It’s no secret that many New Zealanders are cynical about politics and politicians.
For three years, Labour has done its best to do things differently and try different ways to bring politics and people closer together.
Red Alert is an example of that. Phil Goff took his caucus out to regional New Zealand to reconnect with New Zealanders. Most Labour MPs regularly use social media tools to build stronger relationships with people.
Today, Labour released its first Open Government policy. It’s a first for New Zealand because it was developed out of an open policy making process involving New Zealanders.
In 2010 Labour trialled OpenLabourNZ, a new way of Labour engaging with communities to seek their input by using new technologies and methods to increase participation drawing on similar processes used in Australia, the US and the UK. This policy is the distilled outcome of OpenLabourNZ.
It commits to producing a comprehensive “Open Government Charter”, based on a set of principles developed by Labour MPs in consultation with members of the public. It’s an important start.
People deserve to know the democratic process around parliamentary law making is sound. Hence, transparency of political offices is the core principle in the Open Government policy.
We believe New Zealanders understand a balance must be struck between transparency and accountability, on the one hand, and the need for the provision of “free and frank advice” to guide effective government and to protect the security and commercially sensitive aspects of advice.
But increasing people?s trust in the political process can only be guaranteed by ensuring a more open government. We believe that wherever possible; open is best.
Today I released our Open Government Policy in Wellington with my colleague Grant Robertson, who has supported me and helped with its development. Many of my colleagues have been actively involved in taking this policy through to fruition today. I thank them. It’s a big step for Labour.
It’s the start of a change in the way government and politics is conducted. I think for the better.