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Digital information management

Understand the principles, legislation and requirements for managing the data and records you keep.

Digital information management includes both data and records management.

Information that has been created or received by a government organisation or local authority in the course of its business is a public record, whatever format it comes in. Examples are documents, data, emails, text messages, social media posts, images, videos or audio files.

There are principles and legislation that govern data and public records in the digital space, as well as particular requirements for protecting people’s privacy and managing security online. These all need to be considered together to develop good information management practices.

Public Records Act 2005

Public offices and local authorities have obligations under the Public Records Act 2005 to create and manage information and records.

Also included in the Act are responsibilities for preserving and providing access to information and records of long-term, cultural and historical value.

The Act establishes a regulatory framework for information and records management across the public sector.

The regulatory framework is managed by Archives New Zealand. It administers the mandatory Information and records management standard and maintains supporting resources and guides for practitioners.

New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles

The Data and Information Management Principles require that data and information held by government on behalf of the public should be:

  • open
  • trusted and authoritative
  • well managed
  • readily available
  • without charge, where possible
  • reusable, both legally and technically
  • protected, in the case of personal and classified data and information.

The principles support the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government, which was approved by Cabinet in August 2011.

Get advice

If you are an information management practitioner

You can visit the Archives New Zealand website for guidance related to information management and compliance:

If you are not an information management practitioner

If your organisation has its own information management team, you should contact them for guidance related to information management and compliance.

If your organisation does not have its own information management team, you can contact Archives New Zealand at

Benefits of information management

Managing digital information, data and records appropriately:

  • enables the public to hold the government accountable
  • provides the foundation for sustainable and effective products and services
  • supports decision making
  • outlines responsibilities
  • documents rights and entitlements
  • drives collaboration and communication
  • facilitates and enables creativity and growth
  • preserves public knowledge for discovery and reuse
  • makes up the corporate memory of an organisation.

Related advice

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