2014 Report on Agency Adoption of the Declaration on Open Government Data

The 2014 Report on Agency Adoption of the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government was released by the Honourable Michael Woodhouse, Minister for Land Information, following Cabinet approval (ref SEC minute (14) 11/9), on 9 July 2014. He noted that "government agencies are increasingly releasing public non-personal data in open formats for reuse,” and that “In turn, third parties are using that public data in increasingly innovative ways – creating a raft of new products, tools and services for use by industry and the wider public."

Below is the full report, followed by links to the adoption questionnaire and data collected from agencies for the purpose of this report in CSV format.

Here also are links to the Cabinet Minute (14) 11/9, Cabinet Paper and the full report (in PDF).

Cabinet Minute (14) 28/11 requested a further report back to Cabinet regarding accelerating the release of public data (15 August 2014)


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Executive Summary

  1. The Declaration on Open and Transparent Government, approved by Cabinet in August 2011 [Cab Min (11) 29/12 refers], requires departments to release their high value public data for re-use by third parties. Cabinet anticipated that this re-use would result in increased economic and social value through the creation of new tools, products and knowledge, more efficient government through appropriate sharing and alignment of data activities, and increased transparency of government and participation in policy development.

  2. This 2014 report sets out progress made by public service departments and the wider public sector in supplying public data for re-use, how third parties are re-using the data and the impact of that re-use.

  3. Active public data supply is becoming business as usual for most central government departments and has put New Zealand in the top international rankings for implementation of open data programmes. The 32 central government departments are increasingly seeking and responding to user and stakeholder demand for open data. The wider public sector, such as Crown Research Institutes, local government, Crown Agents, universities and school Boards of Trustees, are also moving to adopt the Declaration.

  4. More sophisticated re-use of open data is solving a range of economic and social challenges, improving agencies’ efficiency and providing greater scrutiny of government’s performance. Re-use ranges from travel logistics in Christchurch to monitoring competitiveness by port companies; creating customised property reports to insightful news and social media coverage of issues; from finding schools to interactive children’s educational history stories.

  5. Progress in 2014 has varied. The majority of departments have improved their data release processes in response to user feedback or for business efficiency purposes. Departmental stakeholder engagement has also increased. However, departments need to be more vigilant about publicising their datasets on data.govt.nz and applying the required Creative Commons licensing statements to their open data and publications to allow innovative third party re-use. The third of departments that advised that sustained progress was constrained by resourcing may need to ensure their business as usual priorities include high-value public data release.

  6. The efficiency gains that most (72%) departments are experiencing from re-using other agencies’ data are the highlight of this report, though more metrics are necessary to quantify the gains. Data release is also starting to impact on the nature of Official Information Act requests. It is reducing requests in some departments, but also increasing demand for more detailed data and raising expectations that data will be proactively released.

  7. Departments with important restricted datasets are releasing this data in secure environments to authorised and trusted users. This is an unexpected consequence of applying the Declaration and is valuable for policy advice and Better Public Service outcomes.

  8. Over 2014/15 the Programme Secretariat will intensify its support for data-rich departments by actively promoting the regular exposure of released datasets on data.govt.nz, release of datasets requested by users on data.govt.nz, wider adoption of re-use licensing statements, and working with agencies to better track the benefits from the re-use of public data, and with potential users to identify priority data for them and raise demand for public data.

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Page last updated: 20/09/2016