Information security


Security classifications for policy and privacy information

This section covers the IN CONFIDENCE and SENSITIVE security classifications.


Use the IN CONFIDENCE classification when the compromise of information is likely to:

  • prejudice the maintenance of law and order
  • impede the effective conduct of government
  • adversely affect the privacy of New Zealand citizens. 

For instance, when the compromise of information could prejudice:

  • citizens' commercial information
  • obligations of confidence
  • measures for protecting the health and safety of the public
  • the substantial economic interest of New Zealand
  • measures that prevent or mitigate material loss to members of the public.

Or when a compromise of information could:

  • breach constitutional conventions
  • impede the effective conduct of public affairs
  • breach legal professional privilege
  • impede the government’s commercial activities
  • result in the disclosure or use of official information for improper gain or advantage.


Use the SENSITIVE security classification when the compromise of information is likely to damage New Zealand’s interests or endanger the safety of its citizens.

For instance, where compromise could:

  • endanger the safety of any person
  • seriously damage the economy of New Zealand by prematurely disclosing decisions to change or continue government economic or financial policies relating to:
    • exchange rates or the control of overseas exchange transactions
    • banking or credit regulations
    • taxation
    • the stability, control, and adjustment of prices of goods and services, rents, and other costs and rates of wages, salaries, and other incomes
    • the borrowing of money by the New Zealand Government
    • the entering into of overseas trade agreements
  • impede government negotiations (including commercial and industrial negotiations).


Page last modified: 5/08/2019