New Zealand has retained top marks on a global index of Budget transparency, but lags when it comes to enabling public participation.
The Open Budget Survey ranks more than 100 countries on its transparency and accountability when it comes to Government finances, measuring across four “pillars of accountability”.
New Zealand retained the top position it’s held since 2012 in terms of public availability of Budget information, and scored highly when it came to audit oversight.
Overall, it outranked Sweden, South Africa, Norway and the United States in the top five.
Great to be top.
The auditors of the index criticised New Zealand for its “citizens budget”, and limited reporting of Government tax expenditures.
“Parliamentary oversight is assessed as ‘limited’ during for Budget planning and ‘weak’ for budget implementation, with a composite score for legislative oversight of just 45 out of 100.
“Formal mechanisms for public engagement across stages of the Budget cycle are also assessed as “limited”, scoring 65 out of 100, with particular concern about lack of opportunities for public participation in processes involving Parliament and the Office of Auditor General,” the index report said.
In particular, the Government made extensive Budget information available, but it was not necessarily “user friendly”.
Fair criticism. We may be top, but always more can be done.