Te Kawa Mataaho have delivered New Zealand’s fourth Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. The plan is little changed from the draft circulated late last year. TINZ Member with Delegated Authority, Laurence Millar reported on the plan in his December article Open Government – a three year journey ends in disappointment. He notes:
“The huge effort from civil society and from the lead agency Te Kawa Mataaho (TKM) has delivered a plan that is primarily a collection of current work already under way within government, and does not seize the opportunity to create a new direction for Open Government in Aotearoa. This is especially disappointing because it was an opportunity for the Public Service Commission to demonstrate leadership in upholding the principle “to foster a culture of open government” set out in section 11 of the Public Service Act (2020).”
Commitments related to anti-corruption and transparency
The fourth National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership includes several commitments that sit within anti-corruption and transparency.
- Commitment 4: Design and implement a National Counter Fraud and Corruption Strategy. This will be led by the Ministry of Justice, focusing initially on government agencies’ work to counter fraud and corruption risks.
- Commitment 5 – Increase the transparency of the beneficial ownership of New Zealand companies and limited partnerships by introducing legislation to make beneficial owners’ identifying information available on a public register. The lead agency is MBIE and the programme is already underway.
- Commitment 6 – Improve government procurement transparency (lead agency MBIE) Again a programme of work is underway. It is great to see alignment with the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) included.
- Commitment 7 – Strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation (lead agency Ministry of Justice). NGOs like the NZ Council of Civil Liberties have highlighted the increasing use of OIA-exemption clauses in legislation. TINZ recently submitted on the Inspector-General of Defence Bill which includes one of these clauses.
- Commitment 8 – Improve transparency and accountability of algorithm use across government. The lead agency is Statistics NZ which will provide improved supports to implement the principles of the Algorithm Charter for Aotearoa New Zealand.