Aotearoa New Zealand’s approach works because EAP and officials have fostered constructive and robust relationships. The EAP and officials worked together throughout the development of the plan and met jointly and regularly, for sessions involving review and challenge of progress against the NAP3. EAP does not replace conversations with a wider group of New Zealanders as part of the plan development. It does, however, sit alongside these conversations, providing an ongoing voice of civil society where ideas can be tested and extended.
While the commitments have only recently been implemented, in addition to good uptake there has been positive feedback on the nature and quality of the commitments and the processes that were followed. In particular, innovative leadership and significant progress on work on government algorithmic transparency resulted in Stats NZ and its civil society partner, Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ), being invited to join the Leaders Network pilot run by the Open Government Partnership in October 2020.
Agencies didn’t always know the full context or have all the relevant information available to them when they started to implement commitments. We learned, through consultation in the early stages, that three of the commitments could not progress as planned (Commitments 6, 9 and 11). The implementation of each of these commitments needed to change as a result of agencies learning more about the circumstances they were facing or the steps that would need to be taken to achieve the objectives of the commitment.
Agencies have had to re-plan and re-phase their work. In each case the objective will still be achieved but it will take longer than originally anticipated. Work will continue after the expiry of NAP3. Adapting to changing circumstances rather than giving up on commitments will continue to be a feature of our approach.
As part of the self-assessment process, we have given thought to, and received feedback on, improvements that could help with NAP4. Understanding the OGP context plays an important role in supporting the development and implementation of National Action Plans. While some induction did take place at the start of NAP3, if changes of commitment lead occur mid-plan in future, we are committed to ensuring the EAP, CSOs and agencies provide information and support to ensure commitment leads have a good understanding of the OGP context.
We have identified some opportunities to streamline our processes in order to deliver shorter turnaround time on publication of OGP materials.
We have decided that, for all milestones where work is ongoing, an additional report back will be provided in 2022.
Open government objectives have been advanced across the public service work programme, for example the enactment of the new public service legislation, discussed in earlier sections.
Alongside the delivery of the NAP3 commitments, Aotearoa New Zealand has made significant progress in improving openness and transparency.
- legislated to require that the Public Service fosters a culture of Open Government
- made more Cabinet material available to the public through the proactive release policy
- made improvements in agency practices around proactive release of information and the handling of requests for official information under the Official Information Act
- routinely published ministerial diaries online
- increasingly published lists of advice and papers received by Ministers on departmental and agency websites
- improved parliamentary practices to enhance ministerial accountability, including through the new Q&A process during committee stages and following ministerial statements in the House
- piloted the routine proactive release of all official briefings from departments and agencies in some ministerial offices
- the Department of Internal Affairs has recently published the Government Digital Standards Catalogue in a machine-readable format and accessible via the Data API; and the Policy Project will continue to share the new community engagement resources and case studies and will encourage agencies to apply the guidance as an ongoing part of its work. DPMC will continue to develop materials that will support the application of the guidance including a checklist for good practice community engagement.
- The Policy Project will support Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission on a case-by-case basis with any broader approaches to community engagement, as part of the active citizenry work programme.
Work is already underway on NAP4, and we look forward to finalising the plan in 2022. Work is continuing beyond the end of the NAP3 on commitments that have not yet been completed; updates on progress against these commitments will be published in 2022.
We want to acknowledge all the people who have given their time and expertise to this mahi. Many people across Aotearoa New Zealand have contributed their ideas, supported the development of the plan and been part of its implementation.
We thank the members of the Expert Advisory Panel for their expertise and commitment to making sure this plan makes a difference.
We thank the members of civil society organisations and the New Zealand public who shared their views and ideas, both in the early stages of creating the plan and later during its implementation.
We thank officials from across the Public Service who made this work happen.
We are grateful for advice we have received from the OGP independent reviewer, Keitha Booth, and the support and advice we have received from the OGP Secretariat over the course of NAP3.
Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi
With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive