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Government takes steps to demystify data

Hon Nathan Guy

Minister of Internal Affairs

4 November 2009
Media Statement

Government takes steps to demystify data

Making sense of government data is set to become easier, thanks to a new web-based pilot project launched today, says Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy.

The creation of www.data.govt.nz is part of a drive to make non-personal government data more discoverable, useable and relevant to New Zealanders.

“This pilot website is a two-way street,” says Mr Guy.

“We want to make it easier for businesses, researchers, analysts and journalists – in fact, anyone with an interest in information – to access the data they need.

“At the same time, users can discuss data and offer suggestions about the website to help the Department of Internal Affairs fine-tune the project to make it as user-friendly as possible.”

Mr Guy says the website will act as a catalogue for all publicly-available government data.

“The country’s government departments are producing a lot of interesting and useful information, but it’s spread among numerous websites, making it difficult for people to gain a clear idea of what’s available.

“I’m of the view the government’s data should be used to promote business and knowledge.”

Mr Guy says the new website underscores the government’s commitment to supporting open data for use by all New Zealanders.

“Businesses can use the data to better inform their work and help boost the economy. This website gives the public a great opportunity to tell the government what they think about the information out there and how the relevance and accessibility of data can be improved.”

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Notes to editors:

What is data.govt.nz?

data.govt.nz is a catalogue to existing data on government agency websites.

The site allows users to add links to web-based government data so they can be indexed, tagged and searched by anyone wishing to find the information.

The data.govt.nz site is not a data repository – it is a catalogue and it links to datasets on agencies’ websites.

The site is not an index of other types of government information, such as reports, and does not include information needing to be processed by a person, such as web pages, PDFs and Word documents.

How does data.govt.nz fit with other portals and websites?

The purpose of data.govt.nz is to improve access to specialist data by providing a single index across multiple websites.

Why is the Government doing this?

The Government is well placed to provide access to non-personal data. We are enthusiastic about a low-cost way of making data available which can promote economic growth.

An official, user-friendly website will improve New Zealanders’ access to the available datasets.

ENDS

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