The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties endorses and co-signs the letter from the GOP Steering Committee about Covid-19 and its risks to open government.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a global state of emergency, rapidly overburdening governments. Public institutions are under pressure as never before. Protecting lives and livelihoods, sustaining health-care systems and the resetting the economy have rightly become the most pressing priorities for the foreseeable future.
Yet another priority needs to be front and centre: the protection of open, inclusive and accountable governance, with democratic standards and personal rights.
In the letter we ask our and other governments to undertake the following (read the letter for the details of each point):
- Secure the independent role of parliaments.
- Ensure participatory collaboration and oversight.
- Proactively publish information and data on the coronavirus situation.
- Make all emergency public procurement transparent.
- Allow all stakeholders to follow the public money.
- Maintain access to information laws.
- Guarantee and respect freedom of expression.
- Strengthen whistleblower protections.
- Protect privacy in all tracking.
- Sustain ongoing Open Government Partnership processes.
They then ask inter-governmental organisations to:
- Keep track and raise red flags.
- Find the resources.
- Pursure multilateralism and collaboration mechanisms.
And calling upon donors to:
- Make funding matter.
Finishing off with:
It is only by defending and strengthening open government that, during the response and recovery from the Covid-19 crisis , we will be able to revitalise global democracy and bring about more just, equal and cohesive societies.