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Opening access to government agencies data

NZTech welcomes progress in the move to open up access to government agencies data

The New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech) is welcoming progress on a business transformation project which will make it easier for business to interact with government agencies.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) and access to backend government data have potential to simplify transactions with government. This potential was thrashed out at a recent workshop hosted by NZTech and the Government Key Results Area (KRA) 9 Programme.

NZTech CEO Candace Kinser says she’s optimistic that government agencies are embracing the idea of opening up access to data but acknowledges there are issues that need to be overcome.

“Guidelines including standards around copyright, data reuse, security, privacy and technical standards, are all being developed to ensure the APIs are introduced within a robust ecosystem”, says Ms Kinser.

The Government Key Results Area (KRA) 9 Programme has targeted a 25% reduction in effort for dealing with government agencies for New Zealand businesses by 2017.

Ms Kinser says there’s ample evidence that government agencies have listened to business concerns and they’re already demonstrating an appetite for transforming the way they interact with business.

She cites the example of how the Companies Office API has been enhanced with the introduction of the NZ Business Number, an identifier for individual businesses. She says in future the NZ Business Number is likely to be used by businesses to interact with every government agency.

Xero has already integrated the NZ Business Number into its award-winning software and Statistics New Zealand is working on a project that will see hundreds of APIs published over the coming months.

The next steps are a series of workshops to resolve issues with the likely outcome that two-three big APIs will be released this year.

Another key insight to emerge from the recent workshop is that government agencies will look closely at the idea of partnering with private business operators to ensure the development of the APIs is optimised.

Ms Kinser says “the willingness to open up access to data will make dealing with government agencies easier, will save businesses valuable time and money and allow those businesses to get on with doing what they do best - and that’s growing a more prosperous economy for all New Zealanders.”


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