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Speak up and save our reputation

Speak up and save our reputation

The lack of transparency in the Saudi sheep deal could deliver a body blow to New Zealand's hard won reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

Transparency International's New Zealand Chair Suzanne Snively says the investigation launched by the Auditor General will determine if the millions spent on the Agri Hub in Saudi Arabia was a facilitation payment, a bribe, or a legitimate business expense. But she warns "the secrecy surrounding the deal and the reluctance of the Minister to publically address it will in themselves undermine New Zealand's position as one of the driving forces trying to eliminate bribery and corruption around the globe."

"Government is no different from business when it comes to standards of ethical behavior," Ms Snively says, "and there seems to be some pretense that we don't know how to trade with other countries so we simply resort to the practices prevalent overseas. That is rubbish! Other countries look to New Zealand for leadership in good business conduct and transparency is one of the central pillars of that behavior."

"New Zealand has enjoyed spectacular success in winning a seat on the security council. Now we must maintain the success we have established as a leader in the fight against corruption. The government must continue to take a lead."

Ms Snively welcomes the Auditor General's investigation and says that will determine the nature of the deal, but even if The Auditor General finds no fault in the deal itself, the whole tone has been needlessly sullied by the lack of openness.

Listen to Suzanne's interview today on Radio New Zealand.


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