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Ideas from 26 July 2021 Manukau OGP Workshop

Active Citizenship 

Report on who is attending engagement processes run by government, include numbers and demographics. Stats NZ could do this.  

There are a high number of systemic failures. Education should be a number one priority. In terms of the justice system and family courts, tangata whenua are being failed the worst repeatedly. Who determines the priority. 

Government is analysing data but not prioritising it. School attendance has been declining over a 10 year period but government isn’t looking at it they’re looking at truancy.  

Citizens assemblies can be used to bring a randomly selected group of individuals together which is representative of Aotearoa. They are paid to be there. It’s been done in Ireland, Scotland etc.  

The Public Service Commission has lists of CEs ready to appoint. We have a recycling model for Public Service Chief Executives. Recycled bureaucrats. This doesn’t give equal opportunities to people. 

Chief Executives have led multiple organisations, they should know how to get them working together instead of silos.  

I only found about the submission process late in my university study. Which is a very privileged place to be, it’s not taught in schools.  

Citizen assemblies are paid for by government but run by independent facilitators with experts brought in to talk to the participants about the topic they’re discussing. You can discuss different policies. Power sharing is needed from politicians. In Ireland the assembly produced a recommendation on abortion law and then Ireland had a referendum and actually changed their constitution. The assemblies can run themselves.  

You need a grassroots, lived experience model. Powerhouses need to understand grassroots. Government shuts us out. PSC shuts us out. 

We are not citizens we are tangata whenua. The language there is wrong, language like citizenship isn’t helpful. Need to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi. I wouldn’t go into your country and say I’m a citizen, I would say I’m an ex-pat. 

Why are we calling people citizens?  

Need to work on informing people. We need to know what to do, we need trust.  

Government is inaccessible and people are scared. You have to be educated to engage. Language is a barrier and people are not listened to. Who is getting the information and who do you engage in the process?  

Trust and relationships are important. Education is important. 

Live the basics of Te Tiriti, partnership, protection, the people, the people, the people.  

We don’t even hear about 1835? Need to hear it. 

In Counties Manukau, we need to open hui with mana whenua, acknowledge the Kīngitanga, that wasn’t honoured today.  

We need meaningful relationships, there is a lack of trust.  

Chief Executives need to be appraised and accountable. Including the Public Service Commissioner. Why are people doing a bad job being praised.  

Chief Executives are recycled, then continue. Do you want to make a difference or secure a country? They just move from one agency to the other.  

Change legislation. Not many of us have the opportunity to change legislation. We need transformation of the justice sector. It’s not focused around people, they need to change policies.  

We need a system change.  

Sikh community is having a debate with representatives from different political parties. 500 members coming and 2000 others invited. 

It’s important to work out an annual meeting to work out peoples’ differences. It’s open to the public, politicians, ministers. Build relationships that go on.  

When there was a Manukau City Council, if you knew someone in the office or the EA you could actually go and see the Chief Executives.  

There’s a wider perspective of citizenship, who makes the decisions for the local community?  

There are shootings every other night here, it isn’t a great place to live.  

Need to ask what is our understanding of Active Citizenship? 

I don’t like being told that we should do voluntary work. 

Looks at the Aotearoa 2020-2025 vision that Iwi Chairs Forum lead asking for people’s visions for Aotearoa and what they would change. You could even make a video and send it in.  

People want what we had in the 70s or 80s, where you kids could walk down the street and play in the cul de sac. They were excited to go to school then and learn. You can’t just give kids a hand out at school like the food parcels. It might enable them but it doesn’t empower them.  

Need to learn from the people actually going through it.  

There was emerging themes in the 1960s and 1970s where someone else’s war was impacting on citizens behaviours, negative behaviours were emerging. There is still PTSD from what happen 100 or 180 years ago for tangata whenua. 

To increase Active Citizenship we need the men to be willing not to work and to raise our tamariki. Men make a great mother.  

People need to be supported.  

Should use a marae model for engagement. There’s no hierarchy. You [have] different important roles. The Kuia, those setting table, the Kaikōrero. Everyone has the opportunity to feel Manaakitanga of marae and feel welcomed.  

You could make the government hierarchy flat. There is an international model to follow that the likes of Warren Buffet uses.  

Protect partnership  

Youth are not seen on expert advisory panels. The future needs to be involved. You also need to answer how the current panels were selected?  

Government chooses status quo thinkers for advisory panels, not those who would challenge them. They pick people who are the same as them. They don’t want disrupters as they are scared to be uncomfortable and scared of a challenge.  

