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TINZ Chief Executive Officer
by Janine McGruddy
TINZ Chief Executive Officer
Kia ora TINZanites!
Once again, New Zealand’s high ranking in transparency indices has us in the hot seat for providing advice to those lower down the rankings.
I have been invited on an intensive visit to Taiwan, presenting to two conferences—one with their Defence to discuss the Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index (in which New Zealand got the only A in the Asia Pacific in 2015). The second a Local Government Conference to share the secrets of being number one in the Corruptions Perceptions Index (CPI). Meetings were also scheduled with their Justice Minister, Head of the Agency Against Corruption and the Chief of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau.
Our “goodness” or “badness’ is all relative. The rest of the world sees us in headlines such as “New Zealand—Number One in CPI” or “New Zealand wins best country in the world for the fourth year in a row”. Whether our consistently high rankings leave you feeling proud, or worried about how bad things can be elsewhere, probably depends on your personal situation.
That the gap between the haves and the have-nots in Aotearoa is getting wider, is food for thought. Corruption and inequality feed off each other to create a vicious circle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society, and unequal distribution of wealth. Polling shows New Zealanders have consistently rated inequality as the single biggest issue facing the country since 2014. Over 80 per cent of the country are concerned or very concerned about income and wealth imbalances.
Internationally, all the world’s major economic bodies—including the IMF, the OECD and the World Bank—have argued for some time that inequality is a major problem that must be addressed.
After remaining fairly stagnant from the 1950s through the 1980s, the income gap has been growing markedly, by every major statistical measure, for some 30 years.
Domestically we now see troubling headlines like “Income inequality: How New Zealand is one of the worst in the world?” Given the correlation between corruption and inequality we have a lot of work to do if we want to maintain our low corruption society.
A lot of what we have is cultural and intangible. While others expect some practical policy advice it is really about building a culture that rejects corruption. TINZ has developed “Seven Actions” to build a corruption free culture. This is the core advice that we share with both internally and externally. These are covered in the article on procurement later in the Transparency Times.
I will report back on Taiwan on my return.
Nāku noa, nā
“E hara taku toa, I te toa takitahi, he toa takitini -
My strength is not as an individual but as a collective””