Four submissions were received on the self-assessment draft. The majority of these respondents provided feedback criticising:
- the ambition and appropriateness of what has been included in New Zealand's OGP National Action Plan
- the pre-existing nature of New Zealand's programmes
- the extent and breadth of community and civil society engagement in developing the New Zealand National Action Plan.
A general summary of each submissions is provided below:
- Transparency International - this submission:
- encouraged greater public participation in agenda development and wider outreach for the next National Action Plan
- asserted that the 2014-16 National Action Plan is largely derivative, claiming that currently listed programmes were internal government exercises rather than externally facing
- suggested further refinement of New Zealand response to the National Integrity Systems Assessment to further define initiatives and milestones for inclusion in the New Zealand OGP National Action Plan
- endorsed the inclusion of Kia Tutahi in the National Action Plan, but suggested expansion of OGP initiatives and relevant measures and milestones to more fully reference OGP's grand challenges and principles
- advocated further inclusion of actions within the OGP National Action Plan Agenda to better ensure the effectiveness of the Official Information Act
- criticised the compressed timeframes for consultation and advocated that further resources be provided to enable fuller national public participation on a revised OGP action agenda.
- Read the submission here (PDF 212KB)
- The Environment and Conservation Organisation of New Zealand (ECONZ) - this submission:
- noted ECONZ's role in supporting open government, open society, and environmental rights, constitutional reform and the institutions that maintain an open and democratic society
- encouraged the government to include issues of democracy, due process, rights of civil society, privacy from spying and timeliness of release of information, in the OGP National Action Plan
- suggested more specificity and extension of milestones, targets and actions in the OGP National Action Plan
- advocated inclusion of New Zealand case studies that identified open government failings and problems in the self-assessment report. ECONZ in its submission cited alleged "abuse of state held information as a means to embarrass political opponents"; "the extension of surveillance and the scope and reach of surveillance"; and "the illegal denial of information on trade, investment and economic agreements" as key examples of failings that should be outlined in the self-assessment, with remedies identified
- proposed that New Zealand should ratify and give effect to the Aarhus Convention - formally the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and access to Justice in Environmental Matters
- included a number of suggestions for improving access to information for New Zealanders, through reform to New Zealand freedom of information legislation, institutions and norms.
- Read the submission here (PDF 273KB)
- Mr Malcom Harbrow - an individual interested in open government. This submission advocated a restructuring of the report, questioned the relevance of New Zealand including pre-existing government reform programmes within the action plan, and advocated that greater resources be provided to support engagement with civil society to co-create a second action plan. Mr Harbrow also suggested removal of illustrative case studies, and the addition of more milestone driven reporting.
- Read the submission here (PDF 89KB)
- A fourth response was received by email from a staff member from the Office of the Auditor-General, informally. These comments, were generally supportive of the self-assessment findings. The submission:
- noted opportunities to deepen the accountability reporting for BPS results through including some of these results more formally in responsible entities' statements of service performance
- advocated alignment of this with the future development of an evaluation framework for the New Zealand's OGP initiatives
- suggested inclusion of a further passage in the ICT strategy section of the mid-term self-assessment report mentioning the government's more open approach to publishing information on the Government's future capital injections
- suggested a textual change to the conclusion section to reflect a view that New Zealand's OGP commitments could be characterised as 'ambitious' rather than 'very ambitious'.
These comments do not represent formal advice from the Officer of the Auditor-General, but rather editorial comment provided informally by a Stakeholder Advisor Group Observer.
These submissions and feedback will be considered and factored into the development of the next National Action Plan and corresponding commitment selection and reporting processes. It is also intended to include more direct consultation and engagement to receive broader input from stakeholders as the new National Action Plan is developed. This intent is reflected in the mid-term self-assessment report commentary.