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16 November 2017 - Officials Group meeting: minutes

Open Government Partnership Officials Group


Date / time: Thursday 16 November 2017, 10-11am

Venue: Tohorā room Reserve bank, No.2 the Terrace

Officials Group participants: Department of Internal Affairs, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Parliamentary Counsel Office, State Services Commission, Statistics New Zealand, and the Treasury.


Agenda & Topics

1. Welcome

Officials were welcomed to the meeting, and the Parliamentary Council Office representative thanked for making a meeting room available. 

2. Reflections on NetHui 2017

Minister Curran’s address to Nethui 2017 was provided to agency representatives as a tabled item.

The NetHui 2017 conference was on 9-10 November in Auckland. The theme was trust and freedom on the internet.

Minister Curran was a keynote speaker on 9 November. Independent reviewer Keitha Booth and EAP Member Fuimaono Tuiasau were part of a session on the Open Government Partnership on 10 November. The discussion brought forward about 20 ideas for consideration in the next action plan.

Ideas for next OGP Action Plan from NetHui discussion (Auckland, 10 Nov 2017)

  • Help political parties set realistic budget
  • Greater granularity of transparency of government appointments
  • Greater transparency of policy outcomes/impacts (“was the policy intent delivered?”)
  • Building civic education
    • Expectation of open government information
    • Move to citizenship education (not just about civic process)
  • Openness in public service - recognises that public servants are people too!
    • There's more than one model for what the public service looks like (e.g. part timers from industry)
    • Step change to "from this day forward you can be open"
    • More guidance for public servants
    • Value of neutral public service
  • Data driven policy development
    • Leverage data as a predictor of future outcomes
    • Build models and open source these models, so others can help with determining their fit for the intended policy outcome, e.g. 3 strikes law - considering the potential consequences
  • OIA process
    • Empathy for the public servants trying to answer these
    • "Commercial sensitivity" used as an excuse to not release information - we want to know how much government spends on specific things
    • Private-Public-Partnerships muddy the waters of "commercial sensitivity"
    • All contracts that government has should be publicly available
    • OIA process needs to scale. Look at a different model
    • Information should be made available by default (open 1st). It should be ubiquitously available, but needs to be 'utilisable', or usable by the average person.
    • Help people to use and explore open information and data by providing tools
  • Select committee process should be constructive and more accountable, transparent and accessible
  • Local government is really good at community engagement - replicate this for central government - How do we do this well at scale?
  • Open budget - should have the board timeline of the budget process available on the Treasury website
  • Good funding for public interest media
    • Incentives for public to translate 'political speak', e.g. through GovHack
  • Small working group of IT experts to help with open information - missing the right tools to make sense of the data/information and public discourse
  • Is government collecting the right data? - we should have a public consultation on this?

3. Commitment 5, milestone 3 update

The current National Action Plan 2016-18 includes a commitment to support ongoing engagement for OGP in New Zealand. As part of this commitment, it was agreed the State Services Commission would engage with the public to see how they would like to be involved in developing the 2018-2020 Action Plan.

This will be achieved in three ways:

  • Feedback from New Zealand’s OGP Expert Advisory Panel, chaired by the State Services Commission
  • Interviews with community organisations active in OGP in New Zealand (PSA, CTU, Transparency International New Zealand, Tearfund, Volunteer NZ, CommVoices, and Hui E!)
  • An online survey sent to subscribers on our OGP mailing list, and publically available from the NZ OGP website.

The first stage is now complete with the Expert Advisory Panel having had opportunity to review the approach and survey.

The State Services Commission will publish the online survey and begin interviewing representatives from community organisations before the end of the month.


16 November 2017 - Officials Group meeting: minutes