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Time for greater ministerial accountability

Time for greater ministerial accountability

The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.

The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all Ministers to publically release records of their meetings with external organisations, overseas travel, gifts given and received, and hospitality received. The records would be released on a quarterly basis and published online.

“A ministerial disclosure regime will bring a much-needed boost to the transparency and accountability of government in New Zealand,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“The public will be able to see, on a regular basis, who Ministers are meeting with, who they’re receiving gifts and hospitality from, and details of their overseas travel.

“Some of this information is already made public through the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests, but that doesn’t tell us the whole story and it only happens once a year.

“Regular, proactive disclosure of this information, particularly records of who Ministers are meeting with, will bring a greater measure of transparency to decision-making and will improve ministerial accountability.

“Ministers are in positions of significant power and influence. It’s important that the public is better informed about who is gaining access to Ministers.

“Even in just the last few weeks we’ve seen a number of incidences where Ministers have been acting within their ministerial capacity and that activity has been called into question.

“This regime is a relatively simple way to shed some light on this type of activity,” said Mrs Turei.

The call for a ministerial disclosure regime follows previous efforts by the Green Party to introduce a lobbyist disclosure regime to bring transparency to political lobbying in New Zealand.

“While the Lobbying Disclosure Bill was ultimately unsuccessful, what became clear through our work on that bill was a strong public appetite for greater transparency and openness about who has access to our politicians.

“A ministerial disclosure regime can deliver on that desire for greater transparency and openness, without many of the workability issues that were present with the lobbying bill. A ministerial disclosure regime could be easily implemented with minimal compliance costs.

“The Green Party has been championing honest politics for years. A ministerial disclosure regime is another positive solution for more open and accessible government.”

Fact sheet on the ministerial disclosure regime - https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/ministerial_disclosure_fact_sheet.pdf

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