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Opportunity for lessons learned from events leading to ‎the resignation of the Auditor-General

David McNeill

David McNeill

David McNeill

TINZ Deputy Chair

Reporting from Auckland

Election season is upon us and Parliament has been dissolved. Yet the sense that something sordid remains to be divulged in Sir Maarten Wevers' report and the brief tenure of Martin Matthews as Auditor-General.

If the contents of the Sir Maarten Wevers report simply covers personal employment matters, then just say so. As it is, we are left with the appearance that the Officers of Parliament Committee is avoiding disclosure of its mistakes. We suggest Speaker, David Carter's report be sent to the State Services Commissioner who could combine its key messages about better ways of managing fraud, with information from well-informed whistleblowers. With this information, lessons can be identified and future guidelines developed for the following reasons: These lessons are important for all public-sector managers in central and local government.

  1. Lesson learned for Parliament's political party leaders in regards to due diligence for appointment of key roles such as that of the Auditor General. This case also highlights the need for the Law Commission to review these processes.
  2. Given the recent several million-dollar Fuji-Xerox fraud case, there may be important learnings for private sector and NGO leaders as well

New Zealand's international reputation for integrity is based on effective and candid disclosure of mistakes, not sweeping them under the carpet. Many countries think the only reason New Zealand doesn't have fraud and corruption is because we don't look for it. By bringing transparency and accountability to the important appointment process of Auditor General, New Zealand's behaviour will be as good as it's perceived. The current secrecy is a blight to our reputation.

The Officers of Parliament Committee - made up of the Speaker and political party representatives - is accountable to a single tier parliament. In reality, it needs to be clear that this committee is accountable to the New Zealand people. It needs to review its processes in order to ensure there is greater transparency in the future.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer in a recent interview on RNZ National offered his thoughts on the current lack of transparency surrounding Sir Maarten Wevers’ investigative report into the former Auditor-General, together with the timing of the latter’s resignation.

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