Policy framework for New Zealand Government-held information
Government departments should make information available easily, widely and equitably to the people of New Zealand (except where reasons preclude such availability as specified in legislation).
Government departments should make the following information increasingly available on an electronic basis:
- all published material or material already in the public domain;
- all policies that could be released publicly;
- all information created or collected on a statutory basis (subject to commercial sensitivity and privacy considerations);
- all documents that the public may be required to complete;
- corporate documentation in which the public would be interested.
a Free dissemination of Government-held information is appropriate where:
- dissemination to a target audience is desirable for a public policy purpose; or
- a charge to recover the cost of dissemination is not feasible or cost-effective
b Pricing to recover the cost of dissemination is appropriate where:
- there is no particular public policy reason to disseminate the information; and
- a charge to recover the cost of dissemination is both feasible and cost effective.
c Pricing to recover the cost of transformation is appropriate where:
- pricing to recover the cost of dissemination is appropriate; and
- there is an avoidable cost involved in transforming the information from the form in which it is held into a form preferred by the recipient, where it is feasible and cost-effective to recover in addition to the cost of dissemination.
d Pricing to recover the full costs of information production and dissemination is appropriate where:
- the information is created for the commercial purpose of sale at a profit; and
- to do so would not breach the other pricing principles.
Government-held information, created or collected by any person employed or engaged by the Crown is a strategic resource 'owned' by the Government as a steward on behalf of the public.
Government departments are stewards of Government-held information, and it is their responsibility to implement good information management.
Government departments should only collect information for specified public policy, operational business or legislative purposes.
Information created by departments is subject to Crown copyright but where wide dissemination is desirable, the Crown should permit use of its copyrights subject to acknowledgement of source.
Government-held information should be preserved only where a public business need, legislative or policy requirement, or a historical or archival reason, exists.
The key qualities underpinning Government-held information include accuracy, relevancy, timeliness, consistency and collection without bias so that the information supports the purposes for which it is collected.
The integrity of Government-held information will be achieved when:
- all guarantees and conditions surrounding the information are met;
- the principles are clear and communicated;
- any situation relating to Government-held information is handled openly and consistently;
- those affected by changes to Government-held information are consulted on those changes;
- those charged as independent guardians of the public interest (eg the Ombudsman) have confidence in the ability of departments to manage the information well; and
- there are minimum exceptions to the principles.
The principles of the Privacy Act 1993 apply.