Find out what’s happening in New Zealand’s Parliament

Here are a few ways to keep track of what’s happening in New Zealand’s Parliament. When Parliament is Sitting publishes a Parliamentary Calendar (pdf and text) showing the days MPs will be ‘sitting’ in the Debating Chamber. Generally Parliament will sit on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2pm to 6pm and 7.30pm to […]

A guide to local government in NZ

A useful guide to how councils and other local government bodies work in New Zealand. Aimed at journalists but readable for anyone interested. Created by Local Government NZ. LGNZ publishes the guide under the following copyright policy: “This site provides users with easy access to publicly held information. You may copy, print or download any […]

Map of NZ’s regional, district and city councils

New Zealand has 78 local authorities,  with around 1600 elected members: mayors, regional council chairs, councillors, local board members and community board members. 11 regional councils 61 territorial authorities – 11 are city councils and 50 are district councils Six unitary councils – which are territorial authorities with regional council responsibilities The Local Government New Zealand website has […]

Read and compare the world’s Constitutions

From the Comparative Constitutions Project comes, a website for searching and saving the constitutions of various countries. Constitute allows you to interact with the world’s constitutions in a few different ways. Quickly find relevant passages. The Comparative Constitutions Project has tagged passages of each constitution with a topic — e.g., “right to privacy” or “equality regardless of […]

Five things I love about Statistics New Zealand

What’s not to love about Statistics New Zealand? Here are a few things they do that I like: 1.  Publish under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International copyright licence (so we are free to use and share content as long as we say where it came from). This is great: a publicly funded organisation which collects information […]

Back doors, mobile phones, persuasion: the NSA does it all

The headlines about the NSA just keep on coming… N.S.A. Foils Much Internet Encryption | NY Times The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed […]

The Register of Pecuniary Interests

The Register of Pecuniary Interests lists the financial assets (such as houses, farms and superannuation schemes) and debts (such as mortgages and loans) of New Zealand’s Members of Parliament. It’s updated each year. It feels slightly prurient (albeit fascinating) reading the Register but it’s a necessary tool that allows we, the people, to satisfy ourselves whether our representatives […]

Diagram of NZ security & intelligence services oversight

While doing some catch-up reading on submissions to the Intelligence and Security Committee on the powers of the GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau), I came across this chart on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.   It depicts lines of accountability and which roles/committees are operational, decision makers, and monitors.  

In praise of open New Zealand

I’m heartened by some ‘open’ developments in New Zealand. Firstly, kudos to Nat Torkington and Glen Barnes for setting up, a website that promises to catalogue any government data that’s publicly available for download and further use. This is cool. It can become a useful port of call for anyone looking for data to […]