Current Events

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


ECO Events

 ECO Regional Hub opening, Christchurch 23 September

ECO is opening a regional hub in Canterbury and all groups in Canterbury linked to ECO, as well as all other conservation groups are very welcome to attend an initial gathering on 23rd September.  This will be held at the WEA at 59 Gloucester Street, Christchurch.

The aim is to get to know one another and to develop ways to work better "in sync" as well as develop some digital collaboration solutions to enable us to better communicate and work together.
We will start at 6pm on the 23rd September followed by pizza, drinks and socialising from 7pm.  
Contact Diana Shand to register your interest or to know more.

Other Events



 Complacent nation: politics, power and journalism, Auckland, 22 September

In his BWB text Gavin Ellis lays down a challenge to New Zealand: is our media as free as we think? Can journalists still speak truth to power?

Join the discussion at Old Govt House LT, Univ Of Auckland, 6pm. Details will be on the BWB website soon.

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



 A fracas against fracking: Wellington 26 September, 12.30-1.30pm

Come along and cause a fracas against fracking (and all gas and oil exploration). Bring a noisemaker- instruments, pots and pans, whistles, or your voice.

Todd is planning to a open a new gas fired power plant in Taranaki, but it's crucial we keep fossil fuels in the ground to prevent dangerous levels of climate change. Background reading here.

Now is the time to tell Todd they need to pull their head out of their fracking well and get with the times. Come along to the Todd Building at 95 Customhouse Quay, Wellington.  More here. 


Remembering Tom Hay and Bob Fantl, Wellington, lst October

ECO maintains an Environmentalist Memorial Garden in Bolton Street Cemetery in Wellington to commemorate the work of environmentalists who have died, by planting a tree in this garden. You are warmly invited to join us at 2pm on Saturday 1st October, to remember and celebrate the lives and work of Bob Fantl and Tom Hay.  

We will start at the Bolton Street Chapel, move on to the garden and then end with a social get-together at the Thistle Inn in Murphy Street, Thorndon.  For more information, and to RSVP, please contact the ECO Office by email or phone 04 385 7545.


Stop the warships!  Peace Action Wellington rally, lst October, 12pm-2pm

Join Peace Action Wellington for a rally to show our staunch opposition to the growing weapons industry in New Zealand as well as the Weapons Expo and warships which will soon descend upon Auckland.  More info.




Christchurch Mayoral Debate on a climate-smart Christchurch, 22 September, 7pm


Come along and hear mayoral candidates Lianne Dalziel and John Minto face off in a debate about climate change and the role of local government in addressing this challenge.


Where: A1 Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury (map here)


This is your chance to find out where each candidate stands on a range of climate-related topics, including solutions to reducing our emissions, and adapting to the local impacts of climate change.


Expect a lively debate, moderated by Catarina Gutierrez from the Ministry of Awesome.


This is a FREE event with limited seating, so be there early to secure a place!  More info



Growing Voices – let’s talk Aoraki is a forum and workshop series for youth to shape conservation into the future. Three workshops will run over 3 months from Friday 5th August 2016, and it’s open to anyone 15-25 years (although we will consider older participants!).

Information and registration is online here, and more information in the documents above.

We need young people represented in our public consultation process, as their voice and action will carry into a future we can only dream about.  Lifting young people up and supporting them as the leaders of this future is something we can all be part of - please support this kaupapa to shine.




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