I came across this press release today. Let's hope other nations catch on!
Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Businesses to benefit from free statistical information
Businesses will soon gain free access to a wealth of valuable statistical information that will help them identify growth opportunities and make better decisions, thanks to funding from the 2007 Budget, said the Statistics Minister Clayton Cosgrove today.
“I am pleased to announce that information to help businesses identify market opportunities, assess their competitiveness, and implement informed investment planning will be made freely available. The roll-out of information will include a host of industry-specific information for the building, retail and tourism sectors, and for importers and exporters. The data will also be useful for local authorities and communities,” Mr Cosgrove said.
The first products to be released by Statistics New Zealand in August this year - Digital Boundaries and StreetLink - will enable businesses to develop market profiles, research likely sites and identify growth opportunities in particular locations.
Other products to be rolled out over the next 18 months include local and regional data, business demography data, population projections and household expenditure data by end 2007; and detailed import and export data, retail and wholesale trade data, economic indicators, and migration and visitor data, by mid 2008.
Mr Cosgrove said this initiative responds to feedback from business leaders, which indicated making such data available at no cost could generate a broad range of benefits. “This shows the government is committed to economic transformation and that we are listening to what the business community is telling us,” Mr Cosgrove said.
Under the 2007 Budget, $6 million has been allocated over the next four years, plus $2.7 million in capital funding for 2007/8, which will make around 250 million pieces of information freely available in easily accessible form.
“Previously the information could be ordered at a cost from Statistics New Zealand, but in future, trade figures, for example, which were charged out at around $400 per customised request, or Digital Boundaries files that cost up to $25,000, will be available free."
“The Labour-led Government is committed to giving businesses every opportunity to grow and prosper by providing the tools to support well informed decision making. Making key information available at no charge will encourage more businesses to identify new markets, for example, and plan for the future,” Mr Cosgrove said.
The initiative has been welcomed by the business community. Phil O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Business New Zealand, said, “Business groups have consistently advocated that this valuable information be made freely available, as it is in Australia. I am pleased the Government has taken this step.”
Free data for New Zealand
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