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Declaration on Open and Transparent Government

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

Cabinet Minute CAB Min (11) 29/12 [PDF 177 KB]

In summary, the Declaration states:

"Building on New Zealand’s democratic tradition, the [New Zealand] government commits to actively releasing high value public data.

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."[1]


What are the benefits of releasing open government data?

There are four key benefits of releasing open government data:

  • Improving government - Open data is improving government, primarily by tackling corruption and increasing transparency, and enhancing public services and resource allocation.
  • Empowering citizens - Open data is empowering citizens to take control of their lives and demand change by enabling more informed decision making and new forms of social mobilization, both in turn facilitated by new ways of communicating and accessing information.
  • Creating opportunity - Open data is creating new opportunities for citizens and organizations, by fostering innovation and promoting economic growth and job creation.
  • Solving public problems - Open data is playing an increasingly important role in solving big public problems, primarily by allowing citizens and policymakers access to new forms of data-driven assessment of the problems at hand. It also enables data-driven engagement producing more targeted interventions and enhanced collaboration.

To support the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government, the New Zealand government operates under the New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles.

New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles

All open government data is directed to be licensed under New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing (NZGOAL) Framework.

(NZGOAL) framework


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 directed Chief Executives to submit their plans to actively release public data to portfolio Ministers for approval. The Open Government Data Chief Executives Governance Group will report the aggregate plans annually to the Ministerial Committee on Government ICT.

Cabinet 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.



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


Last updated 15/02/2017