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TINZ Chief Executive Officer
by Janine McGruddy
TINZ Chief Executive Officer
Kia ora TINZanites!
I recently was invited to give a couple of procurement focused presentations to Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Australasia (CIPSA) events. I first spoke at the CIPSA New Zealand Conference 2017 and the following week at a breakfast meeting of their Wellington branch. I felt fortunate to be invited and had a wonderful experience.
Procurement in the public sector is a topic dear to my heart. Getting it right is important, and an intrinsic part of building strong integrity systems.
At the conference I started by asking the 150+ procurement professionals from both the private and public sectors how many of them had personally witnessed corruption in the workplace. Every single one of them raised their hand. Was I surprised? Sadly, no.
For a discussion of recent corruption in New Zealand, see Fiona Tregonning’s article later in this newsletter on acceptable bounds for gifts and hospitality for public officials based on the judgement from the Auckland Transport procurement corruption case.
How does this compare with New Zealand’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranking? The CPI is a decent index on a broad scale. It tells us accurately (and expectedly) that Denmark, New Zealand and Finland have comparatively lower levels of corruption than the rest of the world. To compare the relative rankings of the top 3 (or 4 or 5) countries from year to year is not a particularly useful exercise other than as a point of pride.
Corruption in New Zealand is a different beast. It is not as blatant as in more corrupt countries but still an abuse of entrusted power for personal gain - just not the gains we traditionally think of. Think more of "I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine" relationships but at the cost of business integrity. That is why many people react in disbelief to the "corruption free" image that the CPI is often interpreted to imply.
Work done by TINZ, such as the National Integrity Systems assessment, Financial Integrity Systems Assessment (FISA), and in 2018 the Council Integrity Systems Assessment (CISA) are essential to creating our own benchmarks, relevant to our own environment.
Trading in influence, conflicts of interest, funding of our political parties, nepotism (non-kin ties via "mateship" included), and lobbying are all areas that need a closer lens. Interestingly these are the same concerns a fellow activist cited for Denmark when I discussed this with her in Vienna in 2016. Awareness of this does not negate that New Zealand is among the least corrupt countries in the world, to a degree it supports it – but only if we are willing to address these issues.
Yes, it is great that we are relatively free of corruption in our public sector, but a closer look, more research and education are needed if we are to really be as good as we are perceived as a country. But we can get there.
There is a lot of work to do on whistleblowing as this is definitely a stumbling block pointed out by those who shared their experiences with me. Brendon Wilson’s Whistleblowing article later in this newsletter expands on this.
Join us in this work – ask what you can do to contribute!
Nāku noa, nā
“Kia ū kit e pai – Cleave to that which is good”