Thursday, April 21, 2016

Open Government: A formal warning

When New Zealand joined the Open Government Partnership, the government framed it as a reflection of our strong tradition of open and transparent government. Three years on, that tradition isn't so good: we've been formally warned by the OGP for failing to meet our obligations:

The Government of New Zealand did not submit its Self-Assessment Report as of January 31, 2016, four months after the deadline of September 30, 2015 and therefore, is considered to have acted contrary to OGP process in this action plan cycle. We acknowledge that your government did submit a completed self-assessment report in February, but the submission date was too far after the deadline to change the outcome in this case.

We're lucky they didn't look at the actual merits of the report, otherwise we'd be in real shit. But that's coming - the OGP expects us to actually address issues raised by the Independent Reporting Mechanism, rather than ignore them. So, if the development of the current action plan doesn't respond seriously to the IRM's concerns about ambition, consultation, and relabelling of existing programmes, there's a real risk that we will receive a second warning and our participation in the OGP will be reviewed.

And on that front: its now only 69 days until our second OGP action plan is due, and the government still hasn't begun consultations. Despite making specific promises in both its mid-term self-assessment report and to the IRM that it would commence consultation sooner, we've got nothing. What the fuck is going on?

At this rate, there's a real chance that New Zealand will be thrown out of an international body we should be leading. Which I guess shows National's real level of "commitment" to open government.