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Data Investment Framework

Building-blocks to a desired future data system

Data has the power to change lives and create better outcomes for New Zealanders by informing government policy and decision-making.

The Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS) is committed to supporting and empowering agencies to use data more effectively.

Government holds a vast amount of data on behalf of New Zealanders. This data has the potential to be a valuable asset both for government, and outside of government, to drive innovation while contributing to economic, social and environmental progress.

Ensuring data security, and protection of privacy and confidentiality, data can provide valuable insights about ourselves and our communities as we continue to foster New Zealand's trust, confidence, and integrity.

The GCDS plays an important role to support the government's priority of gaining more value from data by facilitating and enabling an inclusive, joined-up approach to set standards and establish common capabilities across government, as well as developing data policies, infrastructure, strategies, and planning. The key to maximising value from data is ensuring agencies have the right capabilities and skills.

In recognising data as a taonga for Māori, the GCDS stewards data responsibly with, and for, future generations. We’re working with Māori to help build data capability, access more data, and realise its value as a strategic asset.

At the heart of this work is transparency around how government uses the data it holds on behalf of New Zealanders.

Over recent years Ministers and Officials have sought the GCDS’s view on government investment in data. The Data Investment Framework (Framework) was created to guide the way investment in the data system could be made to deliver to government priorities, while also building the foundations required to ensure New Zealand’s data system can meet future needs.

The framework underpins the Data Investment Plan which is a 10-year prioritised plan for investing in data needed to inform decision-making by government and New Zealanders.

The GCDS assesses data-related budget bids against the Framework and the Data Investment Plan's priorities. Following this, advice is provided to The Treasury on data system investment, for potential inclusion in their budget advice to Ministers.

Data Investment Framework

How the Framework was developed and how it works

The GCDS partnered with agencies across government to develop the framework, focusing on the future needs of the data system.The GCDS partnered with agencies across government to develop the framework, focusing on the future needs of the data system.

The Framework guides what data-related initiatives government should invest in, and is informed by:

  • critical system issues that need addressing to meet future data system needs, and
  • the extent to which they deliver a ‘system-win’, which means initiatives should aim to:
    • generate positive change elsewhere in the system
    • be scalable to support implementation across the data system, yet flexible enough to adapt to future needs
    • make the system sustainable in the long-term

The Framework is used to achieve a data system:

  • where people are placed at the heart, with data improving service design and delivery while fostering trust and confidence
  • that enables the state sector, organisations and people to use information and data to inform their decision making, and to drive innovation and increase value
  • where data is used to solve complex policy questions and drive operational decision making

Critical system issues and focus areas

The critical system issues were grouped by theme to create the following focus areas for investment (the interventions part of the Framework):

  • Data governance: robust governance to ensure that data across the system is available, usable, consistent, coherent, and secure 
  • Sustainable funding: to ensure the value of system assets is maintained over their life cycle
  • Iwi-Māori data: data that is relevant to iwi-Māori needs and is designed, collected, and analysed according to te tiriti o Waitangi principles 
  • Accessible data: a system where data users are able to quickly and easily access and use the data they need   
  • Trusted and safe access to open and protected data: a secure, trusted data environment – improving the flow of data through the system.
  • Data designed for system reuse: a system focused mindset and culture to ensure that data can be shared and reused across the system
  • Improve analytical granularity: to meet the need for robust data on populations of policy interest and small geographic communities
  • Strengthened integration infrastructure: to maximise the value of existing data by enabling better insight on individuals, households and businesses.

If you'd like more information, have a question, or want to provide feedback, email

Content last reviewed October 25 2022.