Message from the CEO

Janine McGruddy

Janine McGruddy
TINZ Chief Executive Officer

by Janine McGruddy

TINZ Chief Executive Officer

This month as the Chair has noted, TINZ has been focussed on Local Government Elections.

Lack of voter turnout and engagement in local body politics has been rapidly getting worse globally. A Dominion Post opinion article from 2013 stated that ‘A recent audit of political engagement in Britain found that Britons are increasingly ‘disgruntled, disillusioned and disengaged’ with their political system, and indifferent to politics. Only 24 per cent thought their system of governing worked reasonably well, and only 49 per cent felt the issues being debated in Parliament were relevant to their lives.’

Brexit anyone?! The sad fact is that here at home, as around the world, more and more people are becoming disengaged with politics and disenfranchised from the political process.

TINZ decided to engage local Mayoral Candidates in public panels focused on issues of transparency, corruption prevention and integrity as a small step in engaging citizens in the political process.

To date we have partnered with local universities to hold events in Wellington, Auckland and Palmerston North. We are still working to squeeze in one or two more events before the election. Our plan is to hold a series of similar events prior to next year's national elections.

Findings in Transparency International New Zealand's Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment (NIS) drive our interest in local government transparency, integrity and accountability.

Regarding the interface between central government and local government the NIS noted "concerns include intervention by Central Government in the decision-making authority of local government and weaknesses in the design and implementation of regulations.”

In New Zealand the absence of constitutional protection for the powers of local government is also stressed as a critical weakness. While, arguably, local government has a considerable degree of independence, there are no entrenched constitutional provisions to protect that independence.

By international standards, local government in New Zealand has a narrow range of functions accounting for a smaller than normal percentage of public spending.

We are looking to partner with local councils on programs that will strengthen integrity systems to assist local government in building its case for greater devolution and council involvement. Including:

  • developing corruption prevention training for local government officials and staff;
  • improving information transparency and public accountability.

Strengthening local government integrity systems helps make the case for greater devolution and returns power to our local communities, thereby reinvigorating participatory democracy in New Zealand. TINZ will be working with our new Mayors and their Councils post-election to achieve this.

Ngâ mihi

Janine

Actions

Recent Activity

Protect our whistleblowers
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) is calls for better whistleblower protection. 8 Aug, 2017

Auditor General resignation requires transparency
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) calls on Parliament to release the report by Sir Maarten Wevers that lead to the resignation of Auditor-General Martin Matthews. 5 Aug, 2017

TINZ applauds decline in foreign trusts
Government implementation of tougher disclosure requirements for foreign trusts have led to around 75% discontinuing or exiting New Zealand. 9 Jul, 2017

Public Sector Integrity Media Release
State Services Commission took a very positive step in addressing a key recommendation of TINZ's Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment by advertising a role for Deputy Commissioner, Integrity, Ethics and Standards. 11 May, 2017

Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 TINZ media release
Transparency International 25 Jan, 2017