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Political party survey responses add value

David Dunsheath

David Dunsheath

TINZ Board Member

Delegated authority for Parliamentary Relations and Newsletter Co-Editor

TINZ sought responses to six key questions from the ten multi-issue political parties standing for election on 23 September about their policies to address corruption. These questions spanned issues of transparency, access to information, anti-corruption and protection for whistleblowers.

The questions and responses were fully reported in our September Issue of the Transparency Times. In addition, TINZ (as an apolitical, non-partisan organisation) evaluated the parties’ responses and offered brief analysis of their diversity.

The TINZ survey reached the front page of the 15 September 2017 issue of National Business Review (NBR). Page 4 was entirely devoted to three of these questions and corresponding responses from six parties, together with commentary from NBR’s interview with TINZ Director, Conway Powell. See Political parties struggle with corruption test and Which political party takes the best stance on corruption? both by Duncan Bridgeman (paid content with 30 day free trial).

Further commentary on broader issues was provided from NBR’s earlier interview with José Ugaz, International Chair of Transparency International. NZ should toughen up political financing rules, Transparency International head says National Business Review (paid Content) Fiona Rotherham and Susan Wood.

The article concluded with “TINZ’s questions also provide a lead into its 2017 New Zealand Finance Integrity System Assessment (FISA), which is designed to gain detailed information about how the financial system identifies and seeks to prevent corruption, reinforces core ethical values and strengthens integrity systems”.

TINZ notes that its FISA survey questions will be launched after the new government is formed. The anonymised answers to the survey will be used as evidence for the FISA assessment to take place in the first half of 2018. The Assessment findings are expected mid-year.

An immediate intention of TINZ is to get the message out so that policies of the as yet unknown new Government, contain effective initiatives that progress transparency, open government, anti-corruption measures and protection for whistleblowers.

Once the government has been formed, TINZ plans to hold coalition parties to account on their pre-election responses while also encouraging their remedy of any shortfalls revealed. TINZ will also bring to their attention the importance of a public register of the beneficial owners of all foreign entities operating in New Zealand and the six incomplete commitments made following David Cameron’s 2016 London Anti-Corruption Summit (ACS). (See New Zealand’s pledges tracked from the 2016 global Anti-Corruption Summit).

While answers to TINZ six questions about anti-corruption policies could be improved in many instances, it was heartening that all ten political parties took the time to provide feedback. This harbours well for re-energising GOPAC (Government Parliamentarians Against Corruption), and encouraging a Parliament wide focus on New Zealand’s reputation for integrity. A precedent for this was Parliament’s unanimous vote for New Zealand to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in November 2015.

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