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In December of 2013 TINZ published its Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment, an independent and in-depth assessment of the quality of transparency and accountability in the public, civil society and private sectors, and of the integrity of New Zealand's overall governance systems.
The core message of this report is that stronger action to promote and protect integrity in New Zealand is overdue.
The report concludes with seven primary recommendations for strengthening New Zealand's integrity systems. The conclusion and recommendations are described in detail in Chapter 6 of the full report (see www.transparency.org.nz/nis). Recommendations are directed to a particular institution or sector to implement.
This is a brief update summarising progress in regards to the 7 recommendations.
1. A comprehensive national anti-corruption strategy combined with rapid ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption.
The Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill was tabled in Parliament in June 2014. It now needs to progress through the house. Passage will open the door to UNCAC ratification and represent progress on the development of an anti-corruption strategy.
2. An ambitious New Zealand Action Plan for the international Open Government Partnership
The New Zealand State Services Commission, the agency leading New Zealand's OGP work, submitted an action plan to the international body of the OGP by the July 31 deadline. As there was limited public participation, the plan will require further consultation for it to achieve the label of ambitious.
3. Strengthen transparency, integrity and accountability systems
The State Services Commission is facilitating the development of a State Sector Integrity System Road Map advising it aims to address the NIS analysis as a basis for specifying ways to strengthen the transparency, integrity and accountability systems across the entire state sector. The nature of the election campaign reinforces the need identified in the NIS for civics to be embedded into the curriculum for primary and secondary schools.
4. Strengthen the role of the permanent public sector
Little has been achieved to date in this recommendation area which includes extending the overage of the OIA,introducing a code of conduct for MP’s, and an independent review to clarify free and frank advice between the political executive and the public sector. TINZ will aim to promote initiatives through the Open Government Partnership action plan and the State Sector Integrity System Road Map.
5. Support, reinforce and improve the roles of the Electoral Commission, the judiciary, and the Ombudsman
The Ombudsman received additional funding in 2013 to support the Ombudsman’s mandate and capacity. It is apparent from this election campaign that there is much work to be done to ensure that these stronger pillars are kept that way.
6. A much more proactive role for the business community, the media, and non-government organisations
TINZ commends the inclusion of business and civil society representatives to advise on the development of the State Sector Integrity System Road Map and their involvement with the TINZ/SFO Anti-corruption Online Training in June 2014.
It is essential that the business community, the media, and non-government organisations are actively engaged in progressing the next version of the OGP Action Plan.
7. Public sector agencies to better understand how to further strengthen integrity systems.
TINZ continues to speak to audiences throughout New Zealand to promote anti-corruption and advocates ongoing research, review and increasing public education to strengthen integrity systems.
TINZ is leading an ongoing process aimed at overcoming complacency through speaking to large audiences throughout New Zealand. The nature of the election campaign has highlighted the need for civics to be embedded into the curriculum for primary and secondary schools.