The New Zealand Herald has launched an experiment in crowdsourcing following the release of donations and expenses' returns for candidates at the 2014 general election.
The Electoral Commission has published returns for all 462 candidates, including all 121 current members of Parliament. Donations and expenses for candidates from the previous 2011 election are also available.
This is an enormous potential dataset and the Herald has uploaded nearly 900 documents to its own microsite, Money in Politics, allowing members of the public to interact with and analyse the data.
MONEY IN POLITICS: CLICK HERE TO EXAMINE ALL THE RETURNS
How to help us free the data from PDFs?
Step1: Create a username and then login.
Step 2: Then click on 'Check a document'
Step 3: A document will appear on your screen, please fill out the forms and once you are done, click Send.
Step 4: After finishing a document, you can move on to the next one.
Money in Politics, created by Caleb Tutty and Harkanwal Singh, opens up this data to as many people as possible and the Herald wants your help - and local knowledge - to analyse the information and potentially discover more great stories buried within the material.
Already, the Herald has uncovered a new $25,000 donation to a National Party MP from controversial donor Donghua Liu. However, there are no guarantees more donation scandals will be discovered through this online experiment.
Singh, the Herald's Data Editor, says: "The purpose of this project is to make the data available and reusable. Also, having 2011 and 2014 returns means we can track donations and spending by each candidate. It gives a clearer picture of the role money plays in New Zealand democracy.
"Also, we would like readers to share their local knowledge regarding what we should investigate further."
An electorate candidate can only spend $25,700 and all donations of more than $1500 cannot be anonymous. Click here for all the rules.
The system will enable members of the public to be able to search through the electoral returns of receipts of all candidates - including their local MP - and look at their records for the 2014 and 2011 elections directly.
Some returns have not been filed for the 2014 election.
For every document for every electoral candidate, users of the site will be able to:
• Help create a structured database
• Highlight donations and expenses of interest
• Explain why that return is interesting and provide a context