EU trade negotiations to focus on greater transparency
TINZ welcomes the European Commission’s (EU’s) pledge to increase transparency in all future trade deal negotiations, a commitment which was announced last month (14 October 2015, New Zealand time) as part of its new trade and investment strategy, Trade for All: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy.
The strategy is important for New Zealand in light of the European Commissioner of Trade Cecilia Malmström’s recent announcement that she is seeking approval from the EU member states to launch trade negotiations with New Zealand. For the EU, any such negotiations will proceed on the basis of the principles set out in this strategy, which will represent a significant point of difference from the recently agreed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
In January this year, the European Ombudsman called upon the Commission (after launching an own-initiative inquiry) for greater transparency and public access to negotiating texts in the ongoing free trade negotiations between the EU and the United States. The Ombudsman’s final report recognised that the Commission had made “real efforts” to be more transparent, but had not gone far enough.
The Commission’s strategy is a response to a demand for more transparency in trade negotiations, particularly when they encroach on traditionally “domestic” policy areas.
The new trade and investment strategy recognises that transparency should apply at all stages of the negotiating cycle from the setting of objectives for trade agreements, to the negotiations themselves and during the post-negotiation phase. Therefore, on top of existing measures, the Commission will:
- invite the Council (comprising the heads of state or government of the member states) to disclose all free trade agreement negotiating directives immediately after their adoption;
- during negotiations, extend Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership practices of publishing EU texts online for all trade and investment negotiations and make it clear to all new partners that negotiations will have to follow a transparent approach; and
- after finalising negotiations, publish the text of the agreement immediately, as it stands, without waiting for the legal revision to be completed.
The Commission also commits to engage more actively with civil society and the public at large in the context of the civil society dialogues and citizens’ dialogues.
In This Issue
By Suzanne Carter
Director, Transparency International New Zealand
TINZ Initiates Citizen Engagement on OGP Action Plan
The TINZ February Board meeting was extended to include a workshop and discussion on the Open Government Partnership, which is a significantly important initiative to Transparency International and the New Zealand chapter.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international organization promoting transparency, increased civic participation and no corruption. It harnesses new channels and seeks public engagement to make government more open, effective, and accountable. National Action Plans are a requirement of OPG members with regular international reporting required on advances to meet goals. Responding to the "Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity Systems Assessment", which carries 60 recommendations to improve integrity systems in New Zealand, is a key commitment of New Zealand’s Action Plan.
TINZ Patron Sir Anand Satyanand welcomed Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Peter Dunne, State Service Commission and LINZ Officials who all provided updates and listened to TINZ feedback about the Government’s progress for the OPG. Victoria University Professor and Director of the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies (IGPS) Dr Michael Macaulay reiterated the opportunity that New Zealand had to show international leadership in open government if it chose to adopt it.
The key themes of the discussions included a commitment to meet the objectives of the OPG, understanding the need to achieve engagement from New Zealand citizens and recognition that mechanisms needed to be implemented and resourced appropriately for New Zealand to present an excellent example of open democracy.
A report is being prepared by the SSC to update the Minister for SSC on progress of the NZ Action Plan this month. Check http://www.ssc.govt.nz/nz-ogp-action-plan for an update.
Director: Suzanne Carter
Suzanne Carter will be leaving her position as TINZ Director which formally ended 28 February to to devote more time to her consulting practice.
While with TINZ she focused on communications strategy; keeping us on track with messaging and greatly improving our media relations and exposure. We will miss her contributions and wish her the best. Her legacy to TINZ is a strategic communications plan
The Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill
By Grace Liang
Member, Transparency International New Zealand (Board Company Secretary)
Following its introduction to Parliament in June 2014, the Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill passed its first reading on 5 November 2014. The omnibus Bill contains amendments to existing New Zealand legislation aimed at targeting and further disrupting the activities of organised criminal groups. The legislation also seeks to enhance New Zealand’s anti-corruption legislation framework and bring the country in line with international best practice set by international conventions. Public submissions to the Law and Order Select Committee closed on 5 February, 2015.
