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Strong foundations for open government data

Some big changes are underway that will have very positive impacts on open government data in New Zealand.

A new home for Open Data NZ

Statistics New Zealand logo.

Earlier this year, the New Zealand Open Government Data Programme moved from Land Information NZ to Stats NZ.

The move aligns with the change in Stats NZ’s role from predominately data, analysis and reporting, to a national data and analytics leadership role that focuses on building capability across the government sector.

Integrating the Open Government Data Programme into Stats NZ means that planning and activities can take place across all areas of government data, and ensures that open data remains a core consideration in decision making.

Legislation for today

Did you know that the Statistics Act is over 40 years old?

At the moment Stats NZ is reviewing the legislation and will soon be consulting with the public on ways in which government should collect, manage and use data. Our vision is that the new legislation will be fit for today’s modern data environment – recognising data as a strategic asset that can generate economic and social value, while continuing to maintain the public’s trust and confidence.

Three-year Action Plan

Screenshot of Action Plan.

In July 2017 Stats NZ will launch a cross-government, three-year Open Government Data Action Plan. The Action Plan aims to improve the release and re-use of open government data. Its strength is that it brings a joined-up approach across government.

  • The Action Plan brings funding, training and support to help government agencies improve open data releases, data management, legal infrastructure and other important areas.
  • There will be investment in ‘data users’ as well – to boost their capacity to use open data to help us better understand some of New Zealand’s big social, environmental and economic issues. Consultations with data users and the public will identify these issues and the data needs linked to them, so they can be prioritised.
  • Changing government culture from ‘risk-averse’ to ‘open by design’ is also a priority in the Action Plan – while ensuring basic foundations are in place, such as an effective freedom of information regime and robust privacy safeguards.
  • Across government, the Action Plan addresses areas like the need for common open data objectives, requirements, standards and performance indicators.

The Action Plan is part of a broader programme of work being undertaken by Stats NZ to build capability in data management and use, and to enable maximum value to be generated from data wherever possible.

Have your say

We’re currently seeking feedback on the draft Action Plan.

If you’re an open data user, open data generator, open data advocate – or interested in any other capacity – then have your say on the Open Government Partnership site.

The consultation closes on 30 June.