As all of the country has now moved into Alert Level 1, I’ve had the opportunity over the past month to travel, and to speak at two live events.
The planes to and from Auckland were nearly full when I travelled to meet with the FINANCIAL Integrity System Assessment (FISA) project team. That same week, audiences turned up for both a Transparency International New Zealand’s (TINZ) event in Wellington and the Kapiti/Horowhenua Business and Innovation Awards.
COVID-19 has created economic uncertainty. The June 2020 decline in economic activity of 12.2% was one of the biggest in our history.
The next 'Alert' is for the recovery of business and growth in jobs to replace the ones that have been lost. The potential to do this is enhanced in New Zealand because of the processes in place to prevent corruption and the international perception that New Zealand is a place of integrity.
Candidates speaking at the TINZ event on 6 October demonstrated this in their responses to questions about Business and Political Integrity from the COVID Crisis.
Business Can Move Forward
The Kapiti/Horowhenua Business and Innovation awards (hosted by electricity line company, Electra, held on 9 October) themed Business and Innovation During the Covid-19 Pandemic, exemplified the positive community outcomes achieved by doing business with integrity.
For this event, the decision was made to go ahead with an awards-application process fitting for COVID-19 conditions. The topics examined were based on earlier Baldridge factors about what makes a successful business. Applicants were prompted to tell stories to make their case.
It was a full house event filled with optimistic local businesses. Their stories reflected a strong degree of engagement to make things work for their communities during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The gains made from this have given them optimism for the future.
Using the current jargon, the applicants for the business awards pivoted successfully. They have been succeeding IN SPITE OF the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working from home, they zoomed and teamed together to test the viability of innovative ideas aimed first at just surviving and THEN proving their worth in building resilience and sustainability.
The Kapiti/Horowhenua Region has been fortunate. With more and more local people working from home instead of travelling into Wellington to work, the region’s retail economy has benefited. There has also been strong demand for housing there.
Positive Outcomes in Auckland
These positive economic outcomes are also happening in the suburbs of Auckland, where automobile and house sales are up overall and where essential services have benefited as people work from home rather than in the inner city.
Building the Economic Recovery
Through considered and deliberate steps, those businesses have tried things and identified ways in which they can contribute to building the economic recovery.
Based on their examples of innovation and sustainability, aligned with values of transparency and integrity, our economy can be driven into a positive upward spiral.
7 Key features of an integrity framework that prevent corruption
My From the Chair column in the September Transparency Times listed the 7 key practices for preventing corruption.
These practices provide the foundation for more resilient people, organisations and communities that generate the potential for better business recovery and economic outcomes.
7 Key outcomes of an integrity framework that support potential
When there are clear initiatives to implement and develop the 7 key features or an integrity framework, the foundations are laid. These support a structure and systems that generate a sustainable economy.
The 7 key outcomes from integrity frameworks are:
- Reputation and brand
- Market access
- Lower costs
- Customer loyalty
- Access to responsible investment
- Committed and loyal staff
- Higher productivity/ increased returns
The net effect of the above 7 outcomes of transparency and integrity is that everyone – people, families, communities, financial organisations, businesses, non-government organisations and sporting bodies, has the potential to invest to improve productivity and achieve more sustainable returns.
'Tone from the top' is working
Turning to the question of economic recovery, New Zealand’s tone from the top has attracted the world’s attention.
New Zealand's reputation and brand are at an all time high. Its practices to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have actually worked using democratic processes. This is largely attributable to knowledge sharing among international public health experts.
Suzanne Snively, ONZM
Transparency International New Zealand Inc.