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By Suzanne Carter
Director, Transparency International New Zealand
The TINZ February Board meeting was extended to include a workshop and discussion on the Open Government Partnership, which is a significantly important initiative to Transparency International and the New Zealand chapter.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international organization promoting transparency, increased civic participation and no corruption. It harnesses new channels and seeks public engagement to make government more open, effective, and accountable. National Action Plans are a requirement of OPG members with regular international reporting required on advances to meet goals. Responding to the "Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity Systems Assessment", which carries 60 recommendations to improve integrity systems in New Zealand, is a key commitment of New Zealand’s Action Plan.
TINZ Patron Sir Anand Satyanand welcomed Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Peter Dunne, State Service Commission and LINZ Officials who all provided updates and listened to TINZ feedback about the Government’s progress for the OPG. Victoria University Professor and Director of the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies (IGPS) Dr Michael Macaulay reiterated the opportunity that New Zealand had to show international leadership in open government if it chose to adopt it.
The key themes of the discussions included a commitment to meet the objectives of the OPG, understanding the need to achieve engagement from New Zealand citizens and recognition that mechanisms needed to be implemented and resourced appropriately for New Zealand to present an excellent example of open democracy.
A report is being prepared by the SSC to update the Minister for SSC on progress of the NZ Action Plan this month. Check http://www.ssc.govt.nz/nz-ogp-action-plan for an update.