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Commitment 1 progress report: December 2019

Open Government Partnership New Zealand National Action Plan 2018-2020

Progress report for: Oct – Dec 2019

Commitment 1: Engagement with Parliament

Lead agency: Office of the Clerk

Objective: To improve public understanding of how Parliament works and engage a greater number of people with its work.

Ambition: People will be able to access information about how Parliament works more easily and more people will engage with Parliament and have their say.

OGP values: Transparency, Public Participation, Technology and Innovation


Milestone 1

Expand the use of Parliament TV to provide information about Parliament, in addition to coverage of the House, to show New Zealanders that Parliament is relevant to them. Content will be reviewed annually and viewer numbers will be monitored quarterly.

Start/End dates: June 2018/June 2020

Progress: Underway

Milestone 2

Make Parliament more interactive by holding three public events every year, focused on engaging people with Parliament, to raise awareness that Parliament is for everyone.

Start/End dates: December 2018/December 2019

Progress: Complete

Milestone 3

Develop and publish content showing ‘real people’ start petitions and make submissions to select committees, and make the options for having your say transparent and easy to understand to show people how to participate in the democratic process.

Start/End dates: June 2018/June 2020

Progress: Underway

Milestone 4

Develop and enhance a 360° Virtual Reality Tour of Parliament to raise children, young people’s and all New Zealanders’ awareness of what Parliament does by making it more accessible and interesting to inspire future voters.

Start/End dates: June 2018/October 2018 

Progress: Completed


What we have been doing

  • ‘Looking Back’, a suite of new programmes for Parliament TV, 20 one-hour episodes exploring New Zealand’s parliamentary and political history, was launched in October 2019. Two episodes screen each sitting day at 11:30am and 12:30pm.
  • On International Children’s Day Parliament officially opened its public playground, located on the Parliament front lawn. This is an initiative to make Parliament more family-friendly, welcoming, and accessible. The playground is open to all members of the public, and aims to help meet the need for more play spaces around the city.
  • The Speakers Outreach programme was run twice in November, in Invercargill and New Plymouth. By taking the programme to the far south, the team wanted to show that distance isn’t a barrier when it comes to engaging with democracy. Invercargill the mock Debating Chamber exercise saw a passionate debate about the merits (or otherwise) of school uniforms, with excellent arguments from both the ‘Government’ and the ‘Opposition’.
  • In New Plymouth, students debated raising the school leaving age and whether school uniforms should be compulsory, and the Q&A time provided an opportunity to ask the members about recently debated topics in Parliament.
  • Harmony in the House 2019 was held on 17 December. MPs and staffers from across Parliament came together to stage a show to raise funds for Just Play Tonga, a multi-country Sport for Development programme designed by the Oceania Football Confederation. The programme aims to support children to grow and develop through football. The event was free and open to members of the public to attend.

How we are including diverse voices

  • In October we ran a survey on the Parliament website to gain insight into how people use the Journals of the House inform work being done to ensure the journals remain relevant, useful, and easy to navigate. The result of this survey are being analysed by a Journal work stream to inform the next stages of the work.
  • To mark International Human Rights Day and the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Parliament hosed a youth roundtable. Young people aged 14 to 24 joined the Speaker and MPs to discuss concerns about young people feeling disengaged from Parliament, and significant issues they wanted to have their views heard on. The event was live streamed and made available on video on demand. The Speaker asked the participants what effective youth engagement would look like, and they said civics education in schools and the creation of a place/removing barriers for young people to engage with select committees.

How we are keeping diverse communities informed

  • Content was published to help people understand the intention and potential impacts of the Election Access Fund Bill. The bill aims to remove the barriers to political participation for people with disabilities by establishing a fund to cover the disability related costs of standing in a general election.
  • New Zealand Sign Language interpretation was provided on Parliament TV for the Committee of the Whole stage and third reading of the End of Life Choice Bill and the second reading of the Election Access Fund Bill.
  • Results from our latest research were delivered. The 2019 report ‘Survey of the New Zealand public’ gives insight into public perceptions of Parliament and engagement with democratic processes. Key findings include a decline in Parliament’s reputation, a rise in youth activism, and more New Zealanders saying that Parliament has recently dealt with an issue they care about.

What's next?

  • Captioning the ‘Looking Back’ series and making it available on demand on the NZ Parliament website.
  • Publishing content to explain what happens to Parliament during an election year.
  • A workshop targeted at young people on how to make submissions will be held in February.
  • Releasing the next iteration of ‘Parliament XR’ that includes content in te reo Māori.
  • Children’s Day event to be held in March.
  • Meeting with the Office of the Children’s Commissioner to establish a framework for better engagement/interaction between children/young people and select committees.

Links – Evidence of progress and milestones achieved