We're looking to the government and industry to move from talk to action.

Towards trustworthy and trusted automated decision-making in Aotearoa

We've spoken to over 180 people throughout Aotearoa about different situations where automated decision-making (ADM) has specific impacts on the lives of individuals, whānau and communities. We heard loud and clear that ADM and other decision-making systems should be built for — and with — the people who are impacted. This is essential for ensuring trusted and trustworthy systems.

Participants want systems that are built to meet the needs and reflect the values of the communities impacted. To achieve this, it is important to participants that people who have similar lived experience to them are involved in developing decision-making systems and the interventions that result from them.

Participants told us they would be more comfortable if there was transparency and clear communication about how the government uses ADM, and how it is used to make decisions.

We took these clear and urgent suggestions and used them as a basis to develop a set of recommendations to the government. We looked at work already underway and the barriers preventing systemic change, and gathered input from experts to inform our thinking.

To build towards a thriving and equitable digital future for Aotearoa, the Digital Council recommends that the government:

Recommendation 1: Fund community groups to lead their own data and ADM projects.

Recommendation 2: Fund and support a public sector team to test and implement ADM best practice.

Recommendation 3: Establish a public sector ADM hub.

Recommendation 4: Work collaboratively to develop and implement private sector ADM rules and best practice.

Recommendation 5: Build ADM systems from te ao Māori perspectives.

Recommendation 6: Build a diverse digital workforce.

Recommendation 7: Increase the digital skills and knowledge of public sector leaders.


READ our report and letter to Ministers.

There are four key areas the government should prioritise as it considers digital and data issues post-COVID.

1. Social and digital inclusion

  • Accelerate the implementation of the Digital Inclusion Blueprint and Action Plan.
  • Adopt the recommendations set out in InternetNZ’s Five Point Plan. This covers essentials such as affordable connectivity, distribution of additional devices, support for the newly connected and increased infrastructure roll-out.
  • Consider digital inclusion in the wider context of social inclusion. (See recommendations in the Citizens Advice Bureau report Face to Face with Digital Exclusion.) Develop an integrated strategy to address the barriers to inclusion. Provide genuine choice in how people interact with government to access services and support.
  • Accelerate the nationwide rollout of resilient telecommunications networks. This includes the further rollout of fibre, and a coordinated approach to 5G.

2. Leveraging technology to empower business

  • Develop options for SMEs to build a local e-commerce platform equivalent to Shopify.
  • Provide digital capability training for SMEs.
  • Develop incentives to adopt cloud-based technologies.
  • Reframe ‘shovel ready’ projects to ‘sensor-ready’ projects. This would create a new digital infrastructure for New Zealand. See The Lever Room’s Build Back Better Framework​.
  • Create an evidence base to understand our infrastructure debt, better planning and needs analysis, and the promotion of efficiency and innovation throughout the sector.

3. Enhancing technology sector employment

  • Heavily invest in digital education pathways into tech-enabled careers.
  • Focus the above on members of communities traditionally under-represented in the tech sector. This includes women, Māori, Pacific peoples, people with disabilities.
  • Also focus on areas where there is a skills shortage and historical reliance on importing talent from overseas.

4. Privacy and trust

  • As well as the Digital Council's work on trust, we see an important role for Statistics New Zealand’s Data Ethics Advisory Group to provide timely and considered advice on some of these issues. We look forward to working closely with Statistics New Zealand as our own work programme progresses.