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New Zealand

Engagement with Parliament (NZ0012)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: New Zealand Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Office of the Clerk of the House

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Legislature, Media & Telecommunications, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: New Zealand Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment 1: Engagement with Parliament
Objective:
To improve public understanding of how Parliament works and engage a
greater number of people with its work.
Ambition:
People will be able to access information about how Parliament works more
easily and more people will engage with Parliament and have their say.
Parliament aims to reach a larger and more diverse audience across all
its digital and broadcasting channels – Parliament website, Parliament TV,
Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram - by June 2020. It also aims
to grow engagement, measured by more actions taken across all channels, by
June 2020. Currently (October 2018) Parliament has:
• Facebook: 10,137 followers (NZ Parliament and Select Committee
pages)
• Twitter: 17,174 followers
• LinkedIn: 3,737 followers
• Instagram: 403 followers.
While the audience numbers across channels vary substantially and are still
low for many, the aim is to enhance the use of these (and establish new
channels if required), to lead to increased engagement with Parliament.
Status quo:
A Colmar Brunton report, Exploring New Zealanders’ understanding of, and
engagement with, Parliament and the democratic process, commissioned by
Radio New Zealand and the Office of the Clerk in October 2017 suggested:
• Only a minority of the population inform themselves about the
issues and processes of Parliament, and most are detached from
parliamentary process and only a minority of the population inform
themselves about the issues and outcomes.
• People do not necessarily understand how Parliament or democracy
affects their lives and do not actively seek information on the
parliamentary process and how to engage because it’s not for
‘everyday Kiwis’.
• Parliament is compared to the sun, ‘we know it is there and it is
important but it is too far.’ Lead Agency: Office of the Clerk of the House
Timeline: October 2018 – June 2020
Commitment 1: Engagement with Parliament
OGP Values Transparency, Public
Participation, Technology
and Innovation
Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil
the commitment
Start date End date
Expand the use of Parliament TV to provide
information about Parliament, in addition to
coverage of the House, to show New Zealanders
that Parliament is relevant to them. Content will
be reviewed annually and viewer numbers will be
monitored quarterly.
Commenced
broadcasts
July 2018
June 2020
Make Parliament more interactive by holding three
public events every year, focused on engaging people
with Parliament, to raise awareness that Parliament
is for everyone. Events to be identified by the Office
of the Clerk in line with the Parliament Engagement
Strategy 2018-2021: https://www.parliament.
nz/en/footer/about-us/office-of-the-clerk/about/
parliament-engagement-strategy-2018-2021/
2018 June 2020
Develop and publish content showing ‘real people’
start petitions and make submissions to select
committees, and make the options for having
your say transparent and easy to understand to
show people how to participate in the democratic
process.
2018 June 2020
Develop and enhance a 360° Virtual Reality Tour
of Parliament to raise children, young people’s and
all New Zealanders’ awareness of what Parliament
does by making it more accessible and interesting to
inspire future voters.
Commenced
August 2018
June 2020

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1. Engagement with Parliament [1]

Objective: “To improve public understanding of how Parliament works and engage a greater number of people with its work”.

Milestones:

  1. “Expand the use of Parliament TV to provide information about Parliament, in addition to coverage of the House”;
  2. “Make Parliament more interactive by holding three public events every year”;
  3. “Develop and publish content showing ‘real people’ start petitions and make submissions to select committees and make the options for having your say transparent and easy to understand”;
  4. “Develop and enhance a 360 degree Virtual Reality Tour of Parliament”.