Transparency International New Zealand made a submission to the Committee, which can be viewed in full here. TINZ's submissions focused on the issue of facilitation payments, and can be summarised as follows:
- that the Bill should more fully clarify that facilitation payments are bribes
- that making facilitation payments unlawful will affirm New Zealand's commitment to preventing corruption and to growing integrity
- that the Bill must ensure consistencies with foreign law and international standards, including the UK bribery legislation
- that an outright ban of facilitation payments removes doubt and provides clear direction to businesses seeking to implement systems and training to stop bribery
From public submissions, the Committee will make recommendations to Parliament and produce a report by 4 May 2015.
New Zealand to be a part of the 2015 Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index for the first time.
Director, Transparency International New Zealand
The Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index 2015 will be the second global analysis of corruption risk in defence establishments worldwide. However, it is the first analysis that includes New Zealand. The Index aims to give governments, armed forces, civil society and citizens the tools to avoid the dangers and inefficiencies that corruption in defence brings. Countries are scored in bands from very low risk (A) to critical risk (F) according to detailed assessment across 76 indicators that cover five prominent risk areas in the government defence sector: politics, finance, personnel, operations, and procurement.
“Corruption in defence is dangerous, divisive and wasteful, and the cost is paid by citizens, soldiers, companies and governments. Yet the majority of governments do too little to prevent it, leaving numerous opportunities to hide corruption away from public scrutiny and waste money that could be better spent,” explains Mark Pyman, Director of Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme.
Transparency International calls on governments to make this traditionally secretive sector, which involves large public contracts, more open. Defence establishments should increase citizens’ access to information about defence budgets and procurement. Legislators should have stronger controls and oversight of the sector, possessing the teeth and access to cut corruption down.
As the TINZ Director leading the review of the draft report on behalf of the TINZ Board, I see this as a fantastic opportunity to take a closer look at how we are doing in New Zealand in comparison to other countries. Although the "Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity Systems Assessment" covers the public sector, it does not have a particular focus on Defence, so this will deepen our knowledge.
We are aspirational in New Zealand and have enjoyed being at the top of lists when it comes to transparency and lack of corruption. However, we need to remain vigilant and seek improvements where we can if we are to continue to earn that spot. In order to stay at the forefront we must be unapologetic about demanding the highest standards, and leading rather than following in this area.
TINZ and all of NZ Civil society, along with Defence and the public sector, must embrace this opportunity as a chance to take a good look at how we are performing in a globalised world. New Zealand does seem to be in its own little bubble sometimes. Norms for us behavior-wise are not the necessarily the norms of our allies and others with whom we need to work. With corruption, prevention is always better than cure.
To quote Senator J Fulbright, “To criticize one's country is to do it a service and pay it a compliment. It is a service because it may spur the country to do better than it is doing; it is a compliment because it evidences a belief that the country can do better than it is doing. .... In a democracy dissent is an act of faith.’”
You can find out more at http://government.defenceindex.org/. The report for 2015 is due out in September.
The Pacific is Organising Against Corruption
Dr. Bryce Edwards
Director, Transparency International New Zealand
Corruption is rife in parts of the Pacific both within countries and by other nationals exploiting Pacific forestry, extractive industries and the economic zones. We all know that. But how do we combat it? Transparency International and the 6 Pacific chapters (including Australia, Fiji, PNG, the Solomons, Vanuatu and New Zealand) are stepping up activities to fight against this very serious problem. TINZ hopes to play a much stronger role in helping build the capacity of individual TI chapters in the Pacific – it’s a renewed goal of our organisation.
A major tool for fighting corruption – in both the Pacific Islands and elsewhere – is the use of media and political advocacy. To strengthen our use of such tools, the TI Secretariat organised a two-day workshop on this subject in Vanuatu in early February for the Pacific region chapters. Led by former TI Secretariat public relations manager, Farid Farid, participants learnt how to better use the media to push our message.
