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Treasury looks to improve the lives of NZers with open source data

By Catherine Knowles, Fri 26 Feb 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The New Zealand Treasury is officially using Catalyst’s new Social Investment Insights tool as their publishing platform to deliver data to the community and wider public sector.

“To help encourage innovative approaches to longstanding social problems, the Government is aiming to make data more open, so people and organisations outside the usual public policy process can use it too.

“Social Investment is an approach which seeks to improve the lives of New Zealanders by applying rigorous and evidence-based investment practices to social services.

“By gaining a clearer understanding of the indicators that are associated with poor outcomes, social sector and community organisations can identify where best to invest early rather than deal with problems after they have emerged,” the Treasury said in a statement.

Catalyst’s publishing platform was built using open source technologies R, RStudio Server, and R Shiny, and uses a modern container-based architecture which enables flexible horizontal scaling.

The Social Investment Insights tool utilises Statistics NZ's Integrated Data Service and visualises complex data about children and youth living in different areas of New Zealand.

According to the Treasury, through the collection of data from across the public sector (such as health, education and justice), Statistics NZ is enabling the analysis and understanding needed to improve social and economic outcomes for New Zealanders.

Making this data accessible and understandable allows it to be used to help inform timelier, better targeted services, according to the Treasury.

The data is stored securely on the Catalyst Cloud and is available to be downloaded at any time under a Creative Common’s licence. 

Catalyst's data centres are located in New Zealand so data can be accessed and downloaded faster than if it were hosted overseas. Catalyst says because this is New Zealand specific data, it's important not to send it offshore and to store it securely within the country.

You can see the Social Investment Insights in action here.

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