OAG report on the Saudi sheep saga

On 2 November, 2016 the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) released its Inquiry into the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership. On the 3rd of November TINZ provided a press release on this landmark report. Our Chair, Suzanne Snively noted “the dangers of complacency about corruption, and the need for transparency to be used as the foil that prevents corruption from taking root”. Release of this report on the Government’s Saudi Sheep Contract provides the basis for a wider public debate about corruption and bribery.

Transparency International New Zealand will continue this conversation. Our mission is to foster a New Zealand culture where transparency, integrity, good governance and ethical standards and practices are the core values for all New Zealanders.

As a result of the OAG’s report on the Saudi Sheep deal:

  • The government needs to deliver on the OAG's request that benefits through the actual use of taxpayer’s funds are comprehensively reported, both the $8.6 Million spent and the remaining amount totaling $11.5 million.
  • Action to extend the coverage of the Official Information Act to include Parliament and to strengthen parliamentary oversight of the executive, as recommended in our Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment, will help prevent similar activity in the future.
  • A continued push for transparency in international trade agreements is necessary.

The OAG's final message is clear‎. Government contracts are monitored for their probity and in this case, the benefit to the New Zealand people. Even with the best of intentions, opacity in government no longer works, sooner or later it will be exposed to the light of day.

To paraphrase the Police: Everything you do, every word you speak, every step you take, the world is watching you! Let's lead the world by ensuring that government business is conducted in broad daylight!

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