2013 National Integrity Assessment: Second Edition

Liz Brown
Member with Delegated Authority
Financial Integrity System Assessment, Local Government, National Integrity Assessment Programme

Liz Brown

Member with Delegated Authority for

New Zealand’s National Integrity System

Transparency International New Zealand’s Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment (NIS) was published in December 2013, 10 years after a first assessment carried out in 2003. It is a definitive document about the strengths and weaknesses of New Zealand’s integrity systems. Its recommendations are routinely considered in New Zealand anti-corruption discussions.

The 2013 NIS assisted in raising awareness of integrity issues. It is particularly noteworthy that the government undertook to respond to the report and its recommendations. The State Services Commission (SSC) was the lead agency for this response which was made available to TINZ in 2015 and later published on the SSC website. This response has been updated as recently as July of 2018.

The strongest conclusion from this NIS was about complacency and lack of commitment to the work required to prevent corruption.

It identified substantial strengths and some potential weaknesses in our integrity system and made over 60 specific recommendations, grouped under 7 main headings, for strengthening the system.

In 2015, TINZ reviewed the 2013 NIS, adding some additions and corrections that had been identified and agreed immediately after publication in 2013, and editing for consistency and readability.

In June of 2018, Liz Brown, the research team leader for the 2013 NIS, was contracted to project manage a 2nd edition of the NIS. It became apparent that a lot has changed in 5 years and so others were contacted to update sections where they had specialist knowledge. The TINZ Board is playing a key role in the quality of this review to provide comment and feedback, and to be informed and accountable for what it says.

The aim of the 2018 update is to identify changes that have occurred and progress that has been made since 2013, particularly with progress in implementing the 2013 recommendations. It is not a complete review, and is not intended to introduce new themes or to identify new sources of strength or weakness.

Process

The authors and subject matter experts of the various sections of the 2013 assessment have been re-engaged to update their contributions, to comment on progress in implementing the relevant recommendations and to summarise briefly the changes in their field of expertise.

Additional assistance, including a research assistant, has been engaged where the original authors are unavailable.

As of August 2018, most of the core “pillar reports” had been updated, though finding replacements for the original authors means not all are complete and work has only just started on one.

It is intended that the second edition of the 2013 NIS will be reviewed fully by the TINZ board before publication. The form and nature of the external review process is not yet settled.

Emerging findings 2018 2nd Edition

On a very preliminary and partial basis, the following are emerging as key points:

  1. There is a greater awareness of integrity issues, particularly in government and the public sector. It is noteworthy that we now have a Minister for Open Government, a Minister with responsibility for anti-corruption strategy, and a Deputy Commissioner Integrity in the State Services Commission.
  2. There is a lesser increase in awareness of the importance of taking steps to build strong integrity systems in the business sector.
  3. Since 2013, the government has produced two independently reviewed Open Government Partnership (OGP) national action plans. In general, the reviewer has found the plans sound, but implementation slow. Public consultation about, and input into the plans have been insufficient. The OGP is being taken more seriously under the current Coalition Government.
  4. There has been little progress on issues that require Parliament to consider its own processes and practices.
  5. There has been some strengthening of watchdog institutions.

These findings don’t include areas where work has yet to be completed and change is expected, particularly for law enforcement agencies, the media, and the public sector pillar reports.

The 2nd edition of the 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment will be released late in 2018 or the first quarter of 2019.

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