Stats NZ

New data and statistics legislation

We are creating new legislation to support a well-functioning data and statistics system that will make the best use of data collected and held by government while ensuring private and confidential information is held securely and used appropriately.

The Statistics Act 1975 is struggling to keep up with changes in the data and statistics environment. It was designed in the 1970s when statistics were produced in hard copy and we were just beginning to use computers. The Act doesn’t reflect the way data is collected, managed, and used now. It doesn’t even refer to ‘data’ and is out of sync with more modern legislation, such as the Official Information Act 1982, the Privacy Act 2020, and the Public Records Act 2005. The Act is limiting the value we can get from government-held data.

Data and Statistics Bill now before Parliament

The Data and Statistics Bill was introduced to Parliament on 11 October 2021.

This Bill will repeal the Statistics Act 1975 and replace it with a new Data and Statistics Act. The Bill was informed by a review of statistics legislation and public consultation on high-level proposals for new data and statistics legislation.

The Data and Statistics Bill intends to:

  • recognise the Crown's responsibility to consider and provide for Māori interests in data and statistics
  • enable more effective data system leadership 
  • strengthen and future-proof the framework for collecting data for official statistics 
  • modernise the framework for accessing data for research 
  • continue to provide appropriate safeguards and protections to ensure public trust and confidence in the collection and use of data for official statistics and research.

Submissions to select committee

The Governance and Administration Select Committee is currently accepting submissions on the Data and Statistics Bill.

Make a submission to the select committee by Wednesday, 22 December 2021.

Developing the Data and Statistics Bill

The following steps informed the drafting and finalisation of the new Bill and its associated policies.

Public feedback on proposed changes to legislation

In 2018, the Minister of Statistics and the Government Statistician invited public consultation on high-level proposals presented in Towards new data and statistics legislation: Public discussion document. This feedback informed development of the Data and Statistics Bill.

Read Towards new data and statistics legislation: Summary of submissions on 2018 consultation (published in April 2019).

Broad policy proposals

In March 2020, Cabinet agreed to broad policy proposals for new data and statistics legislation and to the drafting of a new Data and Statistics Bill.

Read Cabinet papers – new data and statistics legislation policy proposals

Supplementary policy proposals

In April 2021, Cabinet agreed supplementary policy proposals including offences, penalties, and amendments to other legislation to enable provision of data to Stats NZ.

Read Cabinet paper – Data and Statistics Legislation: Supplementary policy proposals

Introduction of the Bill to House of Representatives

In September 2021, Cabinet approved the introduction of the Data and Statistics Bill to the House of Representatives.

Read Cabinet papers – Data and Statistics Bill

Page updated 16 December 2021