We recently made some major improvements to the quality of search results on figure.nz. This is a technical guide to how Elasticsearch can be creatively used for searching open data.

tl;dr

On a site like figure.nz, giving people the search results they expect is hard. Improving that experience for our visitors matters a lot to us, and it’s a challenge we’re constantly working on. We’ve recently dedicated a significant piece of work to doing exactly that, and it’s showing promising results.


@InternetNZ is currently running a consultation on what their position on Online Voting should be. This post is inspired by a discussion (login required) around the threats that apply independent of any particular online voting system.

For context, New Zealand is considering trialling online voting as an alternative option to…


This article was first published at The Spinoff.

News of Auckland Council’s IT cost blowout, and the tediously predictable way in which it happened, had eyes rolling up and down New Zealand yesterday. With $1.2 billion dollars spent and counting, this is shaping up as one of the biggest overruns…


This article was first published by The Spinoff as “The Bullshit and Myths of Online Voting”.

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. This is a refrain we should keep in mind wherever we can, because a little knowledge is not enough to know just how dangerous we can be…


On the 30th of July, 2015, I was able to make an in-person submission to the Justice & Elections Select Committee, which was holding a (routine) inquiry into the 2014 New Zealand general election. What follows is a rough transcript.

So, online voting!

We have people so excited about the…


This data has come from Statistics New Zealand. What does it show?

Screenshot of an Excel file from Statistics New Zealand.

The obvious answer is that it shows the estimated population by sex from 1926 to 2013. Since it comes from Statistics NZ, you may assume it is the estimated population of New Zealanders, and you’d be correct.

If…


New South Wales is currently holding its state elections. Voters can either use a paper ballot, or an online voting platform called iVote, which is expected to collect 200,000–250,000 votes. And guess what…

Thousands of NSW Election votes open to online tampering!

For six days, the website was vulnerable to…


I went to Kiwicon 8 last week. Superficially, it’s a conference where people talk about hacking things — whether it’s your apartment intercom, your DVD player, a Cisco firewall appliance, the law, electric skateboards, home detention bracelets, you name it. …


I see that the government is taking another step down the Online Voting path by enabling a small number of local government authorities to “trial” online voting.

The quotes are mine, because they’re not talking about a trial. It’s not like people will do their postal vote, then also use…


In New Zealand, we have the right to vote. I want to unpack what this means, to demonstrate one of the biggest problems with Online Voting and how it’s marketed today: it ignores, and risks subverting, the democratic principles on which our elections are based.

To begin, what does the…

Nigel McNie

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