Government is too reactive, they are fighting smoke, watching us burn, instead of fighting fire. They’re not responsive and not using all of the data they collect on us properly. The culture excludes people.  

Need something other than getting Cabinet to sign off on the OGP plan. Use groups for a joint decision making.  

You could have an advisory panel where government gives up power to them and they have the responsibility to determine the decision.  

Random lotteries for citizen assembly ensure no one is responsible for choosing. It’s like a jury service but there also has to be transport, childcare etc available. You would need to work through what the representation looks like with Te Tiriti.   

Take family violence for example, you would need experts in that area and those with lived experience to come and talk to a citizen assembly.  

Nothing is stopping communities, if you want to do something do it yourself. You can do whatever from a community level.  

For Māori there has been progress like more Māori politicians last election. But we face continual push back from the Crown not honouring Te Tiriti. Government needs to allow us to continue.  

Māori have been oppressed so it is hard to do something at a community level. Māori got hidings if they spoke their language and didn’t have schools that accepted the culture. There has been 100 odd years without equality.  

The Kura down the road was at risk and had to close but the Green School was given all the money, multi millions.  

There is institutional racism in the system. The only Māori Chief Executive was that of Te Puni Kōkiri, 1 in nearly 200 years.  

Māori lost a lot of communal places in the 1960s and 70s, they were taken away from traditional places. The land of milk and honey was false.  

The Sikh community has also gone through immense adversity. Faced genocide in 1984. The community didn’t give up, they kept their spirits high. We establish things ourselves. 

What is active citizenship? – Empowered. Unity. Listen. Everyone has a voice and will be heard. Accessibility. Informed. Safe to speak. Included. Language. Access to knowledge. Trust. Inclusion – we are included. We are valued. Relationships. Supported. Opportunity.  

Break down barriers 

Law is inaccessible.  

Change the language so it includes us, is easy to understand and inclusive.  

Need meaningful engagement 

Collect, analyse and monitor data.  

Engaged vs involve.  

Volunteer sector needs to be honoured.  

Need models of different “Expert Panels” 

Iwi Chairs Forum need to be involved in selection of Expert Panels 

Mana Motuhake – support.  

He Pua Pua. Matike Mai. UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – honour these.  

Expert Panel Selection – Tohunga. Lived Experience. Writer’s plain language. Tangata Whenua.  

Rangatahi Voice - time limit. Solution focused. Disrupters. Diversity. 

Voice recognition. 

Sight recognition. 

Disability recognition. 

Include Mana Whenua always. 

= Voice = Heard 

Tika, Pono, Aroha.  

Citizens know about central government but little about local government.  

Need education for civics in schools. 

People struggle to see the impact of their input. Government needs to show connection between impacts and feedback. 

Use local government youth councils to connect with other young people.  

Local government councils’ business meetings – times are inaccessible for some groups/demographics to be able to attend and make submissions.  

Barrier – people are in their own echo chambers or bubbles. Need to see or care about each other.  

Young people aren’t aware of educated on local government/council or connected.  

Government isn’t tangibly accessible. Chloe Swarbrick is 1 Facebook message away whereas the channels for other changemakers aren’t clear.  

Government needs to be engaged, use platforms people use like TikTok, Facebook and Instagram. 

Communicating in different languages and culturally accessible way (e.g. especially for migrant communities).  

Barrier to engagement: over-saturation of information.  

Information needs to be accessible and easy to digest. 

People need to understand how government affects their everyday lives in order to be motivated to participate.  

Make government entertaining or engaging and sexy! 

How can you learn from the COVID 19 response communication for other issues?  

Make sure there is an age range involved in looking for solutions to problems.  

Consider how you market workshops etc. How do you reach grass roots people? Use libraries, shopping malls, Uni, GP surgeries, online social media. 

From community up to government – not down.  

Public need to know the stories of the people in their community and they will care about issues.  

You could have a Hackathon for change and tackle complex problems. 

Use slido, online tool, to prioritise what people are thinking and ideas people agree with.


To tick boxes is not good enough.

People are cynical of ‘have your say.’

Engagement - we are acknowledged, we belong, we feel safe.

Help people have their say and allow people to be heard.

Unify and Amplify – government needs to work on connection and relationships. Understand how to encourage people to be unified.

People are not talking to each other, and people are kept at arm’s length.

With the Social Securities Act changing, allow whānau to make determinations themselves.

Two key factors needed. 1. Technical knowledge and lived experience. 2. Policy advisory actually listening and coming back. We need to ask communities and actually find out what they think. Ask how is that working for you?

We need Teachers and Engineers, solution thinkers to help with complex problems. Look at why things are successful.

People participate if personally invited.

Have your say and then what?

