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


Abrupt climate change: a tour by Guy McPherson, several centres, from 1 December

Climate change is not in the future.
It’s happening now.

Climate Emergency – International speaker Professor Guy McPherson

Hear the latest science. Stay and connect with others about how we might respond.

A lecture on the latest scientific findings will be followed by informal sessions to discuss how to respond both physically and emotionally to the serious challenges facing people locally, nationally and internationally.

Whanganui Regional Museum: 1 December at 6pm
Marlborough: Renwick Anglican Church Hall, 3rd December at 3pm
Wellington: Stop Out Sports Room, 161 Hutt Road, Gracefield, 5th December at 6pm. Hosted by Transition Town Lower Hutt – Call Juanita 021422542 for more information

More locations are being added; check with the Facebook page for more information.


 "Just eat it" food waste film and discussion, Auckland, 1 December


Just Eat It follows Jen and Grant as they explore the chain of food waste from farm to the “back of the fridge”. Along their journey they question sell by dates, perfect produce and portion sizes, while pledging to survive only on (pre-consumer) foods that would otherwise be thrown away.


Join us to watch the film and then discuss what we can do to reduce food waste in our households and in our communities.  An Ecomatters Auckland event; see here to find out more and book tickets.

How to change the world: Waiheke Island, 11 December

A Waiheke Resources Trust fundraiser
Friday 11th December 8pm - Waiheke Community Cinema - $20 Adults $15 Students, Gold Card & Community Services card holders. Prepay via internet banking or cash on the door (Sorry no eftpos)

How to Change the World - In 1971, a group of friends sail into a nuclear test zone, and their protest captures the world's imagination. Using never before seen archive that brings their extraordinary world to life, How To Change The World is the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the modern green movement.

Contact WRT if you have any questions - or 027 386 1125.  WRT is an ECO Member group




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. 


Creating sustainable urban communities, 27 November

Rod Donald Memorial Lecture delivered by Prof Simon Kingham. Learnings from and lessons for rebuilding Christchurch's communities.  Professor Kingham is Professor of Geography at Canterbury University; he is passionate about building sustainable communities.
Venue is the Netball Centre, time is 4.30pm.  More details are here.


Networking for the environment in Greater Christchurch, 29 November

An event for Co-ordinators, Administrators and Managers in the environmental sector in Christchurch to network.  Free, with lunch included.  Venue is the Environment Canterbury Council Chambers at 200 Tuam Street. 9.30am to 12.30pm. More information here.



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