Open Government Partnership – Red Card for NZ?

New Zealand risks being formally ejected from the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

The Government has sent a letter to the OGP citing the need for a four-month extension on submitting its second Open Government Partnership National Action Plan (NAP). The explanation given is that the processes being considered to make the engagement processes more inclusive means that New Zealand will not be able to submit its 2016-18 National Action Plan by 30 June 2016, but will undertake to do so by the end of October 2016.

The OGP does not grant extensions

While TINZ is thrilled to hear that the engagement process is a priority, this delay has put New Zealand's membership of the OGP at risk.

The OGP does not grant extensions. Their Government Point of Contact Manual states:

  1. Countries should deliver their NAP and Self-Assessment Reports on time. This calendar provides advance notice on all due dates in order to avoid future delays. In order to take full advantage of economies of scale, and to ensure transparency in operations so all OGP countries are treated fairly, the IRM will not modify or rearrange any of their product deadlines to accommodate delays from countries. NAPs and Self-Assessment Reports will be considered delivered when they are uploaded to the OGP website.
  2. If a country submits their NAP or Self-Assessment Report late, the delay will be noted in the IRM report.
  3. If a country delivers its new NAP more than four months late, the IRM will document this and, working with the Support Unit, will refer the case to the Criteria and Standards Subcommittee of the OGP Steering Committee. The country will receive a letter from the Support Unit noting this occurrence. The same rules apply to the late submission of the self-assessment reports.

New Zealand has already received one letter from the OGP Support Unit by failing to meet the July deadline (known well in advance), and we can anticipate a second one.  We will then be subject to review by the OGP's Criteria and Standards subcommittee placing New Zealand at serious risk of being ejected from the OGP.

The Government must take its commitment to this agreement seriously by ensuring that we are not dropping the ball in a move that could jeopardise our participation in this critical global initiative.

TINZ is working with the SSC to try and ensure that the engagement is not only more inclusive, but effective.

This is one red card that could become a serious black mark on our hard won reputation for integrity and transparency.


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