Work on the fourth Open Government Partnership National Action Plan (NAP) is well underway for completion late this year. Stakeholders not already engaged in the process will have a narrow window of time to comment on the draft.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is founded on principles of open and transparent government, and is in use globally. Countries commit to “foster a global culture of open government that empowers and delivers for citizens, and advances the ideals of open and participatory 21st century government”
Fourth National Action Plan
As is a familiar story for both civil society organisations and government agencies, COVID has been a disruptor of OGP planning and consultation.
Last year Te Kawa Mataaho (Public Service Commission) gained an extension to the development of the fourth National Action Plan, which enabled greater direct consultation with civil society.
They are now under the pump to facilitate a draft NAP ready for Ministerial agreement, to be followed by a final very short period of public consultation.
Civil Society Involvement
A key tenet of the OGP is for governments to work with civil society organisations to develop and implement their national action plans. Countries are encouraged to institutionalise a mechanism for ongoing dialogue and collaboration between government and civil society.
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) has been an active participant in the Open Government Partnership. Our involvement in the development of a fourth national action plan, is primarily through Laurence Millar and Julie Haggie. Keitha Booth, well respected by the NGO community, is also the Independent Review Mechanism for the New Zealand OGP.
Other civil society organisations playing a key role include the New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties, Trust Democracy NZ, Network Waitangi Ōtautahi, ECO, Amnesty International, Hui E Aotearoa, Volunteering New Zealand and CAB New Zealand.
The New Zealand NAP process also includes an ‘Expert Advisory Panel’ of appointed civil society experts, including Dame Suzanne Snively.
Even with this involvement, we still have a ways to go in New Zealand to get to co-creation. Whilst there have been endeavours to try for a more collaborative approach, at this point in the plan development the process is largely driven by the public service with civil society playing an advisory role. We need the process to set the example for implementation of commitments.
Throughout the process we have also urged alignment with Te Tiriti in both the intent and the wording of the National Action Plan. Good guidance has been provided by Te Arawhiti. Civil society groups also drafted practical advice about how OGP commitment design and implementation could honour Te Tiriti. (Measuring up – the Treaty and OGP NAP4 February 2022). We expect the final NAP 4 to fully grasp this unique opportunity.