New Zealand Design Report 2018-2020
- Action Plan: New Zealand Action Plan 2018-2020
- Report Publication Year: 2020
- Researcher: Keitha Booth
New Zealand’s third action planAction plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen... focuses on three core areas: participation in democracy, public participationGiving citizens opportunities to provide input into government decision-making leads to more effective governance, improved public service delivery, and more equitable outcomes. Technical specificatio... to develop policy and services, and transparencyAccording to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More and accountability. An improved action plan development process yielded two commitments of twelve with a transformative potential impact. Future action plan development could benefit from iterative dialogue between civil society and government throughout the development to further improve the cocreation process, a formalised multi-stakeholder forumRegular dialogue between government and civil society is a core element of OGP participation. It builds trust, promotes joint problem-solving, and empowers civil society to influence the design, imple... that better reflects the country’s diversity, and full reform of the Official Information Act.
|Table 1. At a glance
Participating since: 2013
Action plan under review: 2018-2020
Report type: Design
Number of commitments: 12Action plan development
Is there a Multi-stakeholder forum: Yes
Level of public influence: Involve
Acted contrary to OGP process: NoAction plan design
Commitments relevant to OGP values: 12 (100%)
Transformative commitments: 2 (17%)
Potentially starred: 2 (17%)Action plan implementation
Starred commitments: N/A
Completed commitments: N/A
Commitments with Major DIOG*: N/A
Commitments with Outstanding DIOG*: N/A
*DIOG: Did it Open Government
The Open Government PartnershipThe Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, ensuring opportunities for citizen participation in public matters, and strengthen... More (OGP) is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM)The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is OGP’s accountability arm and the main means of tracking progress in participating countries. The IRM provides independent, evidence-based, and objective ... monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. New Zealand joined OGP in 2013. Since then, New Zealand has implemented two action plans. This report evaluates the design of New Zealand’s third action plan.
General overview of action plan
Development of New Zealand’s third action plan took place in an environment of high governmental openness and transparency. New Zealand is a full democracy and scores highly on international indices measuring transparency, anti-corruption, and good governance. The action plan’s 12 commitments are structured under three broad themes of open government: participation in democracy; public participation to develop policy and services; and transparency and accountability. Deficiencies remain around the scope and applicability of the country’s official information legislationCreating and passing legislation is one of the most effective ways of ensuring open government reforms have long-lasting effects on government practices. Technical specifications: Act of creating or r...; all previous IRM reports have recommended reforming the law.
New Zealand’s State Services Commission (SSC) remains the lead agency responsible for the country’s OGP activities. The State Services Commissioner or delegate chairs the invitation-only Expert Advisory Panel (EAP), commissioned during the previous action plan cycle, which functions as the multi-stakeholder forum. Though the maximum capacity of the EAP has been six civil society members, it currently has only four. The SSC has sought nominations from the public to fill the vacancies.
The SSC’s public engagement to develop the action plan started four months ahead of formal consultations with a survey of its 800 mailing list subscribers on how to engage on developing the plan. The Associate State Services Minister (Open Government) sought wide engagement with the public to determine the action plan contents through official workshops and social media outreach and was actively involved through to her resignation around the time the plan was being finalised. A total of 200 people attended regional workshops with civil society in the four main centres to gather commitmentOGP commitments are promises for reform co-created by governments and civil society and submitted as part of an action plan. Commitments typically include a description of the problem, concrete action... ideas and 449 submissions were received at these meetings or online. At least one EAP member attended each of the five regional workshops. Delegates from the workshops attended a synthesis workshop with the EAP and government officials where they confirmed the action plan priority themes which government had collated from the submissions and voted on commitment proposals presented by government officials that day. While the SSC and EAP were active and engaged widely in the development of the action plan and provided feedback on the proposals received through the initial consultations and regional meetings, civil society stakeholders had no further opportunity to determine the final contents of the plan after the synthesis workshop.
The three commitment themes of the action plan continue the focus of the previous action plan with most covering access to information and civic participation. Of note are a commitment relating to the government’s use of operational algorithms, a burgeoning area of open government, and the creation of a master dataset of government organisations, to be released as open dataBy opening up data and making it sharable and reusable, governments can enable informed debate, better decision making, and the development of innovative new services. Technical specifications: Polici.... Eleven agencies now lead action plan commitments, representing almost one third of core public service agencies. New activities for consideration during the development of the fourth action plan include an enlarged multi-stakeholder forum, continuing to strengthen media reporting of local government, and activities building on commitments in the plan: reforming official information law, creating a public engagement community hub, next steps for civics educationAccountability within the public education system is key to improving outcomes and attainment, and accountability is nearly impossible without transparent policies and opportunities for participation ... learning and continuing to progress the secondary legislation work.
Table 2. Noteworthy commitments
|Commitment description||Moving forward||Status at the end of implementation cycle.|
|4. Making New Zealand’s secondary legislation readily accessible
Publish all secondary legislation (from mostly non-central government bodies) on the New Zealand Legislation website.
|The commitment currently does not apply to local government legislation so a potential future commitment could explore options for making local authorities’ legislation and by-laws accessible to the public.||Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.|
|11. Authoritative dataset of government organisations as open data for greater transparency
Develop a master dataset of all central and local government organisations that is publicly available in machine-readable format.
|The government could consider shortening the timeframes for agreeing upon the open data standards to apply to the dataset, who will maintain the dataset and release ownership data earlier than proposed.||Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.|
|8. Review of government use of algorithms
Work with civil society to review the use of operational algorithms by the government toward increased transparency.
|As a new frontier in open governance that closely relates the latter to e-governance, deeper engagement with the public on how algorithms are used as well as making their usage(s) publicly available is recommended.||Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.|
The IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan.
Table 3. Five KEY IRM Recommendations
|Reform official information laws|
|Strengthen the role and mandate of the EAP as it continues to act as New Zealand’s Multi-stakeholder Forum.|
|Create a joint civil society/government public engagement Community of Practice or Hub|
|Apply civics education learning at community and local government level|
|Strengthen high-quality public media reporting by continuing the Local Democracy Reporter pilot to ensure transparency and public accountabilityAccording to OGP’s Articles of Governance, public accountability occurs when ”rules, regulations, and mechanisms in place call upon government actors to justify their actions, act upon criticisms ... More of local government.|
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