Preserving and releasing information, and ensuring transparency, participation and accountability.
People expect to be informed and involved in government decision-making. Open government refers to strengthening democracy, building trust and improving wellbeing by ensuring people can play a role in what government does and influence the outcomes that affect them. The Public Service Act 2020 requires chief executives to foster a culture of open government, focusing on the general approach and attitude expected from the Public Service rather than specific actions.
Open government matters because it:
- improves transparency and accountability
- encourages active citizenship and participation
- ensures government responsiveness.
Being open and transparent supports New Zealanders’ trust and confidence in their government organisations. The Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) means people in New Zealand can request government information (official information) and expect it to be made available unless there is a good reason to withhold it.
Open Government Partnership
New Zealand has been a member of the Open Government Partnership since 2013. This international agreement aims to make governments more accountable, responsive and inclusive. To participate in the partnership, governments must show commitment to open government in 4 key areas:
- fiscal transparency
- access to information
- disclosure of income
- assets of elected or senior public officials, and citizen engagement.
A series of national action plans have focused the Public Service’s efforts on a series of initiatives designed to make government more transparent, accountable and responsible to people in New Zealand.