Start Date: July 2018

End Date:  June 2020

Context and Objectives

The objective of this commitment is to improve public understanding of how Parliament works and to engage a greater number of people in its work. It is the first time that Parliament has agreed to participate in New Zealand’s OGP work. Research commissioned by the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives in 2018 with 1,200 New Zealanders, revealed that only 21 percent feel a sense of ownership of Parliament and only 16 percent feel connected to Parliament. [2] Many raised this issue during the development of the action plan. [3] Academic research found that trust in MPs and Government Ministers increased from 46 percent in 2016 to 62 percent in 2018, but only 14 percent had “complete trust” or “lots of trust” in Government Ministers and 12 percent in MPs. [4]

Stats NZ’s research found that “if people trust government institutions, they’re more likely to take part in government processes. For example, they’re more likely to vote”. [5] The State Service Commission’s regular research into trust in public services found variations by age and ethnicity: trust based on personal experience of public services was high at 79 percent, except for those aged less than 25 years (71 percent), and trust in the public service brand ranged from a top score of 53 percent for those of Asian ethnicity, to 47 percent for NZ Europeans, to 31 percent for Māori. [6]

This commitment picks up existing work delivering Parliament’s Engagement Strategy 2018-2021. [7] Its ambition is for people to have easier access to information on how Parliament works, engage with Parliament more, and for Parliament to reach a larger and more diverse audience across more digital and broadcasting channels. It meets OGP’s access to information and technology and innovation for openness and accountability values by providing broader access to content, showing people how to participate in Parliament’s business and by using various channels to reach different audiences, including the Parliament website, Parliament TV, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

In response to the above 2018 research result that 26 percent of New Zealanders surveyed viewed or listened to Parliament in the past year, the commitment plans to broadcast Parliament’s business more widely by adding new content about Parliament. This would augment Parliament’s current seven channel options (free-to-air TV, pay TV, live via the Internet, Radio, YouTube, video on demand from website, and the Virtual House app). [8] It also plans to hold three annual public events to raise awareness that Parliament is for everyone; create and publish content about ‘real’ people starting Parliamentary petitions and submitting to Parliamentary Select Committees; and create a 360 degree Virtual Reality Tour for future voters to find out what Parliament does.

The milestones are specific enough to allow objective verification. Milestone completion can be measured by new content published and increased TV and social media followers, and future annual research commissioned by the Office of the Clerk will also monitor impact. Parliamentary officials have advised they are considering how to measure growth in the numbers presenting petitions and submitting to Select Committees. [9]

If fully implemented as designed, more people of all ages and ethnicities could know about and engage with Parliament and more generally in their communities. The activities are directly based on 2018 research of 1,200 respondents aged over 18 years, including specific feedback from Māori, Pasifika and youth aged between 16 and 18. [10] Key findings were that only 26 percent of all respondents had viewed or listened to Parliamentary broadcasts in the past year, younger New Zealanders were more likely to be uncommitted to participating in Parliament’s democratic processes, 5 percent or fewer of all respondents had visited Parliament on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in the past year and overall there was low knowledge of how to make a petition or submission to Parliament.

This commitment’s potential impact is minor. The numbers viewing the new content on the ETV subscription channel and Parliament TV channel could increase, but, as identified by the 2018 research, Parliament TV does not affect or impact young people or many New Zealanders. Mainstream media will continue to cover Parliament’s public events, and event attendees are likely to understand Parliament better. Stories about real people of all ages and ethnicities participating in Parliament’s business could have wide impact through social media feeds if received by youth and others not currently engaged. [11] A member of Ara Taiohi, New Zealand’s peak body for youth development, advised the IRM researcher that connecting the Virtual Reality Tour to New Zealand’s National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) assessment credit process could have an impact for youth. [12]

Using structured data formats on Parliament’s website for Hansard, [13] Order Papers, Lists of Members of Parliament, and Select Committee details would allow machine-readable re-use, enable innovation by technical users and new channels to access core Parliamentary information. This long-term open data issue has been raised with the Office of the Clerk and picked up by individuals and at GovHacks [14] with no visible progress to date. [15]

Next steps

If this commitment is carried forward to the next action plan or if there are improvements to the implementation of this commitment, the IRM researcher recommends that:

  • this commitment is resourced to allow content creators and developers to target uptake across all media and channels;
  • content and channel choice are tested and agreed by a range of age, ethnic, professional and social groups; and
  • an activity is added to commence work to release Hansard and other core Parliamentary information in structured formats.

