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On 23 October 2014, Transparency International released a report on OECD Anti-Bribery Convention enforcement and called for New Zealand to implement draft legislation to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
The report improved New Zealand’s country placement in 2013 of "Little or No Enforcement" of the OECD's Anti-Bribery Convention to having “Limited Enforcement”. The Convention requires each signatory country to make the bribery of foreign public officials a crime. New Zealand’s improved ranking follows two formal investigations into bribery of foreign public officials, with one investigation reported to be ongoing at the end of 2013.
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) director Fiona Tregonning said the SFO’s formal investigations sent a message that New Zealand took bribery allegations seriously, and would not ignore bribery by its citizens or companies anywhere. She called on the New Zealand enforcement agencies to sustain their vigilance and take action to deter New Zealanders from paying bribes in any country.
The report also notes that two significant developments occurred in June this year after the close of the reporting period:
“After the reporting date, TI NZ welcomed the introduction of the long-awaited Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill, an omnibus bill, which when passed should enable New Zealand to finally ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption and increase New Zealand’s compliance with the OECD Convention.
“New companies legislation has also been introduced during 2014, which includes strengthening the rules applying to the registration of companies and a new ‘resident director’ requirement. This follows concerns about New Zealand's company registration regime being misused by offshore criminal operations”.
Ms Tregonning said, “We are aware the government has been working to advance the framework for an anti-corruption strategy for New Zealand. These recent developments show positive progress and their implementation will demonstrate renewed government interest and commitment. However it has taken an extraordinarily long time to get traction and we need to harness the interest and take meaningful action to ensure that New Zealand does not lag behind other countries”.
She added “it is hoped that a national anti-corruption strategy will be a way of emphatically demonstrating a collective government, business and community commitment to being corruption-free. It is important to reinforce that involvement with corruption will not be over-looked in New Zealand”.
This is the tenth Transparency International progress report on implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.
The report is available on the Transparency International New Zealand website Exporting Corruption 2014.
The OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, adopted in 1997, requires each signatory country to make foreign bribery a crime for which individuals and enterprises are responsible. The convention is a key instrument for curbing the export of corruption globally because the 40 signatory countries are responsible for approximately two-thirds of world exports and almost 90 percent of total foreign direct investment outflows.
The OECD Working Group on Bribery, which represents the signatories to the convention, conducts a follow-up monitoring programme each year. The Working Group undertook the Phase 3 assessment of New Zealand during 2013.