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Algorithm review underway to increase transparency and accountability

Colleages on PC

A cross-government review, led by the Government Chief Data Steward and Government Chief Digital Officer, is underway to increase the transparency and accountability of how government uses algorithms – to improve the lives of New Zealanders.

Algorithms are the automatic decision-making processes used by computer programmes to identify patterns in data.

Our objective

To ensure New Zealanders are informed, and have confidence in how the government uses algorithms.

What the review involves

The initial focus will be on operational algorithms that result in, or inform, decisions directly impacting individuals or groups. 

Good practice, and opportunities to support agencies that use algorithms in decision-making will also be looked at. The Principles for Safe and Effective use of Data and Analytics will underpin this analysis.

Next steps

A report with the findings of the first phase of the review will be published in August 2018. 

Related work

An action plan is being developed to look at recommendations from the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Forum’s report Artificial Intelligence: Shaping a Future New Zealand, which outlines the opportunities and challenges for New Zealand to adopt AI.

New Zealand is leading the Digital 7 nations’ work – a network of the world’s most advanced digital nations – to ensure digital rights are at the heart of policy design globally.

Key documents

Review of Government Algorithms – Report to the Minister of Statistics and the Minister for Government Digital Services [14 May 2018].

Information withheld or deleted

Deletions have been made from the documents under the following sections of the Official Information Act 1982:

  • 9(2)(a) to protect the privacy of natural persons.
  • 9(2)(f)(iv) to maintain the confidentiality of advice tendered by Ministers of the Crown and officials

In preparing this information release, Stats NZ has considered the public interest considerations in section 9(1) of the Official Information Act.

More information


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