Open data will benefit public, economy

  • Bill English
  • Nathan Guy
Finance Internal Affairs

The Government is encouraging state sector agencies to release more of their data online that has a high potential value to the public and the economy.

"Today the Government is releasing a declaration that clearly sets out our expectation that agencies should release all non-personal and unclassified data with high potential value for re-use," Finance Minister Bill English says.

"Improving online access to government data has many potential benefits. These include creating business opportunities and new services, increasing government accountability and improving policy development by encouraging greater external analysis and community engagement.

"Allowing research communities to reuse existing data for new purposes will also increase the value gained from state-funded research," Mr English says.

Examples of data being re-used include New Zealand Transport Agency data in third party websites and iPhone applications, and the use of land and geospatial information for a variety of third-party commercial applications.

"Over the past decade new technology has meant government data has gradually become more open," Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy says.

"However the release of data has been ad hoc and there has been no clear set of expectations. These steps build on New Zealand's long history of openness and recognise that this data effectively belongs to the public."

The Government has also updated principles for managing government-held data and information to include:

• Government data should be released proactively in accessible formats and licensed for re-use unless there are good reasons not to.
• Information should be well managed, trusted and authoritative.
• Data should be free, or where fees are necessary, reasonably priced.
• Personal and classified data or information will remain protected.

People can submit a request for currently unavailable high-value data they want to use at www.data.govt.nz. The site already holds about 1400 publicly available government data sets.

The declaration, principles and Cabinet paper are available at www.ict.govt.nz.