Open Government Guide

New Zealand to Join the Open Government Partnership

State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman Declares Commitment to Universal Human Rights, the UN Convention Against Corruption, and Effective Governance

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative in which governments and civil societies can cooperatively create and implement transparent government reforms. Established in 2011 with eight initial member nations, the OGP now has 63 participating countries.

To join the OGP, each country must develop an OGP action plan that proposes how the country will achieve the OGP’s grand challenges, which are to improve public services and public integrity, more effectively manage public resources, create safer communities, and increase corporate accountability. Besides committing to and implementing these challenges, joining the OGP also offers its members a powerful peer network in which participating countries can share best practices, technical assistance, and other resources.

New Zealand and the OGP

In mid-2013, the New Zealand Human Rights Commission recommended that the country join the OGP in its submission to the Universal Periodic Review of New Zealand’s human rights record. The commission supported New Zealand’s participation because the country has been a global leader in transparent and accountable government.

State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman confirmed at the London OGP Summit in November 2013 that New Zealand would join the OGP. At the time, Coleman said, “In joining the Open Government Partnership, New Zealand is showing we are committed to promoting open and transparent government, and we look forward to sharing best practices and expertise with our overseas partners.”

By joining the OGP, New Zealand demonstrates support for the OGP’s Open Government Declaration (September 11). The Declaration states that OGP members are committed to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention Against Corruption, and other international instruments that underscore human rights and effective governance. Important aspects of this commitment are government transparency, empowering citizens, combatting corruption, and using new technologies to make government more accountable and effective.

Public consultation is a key aspect of the action plan’s development in New Zealand and other countries. By joining the OGP, New Zealand must create an action plan through a multi-stakeholder, open, and participatory process. As well as including measurable action points to achieve reform in the areas of accountability, transparency, and citizen engagement, public consultation is required to be carried out through multiple channels, such as online and face-to-face meetings. In addition, the public consultation process and individual written comment should be summarised in an accessible format such as a website.

While according to the OGP required timeline, the first action plan was to be posted by March 31 of the following year (2014 in this case), an extension has been granted for 31 July 2014.

As part of the review process, the OGP Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) provides biannual reports that self-assess the action plans for every OGP member country.

Integrity Plus NIS Assessment and New Zealand’s OCP Participation

New Zealand’s OGP membership interfaces with the recommendations of TINZ’s 2013 Integrity Plus National Integrity System Assessment (NIS).

Below is a chart detailing the NIS Assessment’s major and sub-recommendations for how New Zealand can achieve the OGP’s grand challenges. For more information about the OGP, please visit: www.opengovpartnership.org

Open Government Partnership Grand Challenges and the 2013 NIS Assessment Recommendations

OGP Grand Challenges Major NIS Recommendations Sub-recommendations

Improving public services

  • National NZ anti-corruption strategy
  • Strengthen role of permanent public sector in regard to procurement, etc.
  • Create a cross-sector anti-corruption task force to develop NZ strategy

Improving public integrity

  • Ratification of UNCAC
  • National NZ anti-corruption strategy
  • Strengthen governance arrangements Executive and Parliament
  • Support and reinforce roles of Electoral Commission, Judiciary; and Ombudsman
  • Review of current anti-corruption legislation including a discussion on Misconduct in Public Office
  • Review the expansion of OIA to cover Parliament

More effectively managing public resources

  • Strengthen role of permanent public sector in regard to procurement, etc.
  • Support and reinforce roles of Electoral Commission, Judiciary; and Ombudsman
  • Public sector agencies to conduct further assessments and research
  • Create a Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee

Creating safer communities

  • Strengthen governance arrangements between central and local government
  • Improve transparency of environmental reporting
  • Roll out research into local integrity systems
  • Liaise with Maori, Pacifica and other communities to establish a shared understanding of integrity issues and expectations around anti-corruption
  • Review the transparency of police and other law enforcement agencies

Increasing corporate accountability

  • Business community, NGOs and media to take on a more proactive role
  • Create a cross-sector anti-corruption taskforce to develop and enforce NZ strategy
  • Develop a specific business anti-corruption/good governance framework to establish best practice in trade and also to ensure NZ business is up-to=speed with legal requirements of Crimes Act; US FCPA; (even the Dodds Frank Act); UK Bribery Act

Actions

Recent Activity

TINZ applauds decline in foreign trusts
Government implementation of tougher disclosure requirements for foreign trusts have led to around 75% discontinuing or exiting New Zealand. 9 Jul, 2017

Public Sector Integrity Media Release
State Services Commission took a very positive step in addressing a key recommendation of TINZ's Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment by advertising a role for Deputy Commissioner, Integrity, Ethics and Standards. 11 May, 2017

Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 TINZ media release
Transparency International 25 Jan, 2017