The workshop focused on existing resources to make a bigger impact. The Pacific chapters can find a louder and more effective voice through better understanding how the media works, what the public is interested in, and how to use social and digital media.
I was lucky enough to participate on TINZ’s behalf. There were plenty of lessons and skills that I learnt to apply in New Zealand. This information will hopefully help build our chapter’s capacity and impact. This comes at an especially useful time for the New Zealand chapter because as we are re-assessing and re-launching TINZ’s communication strategy under the expert guidance of board member Suzanne Carter. Expect to see TINZ increasingly effective in communicating our ideas to the public and policy-makers.
Beyond learning skills and information to improve our chapter’s communication capacity, the workshop was also vitally important in fostering relations and linkages with the other Pacific chapters. Our neighbouring chapters’ work and issues are interrelated and sometimes similar to our own. This workshop was a solid step in the ongoing commitment for the Pacific chapters to present a stronger united front and leverage synergies in our ongoing fight against corruption.
These signs from the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption are all over the country.
They have received more than 9000 complaints since being established in 2007 and prosecuted 200 cases. Many (around 50%) of the complaints are not about corruption, but are more about employment issues, slow or poor service from government etc. Last year there were some 477 genuine complaints. TI Fiji has a positive relationship with FICAC and keeps in close contact with staff.
Business Principles for Countering Bribery
Director, Transparency International New Zealand
Managing the risk from bribery is a major concern for enterprises all over the world, particularly when facing unfair competition in a market where competitors are acting corruptly. On the surface businesses are often concerned that a non-corrupt enterprise would be at a disadvantage. Recent studies from the Institute of Business Ethics of the United Kingdom show that enterprises that had established a code of ethics are more profitable than enterprises without it. They contend that clients, employees and stakeholders are more gratified, leading to better results. Although integrity is shown to be good for businesses, bribery and corruption remains a major challenge.
To assist businesses in the design and implementation of effective anti-bribery policies, Transparency International (TI) developed the "Business Principles for Countering Bribery" with the cooperation of multi-stakeholder process, involving businesses, academia, trade unions and other non-governmental bodies. These policies were first developed in 2003 but have been tested and reviewed over the years, the latest published in October 2013.
The programme for countering bribery is based on two business principles:
- The enterprise shall prohibit bribery in any form whether direct or indirect.
- The enterprise shall commit to implementing a programme to counter bribery. The programme shall represent the enterprise’s anti-bribery efforts including values, code of conduct, detailed policies and procedures, risk management, internal and external communication, training and guidance, internal controls, oversight, monitoring and assurance.
Bribery is defined as “the offering, promising, giving, accepting or soliciting of an advantage as an inducement for an action which is illegal or a breach of trust”.
The scope of the programme covers conflicts of interest, bribes, political contributions, charitable contributions and sponsorships, facilitation payments, gifts, hospitality and expenses.
Of interest to New Zealand is the world-wide recognition that facilitation payments are bribes which should be prohibited. In contrast to this, the Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill, introduced into New Zealand Parliament on 25 June 2014, has not explicitly changed the current legal standing of facilitation of payments, where payments can be made to foreign public officials for expediting an action. As currently worded the Bill fails to follow the lead taken by the UK Bribery Act 2010, by not allowing facilitation payments considering them a form of bribery. This is also the position of Transparency International based on experience fighting corruption around the world.
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) promotes zero tolerance of bribery and corruption evidenced by its "Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity Systems Assessment" and lead role in creating a free online Anti-Corruption Training module. The Institute of Financial Advisors (IFA) New Zealand’s professional body for advising practitioners in financial planning has signed a MoU with the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) for the delivery of business ethics training courses to their membership.
There is compelling and abundant evidence that business ethics contributes to sustainability in the long term through risk mitigation, maintaining integrity and reputation, attracting top talent, increasing brand loyalty and enhancing value.
