Your country needs to hear from you now to shine a light on government!
Open Government is a more transparent and receptive Government
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) has been advocating for 8 years about the importance of people’s participation in Open Government Partnership (OGP) from throughout our country.
This is different from voting for a candidate and a political party's policies.
It is about progressing commitments co-designed by the people, for the people, that lead to improved outcomes through government.
OGP has a mandate to hear from you about the outcomes that you want from your government.
What new commitment do you want from government?
You now have just over a month to express your views about prioritising new specific government activities to include in the next National Action Plan, NAP4 spanning 2020-2022.
OGP is an international multilateral initiative that seeks to secure strong national participation in democratic government. Currently 79 countries have signed up as members of OGP which was initiated in September 2011. Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, the UK and US were some of the inaugural member countries.
Transparency reflected through open government, is a critical tenet for democracy.
It is also essential to protecting against corruption by specifying, detecting, sanctioning and preventing corruption.
How the wider public views openness is still a major unknown and risks continuing to be so unless your stronger public voice is heard.
The channels for the public to be heard have been set up. They are designed to consider the new commitments to be incorporated into NAP4. The channels include representations via the OGP website and participation in workshops.
You'll have to be quick though. The window for involvement is now online. See the TINZ OGP schedule or the New Zealand OGP page.
OGP workshops are being held during March. New Zealand's OGP team has set up these events in Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchuch and Dunedin. Workshops in other cities may possibly be arranged if there is local interest.
The Commitments in the previous three National Action Plans have been focussed on enhancements to the work of core government agencies. These commitments, designed after public workshops, have had some excellent outcomes.
Yet surveys indicate that the things government do of most concern to the public are related to health, housing and education.
NAP4 provides the opportunity to develop commitments with momentum for new approaches in these areas, if there is a public expression of what these commitments could be.
This year's general election has already got underway with two of our political parties in front of the Serious Fraud Office for lack of transparency around political party funding.
In this issue of Transparency Times, Tim Barnett outlines six things that need to change for there to be more transparency in political party funding.
He makes a strong case about the benefits for change for all political parties. At the same time, he notes that 2 main political parties are unlikely to come to the table to progress these.
Perhaps this is another topic to shape into a commitment for NAP4?
Suzanne Snively, ONZM
Transparency International New Zealand Inc.