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The new Labour Government has shown yet again its high-handed approach to handling information and its complete disregard for transparency, National’s Data spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“The new Minister for Social Development doesn’t consider it worthwhile to assure New Zealanders that their data will be used ‘wisely and well’,” Dr Reti says.

“I recently submitted a written question to Carmel Sepuloni asking her “What role does the Minister have in assuring the New Zealand public that Government-held data is being used wisely and well?”

“The Minister effectively replied that she couldn’t justify the time required to answer the question.

“And when I asked the same question in the House yesterday, I received a 20 second reply on her behalf. Is 20 seconds seriously all the assurance this new Government can give the public?”

Dr Reti says the success of modern data frameworks is wholly reliant on trust.

“For the Minister to decline to explain to the public that she will use its data ‘wisely and well’, is a missed opportunity to reassure New Zealanders that she can be trusted with their data,” he says. 

“Is she further refusing to answer the question because she can’t guarantee that she will use it wisely?”

Dr Reti says that in his role as National’s data spokesperson, he aims to increase public trust in Government-held data and data infrastructures.

He has written to Ms Sepuloni offering to help build that trust.

“I hope the Minister will reflect on her glib response to my question and improve on her accountability to New Zealanders,” Dr Reti says.

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