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Government finally releases Open Weather Data review after public pressure from WeatherWatch

After tremendous public pressure from the new Government last Friday finally announced the results of the weather data review, which was completed nearly a full year ago but not released to the public due to the election/political reasons. is immensely satisfied with the very detailed report prepared by PWC New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) which appears to completely agree with the many issues we have been raising for a decade. 

“This report validates, vindicates and shows true value to everything we have said publicly about how Government Agencies MetService and NIWA unfairly commercialise tax funded data for their own commercial gains. The report says no other country does it this way” says head forecaster Philip Duncan. “Finally an official Government report fully understands and details what we have been saying for a decade – this is tremendous support to our campaign to free up data like the rest of the western world”.

In previous years former Prime Minister John Key supported the fight for open weather data, as did former Minster Steven Joyce, former party leader and Senior Minister Peter Dunne and new Labour Minister Clare Curran. “This fight has support on both sides of the aisle, now the Governent needs to decide what is more important – open data that tax payers have already funded, or continuing to allow MetService and NIWA to have exclusive commercial access to data New Zealanders all collectively tax fund” says Mr Duncan. In an OIA request to NIWA a few years ago their CEO “refused” to deny that he gets financially rewarded for denying the private weather sector open access to tax funded data.

Over the past few months MBIE has ignored repeated formal emails from us about the review and in recent weeks was forced to air our concerns publicly on Twitter due to the Minister’s Office also ignoring us. It’s been a very frustrating several months with the previous National Government ignoring OIA requests for months.

We are especially pleased that new Minister, Dr Megan Woods, will be taking matters further this year. We hope to meet with Minister Woods in the near future and are very keen to have positive and fair discussions about the New Zealand weather set up.

“The Minister of Research, Science and Innovation, Dr Megan Woods, has indicated that she wants to explore how we can address some of the recommendations of the report. She has requested we undertake work to look at ways to do this” Richard Walley of MBIE told this afternoon in an email.

“The Minister also wants to ensure that the costs of any changes, likely to be met by the taxpayer, are proportionate to the benefits. I’d like to thank you for contributing your thoughts and knowledge to this review”.

In our view the costs to make this data freely available are being grossly exaggerated to protect the current set up.

One important line to focus on at the beginning of this report entirely backs up the complaint has had for well over a decade “The New Zealand model is at the most commercial and restrictive end of cost and limitations on data use [in the world]” says MBIE and the Official Review.

We look forward to working with Minister Woods to explain our case on why open access data is so good for the economy and so much better for the public.

While it was disappointing we were kept in the dark for so long on the supposed “transparent” review, we sincerely appreciate being given immediate access to the report today. We also are very enthused that Dr Woods will be taking a closer look at this in 2018.




Zelda on 12/01/2018 5:35am

Hopefully this report will be of assistance to advances in Public info being made available.
Personally, my weather station sits in its box still. Not very helpful at this stage.

All the best for an improvement in talks & Data accessibility this year!

WW Forecast Team on 12/01/2018 6:05am

Thanks Zelda! You already fund weather stations and radar that you currently have to pay to access openly – that’s what we’re fighting for.


Philip Duncan

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