Open Govt Partnership
Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa!
The Independent Reporting Mechanism's (IRM) progress report on New Zealand's second national action plan was released this week and is up for public comment through 5 February. We invite you to comment on the report and recommendations for the upcoming 2018-2020 National Action plan. This is a big part of the government's efforts to be more open and partner-oriented under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and an opportunity for civil society in having an input into what the open government issues are in New Zealand. Comment online here by 5 February 2018. Please note there is only a 2 week time-frame. You are welcome to email your comments to the OGP support unit. In brief, key findings of the review and set out in the report are: NZ’s Open Government Environment in 2016/17
Concerns about Official Information Act 1982 scope and government’s compliance
Decreasing trust and low voter turnouts
Several whistleblowing revelations
Transparency of trusts and beneficial ownership processes
Strengthening the environment for more civil society engagement and co-creation
Continued demand for published budget expenditure data; details of government procurement contracts, sustainable and regular high-level interaction between government, officials and civil society representatives; and linking OGP work to NZ's work programme on the UN Sustainable Goal 16: to provide access to justice for all.
Stakeholder Advisory Group/Governance
Members invited by State Services Commission; no opportunity for civil society applications; no evidence of ongoing engagement with civil society nor public presence.
2016-18 National Action Plan Development Process
Better process for civil society participation than for first action plan
Limited time for consultation; restricted technology for making submissions
Little success in attracting civil society participation beyond the usual groups
No government/civil society co-creation of final commitment decisions and Cabinet Paper
2016-18 National Action Plan Commitments
The final seven commitments described by stakeholders as top-down, discrete activities and “not bold”
Commitment 6: Improving access to legislation rated a top commitment by OGP, having transformative impact potential
Content recommendations by the first IRM researcher not adopted
5 of the 7 commitments link directly to the public’s 87 submissions; 2 added by government
Remaining public submissions for first and second action plans not progressed, namely, published budget expenditure data; details of government procurement contracts; and sustainable and regular high-level interaction between government, officials and civil society representatives.
2016-18 National Action Plan Progress
Limited completion as at 30 June 2017 (note only started October 2016)
On target to be completed by 30 June 2018
IRM researcher has recommended further work for each Commitment.
Key Recommendations for 2018-2020 National Action Plan
Reform official information laws and refocus the Open Data and Information Programme to publish social, environmental and budget expenditure data
Expand the Expert Advisory Panel to include greater civil society representation
Develop standards for public consultation on policy initiatives
Reform whistleblowing laws to increase awareness and protections for whistleblowers and take measures to establish a public central register of company beneficial ownership
Introduce citizen education to increase democratic participation.
The IRM Researcher's End of Term report, covering progress to 30 June 2018, will be published in February 2019.