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The Parliamentary Code Of Conduct Is A First Step, Much More Is Needed

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) congratulates Parliament on the release of a Code of Conduct.

TINZ has been calling for parliamentarians to develop a code of conduct since 2003 and applaud this action on a non-partisan issue.

"The culture of Parliament is such that the very behaviours that require the code are demonstrated by MPs who fail to see its necessity. Now that the door is opened, all Parliamentarians need to walk through it and be on their best behaviour prior to the election," says Suzanne Snively, Chair of Transparency International New Zealand.

The proposed code of conduct's primary focus is to address the important issues of inappropriate sexual contact and bullying. It is missing an opportunity to further address Parliamentary conduct by ignoring several recommendations of TINZ's National Integrity System Assessments of 2003, 2013 and 2018.

The code of conduct needs to go further to support Parliamentary reform including:

  • ensuring lobbying transparency
  • requiring stronger independent oversight of MPs travel expenses.
  • Improving transparency in the administration of Parliament (as distinct from its legislative work)

"Our Parliament has exhibited an admirable tone from the top during the COVID-19 crisis. A strong Parliamentary code of conduct goes a long way to ensuring they do as well during the next crisis," Snively adds.

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