The state of eDemocracy in New Zealand

State Services Commission has been making some good progress with their participation guidelines which appear grounded and well researched. This is a big step forward and will help anyone wanting to bring government closer to the people. My hope is that these guidelines become a catalyst for some new projects. Unfortunately though, actually implementing anything useful, particularly within local government remains problematic. The Families Commission stands out with The Couch, but I’m not convinced they have really taken the vision for that and made it fly… certainly it’s not quite lived up to the potential I saw in it when they launched it. At a policy level we’re a little bereft as the Digital Strategy is a victim of timing and never really got to grips with eDemocracy. We are poorer for that as now there’s a blatant omission in the upcoming Digital Summit agenda. Of course, there are a few carefully placed albeit lightweight references to participation but even these are totally government centric. This is perhaps an issue of digital maturity. However, it’s also an issue of bureaucratic maturity. I know of many good eDemocracy ideas have been stopped dead in their tracks by ignorance or fear of losing control and there’s no real sign of this head-in-the-sand attitude changing.]]>