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Co-designing data content standards across government

As the lead agency for data, Stats NZ is working across government to co-design, develop, and implement short data content standards, tapping into specialised expertise.

Every 90 days representatives from all government agencies are invited to a workshop to identify new standards that need to be developed.

Stats NZ then works with subject matter experts from agencies to create short-form (1-page summary) standards. Where possible, existing standards that work well for a particular sector will be used as the basis for a cross-agency standard.

Approval process

A 4-stage process ensures standards are fit for purpose.

  1. Challenge Review Committee – ensures standards make sense and are easy to use.
  2. Approval Board – looks at the cost of implementing each standard (including tools, training, and support), and which standards to consider for implementation from a financial perspective.
  3. Approval– the Government Chief Data Steward signs off approved standards and makes them freely available on
  4. Monitoring – monitors agency plans for adoption, providing the tools and support to enable adoption.

An on-going support and maintenance programme ensures standards remain fit for purpose.

Guiding principles

To be eligible for implementation, new standards must meet 5 guiding principles:

  • Quality – supports the collection of consistently high-quality data.
  • One size fits all – has wide application and suitability.
  • Full alignment to full standard – aligns to related standards or guidance.
  • Easy to follow – is easy to follow and comprehend.
  • Fit for purpose – summarises the features needed to collect the data.

Standards in approval process

  • Date of birth.
  • Name of a person.
  • Street address.

Standards in development

  • Country.
  • Location.
  • Occupation.
  • Phone number.
  • Relationships.

Contact us

If you would like to know more, please email