Consult the community in time to develop policy

Seems a bit bizzare to be suggesting this, but community consultations across Government need to happen in time to develop robust policy from them. Those of us following the Open Government Partnership know that our feedback and recommendations will not enjoy the time necessary to be developed into robust policy, despite New Zealand missing its deadline specifically to allow time for consultation. This is completely unacceptable and undermines the entire philosophy of the OGP.

As such it bears mentioning that there should be stronger commitments to timely and robust consultation at all levels of government, especially with the trend of the current government to use parliamentary procedure to avoid consultation.

Why the contribution is important

New Zealand is frequently referred to as the "fastest legislature in the West." As a unicameral democracy, one of our only checks on bad law or bad governance is early and robust consultation. Often Government will not be aware of technical issues that may arise within particular communities, or that are related to a particular field of expertise, and this wisdom can be appropriately shared with early and robust consultation.

Parliamentarians have no monopoly on the best ways to develop the law. Often lawyers and citizens can suggest courses of action to achieve the same goal that have significant advantages. We will miss all of these advantages if we fail to consult, or consult merely for the sake of consulting, rather than allowing time and opportunity for diverse viewpoints to be heard.

by Ari on August 19, 2016 at 09:10PM

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Comments

  • Posted by ainekc August 21, 2016 at 16:53

    I would also suggest--and I am not sure whether this should be mentioned directly in the NAP or not--that the SSC either take responsibility for the next (2018-2020) NAP, or, at minimum, brief the ministry/department that will be responsible on what they have learned from this process. The body who will be responsible for overseeing co-creation and implementation of the 2018-2020 plan would ideally be determined now.
  • Posted by JenniferLM August 22, 2016 at 12:37

    Ministers absolutely get that they don't have the monopoly on ideas. But you are right, for public participation to have impact it has to be done at the right time in the political process. So much money is wasted on engagement that cannot be effective because it is not planned or resourced well enough. There needs to be a basic standard of engagement or tax payer money should not be spent on it.
  • Posted by Rocky August 24, 2016 at 13:58

    Participation early in the process is very important. We could be using relatively simple technology combined with proactive communication to allow citizens to indicate what they are interested in and be notified when they could be involved (ie. not have to trawl govt.nz consultations every week).
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