Current Events

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ECO Open Government Survey


ECO, through its democracy and transparency working group, launched the survey of NZ people and organisations from the non-government and not-for-profit sector in July.

We wanted to find out what people wanted the government to do as part of its Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan. 

We invited members of the public as well as non-government organisations / civil society organisations to participate in the survey.



The survey began on Tuesday July 5 and has now finished.  Thanks to the hundreds of people and groups who responded to the questionnaire.


Open Government Partnership

In 2013 the New Zealand government joined (the now) 68 other countries in the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Partnership countries share the aim of setting ambitious actions to make their governments more open to their citizens.

Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa NZ (ECO)

ECO was one of the many organisations that worked to achieve open government, an effort that culminated in the Official Information Act, and we continue to take an interest in this as part of our role of working to help groups with a concern for conservation and the environment. 

NZ Government

In the New Zealand Government the State Services Commission has the role of co-ordinating the Open Government Partnership effort.  This should include facilitating the engagement with civil society and ensuring that the goals identified are owned in and funded by specific government agencies that are responsible for ensuring that they happen. 


We recognize that open government matters to everyone – to people and to organisations in civil society. ECO is also inviting participation from councils and from libraries. We think these organisations and their employees and elected members are interested in, and knowledgeable about, the need for  greater openness in central government.

ECO is carrying out the survey because of our disappointment with the first NZ Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan.  A report by NZ academic Steven Price who is the OGP’s independent reviewer for NZ identified concerns with both the process and the goals following interviews with New Zealand people and organisations with an interest in open government.  The government’s engagement was half-hearted but the poor outcome could also relate to the lack of a unified civil society organisation pushing for better open government in New Zealand.

We feel that it is important that people and groups in the community in New Zealand have a chance to say what they want to see in the Government’s next action plan in the Open Government Partnership, and that is why we are inviting you to respond to our survey and also to let others know about it and share it with them.  We are not being asked by the government to do this, but want to do it as part of giving “voice” to people in the community.

We expect to process the replies and have the results of this research available for input into the Government's Open Government Action Plan and for public reference during September 2016.  To meet this timetable the survey closed on 25 July 2016.

Who is involved?

The survey is an initiative of ECO’s Democracy and Transparency Working Group. Jan Rivers, Richie Miller, researcher, Cath Wallace, policy vice-chair of ECO and formerly a senior lecturer at Victoria University and Michael Pringle, ECO’s executive officer.  

We may seek extra assistance from other volunteer researchers, and help and peer review from ECO Executive committee members and others in the field.  Each of us will be bound by the level of disclosure you select.  The raw data and responses will be kept protected by password and by physical security measures.

After the survey

The results of the survey will be analysed with software and with reference to the qualitative material you provide us with.  It will be provided to the government to inform the government’s future actions on open government but we also hope that the survey will help to build a commitment to working on open government initiatives amongst civil society organisations in NZ.

The 2014-16 Survey

Action 1: improve reporting on the Better Public Service programme, launched in 2012. The programme sets out to achieve ten goals in order to reduce long-term welfare dependence, support vulnerable children, increase employment, reduce crime and improve online interaction with government (e.g. online advice for businesses and e-transactions).

Action 2: Make more services available via the internet through the Government Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Strategy and Action Plan to 2017.

Action 3: Act on recommendations by Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) in the National Integrity System Assessment,2013. The government has not specified which TINZ recommendations it will use and what the actions based on these will be.

Action 4: Continue to commit to the Kia Tūtahi Relationship Accord, launched in 2011. This accord is designed to improve the collaborative relationships between social agencies and government.

Questions?  Email the ECO Office or call 04 385 7545



Other Events



 Justice Conference, Auckland, 28-29 October

One of the seminar topics at this conference is climate change, with Rod Oram, Niamh O'Flynn, Martin de Jong and Jim Salinger as speakers.

The Conference is being held in Auckland on October 28 and 29 at the Salvation Army Auckland Corps Centre in Mt Wellington.
Speakers include, international speakers Micah Bournes, Eugene Cho, Danielle Strickland, Joel McKerrow, and conference founder Ken Wytsma. Key New Zealand speakers include, Bishop Justin Duckworth and Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft.
The Justice Conference is presented by Tearfund. For more information or to book tickets for The Justice Conference, please visit



Measuring our CO2 emissions - seminar at Lower Hutt, 21 October

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have topped 400ppm and are still rising. New Zealand and the world are still dependent on self-reporting by industry to know our CO2 emissions.
Dr Jocelyn Turnbull leads a new program at GNS Science to measure and model CO2 emissions across a range of different scales including individual power plants, urban and national emissions. How does the Hutt Valley stack up in terms of global CO2 pollution?

The seminar is free but space is limited so registrations are essential. Email

Climathon in Wellington 28/29 October

Wellington is hosting the New Zealand Climathon event! 

Climathon is a 24-hour fast paced global event - focused on meaningful solutions to climate change problems.

If you've got a project, a new idea or just want to collaborate and connect with people - join Climathon and put Wellington on the global stage.

Be part of a global movement, win prizes to make your idea a reality and tap into a global network of people rapidly creating a new, clean economy.  Sign up here to be part of it.

Stepping up to a zero-carbon future: a panel discussion at the Royal Society, 2 November

Stepping up to a zero-carbon future.  The science and policy of decarbonising the world economy.

A panel discussion bringing together academics from Australasia, Asia and the Americas. Weds 2 Nov, 5.30pm-7pm, followed by refreshments.
Venue is Royal Society, 11 Turnbull Street, Thorndon.  Email to register.


Pauatahanui inlet cockle count, 27 November

 ECO Member Group Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet are again organising a survey of cockle populations in the Inlet, on 27 November.

The Trust hopes that 2016 will be a bumper year, with cockle populations increasing 87% since the 1995 survey. It shows that the general ecological health of the Inlet is improving with efforts by local farmers, local authorities and urban planners paying off.

Be part of the next count - find out more here.




 Lean Means - FESTA 2016, Christchurch, 22 October

Enjoy a spectacular temporary city made from reused ‘waste’ materials, where inner city spaces are transformed with imaginative installations.

Inspired by the pioneering practice of leading Dutch architects, Superuse Studios, the Lean Means installations are designed and fabricated by students from eight leading design and architecture schools from across Australasia. This temporary city will be full of art, events, music, markets, food trucks, cafes, bars, kids activities and more!

FESTA 2016 runs over Labour Weekend from 21-24 October. Additional events and full programme to be revealed!

Learn more about FESTA here.





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