Independent OGP Report offers encouragement

The comment period for the draft Mid-Term Progress Report on New Zealand’s 2nd Open Government Partnership National Action Plan (OGP-NAP) 2016-2018 ended on 5 February. The draft report can be viewed here.

Keitha Booth, the OGP ‘Independent Researcher’ for New Zealand is preparing this report as a part of the Washington-based Independent Review Mechanism (IRM).  It covers progress with the current NAP (2016-18) together with recommendations for NZ’s forthcoming 3rd NAP 2018-2020.

At the 31 January seminar on Open Budget Survey Results hosted by Victoria University’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Booth presented her findings on New Zealand’s Commitment-1, ‘Budget Initiatives’. This is one of the seven OGP commitment areas specified in NAP-2 which Booth is reviewing. 

Key IRM recommendations for the forthcoming NAP 2018-2020 are:

  • Official Information Act (OIA) & whistleblowing law reform
  • refocus the Open Data and Information Programme to publish social, environmental and budget expenditure data
  • standards for public consultation on policy initiatives
  • a public central register of foreign beneficial ownership of all legal entities (trusts, companies, nominee companies)
  • citizen education to increase democratic participation
  • an expanded OGP Experts Advisory Panel to include greater civil society representation
  • the release of details of government’s procurement contracts with service providers.
IRM Researcher Keitha Booth speaking at the Open Budget Survey Results seminar

And much much more information to absorb as well, covering:

  • the National Action Plan development process
  • details about each commitment in the NAP 2016-2018 
  • progress as at 30 June 2017 in implementing these commitments
  • additional work for each commitment
  • stakeholder priorities for the forthcoming NAP 2018-20
  • a summary of NZ’s open government environment during 2016-17.

The OGP is an international initiative where the governments of 75 countries have committed to becoming more open, accountable and responsive to their citizens. New Zealand joined the OGP in 2014. Its second NAP 2016-2018 was co-created with New Zealanders before its release by the New Zealand Government on 20 October 2016. Its seven commitment areas span:

  • open budget
  • official information
  • open data
  • ongoing engagement for OGP
  • access to legislation
  • improving policy practices across the public sector.

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