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Empowering agencies to use data more effectively

January 2019

Empowering agencies to use data more effectively [PDF 58 KB]


Stats NZ is partnering with agencies to co-design and implement new ways to manage and use data.

At the heart of this work is transparency, trust, and integrity around how government uses the data it holds on behalf of New Zealanders.


Current state

July 2017

Agencies operate in an ad hoc way, leading to inconsistency in how data is:

  • described and recorded
  • managed, accessed and stored
  • reused
  • shared across government
  • shared as open data (data that is freely available to be used, reused and redistributed by anyone for any purpose).

Māori access to data limited, and their information needs not fully understood. Relationship in the early growth stage.

Current legislation is a barrier to generating greater value from data.


Future state

Agencies will:

  • have the tools and support, to understand and manage data as a strategic asset, to deliver more value
  • keep pace with how data shapes the way government operates.

Growth will be driven by evidence-informed policy, and investment decisions, service design, and delivery.

Strong relationships established with Māori, ensuring they’re enabled to fully participate in decisions about their data.

A data toolkit will support agencies to maximise their use of data to increase their capability, remove roadblocks, and reduce costs.

Implementation will be collaborative but gradual, with functions being trialled and tested in different environments.

Government-held data will be ‘open by design’, enabling innovation.

Legislation enabling increased data use and innovation, with the right level of protection, enacted.


Benefits of change

An enhanced approach to data will result in more effective and efficient data use, reduced costs, and innovation by:

  • increasing capability to manage and use data
  • identifying new data sources
  • making it easier to find and access data
  • supplying more open data
  • sharing data safely and securely.

Treaty partnership is fully enabled. Māori co-design and engage with the data system. Data is accessible for Māori. New Zealanders can have confidence in how government uses algorithms (automatic decision-making processes used by computer programmes), that result in, or inform, decisions directly impacting people or groups.


Key deliverables

We’re working across government to co-design the framework to support agencies to build capability, and access and use data effectively and efficiently.

  • Data Capability Hub – strengthening data capability through best practice, guidance, resources, and tools, including:
    • refreshed is where people who manage, use, and supply data can discover and use open data easily
    • Operational Data Governance Framework – establishing and embedding the right data management behaviours and approach
    • data standards – ensuring data is described and recorded consistently.
    • Data strategy and roadmap (roadmap) – providing a shared vision for New Zealand’s data by enabling data initiatives to be aligned. This responsive, flexible foundation supports New Zealand’s data use, reducing duplication and cost. Reflects the informational needs of Māori.
    • Legislation review – resulting in new data and statistics legislation to increase data use and innovation.




  • Data Capability Hub established.


  • Foundation built and roadmap created.
  • refreshed.
  • Data consultancy service rolled out.


  • New data and statistics legislation enacted (earliest).


Stats NZ’s stewardship role

Stats NZ is New Zealand’s trusted data agency. Stats NZ Chief Executive was appointed Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS) by the State Services Commissioner in July 2017. A Cabinet mandate empowers the GCDS to direct agencies to adopt common capabilities and data standards. Agencies are enabled and supported by the GCDS to voluntarily adopt approved standards.


Better outcomes for New Zealand

Data leadership supports the Government’s priority to get more value from data – to better inform decisions, shape policy, and improve service delivery. We’ll support agencies by creating tools and resources to increase their data capability, remove roadblocks, and reduce costs.



  • Managing customer expectations.
  • Resources and funding.


Contact us

If you’d like more information, have a question, or want to provide feedback, email

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