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NZ urges govt agencies to make data available online

Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand’s Finance Minister Bill English issued a notification calling on all government organisations to make available all non-personal and unclassified information (including geospatial data) that have ‘high potential value for re-use’. He added that the information be made available online free of cost.

As an example, he cited the possible commercial applications of land and geospatial information. The data from the New Zealand Transport Agency could also be used on third party websites and iPhone applications, he said.

“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,” said English.

“Allowing research communities to re-use existing data for new purposes will also increase the value gained from state-funded research,” he added.

“Over the past decade, new technology has meant government data has gradually become open,” observed Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy. “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’s principles for managing data included releasing it ‘proactively’ in accessible formats, ensuring it was ‘well managed, trusted and authoritative’, and making it free or ‘reasonably priced’.

Source: People Daily