Skip to content

Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS)

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 role supports the use of data as a resource across government to help deliver better services to New Zealanders.

Who holds this role

Mark Sowden is the Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS), the Government Statistician, and the Chief Executive of Stats NZ.

Data leadership at Stats NZ

What the GCDS does

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, driving innovation and contributing to economic, social, and environmental progress.

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

The GCDS leads by facilitating and enabling a joined-up approach across government.  As well as developing policy and infrastructure, the GCDS provides support and guidance so agencies can use data effectively, while maintaining the trust and confidence of New Zealanders.

The GCDS is:

  • Setting the strategic direction for government's data management
  • Leading New Zealand's state sector's response to new and emerging data issues
  • Co-developing a Data Stewardship Framework to enable agencies to manage data as a strategic asset and benchmark their data maturity
  • Leading the government's commitment to accelerating the release of open data.

System leadership in Aotearoa NZ 

The GCDS does not work alone, but in co-ordination with the other functional leads of government. In particular, the GCDS works closely with the following functional leaders:

  • Government Chief Digital Officer
  • Government Chief Information Security Officer
  • Government Chief Privacy Officer

Government functional leaders concerned with digital and data 

The Public Services Commissioner assigns all of the functional leads for Aotearoa NZ. Currently, the Government Chief Data Steward role is assigned to whomever holds the Chief Executive role at Stats NZ.