Government’s open data gets $7.2 million boost

  • Scott Simpson

New Zealanders will get access to more ‘open data’, with $7.2 million earmarked for the next three years to speed its release, Statistics Minister Scott Simpson announced today.

“Open data helps businesses, councils, community and charitable groups as well as other data users make faster, better-informed decisions and help solve complex problems. High quality data makes it easier for businesses to innovate and grow,” Mr Simpson says.

“Open data is good for an open democracy. More open data will also help everyone see how their tax dollars are being spent and how effective that spending is.

“The Government is committed to making sure the data we collect is increasingly freely available in easy to use formats. 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.

‘Examples of how government data is being used more widely include online tool to help homeowners search for free property data and global mapping company, HERE Maps, helping to launch self-driving cars around the world.

“Working towards an ‘open by default’ approach in government requires a significant culture change and we continue to invest resources into new ways of working with data.”

New Zealand is one of the early adopters of open data and currently ranks 7th in the world out of 115 countries in the Open Data Barometer.

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.