From the Chair

Suzanne Snively

Suzanne Snively
TINZ Chair

Transparency International New Zealand sent six questions to each political party asking about their position on topics important to our mission.

We asked questions related to transparency and accountability in:

  • Campaign funding
  • Transparency regarding the Official Information Act
  • Anti-corruption (two questions)
  • Protection for whistleblowers
  • Candidates’ conflicting interests

As you will seen from the table of compiled answers, the answers ranged from the belligerant (New Zealand First) to thoughtful (TOP, United Future, the NZ Democratic Party and the Greens). The Maori Party's response reflects its long standing commitment to address corruption through attention to detail in its stated anti-corruption policy.

What is clear, though, is that there is still a role for TINZ. Its work won’t be replaced in the short-term through the efforts of any of the existing political parties. Our elections article directly follows this report.

The visit by TI’s Global Chair, José Ugaz has provided an opportunity for New Zealanders in Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Wanaka and Christchurch to gain greater knowledge about corruption.

José described first-hand the dangers of exposing and procuring grand corruption in Peru. Jose’s experience there provides a clear contrast between our society and his; much of his experience was because of the nature of Peru. His audiences were left with admiration for his courage.

While Peru's culture is quite different from New Zealand's, our immunity from offshore grand corruption is insufficient given the complacency that exists here through lack of awareness.

José received nationwide exposure through a NBR video interview of José by Susan Wood, a Radio Live interview by Mark Sainsbury and a RNZ interview with Don Wiseman.

José’s real-life experience in the housing market and direct knowledge of published examples from the Panama Papers resonated in New Zealand.

His parting promise to TINZ is to assist us in a study of the impact of money laundering on the housing market in Auckland along with a study of the Sydney housing market by our Australian colleagues.

With the upcoming election in three weeks, Election Commissioner Alicia Wright assures us in a story this month that the possibility of fraudulent voting, Russian sabotage or other cyber security breakdown is remote.

Even fake news is ruled out because of the simplicity of New Zealand’s voting system. New Zealand’s voting system may be simple, old fashioned, and paper based. But it is secure and the process has been improved to make voting easier and counting of votes quick and efficient.

The good news, then, is that the changing fortunes of the political parties and voter turnout are what will dominate the media here. With a boring style of voting, the voting process itself won’t make it into any news cycles.

Suzanne Snively, Chair
Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

7 September 2017

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