Visit the Transparency International website to read or download the "Business Principles for Countering Bribery"
TINZ Director Profile Janine McGruddy
Director, Transparency International New Zealand
New TINZ director Janine McGruddy was interviewed by Transparency Times. Here is what she had to say:
Why do you think New Zealand has such a strong international reputation for transparency and good governance? Because we have always had a sense of what is important: first to give woman the vote, establishing a treaty with the indigenous people, fighting apartheid, and having the guts to stand up to the US over the nuclear ship issue.
How does New Zealand benefit from its reputation? We are warmly welcomed wherever we go, and we have a voice on matters of global importance.
Why do you feel that Transparency International is an important organisation? Corruption has a way of trickling down and creating problems at all levels of society. TI is an essential watchdog in a rapidly changing and global world.
What motivated you to become involved in TINZ? As a passionate public servant I am well aware that if we do not value/protect what we have we can easily lose it. If NZ is the least corrupt then we should be working to lead not follow in improving on our baseline.
I believe that ordinary people have the power to change their world simply by deciding to take small steps in the right direction.
What would you like to accomplish? I would like to see the work of the Ombudsman strengthened both financially. In terms of power, I would like to see the public service strengthened in terms of professionalism, being apolitical and providing free and frank advice without fear or favour.
What steps do you think we can take to safeguard us from corruption in New Zealand and maintain our world leadership role in good governance? By leading work on strengthening the public sector to be independent and by demanding our politicians commit to good governance through vehicles such as GOPAC and the Open Government Partnership, and by working hard to meet all 60 recommendations in the Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment
TINZ Interim Director Profile Mark Sainsbury
Interim Director: Mark Sainsbury
Interim Director, Transparency International New Zealand
Mark begins his term as director in March. He will be replacing Suzanne Carter as the director responsible for communications.
What Motivated You to Join TINZ? Quite simply, Suzanne Snively. I was MC’ing the Wellingtonian of the year awards when Suzanne won the supreme award. I of course had known Suzanne over many years but this reaquainting lead to a discussion about how I could help TINZ. The more I read about TINZ the more I appreciated the fit. In my own work in media consultancy the first piece of advice I give clients and the advice that drives everything that follows is: Be honest. Be open. I give that advice because it is the right thing to do and also because it is the sensible thing to do.
Why is it Important to be Involved in an Organization Like TINZ? We all have ideals we think are important but the reality is unless you are prepared to back up your belief with your time and commitment it’s meaningless. You can’t; just leave it to someone else. The biggest issue really is identifying what you can contribute and often you can underestimate that. In this case I was gently persuaded that I could use my skills to help promote what I believe in.
Why Does New Zealand have a Strong International Reputation for Transparency and Good Governance? I think in many ways it goes back to us being such a young country. The entrenched interest groups with their own patch to protect didn’t have as long to take root and given the size of the country transparency was more easily achieved.The structures and strictures of our public service also helped to establish that groundwork and is something we need to jealously guard. I also believe that a good reputation builds on itself. The longer and stronger we have this reputation the more reason there is to safeguard it. As a country consistently rated in the top two in the world it sends a message that this is how business is done here. This acts as a deterrent to those who would want to corrupt that and as an incentive to those who want to do business with honest brokers.
What Should TINZ's Focus be in New Zealand? We talk about what we export for this country why not focus on exporting transparency and the benefits it brings. What I found fascinating looking into this whole area was that it wasn’t just a virtue in itself. Transparency and the lack of corruption are good for business you don’t have to be moral crusader there is the business case for operating the right way. We also can’t just rest on our laurels. We have a well-deserved reputation but we must ensure we live up to it. To leverage off that reputation we must also be vigilant in protecting it.
What Steps Can We Take to Prevent Corruption in New Zealand? The expectation of openness and transparency is our best weapon. We demand a standard and call out those it. There are competing pressures that while not in themselves are directly corrupt but can facilitate it later. For instance changing the ethos and the independence of our public service might be considered market driven but what if it undermines the fundamental independence of the service and so over time special interests with no oversight have greater influence all out of the public gaze? This is where TINZ has a huge role to play. I hope I can assist in some small way with that.
