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NZ Localities

Datasets managed and maintained by the New Zealand Fire Service that related to 'localities' e.g. cities and towns, as well as suburbs and other means of identifying location. The data is currently available for free under restrictive license terms. All that is needed is a change in licensing to support the release of NZ Localities under a license compatible with the NZ GOAL framework.

Other than the Statistics NZ Digital Boundaries (regions, TAs, mesh blocks, census area units) there are no commonly defined units like suburbs, cities and towns. This has many geospatial applications for business, non-profits, and even recreational uses.

The NZ Localities dataset is partially open, but its use limited under a restrictive license. All that is being asked is for the license to be changed to a Creative Commons license that is compatible with NZ GOAL.

Gavin Treadgold

Response from
New Zealand Fire Service Commission

Data not suitable for release

Dear Gavin

Request for "NZ Localities" dataset under NZGOAL

Thank you for your interest in the “NZ Localities” dataset (Dataset) and your request for it to be released under the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (GOAL) under a CC-BY licence.

The New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) is committed to comply with GOAL policy principles and framework and currently investigating the release of various NZFS datasets including the Dataset, against the criteria under GOAL.

Status of the Dataset

The Dataset is stewarded by a consortium of parties, being NZFS, New Zealand Post and Quotable Value New Zealand (the Parties). All three Parties contribute information to the dataset, and maintain and update the Dataset regularly. A steering committee that includes these parties, and a representative from territorial local authorities, meet regularly to contribute information and agree changes to the dataset, with the changes being made by a contracted company. The Parties make yearly financial contributions for the maintenance and upkeep of the Dataset. Information from other third parties, including Land Information New Zealand and most territorial authorities, is also used to update the Dataset.

The primary use of the Dataset is to support location verification for emergency response and for postal services. It is vital to the members of the consortium, and in particular to Emergency Services, that the integrity of the Dataset is protected.

Consistent with the statutory mandate to protect life and property, NZFS encourages wider use of the Dataset to ensure consistent use of location names. However, a failure to ensure that the Dataset retains integrity, is properly maintained, and is managed as a single authoritative source through the stewardship of the Parties may have serious consequences affecting the attendance of an emergency service provider to an incident to which NZFS is called. Incorrect location information from an uncontrolled, modified version of the Dataset may result in the public using incorrect information, and could result in the emergency service taking longer than necessary to get to an incident or failing to get to the correct address.

Likewise, for NZ Post, the integrity and accuracy of the data in the Dataset is key. Incorrect data could have a negative impact on the efficiency of mail deliveries.

Current licence for the use of the Dataset

The Dataset is already available, without charge, on a licence which is designed to protect the integrity of the Dataset.

The licence terms include clauses to preserve intellectual property rights; to protect territorial authorities, Land Information New Zealand and Crown interests; and to protect the integrity of the data (including a requirement that licensees properly maintain the Dataset by using updates issued by NZFS).

The existing licence terms had been drafted to ensure that the information in the Dataset remains accurate, which ensures that those relying on the information can continue to do so, but without restricting free distribution of the information. We have a large number of current users from both the state and private sectors who have been happy to agree to the licence terms.

Review of Dataset under GOAL criteria

Given the nature of the ownership of the Dataset, NZFS will need to first consult with New Zealand Post, Quotable Value, and the other contributors to the Dataset, as part of the assessment of the Dataset against the criteria under GOAL.

NZFS will then consider the grounds for restricting the re-use of the Dataset (that is, for not providing for its re-use on the most open of licensing terms) as set out in GOAL (paragraph 26 of NZGOAL), and our preliminary assessment is that the following grounds for restriction may apply, that is that the licensing under the CC-BY licence may:

  • • be contrary to the public interest in having a single authoritative and non-adapted version of a specific data source (paragraph 26(e) of NZGOAL),
  • • result in the release of an incomplete work or incomplete material where the release would be materially misleading or likely to cause or contribute to material error by recipients or licensees, and the use of disclaimers or statements might not adequately mitigate this risk (paragraph 26(f) of NZGOAL), or
  • • be contrary to an agency’s commercial interests (paragraph 26(c) of NZGOAL) (having regard to the commercial use of the Dataset by NZ Post).

NZFS would, as part of the full assessment of the Dataset under NZGOAL, need to consider if the CC-BY or one of the more restrictive Creative Commons licences (as set out in NZGOAL) would be the most appropriate for the release of the Dataset.

We will respond again once the above process is completed.

Your sincerely

Alma Hong
Chief Information Officer

1 Comment

  • Hamish

    Anyone know if "the process is completed"?