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TINZ new banner outside Auckland February event with Mark Sainsbury, Master of Ceremonies for the event
An engaged audience at TINZ’s first Auckland panel discussion of the year, How New Zealand Can Prevent Corruption and Why it Matters (25 February), highlighted the range of areas where the wider public believes that corruption exists in New Zealand.
Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
A challenge is that limited resources for investigation and few forums for discussion have fermented uncertainty about whether these beliefs are based on anecdote or could be supported with independent evidence.
In a recent public corruption case, a new immigrant, who pleaded guilty, was let off on the basis of lack of knowledge of the appropriate behaviour when dealing with the Auckland Council. This means that until there are cases before the Courts, there will continue to be little case law surrounding corrupt behaviours of this nature.
A new report published by PwC last month reveals that 55% of New Zealand firms have no incident response plan for cybercrime, or have one that is not yet operational. Yet there was very little public response from businesses regarding the PwC report.
Similarly, there was only limited response from the around 90,000 New Zealand independent sporting organisations to the voluminous Global Corruption Report: Sport published by the Secretariat of Transparency International on 23 February (see next story for further discussion).
Instead of leading to constructive responses from businesses and sporting bodies, the published reports have instead aroused angry feedback from individuals who regard themselves as long-standing victims of other forms of corruption. Their seething anger is tying up processes designed to provide resolution.
At the Auckland event, there was considerable discussion about the potential to channel some of this anger by setting up effective whistle-blowing channels backed up by a strong protective disclosure regime.
TINZ’s view remains that the best antidote for corruption is prevention. While preventing corruption is an objective of any modern democracy, the positive reputational and branding impact, resulting from low levels of corruption and trusted systems, creates opportunity for everyone. This means a greater tax base to support the public sector. It also means more organisations with the sustainability to provide careers, better wages and engaging work.
TINZ effort and priority is directed towards the prevention of corruption, as well as activities to harvest and share the benefits of strong integrity systems. This is the way to move from a spiral of anger to one of hope.
Suzanne Snively, Chair
Transparency International New Zealand Inc.