On 29 July 2020, more than New Zealand 20 Government agencies signed the Aotearoa Algorithm Charter, committing to be transparent about when they use algorithms and how those algorithms operate. This makes New Zealand the first country to develop standards governing the use of algorithms by the public sector, after Statistics Minister James Shaw made his annoucements.
The charter, which has already been signed by 21 ministries and agencies, requires signatories to be transparent about when they use algorithms and how those algorithms function.
“Most New Zealanders recognise the important role algorithms play in supporting government decision-making and policy delivery, however they also want to know that these systems are being used safely and responsibly. The Charter will give people that confidence,” Shaw said.
The Algorithm Charter for Aotearoa New Zealand is an evolving piece of work that needs to respond to emerging technologies and also be fit-for-purpose for government agencies. After twelve months a review of the Algorithm Charter will be conducted, to ensure it is achieving its intended purpose of improving government transparency and accountability without stifling innovation or causing undue compliance burden.