TINZ Director Profile Josephine Serrallach
Director, Transparency International New Zealand
New Director Josephine Serrallach tells Transparency Times about her interest and involvement is the interview below:
What motivated you to Join TINZ? Corruption is endangering the world’s economy and damaging the lives of many people, so when I was given a copy of the "Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity Systems Assessment" I saw in its recommendations a positive answer to restraining abuses of power by designing and establishing integrity systems throughout the entire spectrum of our society. Consequently, I decided to join.
Why do you feel it is important to be involved with an anti-corruption organization such as TINZ? It is extremely important to promote an attitude of zero tolerance to corruption and working within an anti-corruption movement, such as TINZ, is the best way to channel the personal effort to achieve a better society.
Why do you think New Zealand has such a strong international reputation for transparency and good governance? The corruption perceptions index 2014 comparing the levels of public sector corruption in 175 countries around the world shows that New Zealand together with Denmark are the countries with the highest trust in the public sector and this factor is well known and is being portrayed as a model to follow in countries which are suffering high levels of corruption. (New Zealand is now second in the ranking of 175 countries of around the world with 91 points behind Denmark with 92)
How does New Zealand benefit from its reputation? I think that New Zealand should made more efforts to get greater benefit from its reputation. Together with the branding of pure, clean and green, in certain sectors it could be of benefit adding “trust and integrity”, factors backup by the international findings.
Why do you feel that Transparency International is an important organisation? Transparency International is a worldwide organisation, “a movement on the move”, which has strong values and commitment to fighting corruption at all levels in all territories of the world. It is now a movement from the grass roots of civic society demanding a change and an end of corruption. The movement also has the back up and support from its “Secretariat” based in Germany.
Why have you chosen to be involved in TINZ? What would you like to accomplish? Not being involved would mean choosing the alternative, which would be to complain and do nothing. My decision is to be an active member of TINZ to work towards the prevention of fraud, bribery and corruption and counteracting in a positive manner any instances where conflicts of interests and breach of ethical principles arise. I would like to accomplish a transparent society built in a strong culture of integrity.
What do you think the focus of Transparency International New Zealand should be in New Zealand? In my opinion, the focus of TINZ in the short term should be ensuring that the pillar of legislation is solid enough to build up integrity and accountability systems and public policy processes. As a priority New Zealand should ratify and fully comply with the UN Convention (UNCAC) and fully comply with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention to build up a national anticorruption strategy. Some countries have added to their legislative layer a “Transparency Law” (e.g. Spain, November 2012).
The continuing focus of TINZ should be working towards the implementation of all recommendations as set out in the NIS Assessment 2013. The background work was done, the recommendations are sound. TINZ should work across all areas with government and civic society to ensure the implementation of all recommendations.
In New Zealand and elsewhere in the world anti-corruption measures are usually reactive, while greater emphasis is needed on education and prevention. I see this as the major role for TINZ in New Zealand.
What challenges do we face in our effort to promote transparency, good governance, and ethical practices in New Zealand? The greatest challenge is the attitude of indifference, denial or complacency of some individuals when having to deal with conflicts of interests or breaches of integrity. There is also complacency in relation to transparency, accountability and corruption prevention measures that could easily be implemented. It is only when there is an imminent threat of corruption due to practices in others parts of the world that New Zealanders react by adopting preventive measures (e.g. sports associations, businesses….)
It is also of great concern the increasing acceptance in New Zealand society of certain misconducts as well as the increasing normalization of certain behaviours that (if not illegal) are unethical.
What steps do you think we can take to safeguard us from corruption in New Zealand and maintain our world leadership role in good governance? As stated before, to maintain the leadership role in good governance, it is imperative that we have the right legislative framework to build up a national anti-corruption strategy, but the politicians of the day must believe in the need for transparency and becoming role models. By contrast, we have seen the dismissal by some politicians of severe breaches of integrity.
