Exporting Corruption report - how does New Zealand perform?

TI recently published its annual Exporting Corruption report, which assesses progress against the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, adopted in 1997, requires each signatory country to make foreign bribery a crime for which individuals and enterprises are responsible.

The Convention, which New Zealand ratified in 2011, is a key instrument for curbing the export of corruption globally as the 41 signatory countries are responsible for approximately two-thirds of world exports and almost 90 per cent of total foreign direct investment outflows.

The report uses a point system to measure countries' performance in enforcing the convention using the following parameters: investigations, concluded cases, and sanctions in proportion to a country’s share of world exports. Based on this system, countries are divided into four categories when it comes to enforcement:

  • active
  • moderate
  • limited
  • little or no enforcement.

The use of “Active Enforcement” is considered by the OECD to be a major deterrent to foreign bribery. Countries such as the US, Germany, the UK and Switzerland are in this category.

New Zealand – like last year – was placed in the “Limited Enforcement” category with two investigations currently in progress.

TINZ feels that strong enforcement of foreign bribery by New Zealand companies is important to the New Zealand brand and safeguards our reputation as a corruption-free country.

TINZ welcomes the new Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation bill. In its present form, the legislation should bring New Zealand into line with international practice as set by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the Recommendations of the Financial Action Taskforce, as well as the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. TINZ also strongly supports the recommendation of the Law and Order Select Committee to amend the penalty for foreign bribery to include the option to impose fines, as well as imprisonment.

In addition, though, TINZ continues to push its case for the following recommendations for government action to ensure foreign bribery enforcement is effective:

  1. strengthen the capacity to detect, investigate and prosecute foreign bribery
  2. increase awareness of the risks of foreign bribery and of channels for reporting allegations to law enforcement  agencies
  3. address the resource limitations which may affect the prioritisation of anti-corruption activities among law enforcement agencies.

Links for additional information about the report read the: Transparency International media release, the complete report and the New Zealand country report.

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