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Director, Transparency International New Zealand
New TINZ director Janine McGruddy was interviewed by Transparency Times. Here is what she had to say:
Why do you think New Zealand has such a strong international reputation for transparency and good governance? Because we have always had a sense of what is important: first to give woman the vote, establishing a treaty with the indigenous people, fighting apartheid, and having the guts to stand up to the US over the nuclear ship issue.
How does New Zealand benefit from its reputation? We are warmly welcomed wherever we go, and we have a voice on matters of global importance.
Why do you feel that Transparency International is an important organisation? Corruption has a way of trickling down and creating problems at all levels of society. TI is an essential watchdog in a rapidly changing and global world.
What motivated you to become involved in TINZ? As a passionate public servant I am well aware that if we do not value/protect what we have we can easily lose it. If NZ is the least corrupt then we should be working to lead not follow in improving on our baseline.
I believe that ordinary people have the power to change their world simply by deciding to take small steps in the right direction.
What would you like to accomplish? I would like to see the work of the Ombudsman strengthened both financially. In terms of power, I would like to see the public service strengthened in terms of professionalism, being apolitical and providing free and frank advice without fear or favour.
What steps do you think we can take to safeguard us from corruption in New Zealand and maintain our world leadership role in good governance? By leading work on strengthening the public sector to be independent and by demanding our politicians commit to good governance through vehicles such as GOPAC and the Open Government Partnership, and by working hard to meet all 60 recommendations in the Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment