NEWS

Minister welcomes better use of information

Monday 10 September 2012, 5:16PM
By Maurice Williamson
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More researchers will now be able to use valuable data for statistical research, says Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson.

Recent changes to the Statistics Act 1975 will open up new avenues of research for academic and private research institutions.

“Statistics New Zealand is continuously trying to open up information and this is another step in the right direction,” says Mr Williamson.

“Instead of hoarding and holding on to data, we’ve got to make the most of it. This information is valuable and we want researchers to be able to access it.”

The legislative changes mean Statistics NZ can consider applications from any statistical researchers.

This includes professional research businesses, academics, and local government. Previously this level of access was only available to researchers for government agencies.

“For example, the University of Otago in Wellington had to go through a complex process to access data for their important research around how ethnicity and economic levels affect New Zealand’s mortality rates. This change will give them much easier access to the information they need,” Mr Williamson says.

Protecting data security and confidentiality will still be paramount. An  application will only be approved if the Government Statistician is satisfied that:

  • the data is needed to complete genuine research or statistical purposes
  • the person has the necessary research, knowledge and skills to carry out the work
  • the person has made a statutory declaration that the information will be used only for the purposes of that research or statistical project.

 

More information is available from Statistics NZ at http://www.stats.govt.nz/tools_and_services/services/microdata-access.aspx.