Tuesday, September 28, 2010

#OpenLabourNZ: The vote

Back in April, Labour began an experiment with crowdsourcing policy: OpenLabour. The aim was to produce a policy on open and transparent government. After much discussion, both on the net and at a mini-conference, OpenLabour came up with a list of proposals, which are now being voted on. To vote, go here, log in (either sign up or use Twitter), and simply select whether you agree or disagree with each policy.

So far, there's strong support for opening Parliament to the OIA and for a proactive release website (there's also strong support for greater BORA reporting, a lower MMP threshold and an entrenched BORA, though these have SFA to do with open government and transparency). The least popular idea? Compulsory voting.

Clare Curran, who is running this process, has noted that the votes are indicative only, and that Labour may not adopt all the policies (and may adopt unpopular ones). That's as it should be - they're the ones standing for election, after all. But at the same time, if they run an open policy development process and then flagrantly ignore the results, the people who have engaged with it in good faith may feel burned by the process and be far more reluctant to engage in future. Which would be a terrible result for something aimed at increasing participation.