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Open Government Policy Summary

Holly Walker MP
Holly Walker MP
holly [dot] walker [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)

Read the full Open Government Policy

People have a right to open Government that is accountable to them.

New Zealanders have the right to information used to make decisions that affect their lives, so the Official Information Act needs reform to stop lengthy delays and censorship of information.

The public also has a right to know who is lobbying government and trying to influence their politicians.

It is also vital that our democracy be a battle of ideas not money and so electoral finance laws need to be designed to stop big money from corrupting New Zealand politics.

Treaties

  • Require all trade agreements and treaties to be subject to a vote of Parliament like any other legislation.

Changes to the Official Information Act

  • Introduce legal responsibilities and penalties for individual public servants to keep good records
  • Tighten up the time limits for replies and other opportunities for delay
  • Bring parliamentary services under the OIA, with an exemption to protect communication between constituents and MPs and to protect opposition parties from government intervention.
  • Bring in a thirty year rule for opening of ALL public archives
  • Make sure staff have training in the proper implementation of the Act.
  • Remove charging for Official Information Act requests and require costs to be met out of Departmental baselines with an exception for vexatious, excessive and frivolous requests as well as requests for commercial gain.

Cabinet decisions

  • Ensure that Cabinet minutes and decisions are published on the internet within one month of each Cabinet meeting unless there is a pressing reason not to publish

Lobbyists

  • Ensure lobbyists keep a public online register of all clients utilising their services
  • Ensure that such a registry includes:
    • Lobbyist's name
    • Client name
    • Institution being lobbied
    • Subject matter and particulars of the lobbying
    • Lobbying methods used
    • Government funding received by the client or employer

Code of Conduct

  • Support having the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament incorporated into the Standing Orders.

MPs disclosure

  • Clarify that donations to pay barristers or other legal fees are a gift that must be declared.
  • Clarify that donations in kind are to be valued at the value of the third-party payment.

Election Financing

  • Stop political parties from accepting anonymous donations above $1000 unless the true source of the money is publicly identified.
  • Support the current ban on donations that originate from overseas, with the exception of New Zealand citizens living overseas and entitled to vote.
  • Seek to simplify and tighten the current rolling disclosure system to ensure that the public know who is funding the parties when they go to vote.
  • Place an annual limit of $35,000 on total donations to a political party from any single person or entity.
  • Maintain the current campaign spending caps on political parties but be open to having them indexed to inflation.
  • Review the Electoral Finance Act post-election to see how it has worked.
  • Maintain the status quo on broadcast funding and time allocation

Fixed Election Date

  • Support a fixed election date, the date to be determined by consultation with public

Local Government

  • Require Local Government to publish on the internet:

    1. All existing resource consents along with any conditions and breaches of consents.
    2. All applications for consents, including non-notified
    3. Information disclosing all contracts in which Councillors have a pecuniary interest
    4. All Council minutes, within a week following the meeting, including a general statement on any business conducted with the public excluded.
    5. All council Order papers, within 3 working days before meetings. If any issue is to be considered with the public excluded a statement of the general nature of the business and the reason for exclusion shall be posted.
    6. A list of all people, consultants and organisations engaged to provide services to Council and the service provided.
    7. The source of all campaign donations over $500
    8. A pecuniary interests register for councillors, similar to that used in Parliament.
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