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16 February 2023 – Open Government Partnership EAP quarterly meeting

Meeting: Open Government Partnership EAP meeting  

Date: 16 February 2023 

Time: 2-4 pm 


Te Kawa Mataaho OGP team (TKM): Dean Rosson (manager); Christine Lloyd and Cathy Adank 

EAP members: Suzanne Snively; Sarah Colcord, Simon Wright, Sean Audain, Farib Sos and Rachel Roberts 

Topics for discussion 

  1. Introductions and new OGP Minister
  2. Implementation of NAP4 and IRM review
  3. OGP CEO Visit in April
  4. Work on potential MSF
  5. What our OGP membership aims to achieve

1. New OGP Minister 

  • Minister Little is now Minister for the Public Service, in addition to Minister for the RCOI into the Christchurch Mosque shooting and Minister for Defence. Some good synergies with this appointment. The RCOI has led to the Community Engagement Tool being mandated for use as a pilot and this same tool will be applied more broadly under commitment one of NAP4. 
  • EAP members noted Minister Little had experience of deliberative processes and understood the importance of ensuring the right people are involved in particular work. 
  • EAP members expressed interest in meeting with the Minister. The Minister is currently responding to the National Emergency, however there may be a later opportunity once we progress the options for a new MSF. EAP members would like to get a time in the Minister’s diary as early as possible. 

2. Implementation of NAP4 and IRM review 

  • Letters sent to all agencies who sponsor commitments reminding them of this work and time frames including interim reporting. 
  • EAP would like to hear directly from agencies on delivery of their commitments. Small group discussions on what is going well andwhat may not be going well. Reporting/discussion with agencies could be framed as learning and sharing sessions. 
  • Open government is a process or methodology. OGP is an initiative with the same values, an international tool. Is one part of open government. 
  • Discussion on some of the challenges of OGP. NZ has signed up to the declaration, however the OGP rules can be quite restrictive and do not always align with agency workplans or budget cycles. 
  • More consideration needs to be given to better capturing open government initiatives that are not part of the plan. OGP could be used to promote open government initiatives underway outside of the OGP process. Would be good to pull all open government initiatives together in one place. Question is who would do this and how would it be resourced? 
  • TKM has met with Elizabeth Eppel (IRM Reviewer) and introduced her to commitment-lead agency personnel so she can discuss commitments as part of her reviewer role. 

3. OGP CEO visit 

  • Sanjay Pradhan, CEO OGP is visiting Wellington from 12-14 April 2023. He is keen to speak at a public event while here. One public event is planned for 13 April at Victoria University. Sanjay will be participating, and it is anticipated that Helen Clark, who is an OGP Ambassador, will also participate. There may be an opportunity to leverage this and create more engagement and awareness. 

4. Work on a potential new MSF 

  • In exploring options, TKM wants to use the expertise and experience of EAP members. Options include EAP leading all or part of a dedicated session, and/or a session without TKM present. 
  • TKM has started engaging with some international OGP members (Australia, United Kingdom and Canada) on their OGP experiences and MSF set up. 
  • TKM is engaging a contractor to assist with research that will inform advice, including on: 
    • function and structure of MSFs in other countries 
    • meeting with stakeholders involved in development of NAP4 to capture lessons learnt, identify opportunities to make changes 
    • potential options for an MSF. 
  • EAP would like TKM to consider going wider. EAP would like to see a different, more inclusive approach that would build on New Zealand’s knowledge and strengths. This would involve going out more broadly than those involved in NAP4 and re-framing the issue as wider than MSF governance, instead about open government more generally. One challenge is that this would involve people not familiar with OGP so would require additional time on education. 
  • EAP do not consider OGP rules and protocols should be the defining factor in NZ’s approach to open government. OGP and the MSF are one tool only. 
  • Some examples of options for exploring the issues: 
    • we could look at include ‘Inspiring communities’ webinars and the recent Local Government review. Open government is about the process in coming to solutions, it is about equity 
    • we could consider getting people like the Wellington Mayor and Minister along to talk about their work and engagement. 
  • Any discussion/workshops need to be prefaced by broad, open questions to find out what people are really concerned about. World cafe approach. Need to be mindful of ‘consultation fatigue’ in communities and avoiding a purely transactional relationship. 
  • An important question that needs to be addressed, is how to address Te Tiriti and OGP governance arrangements. There are a number of governance experts. We could possibly approach one of these, who lives locally. 
  • Another option is to connect with existing groups and leaders and leverage their connections and relationships. For example, Regional Commissioners. 
  • We need to be able to express our point of difference. Need to frame OGP better. Need to have clear milestones and clear objectives before each meeting. Can learn a lot from traditional Māori decision-making process. Need to make language for the discussions more appealing. 

5. What OGP membership aims to achieve 

  • Discussed the challenge of identifying what New Zealand wants to achieve from its OGP membership, acknowledging that OGP is one tool, current OGP-mandated process can be problematic and OGP has recently flagged change in approach and more rule changes. Clearly stating thoughts on the primary objectives of OGP membership will help inform discussion of options for OGP processes and MSF governance. Discussed: 
    • needs to be framed in an apolitical way 
    • objectives must be directed at the common good 
    • acknowledging that open government is about the role of citizens, participatory democracy, breaking down barriers between government and the people and not top-down government 
    • international partnership is an important aspect. 
  • Todays’ problems can’t be solved by yesterday’s methods. Lots of current challenges that would benefit from a participatory democracy approach being taken: 
    • climate change 
    • mis and disinformation 
    • artificial intelligence 
    • use of technology and participation tools. 

Next steps: 

  • EAP and OGP officials will come to next meeting with their thoughts on: 
    • objectives for what OGP membership can potentially achieve 
    • EAP input into the plan for developing proposals for a new MSF. Ultimately, we will be looking to provide the Minister with advice on a new MSF and associated processes. 
  • Advance-setting of next meeting’s agenda.