Current Events

For a full list of events on today near you, please scroll down


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


Go Deep Beneath the Oceans: South Taranaki Reef Life Exhibition at the Aotea Museum of South Taranaki, Patea.   1 December to 31 March

This exhibition experience showcases the work the South Taranaki Reef Life Project in discovering and documenting the subtidal rocky reef communities found in the South Taranaki Bight.  Initially focusing on one target reef (approx. 11km offshore and depth of approx. 23 meters), a number of surveys will be conducted throughout the year allowing us to capture the ecological variance across seasons.  A range of basic scientific methods will be employed by local community groups to survey the reef.  It is hoped that this research effort will continue into the future and expand to incorporate additional reefs.  This exhibition includes photographs and moving images from the subtidal South Taranaki Bight.

See this link for more information:



Tim Jackson on "Economics for a finite planet", Wellington, 14 February, 4.30pm

Tim Jackson is Professor of Sustainable Development at Surrey University.  Tim has been at the forefront of international debates about sustainable development for over two decades and has worked closely with the UK Government, the United Nations, and numerous private companies and NGOs to bring social science research into sustainability. 
Next month he is in New Zealand and is speaking in Wellington, hosted by the Akina Foundation.  He will be speaking on "prosperity without growth - economics for a finite planet". 

See here for details and to book.



 Come to the CANA Summerfest 2017, 21-23 January!  Location is Ashburton

The downloadable programme for Summerfest is here.

Growth in the dairy industry is resurrecting coal - and killing the climate.

Join ECO Member Group Coal Action Network Aotearoa 21-23 January for a summer camp: network with other activists, share information and stories, learn more about NVDA and plan an action.
When: Noon Saturday 21 January-noon Monday 23 January
Where: Ashburton Holiday Park, Tinwald Domain, Maronan Rd, Ashburton

Registration cost (covers meals, hall hire etc but not accommodation) 
One day:    $50 waged, $40 unwaged, 
Two days:  $75 waged, $65 unwaged, 
Children – under 5s free, 5-15 years half price
Registration cost includes Sat lunch + dinner, Sun breakfast, lunch + dinner, Mon breakfast + lunch.
If cost is a barrier, let us know! 
You can book accommodation right away (see below).

More about the venue

Ashburton Holiday Park, Tinwald Domain, Maronan Rd, Ashburton (on the right as you are going south out of Ashburton)
Map link here
Camp link here

Contact Torfrida Wainwright 03 382-0580 or 021-107 3937 to make your accommodation booking.  

Email to register - you will need to be quick.
 Follow CANA on Facebook.

 Diverse coastal environments in a time of change, Christchurch, 22-24 March

Organised by the Dune Restoration Trust.

The theme of the 2017 conference is Diverse coastal environments in a time of change and will be held in and around Christchurch.

The main conference will be held Wed-Fri 22-24 March and there will be two additional fieldtrips:

Saturday 25 March: Kaitorete Spit and Banks Peninsula (south)

Sunday 26 March: Ashworths Beach, Leithfield Beach, Amberley Beach and Gore Bay (all North Canterbury)

Download the poster and the programme as it is currently planned.

There is an early bird price and a late fee. To register click here.

Community-based social marketing workshops March 2017 - Christchurch

Doug McKenzie=Mohr will be delivering introductory and advanced community-based social marketing workshops in Christchurch in March 2017.   These workshops will be of particular interest to agencies working to control invasive species, promote energy efficiency, waste reduction, conservation, water efficiency, sustainable food consumption,  modal transportation changes and other sustainable actions.  Community-based social marketing is a unique approach to fostering both environment and health related behavioural changes and is now being utilized globally.  Descriptions of these workshops are provided below. 

Christchurch Introductory & Advanced Workshops (March 13-March 16):

He will also be available for a limited number of in-house workshops and consultations on this trip.  To learn more about hosting an internal workshop or consultation for your agency, download the flyer that describes these internal training opportunities:


 New Zealand Ocean acidification workshop, Dunedin, 15-17 February

“Celebrating Progress in NZ OA Research and Outreach”
15-17 February 2017
University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Registrations and Abstracts are due on 20 December 2016
 Workshop costs will be covered by the University of Otago Ocean Acidification Research Theme.  Participants will pay for travel, accommodation, and meals not covered in the fee. Professor Catriona Hurd from IMAS, Hobart, is guest speaker.

Keep up to date on Facebook.
Any questions please contact Abby Smith:


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