Take this kaupapa to Iwi Chairs foum, go to Aotearoa 2050.

Select Committees aren’t advertised.

Celebrate wins. Need to showcase what’s working well. Share that with the rest of government. That selection should come from community groups not just government.

In terms of people feeling heard there is power in storytelling. When there is storytelling, people will listen. Tell others what happened to me.

You need protection for people who speak up. There is nothing for whistle-blowers or advocates.

You can’t just judge someone by their looks.

Look, listen, amplify.

Legislation and council consultation documents are hard to understand – they need to be in plain English.

Value both expert knowledge and live experience in feedback.

Come to the people – marae, community spaces, gyms, sports, places of worship, schools etc.

Local govt business meeting times should be changed around from time and time to allow different groups to be able to attend.

Educate public on submission process and increase accessibility of submissions beyond educated people.

Expand resourcing for Parliamentary Services and Office of the Clerk’s engagement team so they can engage more people about the workings of Parliament.

Speakers outreach programme should continue and be expanded and visit more people and locations

Increase diversity of Chief Executives

Personal invitations to solving problems are really empowering

Advisory panels should involve/include lived experience

Raising values in children at school so they want to serve their community – looking out for everyone.

One of the biggest issues is division and lack of trust.

People know they have been heard through storytelling – #MeToo movement. Video, written stories show people they have been heard and seen.

Share what works well. Develop best practice guides e.g. for expert panels. Have them selected by the community and representative of the community.

Sikh community organising debate with all political parties in the community. 2000 people going for one on immigration.

Getting local MP to host an event on Parliament that the community wants debate on.

Work on what connects us. Have a transcript system to record everything at open government hui and have phone voting for ideas – don’t let one voice dominate.

Involve Iwi leaders in open government conversation – Pou Tikanga.

Don’t consult once and then go back. Have a conversation over time and keep it relevant

Expert panels need technical knowledge and have networks. Policy advisors need to listen and keep coming back so people feel heard. Go to the community and find out.

Unify people and amplify them in the community and across government. Make sure people know they are not alone.

Don’t ask people to have a say if you aren’t going to feed back.

Increase depth and breadth of engagement. Public servants should go to the Sikh community debate between MPs.

Transparency and Accountability

At least in NZ you can see what Chief Executives receive per annum.

We do hang our hat on what Chief Executives do wrong, but they don’t change. Politicians do but they don’t. If you were in business it would be different. Take CEO of Air NZ who worked for Warren Buffet. If he does a bad job he’d be out. People make him accountable every day.

Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive is the only one who is accountable to Te Tiriti o Waitangi through section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act. No other Chief Executive has this same obligation to whānau, hapu and iwi. Chief Executives need this kaupapa as one of their KPI like OT Chief Executive does.

There needs to be much more transparency. Look at the abuse in State Care. Government is transparent on select things, other things are actively and intentionally covered up.

I didn’t know about the Protected Disclosure Act, where was it when I needed it. The education lost a good person and I lost my career from being a whistle-blower. There was not opportunity to be reviewed by the Human Rights Commission. How can teachers speak out about kids getting harmed and system failures? Teacher’s I know won’t speak out because they fear losing their job.

There is a lack of trust, people are divided.

Succession plans for CEs are not transparent. They don’t have to apply or interview normally. They can also be shoulder tapped. Equal opportunities for other people are not there.

Many Māori don’t trust the system or each other.

There are silos, government agencies don’t know how to talk to each other.

Government agencies are doing a job they were tasked to do. They don’t have all the answers. The community can work with you. 

Marginalized communities need to be listened to but one voice isn’t more important than the other. Instead we should work on our collective humanity.

Proactively release all cabinet papers and advice to ministers.

Proactively release answers to written parliamentary questions.

Show select committees on Parliament TV.

Hire private marketing firm to undertake transparency and dissemination.

Have question time questions from the general public.

Need to recognise strengths, strengths-based approach.

Use libraries as a way of gathering opinions and views and giving feedback.

Policies need to be written in plan English and other translations.

How can we empower people, not just have their say?

Give people a voice to use towards solutions, not just discussion/ moan.

With referenda – lots of discussions should be held with ordinary people so they can develop their ideas.

Be transparent about corruption and serious wrongdoing

Less words. Use infographics and video. Follow UNHCR guidelines on accessibility for disabilities etc.

You should be able to vote and say this is what I think should happen.

Explain how government functions to the general public, educate others about government.

Could use a random ballot for submissions otherwise you will have diminishing voices.

RNZ could do more to showcase what’s happening in the parliamentary house. Utilise YouTube more for the submission process.