Corruption Report Finds NZ Still Has More Work To Do
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
8 October, 2013
Transparency International New Zealand
Wellington New Zealand
Corruption Report 2013 Finds New Zealand Still Has More Work To Do
The report by Transparency International, a global anti-corruption group, placed New Zealand in the category of having "Little or No Enforcement" of the OECD's Anti-Bribery Convention, which requires each signatory country to make the bribery of foreign public officials a crime. For the period 2009-2012, New Zealand had no investigations into, or cases prosecuting, the bribery of foreign public officials.
The Report's key recommendations for New Zealand are to:
• amend New Zealand's provisions on bribery and corruption offences generally to align them with international standards and substantially increase penalties for private sector bribery,
• ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), to show the country's commitment against foreign bribery,
• encourage the reporting of foreign bribery suspicions to the authorities,
• develop and implement a national anti-corruption strategy, and
• ensure adequate training and public awareness of foreign and domestic bribery risks.
A director of the local New Zealand chapter of Transparency International, Fiona Tregonning, said the Report presented New Zealand as having not yet done enough to have a truly effective anti-corruption regime in place.
She said, "Our understanding is that the Government is seeking to introduce legislation this year to allow it to finally ratify UNCAC and increase New Zealand's compliance with the OECD Convention. We are also aware the government has been working to identify the framework for an anti-corruption strategy for New Zealand. These initiatives show positive progress and their implementation will demonstrate renewed interest and commitment. However it has taken a very long time to get traction and we need to take action to ensure that New Zealand does not lag behind other countries in actively opposing foreign (and domestic) bribery.
"Our experience is that a great many assumptions have been made that New Zealand is, and always will be, uninvolved and untainted by corruption. Sadly, that is not the reality". TI-NZ understands that, since the Report was prepared, the Serious Fraud Office now has two investigations open into the involvement of New Zealand entities or individuals in the bribery of foreign public officials.
Noting one of the report's recommendations regarding training and public awareness of foreign and domestic bribery risks, Ms Tregonning said "Transparency International New Zealand has been working with the Serious Fraud Office and Business New Zealand to prepare free online anti-corruption training materials to assist New Zealand businesses and the public sector to learn more about the risks of corruption and what to do. We expect a formal launch of this training module to take place later this year".
She said "it is hoped that a national anti-corruption strategy will be a way of emphatically demonstrating collective government, business and community commitment to New Zealand being corruption-free. It is important to reinforce that involvement with corruption will not be over-looked in New Zealand".
Transparency International New Zealand Report: