9 May 2011

There has been no coverage in New Zealand media of the OECD Sustainable Governance Indicators 2011.    The indicators answer the question “How sustainable are the highly industrialised nations of the OECD?”  The report evaluates the governance capacity of the 31 OECD members.

The 2011 report published in April,  follows the initial evaluation in 2009, providing  detailed comparison of capability and performance.

New Zealand is ranked 4th (after the “usual suspects from Scandinavia) on the SGI Status Index. This index measures the quality of democracy and the  rule of law.  “The quality of democracy and political participation …are crucial to…long term stability and capacity to perform.  Indeed, this viability depends to a large extent on the levels of trust between citizens and politics.”

New Zealand is ranked 5th on the SGI Management Index (again after the Scandinavians) in the assessment of actual capacity to take action and implement reform in terms of developing, agreeing and implementing policy.

The report gives voice to the pillars of good government, which have always been championed by the State Services Commission;  the rule of law, respect for the democratic process, and the spirit of service to the community. The SGI findings validate the emphasis placed on the Trust Goal for the State Services –  the commitment to strengthening trust in government and reinforcing the spirit of service – and the statutory duties of agencies to imbue staff with the spirit of service and to maintain high standards of integrity.

The New Zealand  report is a very readable précis of government arrangements – with a few errors, inevitable in such a tight summary.