Government seeks public input on open data policies

Land Information Minister Louise Upston is seeking public input on the development of policies to make government data available to the public

Land Information Minister Louise Upston is seeking public input on the development of policies to make government data available to the public.

She is seeking views on whether New Zealand should adopt the International Open Data Charter, a set of global principles for making government data available to the public. The charter was launched in September 2015 and has been adopted by 17 countries.

Upston said: “We’ve had an open data framework in New Zealand since 2011 and by international standards we’re good at it, but we can still be better. The launch of the Charter last year means it’s a good time for us to look more closely at our commitments around open data and how we can strengthen them.”

(Computerworld reported in February 2015 that the Open Data Barometer had ranked New Zealand joint fourth joint-fourth leading country in the world in the implementation of open data strategies.)

“Government data is a public good, owned by the people of New Zealand, and I want to hear from Kiwis themselves about how they would like to see it managed,” Upston said.

She said that if New Zealand were to join the charter it would have to commit to all six of its principles. Instead, she said New Zealand could develop its own framework suited to its requirements.

The charter’s six principles are that data should be: open by default; timely and comprehensive; accessible and usable; comparable and interoperable; for improved governance and citizen engagement; for inclusive development and innovation.

This will be the Government’s third open data initiative this year. In May it held and open data showcase at Parliament House that was attended by almost 200 people.The Government said its aim was “to celebrate the possibilities that open data creates, and to hear from businesses, individuals, and agencies about what they are delivering with data that is already open and available.”

In early August Upston invited applications for two Open Data Fellowships with Land Information New Zealand and the Wellington City Council. She said the application process required applicants to identify a local problem that could be solved by using data that already existed but needed to be collected and presented in a way that would make it useful to New Zealanders.

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