Friday, January 29, 2016

Open Government: Repeating past mistakes?

Back in 2014, New Zealand joined the Open Government partnership, a global alliance for transparency. The OGP is implemented by countries developing two-year action plans with clear, ambitious and measurable commitments to improve transparency. These action plans are supposed to be co-created with civil society and the subject of wide public consultation. But our government skipped that bit. Instead, they ran a mockery of a consultation process designed to rubber-stamp an action-plan that had already been decided. Civil society, which is supposed to be at the heart of the open government process, was excluded.

And now they look set to do it all again.

New Zealand is required to present our second national action plan to the OGP by June 30 this year. So, you'd expect them to be developing and consulting on it with civil society now. Instead, there's silence. Australia has a similar timeline, and they started their consultation process last November. The UK, which is looking at an April 1 deadline, started in July. As for SSC, they're sitting there with their thumb up their arse, doing nothing. Their OGP website hasn't been updated since October, and their Stakeholder Advisory Group - which you'd expect to be discussing consultation plans for the new action plan - has had no reported activity since September. In other words, they've learned absolutely nothing from their past mistakes - and instead are apparently intent on repeating them.