Govt considers NZ data use of the future

The Government has set up a working group to advise ministers on how the collection, sharing and use of business and personal information will impact on public services in the coming years.

“The Government has put in a lot of effort over recent years to provide frameworks for the collection, storage and use of information,” says Bill English, Finance Minister.

“In particular, we have worked hard to catch up with public expectations about security and privacy in the fast-moving electronic environment.

“We have mostly done a good job of that. It’s important that we keep thinking ahead to develop the technical and legal frameworks that will be needed for us to continue to meet public expectations as technology develops.

“Thinking about those frameworks will be the role of the New Zealand Data Futures Forum.”

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says governments around the world are working through similar challenges.

“The forum will work with other experts and institutions overseas as well as the private and public sector at home to share and develop ideas.

“New Zealand’s thinking is already reasonably advanced in this area and we are well-positioned because we have few layers of government and privacy legislation is in a single place at the national level.”

The forum is being chaired by former Treasury Secretary and World Bank Executive Director John Whitehead and will build on infrastructure developed by Statistics NZ, which shares anonymised data with accredited analysts for research purposes, and the data-intensive investment view of welfare developed by the Ministry for Social Development.

The forum, which is jointly sponsored by The Treasury and Statistics New Zealand, has a broad mandate and no deadline has been set for it to report back.

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