New Zealand has confirmed its commitment to the practice of openness in government with statistics minister James Shaw co-signing a letter with the Government Chief Data Steward, Liz MacPherson, that officially commits New Zealand to adopting the international Open Data Charter.
With the move New Zealand joins 17 other countries, including Australia. It follows the Government announcing in August 2017 that it sign up to the charter, saying it would help drive innovation, support public accountability and encourage engagement with government.
In June 2017 the then statistics minister Scott Simpson 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.
The Government had earlier, in September 2016, sought the public’s views on whether New Zealand should adopt the International Open Data Charter.
(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.)
Shaw said that opening up public agencies’ data would encourage openness as the default setting for government agencies to make non-personal, unclassified and non-confidential data freely available to anyone to use and share.
"As well as meeting increased user demand for open data to drive innovation, this will ensure we are accountable, transparent, and resilient in our use of data," Shaw said.
An Open Data Action Plan, implemented by Statistics NZ, will set the direction for the charter’s implementation in New Zealand.
It will: provide transparency about the data the government holds; equip agencies with better tools and resources; connect citizens and government.
The Government says online tools and resources and training will lift people’s capability to innovate, to inform decision-making, and to provide evidence-based policy through data.