7 April 2015

This time last year a post about the rule of law reflected on the release by the World Justice Project of the Rule of Law Index. The post was titled “New Zealand again rates well in Rule of Law Index – but who cares?”  And New Zealand was placed 6th at that time.  Two weeks ago the World Justice Project published the Open Government Index.  New Zealand is ranked second of the 102 countries included  – the runner-up to Sweden as the country best adhering to the characteristics of open government – but that result stimulated even fewer articles in the New Zealand media about the World Justice Project than last year.

The agencies that could be anticipated acknowledging this recognition and which echo media announcements of the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index when published each year – also perhaps feel that Open Government ratings are less newsworthy.   Although the New Zealand Open Government Action Plan targets being ranked in the top ten places on the Index there has been no reference to the Index result on either the SSC website or on the open government website  http://www.ICT.govt.nz .

New Zealand is well regarded for its commitment to the good government implications of open government despite being a late – and possibly reluctant – applicant for membership of the Open Government Partnership. But then Australia which is also in the top ten is an even more reluctant participant in the 4th tranche of the OGP.


Open Government Index

1 Sweden
2 New Zealand
3 Norway
4 Denmark
5 Netherlands
6 Finland
7 Canada
8 United Kingdom
9 Australia
10 Korea

What this may confirm is that the substantial contributions which the Gates Foundation makes to the Rule of Law Project, are not conditioned on high profile promotion of the Index and its funders.

The Open Government Index scores participating countries on four dimensions:

  • Publicised laws and government data ( New Zealand  ranked 1st )
  • Right to information        ( New Zealand ranked 2nd )
  • Civic participation        ( New Zealand ranked 6th )
  • Complaint mechanisms  (New Zealand ranked 6th )