OGP National Action Plan 2: Under Urgency to Raise Awareness

Recent international events have dramatically demonstrated that disenfranchised citizens are finding that they can use voting processes to be heard. Issues such as Brexit and the impact of the global financial crisis on jobs have brought out numbers of angry voters. They have voted to drag Britain out of the European Union after 30 years, and the US Republicans to nominate a candidate who stands for keeping America for Americans. In Australia, disgruntled voters have elected a government whose coalition threatens to strangle new initiatives.

The crucial urgency of an effective grassroots-led National Action Plan for New Zealand’s engagement with Open Government Partnership (OGP) is clear. With this in mind, the State Services Commission, the official OGP Point of Contact has refreshed its approach to production of the second National Action Plan due in October.

  • Deputy Commissioner, Al Morrison and Principal Advisor, Amy White have been appointed to lead a newly constituted Experts Advisory Panel (EAP)
  • TINZ Chair, Suzanne Snively, and TINZ Director, Fuimaono Tuiasau, were invited on the EAP panel
  • The plan is to engage New Zealand communities with an interest in Open Government in the second National Action Plan (NAP2)
  • The SSC is managing engagement with government officials
  • The services of an independent consultation organisation, engage2, have been commissioned to manage engagement with civil society organisations. Civil society includes community organisations (such as Hui E!) and professionally based associations (the Law Society). These are neither government agencies nor private sector firms.

For this second NAP, the intention is to involve and collaborate with New Zealand communities in order to develop future processes to hear their views. A small number of individuals and organisations knowledgeable about OGP (such as ECO, the umbrella group for environment and conservation organisations in New Zealand) have held their own consultations and surveys. ECO, through its democracy and transparency working group, launched the survey of NZ people and organisations from the non-government and not-for-profit sector in July. The ECO survey has been completed with survey results to be shared with the SSC and published on their website soon.

On a more formal basis TINZ is pleased to hear that OGP’s own community engagement was launched online on the 4th of August via a dedicated OGP website. Take the opportunity to log in and comment using the address below, and please share this widely with your networks.

https://www.govt.nz/browse/engaging-with-government/govt-nzopen-govt-partnership-nz/

The Public Good's ECO survey has been completed with survey results to be published on their website soon.

This time around, the SSC is geared up both to identify those already knowledgeable about OGP and to raise awareness about OGP more widely throughout New Zealand. They will be setting up a website, promoting online engagement and conducting workshops during August in Auckland (17th), Christchurch (23rd) and Wellington (26th).

Engage2 offers individuals and civil organizations the ability to find out more about the process and ways to get involved on their website or sign up for regular email updates by emailing ogp@engage2.co.nz. People can also follow the process on Twitter @ogpnz and through their blog (engage2.co.nz/kia-ora/).

There are processes available for people who want to participate and have their say. These are designed to capture and analyse input in an open and transparent way, and to develop channels to encourage collaboration between the Government and its citizens.

This will have to happen quite quickly as the New Zealand Government’s deadline for the second NAP to go to the International OGP offices is 30 October 2016. This means that the draft needs to be with Cabinet and signed off by ministers in early September.

In other words, New Zealanders have a little over a month to have their say for NAP2. “Under urgency, the major lever that can be exercised is how NAP2 will employ modern communication tools to hear what citizens have to say”.

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