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Dunne: Open Government Partnership Regional Meeting

Hon Peter Dunne

Minister of Internal Affairs
6 May 2014 Speech

Hon Peter Dunne, Minister of Internal Affairs Legislative Openness Working Group Workshop

Open Government Partnership Regional Meeting Bali, Indonesia, 4.00pm Tuesday, 6 May 2014

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Minister Kuntoro Mangkusubroto and signatories.

New Zealand has a proud tradition of openness and transparency. We are number one on a range of integrity measures including:

• First equal out of 182 countries in Transparency International’s Corruptions Perceptions

Index

• First in the International Budget Partnership’s biannual Open Budget Survey

• Third out of 183 economies on the World Bank’s assessment of how governments

regulate commerce

• Fourth out of 77 countries in the Global Open Data Barometer, and

• First out of 132 countries on the Social Progress Index.

New Zealand has a democratic system that encourages New Zealanders to participate in the Government’s decision making. There are a range of formal and informal mechanisms in place to engage New Zealanders including discussion papers on policy proposals, public forums, interest group representation, select committee processes, free and informal access to Members of Parliament in the electorates, referendums, gathering feedback on local government proposals, or using online surveys to gather feedback from those who are involved in or receive public services.

As an example, during the 1980s, New Zealand passed its freedom of information legislation or the Official Information Act, which created a framework for New Zealanders to gain access to government information. Its driving principle is that government information should be made available on request, unless there is a good reason to withhold it.

We also play a strong leadership role in the Pacific. New Zealand’s Aid programme reflects and encourages transparency, accountability, democratic governance, gender equity and the rule of law.

Maintaining New Zealand’s reputation as an open, corrupt-free government is vital as it supports New Zealand’s efforts to pursue a wide range of goals multilaterally. By joining the OGP, we know we must sustain and build on our successes. We cannot simply sit back and rest on our laurels. We want to ensure that in a rapidly changing global environment that we are well equipped to meet future challenges.

The OGP objectives resonate with New Zealand values and with our goals for economic and social development. They help build and strengthen our ties with current and future trading partners as well as enable New Zealand to play a strong leadership role in promoting open and transparent government.

The Better Public Services (BPS) Results Programme

The New Zealand Government has a programme of reforms underway. One of the four key priorities for the Government is improving public services - which also happens to align with one of the OGP Grand Challenges of improving public services - through the BPS Results Programme.

The Government seeks better results from its investment in public services including in health, education and employment. The Prime Minister has set 10 results that the Government wants the Public Service to achieve over the next five years.

These results fall within five themes:

• Reducing long-term welfare dependency

• Supporting vulnerable children

• Boosting skills and employment

• Reducing crime, and

• Improving dealing with government.

New Zealanders have increasing expectations for better public services. There is a demand for improvements in addressing complex, long-term issues that affect New Zealanders.

Some of the results in the BPS Results programme will be difficult to achieve. The programme is designed to stretch the ability of the New Zealand Public Service to increase productivity, innovation, and agility in providing New Zealanders with more services. To respond to this, New Zealand agencies must change the way they work, develop new business models, work more closely with others and harness new technologies in order to meet emerging challenges.

Collaboration is also key to success. There is a need to tap into the expertise and resource outside the New Zealand Public Service to achieve results.

These results were chosen for their importance to New Zealanders. They are designed to strengthen public accountability, and to signal our commitment to transform performance in areas that matter most to New Zealanders.

So that New Zealanders can monitor how the programme is fairing, the Government expects the Public Service to report on progress. The reporting process involves reporting to Government on progress on a six monthly basis. The results are published regularly on the State Services Commission’s website along with case studies and videos to accompany progress reporting.

This approach demonstrates our commitment to greater transparency. New Zealanders can judge for themselves how the Government is performing across the ten result areas. Regularly communicating progress helps to engage citizens and businesses in the Government’s programme and provides a

platform for greater citizen participation. Strengthening public accountability by publishing results regularly helps chief executives of New Zealand Public Service departments and ministers to focus agency resources to drive the results that matter most for New Zealanders.

The programme now in its second year of implementation is making good progress.

The New Zealand Public Service is finding new ways of delivering better services. While it is still too early to see progress, the signs are that improvements are occurring. The Public Service is, for example, more engaged with the communities it serves (including involving customers in service design); it is more effectively using data to target interventions; it is joining forces to achieve results; and it is shifting funding across traditional boundaries to change the way services are delivered.

One of our targets is reducing crime by 15% by 2017. Recent figures show that the overall crime rate in New Zealand is at its lowest in 32 years.

We are seeing government agencies working more closely together but we are also seeing them engage with the private sector and civil society organisations to deliver public services in new and innovative ways. These improvements have required a culture change, a willingness to take risks, try new things and to work with others outside and inside government for more collective impact across the New Zealand public services.

New Zealand’s work towards the OGP

New Zealand will be presenting its Action Plan to the OGP in July. As a starting point we want to build our Action Plan on the BPS Results programme. It addresses four of the five OGP Grand Challenges which are improving public services, increasing public integrity, more effectively managing public resources and creating safer communities. And we think the programme also contributes to OGP principles of greater transparency, accountability, civic participation and technology and innovation.

We will be working closely with civil society to build on successes and address our weaknesses. We know we have much to achieve on the OGP road. We embrace the principles and objectives of the OGP all of which are consistent with New Zealand’s approach to openness and transparency.

We know the journey ahead will not be easy – it will require determination and vigilance - but we know the journey ahead will be well worth it. We look forward to working with the OGP and sharing our experiences with you.

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