Since we submitted our first plan in 2014, we have learnt much about how New Zealand can both reflect the work it is doing to deliver on open government principles and how it can advance those principles.
We are continually improving to deliver on New Zealand’s obligations under the Partnership, ensuring we evolve and improve through our successive plans.
From the first National Action Plan
The first plan contained commitments which reflected work that was primarily already underway. Our self assessment of the plan showed several areas where improvement could be made for our 2016-18 National Action Plan.
- drafting the next plan collaboratively with New Zealand communities
- expanding our engagement efforts to reach a wider array of stakeholders
- setting up advisory panels to provide external support and advice
- building a collection of commitments that reached beyond existing government programmes.
Following on from the initial experience, we formed an external advisory group to provide advice about developing and reporting on New Zealand’s action plans. An initial Stakeholder Advisory Group was set up, and when its term expired in June 2016 a new Expert Advisory Panel was formed to support the delivery of a plan that reflected achievable, practical commitments.
We are also supported by a group of government officials providing advice on their respective areas of expertise, including justice, data and technology.
From the second National Action Plan
Developing the second National Action Plan involved five steps, including community engagement over a six-week period.
- seeking input into the engagement strategy from stakeholders who had shown an active interest in open government
- awareness-raising, reflections, theme identification and selection
- co-designing the open government vision with stakeholders
- co-creating recommendations for the National Action Plan with stakeholders
- consideration by Government.
Community engagement included workshops in Christchurch, Auckland, and Wellington supplemented by teleconferences, webinars, and the opportunity to suggest commitments over social media and online forums.
The Independent Reporting Mechanism's Mid-term Assessment of the plan noted that the process for its development was more open and inclusive than theengagement for the first plan. The commitments were more ambitious in their objectives and were generally progressing well. One of the commitments—providing for improved access to legislation—was given a ‘star’ rating, meaning it is considered potentially transformational.
The Assessment made a number of recommendations for consideration in developing the next National Action Plan.
- expanding the Expert Advisory Panel to include greater civil society representation
- reforming official information laws and refocusing the Open Data and Information Programme to publish social, environmental, and budget expenditure data
- developing standards for public consultation on policy initiatives
- including anti-corruption commitments, including whistle-blower protection and a public register of company beneficial ownership
- introducing citizenship education to increase democratic participation.