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Friday 9 December marks International Anti-Corruption Day. This was established after the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in October 2003 and came into being because of the UN’s concerns over the huge dangers corruption poses to societies in all countries.
"Evidence shows that good systems are the best antidote for corruption and keep us ready to deal with corrupt practice when it is detected here." Says Suzanne Snively, Chair of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ).
Looking forward from Anti-Corruption Day, New Zealand needs to ensure all public-sector agencies’ and private sector integrity systems are world class with high levels of transparency, integrity and accountability.
In 2017 the issue of taxation needs to be addressed further. New Zealand businesses need to commit to transparency and accountability by pro-actively disclosing their beneficial ownership. And we need to enhance oversight of professional services through finalising Phase 2 of the anti-money laundering reforms.
As Prime Minister John Key noted in March this year, "We expect a New Zealand company to pay its fair share of tax, we expect a New Zealand citizen to pay their fair share of tax, should we expect a multinational to play by different rules?"
At the Transparency International Annual Members' Meeting in Panama (29 November to 1 December) a policy was adopted on the overlap between corruption and tax abuse identifying aspects of both issues that need to be tackled, including regulatory capture and undue influence in the lobbying processes around tax policy.
Identified solutions to tax abuse and corruption focus on corporate and government transparency, such as beneficial ownership transparency, transparent lobbying and enhanced oversight of the engaged professional services.
Illicit financial flows have been estimated to exceed an annual US$1 trillion. The release of the Panama Papers offered more evidence than ever before about the extent to which the corrupt rely on a web of anonymous companies, trusts and other vehicles to transfer, launder and hide their illicitly sourced funds in locations also characterised by secrecy.