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New Zealand

Review of Government Use of Algorithms (NZ0019)



Action Plan: New Zealand Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active


Lead Institution: Stats NZ (working with Department of Internal Affairs (Government Chief Digital Officer))

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Science & Technology

IRM Review

IRM Report: Pending IRM Review

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



Commitment 8: Review of government use of algorithms
To increase the transparency and accountability of how government uses
To ensure New Zealanders are informed, and have confidence in how the
government uses algorithms – automatic decision-making processes used by
computer programmes – to identify patterns in data.
Status quo:
Advances in digital and data environments are changing how we live,
work, and interact. These changing environments present considerable
opportunities to improve the lives of citizens, but also present challenges to
ensure that data is used appropriately.
Tools such as data modelling and algorithms have tremendous power to
improve lives. Despite these tools being increasingly used by government
agencies to support decision-making, there is no agreed cross-government
approach to algorithms or the decisions they support.
The Chief Data Steward (Chief Executive of Stats NZ) recently published
the Principles for the Safe and Effective Use of Data and Analytics with the
Privacy Commissioner. Using these, the Chief Data Steward is undertaking
a cross-government review with the Chief Digital Officer (Chief Executive
of the Department of Internal Affairs) to increase the transparency and
accountability of how government uses algorithms – to improve the lives
of New Zealanders. The initial focus will be on operational algorithms that
result in, or inform, decisions directly impacting individuals or groups.
Having guidance, oversight and transparency in place is essential for New
Zealanders to understand how their personal data is used, and for fostering
trust, confidence and integrity around the use of data the Government
holds on their behalf. Lead agency: Stats NZ (working with Department of Internal Affairs
(Government Chief Digital Officer))
Timeline: October 2018 – June 2020
Commitment 8: Review of Government use of Algorithms
OGP Values Transparency,
Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil
the commitment
Start date End date
Complete an initial review of existing operational
algorithms and their use across a range of
government agencies7 8
1 June 2018 31 October
Consider next steps for all-of-government assurance
related to the use of algorithms in collaboration
with Civil Society representatives
31 October
28 February
Update this commitment (and its milestones) to
reflect progress made in previous milestones
1 March
31 March


  1. Engagement with Parliament

    NZ0012, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Youth Parliament

    NZ0013, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. School Leavers' Toolkit

    NZ0014, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Making New Zealand’S Secondary Legislation Readily Accessible

    NZ0015, 2018, E-Government

  5. Public Participation in Policy Development

    NZ0016, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Service Design

    NZ0017, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Official Information

    NZ0018, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  8. Review of Government Use of Algorithms

    NZ0019, 2018, Science & Technology

  9. Data Practice Transparency

    NZ0020, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Monitoring Information Management Practice

    NZ0021, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  11. Open Data Government Organizations

    NZ0022, 2018, E-Government

  12. Open Procurement

    NZ0023, 2018, E-Government

  13. Open Budget

    NZ0005, 2016, Capacity Building

  14. Improving Official Information Practices

    NZ0006, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Improving Open Data Access and Principles

    NZ0007, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Tracking Progress and Outcomes of Open Government Data Release

    NZ0008, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Ongoing Engagement for OGP

    NZ0009, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Starred commitment Improving Access to Legislation

    NZ0010, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Improving Policy Practices

    NZ0011, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. BPS Result 10 – New Zealanders Can Complete Their Transactions with the Government Easily in a Digital Environment

    NZ0001, 2014, E-Government

  21. ICT Strategy Action 13 – Open by Default: Active Re-use of Information Assets

    NZ0002, 2014, Capacity Building

  22. National Integrity System Assessment

    NZ0003, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  23. The Kia TūTahi Relationship Accord

    NZ0004, 2014, Capacity Building