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Open and Transparent Government - Declaration

Open and Transparent Government

Government has released a Declaration on open and transparent government in New Zealand. Read the joint announcement by the Minister of Finance and Minister of Internal Affairs here. Read the full Declaration here. [Scoop copy below]

It has also released the New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles.They state that data and information must be open, trusted and authoritative, well managed, readily available, without charge where possible and re-usable. Personal and classified information must be protected.

Read the Principles here. [Scoop copy below]

Read the Cabinet Paper [Scoop copy PublicversionofOpenGovernment_Cabinetpaper.pdf] and Cabinet Minute here. [Scoop copy Open_Govt_Cab_Min.pdf]

For further information, email opendata@linz.govt.nz.

Implementation of the Declaration and Principles

Agencies will commit to releasing high value public data actively for re-use, in accordance with the declaration and the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing (NZGOAL) Review and Release process.

Public data refers to non-personal and unclassified data.

The Declaration applies to all public service departments, the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service. Government is also encouraging State Services agencies and inviting State Sector agencies and the local government sector to adopt this approach.

The Data and Information Re-use Chief Executives Steering Group is sponsoring a programme of guidance and advice to support agencies manage and release their data and information. This is being developed by the Open Government Data and Information Working Group.

Chief Executives will submit their plans to actively release public data to portfolio Ministers for approval. The Data and Information Re-use Chief Executives Steering Group will report the aggregate plans annually to the Ministerial Committee on Government ICT.


Declaration on Open and Transparent Government

The Declaration on Open and Transparent Government was approved by Cabinet on 8 August 2011. The Declaration states:

Building on New Zealand’s democratic tradition, the government commits to actively releasing high value public data(1).

The government holds data on behalf of the New Zealand public. We release it to enable the private and community sectors to use it to grow the economy, strengthen our social and cultural fabric, and sustain our environment. We release it to encourage business and community involvement in government decision-making.

Through this commitment New Zealand citizens and businesses can expect a more efficient and accountable public sector, more services tailored to their needs, and a greater level of participation in shaping government decisions.

Releasing government data will help create the conditions that align central, regional and local government programmes and business initiatives.

By actively releasing taxpayer funded data we will assist educational, research, and scientific communities and the public to collaboratively build on existing data to gain new knowledge and apply it.

To support this declaration, the government asserts that the data and information it holds on behalf of the public must be open, trusted and authoritative, well managed, readily available, without charge where possible, and reusable, both legally and technically. Personal and classified data and information must be protected.

Public service and non-public service departments are directed and State Services agencies encouraged to commit to the release of high value public data for re-use in accordance with the declaration and principles. State Sector agencies and territorial and regional Chief Executives are also invited to participate in this initiative. Agencies are asked to regularly report to Ministers on their progress.

[1] Public data refers to non-personal and unclassified data.

The Declaration’s status

The Declaration has been approved by Cabinet. Cabinet has:

• directed all Public Service departments, the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service;

• encouraged other State Services agencies; and

• invited State Sector agencies


• to commit to releasing high value public data actively for re-use, in accordance with the Declaration and Principles, and in accordance with the NZGOAL Review and Release process.

Cabinet has also directed Chief Executives to submit their lans to actively release public data to portfolio Ministers for approval. The Data and Information Re-use Chief executives Steering Group will report the aggregate plans annually to the Ministerial Committee on Government ICT.

Cabinet has also invited the Minister of Local Government to write to local authorities and Local Government New Zealand informing the local government sector of the these decisions and encouraging councils, where they consider it appropriate, to take a similar approach.


New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles

On 8 August 2011 government approved new principles for managing the data and information it holds. These replace the 1997 Policy Framework for Government held Information. See Cabinet Minute CAB Min (11) 29/12.

They have been developed to ensure high quality management of the information the government holds on the behalf of the public. While new language is used, the enduring concepts of the 1997 framework, in particular, quality, ownership, stewardship and custodianship, are retained.