The IRM researcher recommends that consideration of a commitment by the Office of the Clerk, Ara Taiohi, the Office of Ethnic Communities and the Ministries of Māori Development and Pacific Communities to encourage more of New Zealand’s ethnicities to participate more actively in the business of Parliament is fed into the development process for the next action plan.

[2] House of Representatives, Survey of the New Zealand Public, https://www.parliament.nz/media/5555/report-survey-of-the-nz-public-2018.pdf, Colmar Brunton, November 2018.
[4] Victoria University of Wellington, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, 2018 trust in government survey, https://www.victoria.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/1616380/IGPS-Trust-Presentation-June2018.pdf
[8] New Zealand Parliament, https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/. The company “eCast” clips live Parliamentary sessions which are added to Parliament’s In the House YouTube channel and the Parliamentary TV website for public access.
[9] Email advice to the IRM researcher, 20 February 2019.
[10] Survey of the New Zealand Public, 1200 New Zealanders were surveyed, including 1000 aged over 18 years (including 170 indigenous Maori, 70 Pacifica) plus 200 16-18 year olds.
[11] Interview with ‘TheHouse’ journalists, 4 February 2019. They report daily on Parliamentary business when in Parliament is in session.
[12] Advice from a member of Ara Taiohi, NZ’s peak body for youth development, 27 February 2019.
[13] New Zealand Parliament, Hansard Reports, https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/
[14] Open Voices project from GovHack 2017, https://2017.hackerspace.govhack.org/project/open-voices parsing Hansard to Akoma Ntoso XM. Other examples include They Work For You by Rob McKinnon, Open New Zealand, http://groups.open.org.nz/r/topic/23yZenGQ9Vgg88hTfSnScY; National Digital Forum, https://ndf2018.sched.com/event/ExDs/parsing-parliament-parliaments-proceedings-as-researchers-data; Open New Zealand, http://groups.open.org.nz/r/topic/7pIPsJ40EDt2gfqMDFKjOD, and GitHub, https://github.com/Br3nda/legislation
[15] Interview with Jonathan Hunt, IT developer, and synthesis workshop delegate,11 February 2019.

Commitments

  1. Engagement with Parliament

    NZ0012, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Youth Parliament

    NZ0013, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. School Leavers' Toolkit

    NZ0014, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Making New Zealand’S Secondary Legislation Readily Accessible

    NZ0015, 2018, E-Government

  5. Public Participation in Policy Development

    NZ0016, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Service Design

    NZ0017, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Official Information

    NZ0018, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  8. Review of Government Use of Algorithms

    NZ0019, 2018, Science & Technology

  9. Data Practice Transparency

    NZ0020, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Monitoring Information Management Practice

    NZ0021, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  11. Open Data Government Organizations

    NZ0022, 2018, E-Government

  12. Open Procurement

    NZ0023, 2018, E-Government

  13. Open Budget

    NZ0005, 2016, Capacity Building

  14. Improving Official Information Practices

    NZ0006, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Improving Open Data Access and Principles

    NZ0007, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Tracking Progress and Outcomes of Open Government Data Release

    NZ0008, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Ongoing Engagement for OGP

    NZ0009, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Starred commitment Improving Access to Legislation

    NZ0010, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Improving Policy Practices

    NZ0011, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. BPS Result 10 – New Zealanders Can Complete Their Transactions with the Government Easily in a Digital Environment

    NZ0001, 2014, E-Government

  21. ICT Strategy Action 13 – Open by Default: Active Re-use of Information Assets

    NZ0002, 2014, Capacity Building

  22. National Integrity System Assessment

    NZ0003, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  23. The Kia TūTahi Relationship Accord

    NZ0004, 2014, Capacity Building

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