is a year 10 student. He joined us for two days of work experience on 19 and 20 November.
Image credit: Te Papa, via DigitalNZ