In summary, government data and information should be open, readily available, well managed, reasonably priced and re-usable unless there are necessary reasons for its protection. Personal and classified information will remain protected. Government data and information should also be trusted and authoritative.

Principles for Managing Data and Information held by the New Zealand Government, approved by Cabinet on 8 August 2011 (CAB Min (11) 29/12 refers)[1].
OpenData and information held by government should be open for public access unless grounds for refusal or limitations exist under the Official Information Act or other government policy. In such cases they should be protected.
ProtectedPersonal, confidential and classified[2] data and information are protected.
Readily AvailableOpen data and information are released proactively and without discrimination. They are discoverable and accessible and released online.
Trusted and AuthoritativeData and information support the purposes for which they were collected and are accurate, relevant, timely, consistent and without bias in that context. Where possible there is an identified authoritative single source.
Well ManagedData and information held and owned by government:
effectively belong to theNew Zealandpublic
are a core strategic asset held by government as a steward on behalf of the public; and
should only be collected or generated for specified public policy, operational business, or legislative purposes.
Agencies are stewards of government-held data and information and must provide and require good practices which manage the data and information over their life-cycle, including catering for technological obsolescence and long-term preservation and access. Good practices also include collaborating with other agencies and the public, facilitating access, strengthening awareness, and supporting international cooperation.
Agency custodians must implement these practices on a day-to-day basis.
Reasonably PricedUse and re-use of government held data and information is expected to be free. Charging for access is discouraged.
Pricing to cover the costs of dissemination is only appropriate where it can be clearly demonstrated that this pricing will not act as a barrier to the use or re-use of the data. If a charge is applied for access to data, it should be transparent, consistent, reasonable and the same cost to all requestors.
ReusableData and information released can be discovered, shared, used and re-used over time and through technology change. Copyright works are licensed for re-use and open access to and re-use of non-copyright materials is enabled, in accordance with the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework.
Data and information are released:
at source, with the highest possible level of granularity
in re-usable, machine-readable format
with appropriate metadata; and
in aggregate or modified forms if they cannot be released in their original state.
Data and information released in proprietary formats are also released in open, non-proprietary formats.
Digital rights technologies are not imposed on materials made available for re-use.

Mapping from the 1997 Policy Framework for Government Held Information to the 2011 Principles for Managing Data and Information held by the New Zealand Government

New PrincipleOld Policy Framework for Government Held Information Principle
Readily AvailableAvailability
Trusted and AuthoritativeQuality
Well ManagedCollection
Reasonably PricedPricing

Complementary Documents
The principles reflect New Zealand legislation and international obligations[3]. They are complemented by the following current domain strategies, principles and codes of practice:
Copyright Act 1994Official Information Act 1982
Privacy Act 1993Public Records Act 2005
Statistics Act 1975

Information Strategies
Cyber Security StrategyDigital Content Strategy
Digital Continuity Action PlanDigital Strategy 2.0
ICT Strategic Framework for EducationJustice Sector Information Strategy
National Health IT PlanNew Zealand Geospatial Strategy

Complementary Principles
New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL)
Principles and Protocols for Producers of Tier 1 Statistics
United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics
Trusted Computing and Digital Rights Management Principles & Policies
Trusted Computing and Digital Rights Management Standards & Guidelines
New Zealand Sign Language Act - Principles to guide government departments

Privacy Principles and Codes of Practice
Credit Reporting Privacy CodeHealth Information Privacy Code
Information Privacy PrinciplesJustice Sector Unique Identifier Code
Superannuation Schemes Unique Identifier CodeTelecommunications Information Privacy Code

[1] These principles replace the 1997 Policy Framework for Government held Information
[2] As defined in the Guidelines for Protection of Official Information at http://www.gcsb.govt.nz/newsroom/useful-docs/Guidelines_for_Protection_of_Official_Information_Wallchart.pdf.
[3] OECD Council’s Recommendation for Enhanced Access and More Effective Use of Public Sector Information, endorsed by OECD Ministers in June 2008


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