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Commitment 9 progress report: 31 December 2020

Open Government Partnership New Zealand National Action Plan 2018-2021

Progress report to: 31 December 2020

Commitment 9: Increase visibility of government data stewardship practices

Lead agency:

Stats NZ


To increase the visibility of data practices for government-held data.


New Zealanders will:

  • understand how government is managing, using, and protecting their data and be able to hold government to account.
  • have confidence and trust in the management and use of data that government holds on their behalf.

OGP values:

Transparency, Accountability


Milestone 1

Develop and publish an overview of government’s data stewardship practices

Start/End dates: August 2018 to 30 November 2018

Progress: completed

Milestone 2

Engage with citizens and government on the data stewardship overview to ensure it provides visibility of the right things and is addressing key needs

Start/End dates: Ongoing

Progress: some delays

Milestone 3

Promote the data stewardship practices to government agencies and support them to implement good practice

Start/End dates: Ongoing

Progress: underway

Milestone 4

Engage with citizens and government to identify where effort should be focused to address gaps in government’s data stewardship practices

Start/End dates: Ongoing

Progress: some delays

What we have been doing

  • Consultation with government agencies revealed a diversity in data stewardship awareness, practices, and maturity across government so it will take longer than anticipated to achieve our objective of consistent and transparent data stewardship practices across government so the milestones within this commitment will not be fully met.
  • Stats NZ is finalising the report resulting from a review of the successes and barriers to data access and use across government during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report will be published online in March 2021 and makes six key recommendations for improving the resilience of the government data system. These six recommendations focus on improving data findability and access, identifying the most important data, supporting collaboration, clarifying governance roles, fostering expertise-based networks, and helping data users navigate privacy, security, and ethical considerations. Implementing these recommendations will contribute to greater visibility and consistency of government data practices.
  • Other related government initiatives currently underway include a refresh of the Data Strategy and Roadmap, the development of a data maturity assessment framework, and drafting new legislation.
  • A Data and Statistics Bill is being drafted to replace the Statistics Act 1975. The Act is out of date and limited Stats NZ’s ability to respond to opportunities for greater economic, environmental, and social value for New Zealanders from trusted use of data. The new legislation will support a clear, coherent, and consistent approach to collecting data for producing official statistics, and sharing, integrating and accessing data for research and analysis, with appropriate privacy, confidentiality, security and transparency settings.
  • There is a diversity in data stewardship awareness, practices, and maturity across the government data system. This was reiterated in the COVID-19 Lessons Learnt report, which identified gaps in government’s data stewardship practices and proposes six recommendations and several additional interventions, many of which support consistency and transparency of data practices. This report directly contributes to milestone 4 and, to a lesser extent, milestone 2.
  • The range and scale of changes required means these will not be implemented within the timeframe of the third OGP National Action Plan. Rather, implementation will be through the updated NZ Government Data Strategy and Roadmap (which aims to deliver an inclusive and integrated government data system), initiatives to support implementation of the new data and statistics legislation, and the refreshed strategy for Stats NZ.
  • New data stewardship resources, such as a guide to operational data governance, continue to be published on This contributes to milestone 3.
  • Although now underway, milestones 2,3, and 4 will not be completed by June 2021 but will be ongoing.

How we are including diverse voices

  • We are advocating for wider consultation as part of the implementation of the COVID-19 recommendations. Our initial research had time constraints which limited the input from communities, especially those most at risk or most impacted.

How we are keeping diverse communities informed

  • We will publish the COVID-19 review report and subsequent implementation options identified by a cross-government group.

What’s next?

  • Publish the findings from Stats NZ’s review on the access and use of data in the COVID-19 response.
  • Publish the updated NZ Government Data Strategy and Roadmap.
  • The January - March 2021 quarterly update will provide further detail on next steps anticipated for NAP4 and /or continuing work to achieve the Commitment’s objective.

Links – evidence of progress and milestones achieved