Government’s open data gets $7.2 million boost

Statistics minister Scott Simpson has announced funding of $7.2 million over the next three years to speed the release of government data under the government’s open data initiative.

Simpson said open data would help businesses, councils, community and charitable groups as well as other data users make faster, better-informed decisions, help solve complex problems and make it easier for businesses to innovate and grow.

“The Government is committed to making sure the data we collect is increasingly freely available in easy to use formats,” he said. “This will help any business, not-for-profit group or individual who wants to use it. Open data is de-identified and does not include personal information such as names or addresses.”

He added: “Open data can also be used to improve how we access healthcare services, discover cures for diseases more efficiently, understand our government better, and help us travel to places more easily.

“It is crucial to help New Zealand meet its Business Growth Agenda objectives by 2025 and its commitments under the Open Government Partnership. Opening up government data and helping others to use it means a much greater return-on-investment for the data the government collects.”

He said New Zealand was one of the early adopters of open data and currently ranked seventh in the world out of 115 countries in the Open Data Barometer.

Statistics New Zealand took over the government’s open data programme from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) in March this year. That announcement came a day after the announcement of an alliance between Statistics NZ and Statistics Netherlands designed to help both bodies better exploit the potential of new data sources and analytics for decision-making.

Then statistics minister Mark Mitchell, said Statistics NZ had expertise in maximising value from data, and would continue working with agencies to raise awareness and increase transparency around their data use.

A few months earlier, in September 2016 land information minister Louise Upston sought public input on the development of policies to make government data available to the public.

In particular she sought input 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 had been adopted by 17 countries.

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