19 December 2012

Open and Shut, an Australia Freedom of Information blog, is keeping an eye on whether the New Zealand Government is showing any greater enthusiasm than Australia for the Open Government Declaration and whether there has been progress in becoming party to the Open Government Partnership.

The latest blog post picks up the response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to an information request.  The Ministry  advised today that “…to  date no decision has been made on participation in the Open Government Partnership…”  It includes the reference to a Ministry document from mid 2012 which indicates that joining the international movement is a low priority.

The reality is that New Zealand has as great a commitment to open government as most of the OGP member states.  It  just seems less certain that the theatre associated with international conferences is the appropriate way to promote change.  The State Servces Commissioner’s statement in mid October that “The use of technology to further improve access to public services is essential but this needs to be delivered while ensuring personal information is protected,” may also reflect a slowing of that commitment.