The next step is to work on prevention, prevention, prevention, through education and training towards achieving a change of our often relaxed attitudes.
How does corruption in other countries impact on New Zealand? Corruption has no frontiers. New Zealand sports organisations are worried about match-fixing invading our territory. Business people can tell many stories about the only way to getting contracts signed or obtaining permits is to provide facilitation payments, which, by the way, they are still allowed under New Zealand law, in spite that internationally facilitation payments are considered a form of bribery.
How do you think corruption affects New Zealand? New Zealand culture of integrity is becoming under increasing pressure. Even relatively low levels of corruption affect New Zealand and New Zealanders. Currently there is a need to restore trust in the political system. Achieving this would require a move towards greater transparency, integrity and accountability of Parliament, Cabinet, Local Government and Political Parties.
What steps do you think we can take to safeguard us from corruption in New Zealand? Parliament should be leading the way and provide the appropriate legislation and policies to safeguard New Zealand from corruption, because the greater the power the greater the responsibility. However, the media, the business community, and non-government organisations need to take a proactive stance on good governance and no-tolerance of corruption.
How do you think we minimise corruption in New Zealand? Education at all levels of society is crucial in minimising corruption in New Zealand and all sectors have a role to play, specially the education sector.
TINZ has also a role to play and I would like to invite private and public organisations to join TINZ to celebrate our country and work with us towards preventing corruption in New Zealand and maintaining the rating of being the world leader by having good governance in all pillars of our society.
Deloitte Bribery and Corruption Survey 2015 Australia & New Zealand
The annual Deloitte Bribery and Corruption Survey 2015 Australia & New Zealand is scheduled for publication on 26 March, 2015. TINZ Director, Mark Sainsbury plans to do an interview on Radio Live that morning. Our website transparency.org.nz will provide details about launch events and the report as details become available.
Open Government Action Plan Event
Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University is planning a public event to discuss the Open Government Action Plan sometime in the autumn. Details will be provided on our website as they become available.
Global Corruption Barometer 2015
Transparency International's Biennial Global Corruption Barometer will be released in July of 2015
In Case You Missed It
TINZ 2013-2014 Annual Report
Transparency International New Zealand's 2013-2014 Annual Report has been published and is now available on our website.
China UnionPay Creates Money Laundering Risk
China UnionPay, a money transfer system that has raised fears of money-laundering overseas, is being considered by Immigration New Zealand as an acceptable means for wealthy Chinese applicants to bring cash to New Zealand. An internal research report in 2008 by the People's Bank of China identified UnionPay cards as one of the main tools that corrupt individuals used to facilitate cross-border transfer of funds. Read the story by Lincoln Tan, in The New Zealand Herald. Courtesy of the Asia-Pacific Integrity in Action network.
New Zealand Poor Ranking in Climate ChangeNew Zealand rated 'poor' in climate change report, ranked just above China
PNG anti-corruption taskforce broke after making allegations against Prime Minister Peter O'Neill
As reported by ABC News Australia. The most successful anti-corruption initiative in Papua New Guinea's history has been starved of funding and is broke, as a result of allegations made against Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.
This is why our support of the Pacific Region is so important. (source TI-Australia)
Anti-Corruption white paper published by GoodCorporation
A white paper released by GoodCorporation found that three years after the UK Bribery Act came into force, businesses are still struggling to implement the procedures necessary to prevent corruption, with over a third of almost 3,000 anti-corruption controls assessed by GoodCorporation graded inadequate. (source: TI-Australia)
Petition on Trade Deal Finally HeardArticle on Radio NZ
Secrecy Breeds Corruption
Transparency International blog related to its Unmask the Corrupt campaign calling for governments to eliminate the secrecy of shell companies as a way to stop corruption and to ensure that there is greater oversight and due diligence when suspicious customers attempt to buy expensive real estate properties and luxury goods.
Northern shadows: Norway Doesn‘t Always Practise what it Preaches
Transparency International blog regarding Norway's international challenges to fighting corruption. How much of this applies to New Zealand?
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