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Expert Advisory Panel Meeting with State Services Commissioner & Minister of State Services

Date & Time

24 July 2020

12:30 pm - 1:00 pm (Peter Hughes, State Services Commissioner)

1:00pm – 1.40pm (Chris Hipkins, Minister of State Services)


Level 10, The Reserve Bank Building & Zoom videoconference

Expert Advisory Panel attendees

Suzanne Snively, Farib Sos, Sean Audain, Simon Wright


Jackie Paul. Rachel Roberts

State Services Commission Officials

Erik Koed, Phil Newman, Larry Fergusson, Stephen Moore


Meeting with Peter Hughes, State Services Commissioner (in person)

Peter provided an overview of the new Public Service Act, passed through Parliament the previous day and then the group discussed:

  • The principle of open government as a good challenge to the public service.
  • Citizen participation is undercooked – interest expressed in new models such as citizens assemblies and an improved focus on active citizenship
  • Interest in the themes of new public governance and new public service being developed further
  • Two big engines for change: IT and data
  • Continuing to press for improved proactive release
  • OGP as a space where the public service can try new things, innovate and pilot new approaches to delivering for NZers
  • Improving citizen participation e.g. The Hive set up by Ministry for Youth Development as a possible model

We can do more to progress open government in Aotearoa New Zealand than what is contained in a National Action Plan

Meeting with Chris Hipkins, Minister of State Services (via Zoom)

Peter Hughes stayed for this conversation. Minister Hipkins expressed his desire for the next National Action Plan to be more ambitious and to be about more than OIA and transparency. The group discussed:

  • Participatory government needs to improve
  • A challenge is to embed new ways of doing things rather than have them as a one-off
  • The Education Summit that started well and aimed to bake in ongoing dialogue with the people involved in decisions
  • There is an opportunity to build a whole of government approach building on learnings from the education sector and, more recently, from the response to Covid 19
  • Opportunity with connected-up government that is enabled via the Public Service Act
  • Open government is about being responsive to the needs of NZers – lots more to achieve
  • Good open government requires free and frank advice, acknowledging that the advice may be rejected and that the relevant Minister is accountable for decisions
  • The fourth National Action Plan needs goals that are ambitious AND achievable
  • Open government work can help improve civic space and civil society participation
  • We need to engage people who would not otherwise be engaged
  • Not all conversations need to be led by government, but government can find its way into existing conversations, without distorting ideas, to hear the authentic voice of the public – that’s important
  • Resourcing exists across the public service for active citizenship
  • It’s good practice for Ministers to approve the proactive release of advice at the time it is considered
  • Next National Action Plan:
    • Create flexible space for innovation
    • Claim new and exciting initiatives
    • Capture learnings for the next iteration
  • What EAP can do:
    • Encourage bold ideas
    • Increase public engagement, bring more people into the conversation