Thursday, January 12, 2017

Open Government: Disappointing

The Open Government Partnership's Independent Reporting Mechanism has released its draft End-of-Term Assessment Report for New Zealand's first OGP action plan. The overall verdict? Disappointing:

The New Zealand government made some improvements to access to information and civic participation. The government released new datasets and consulted CSOs on public engagement practices. However, the government’s process falls short of OGP’s co-creation guidelines, the commitments lacked clear activities for implementation, and the gains were marginal.
The key problem: all of the OGP commitments were pre-existing policies, and none of them really did very much. Throw in the lack of consultation and its clear that the government was only paying lip-service to its OGP commitments, rather than taking them seriously.

The good news is that the second action plan looks better. Not that it would be hard. There's still a lack of ambition and a desire to not spend any more or change anything substantive, but what they're offering is at least new marginal improvements rather than existing ones. And who knows? Maybe by the third action plan the New Zealand government will finally be ready to catch up to the rest of the world and make some real commitments.