TINZ applauds UNCAC ratification
New Zealand demonstrates how strong integrity systems are the best antidote for corruption
New Zealanders can celebrate International Ant-Corruption Day, 9 December, by acknowledging this year's achievements to develop robust integrity systems that prevent corruption. The evidence shows that good systems are the best antidote for corruption and will keep us on the journey to deal with corrupt practice when it is detected here.
First, congratulations to the New Zealand Defence Force, which along with the United Kingdom's, is one of the only forces so far to receive an 'A' in the TI Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index. Our Defence Force scored high marks for transparency in the 76 comprehensive questions that make up the index, backed up by good processes for review, discussion and improvement.
After 12 years, the NZ Government ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Joining 177 other signatories to the agreement, it is a legally binding global agreement to address corruption in the private and public spheres.
The Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation and all 15 Acts were passed in November 2015 with cross party support for the omnibus legislation. This legislation aims to strengthen the law to combat organised crime and corruption, both from here and from overseas.
Earlier in the year, New Zealand improved its ranking for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Exporting Corruption review. This is largely attributable to greater evidence of detection, investigation and enforcement on anti- corruption measures by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and NZ Police. The Serious Fraud Office has four on-going investigations.
Transparency International NZ (TINZ) Director, Daniel King led the TINZ submission to the Law and Order Select Committee on why facilitation payments should be illegal offshore as they are in New Zealand. This is a continuing discussion and while the law hasn't changed, the reasons for making facilitation payments illegal are becoming more widely understood by those involved in offshore trading activities.
TINZ Board member Fuimaono Tuiasau has led the Stakeholder Group on the Open Government Partnership (OGP), working to gain support to promote and progress widespread engagement with the development of New Zealand's National Action plan to ensure government continuously listens to how to be accountable.
In October, Louise Upton, Minister of Land Information, represented the Government at the Open Government Partnership forum in Mexico. New Zealand continues to score high marks for its Open Government Data.
TINZ Board Member Josephine Serrallach and Executive Officer, Lynn McKenzie led the move to include preventative strategies in the international umbrella organisation, Transparency International's, 2020 Strategy. They attended the International Anti-corruption Conference in Malaysia, along with TINZ Chair Suzanne Snively, and Julie Read, CEO of the Serious Fraud Office. Newly appointed independent TI Advisory Council member, Sir Anand Satyanand, was also in attendance.
For another year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has funded four Pacific Chapters to assist them fight onerous corruption in Fiji, PNG, the Solomons and Vanuatu. TINZ is overseeing this grant to further build the Pacific Integrity Initiative, working with the courageous leaders of these chapters on strategies that both address corrupt practice and also work to protect the value of their resources in their bountiful economic zones. The 200 mile economic zones of all the small island nations in the Pacific combine to make an area bigger than the world's largest continent.
Looking forward from Anti-Corruption Day, New Zealand needs to pick up its pace in ensuring our public sector agencies' and private sector integrity systems match those of our Defence Force. This will add to the New Zealand Story where the asset of integrity provides the resource to improve the well-being of all New Zealanders.