It’s fantastic to see Labour’s Clare Curran working on an Open Government policy as a major plank for the next election. I’m pretty sure that it’s something various authors here have suggested over the last year and a bit – great minds, eh?
And taking an open approach to the policy development is a stroke of genius.
When authors on The Standard were first talking about this, few could have predicted how undemocratic and secretive this government would be – Supercity, the Worth Affair, ECan, abuse of Urgency, the unanswered questions around the Heatley resignation, blocking Justice’s from advising the select committee that the 3 strikes law may increase murders, Key lying about plans to sign the DRIP, Whanau Ora, Bennett’s bribery, the list goes on.
Politically, then, Labour has an incredible opportunity to position itself in contrast to National. And taking a brand new approach, distancing itself from its formerly highly centralised approach, cements that.
But, more than that, this is stuff that matters. If National has done anything, it is prove that we need greater transparency and checks over the exercise of government power. Governments that want to can get away with too much by abusing their power and acting secretively – literally murder, in the case of 3 strikes.
I want to think a bit more before putting up my full ideas on this issue but here are a few that spring to mind:
- Citizen assemblies
- OIA for Parliamentary Service (not the political stuff, it’s just the spending people are really interested in)
- requiring lobby groups to register and declare their funding as in Canada
- adopting the Canadian rules on political donations
- requiring the Attorney- General to report on the rights implications of all legislation (Justice already reports this to the A-G) and requiring MPs or ministers responsible for a Bill to reply to a report showing breaches.
It seems this will be just the first policy that Labour takes out to the community during the development process. It’s a fantastic move. And some props need to be given to the Greens who have always placed transparency at the heart of their policy-making.
Oh, and one more thing, isn’t it impressive to see the depth of talent in Labour shining through? Compare to National: corrupt and incompetent ministers, a backbench of no hopers, and one real asset – a fella with a nice smile.