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New Zealand’s Data Future Explored

New Zealand’s Data Future Explored

A fridge that knows when you’re running low on milk and orders it from your supermarket, to traffic lights that turn green for ambulances, these are all possibilities for the future, but do we want or need to go there?

A discussion paper that highlights possible benefits, opportunities and risks of data sharing has been released today by the New Zealand Data Futures Forum. A number of questions are posed in the document which Forum Chair John Whitehead says New Zealand needs to answer if we’re to safely harness the power of shared data and manage privacy at the same time.

“Maintaining the status quo on how New Zealand manages and uses data is not an option,” said Mr Whitehead.

The Forum was established by the Ministers of Finance and Statistics to have a balanced conversation with New Zealand about the opportunities, risks and benefits of sharing data. John Whitehead says the Forum will achieve this by inviting input from a wide range of individuals and organisations. He hopes the paper published today will spark the conversation.

“Ultimately, data is about people and so it’s important everyone has a voice in what’s going to be good or bad in terms of data sharing and what New Zealand is or isn’t willing to give up, compromise or miss out on,” said Mr Whitehead.

Forum members include representatives from government, private and academic sectors. The Forum will be active until the end of June this year and during that time will publish two additional discussion documents. The paper can be viewed at

The Forum want to hear from individuals and organisations with a view on this - contact details are on the website,

“There is no ‘Forum’ without input, feedback and ideas from New Zealanders,” said Mr Whitehead.


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