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Friday, October 31, 2014

"New Zealand reaffirms commitment to open government"

Australia should emulate the 'reaffirm' part of that headline. 

As well as the sentiments in the announcement by NZ State Services Minister Paula Bennett that New Zealand formally became a member of the Open Government Partnership, with the publication of its Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan.
“New Zealand has a strong and well respected foundation of open and transparent government, and formally joining the OGP gives us a fantastic opportunity to build on these successes,” Mrs Bennett says. “We rank highly on several integrity measures, including first equal out of 182 countries in Transparency International’s 2013 Corruptions Perceptions Index and first out of 132 countries in the 2014 Social Progress index. “Our work in the OGP and with partner countries will allow us to do even more to deliver openness and integrity, so that New Zealanders can be assured government is responsive to their needs and serves them in the best way possible.” A stakeholder-led advisory group will be established to assist the Government with meeting OGP commitments."
The NZ consultative process and earlier indications of the content of the plan came in for some criticism recently- the establishment of the advisory group may improve the mood.
Published information about NZ and the OGP includes
And sure to stun the dedicated guardians of the cabinet room at PM&C in Canberra:
The Abbott government is still 'considering' whether to proceed with the May 2013 notice of Australia's intention to join. 

You would like to think we could cut and paste the NZ case for membership with a one word substitution:
"The OGP is an international organisation, committed to making governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. The OGP objectives resonate with New Zealand values and with our goals for international, economic and social development. By joining the OGP, New Zealand can continue to build and strengthen our system of open government, while also playing a strong leadership role in the OGP by sharing our experiences and expertise. OGP membership will also strengthen New Zealand’s ties with many countries who participate in the OGP. Joining the OPG also provides a platform for the government to further explore new and innovative ways of working with civil society to deliver better public services.

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