Lessons from the OGP Asia Pacific Summit

Michael is Deputy Director of the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies (IGPS) and is Associate Professor in Public Management at the School of Government at Victoria University

Around 50 people gathered at Victoria University on 28 May to hear Dr Michael Macaulay share important learnings from his attendance at the first Open Government Partnership (OGP) Asia Pacific Summit held in Bali in early May. His attendance at the Summit was supported by Transparency International New Zealand.

The Summit was designed as a platform to share and learn from countries and communities that have committed to Open Government Partnership (OGP) and open and good governance practices. Dr Macaulay, Deputy Director, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University also presented at the Summit.

Underpinning the OGP’s programme are five grand challenges:

  • improve public services
  • improve public integrity
  • more effectively manage public resources
  • create safer communities, and
  • increase corporate accountability

Dr Macaulay discussed three key lessons he gleaned from OGP attendees. In providing context for his remarks he said that NZ’s reputation of low corruption does not necessarily mean the country does not face integrity issues. He cited the comprehensive work undertaken by TINZ to create the National Integrity Survey in 2013 as providing an important foundation for the work required to develop the New Zealand’s Action Plan.

Lesson 1:

New Zealand’s reputation was well regarded and OGP participants had an expectation that New Zealand would show leadership in this area. Dr Macaulay said the OGP is an ideal platform in which NZ can take the lead should it wish to harness such an opportunity.

Lesson 2:

Technology and innovation advances are proving extremely viable for real and beneficial consultation. There is a clear shift already from e-govt to m-govt, an example is the use of apps and crowd sourcing consultation methods. New Zealand needs to beware that its methods and motivations may appear old fashioned before too long.

Lesson 3:

Collaboration is king. There were numerous examples of consultation and meaningful participation. Deep consultation with civil society organisations and the public lay at the heart of the majority of the cases presented. There is a growing focus that governments are listening organisation. Engagement needs to be early and as direct as possible.

New Zealand is currently writing the OGP Action Plan to meet a due date of publication 31 July 2014. This process is being led by the State Services Commission. Representatives from the Commission attending this presentation acknowledged they were working to an early first deadline and very much more interaction and consultation with civil society over the coming months around the implementation of the plan can be expected. The Action Plan will be tabled with the OGP on 31 July 2014.

Read the Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Peter Dunne’s address to the Summit about New Zealand’s approach to the Open Government Partnership here.

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global initiative that has seen 64 nations create policies to increase transparency, accountability and integrity. In all of the countries involved, government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms. New Zealand committed to join in December 2013.

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