Moving forward with the New Zealand National Integrity Systems Assessment

For the past two years the TINZ Board has been thinking about how it would approach a National Integrity System (NIS) Assessment in 2023. It has agreed on a pathway and areas of focus.

An NIS provides a rich evidential base for subsequent advocacy and analysis. Our NIS  reinforces TINZ’s approach that speaking with mana requires sound knowledge.

The NIS analyses the country’s anti-corruption efficacy sector by sector. The traditional model (developed by New Zealander Jeremy Pope) evaluates key ‘pillars’ in a country’s governance system, in terms of their internal risks and their contribution to fighting corruption in society at large. It also looks at the strengths between pillars.

The pillars are: legislative branch of government; executive branch of government; judiciary; public sector; law enforcement; electoral management body; Ombudsman; audit institution; anti-corruption agencies; political parties; media; civil society, and business.

National Integrity System Assessments are undertaken by TI chapters across the world. Recent ones include Papua New Guinea (2021), Australia’s 2019, Georgia 2020 and Turkey in 2022. TINZ’s last full assessment was done in 2013 with an update on the 2013 assessment completed in 2018 – this was managed by Liz Brown and overseen by Suzanne Snively.

When planning for a 2023 Assessment the TINZ Board considered how to address several major challenges:

  • Concepts of variations of NIS. In 2019 Australia used a lens of looking at the pillar functions rather than specific institutions. The TINZ Board feels the functions model is the best direction for our 2023 Assessment.
  • Previous NIS from TINZ had tried unsatisfactorily to align Te Tiriti. For 2023, The TINZ Board has taken the time to craft how it will address focus areas of the NIS in the context of the Treaty of Waitangi. This will form a substantial part of the 2023 Assessment.
  • A full NIS is beyond TINZ financial and human resource capacity in any one year. Moving forward TINZ plans to take on two areas of focus each year.  During 2022 we defined the areas of functional focus for progressing the NIS in 2023 and beyond.
  • Having run two NIS and an additional update since 2003, there are areas that need less attention - and some that need more. The Board agreed to focus on those areas of higher need taking into account members' views expressed at the 2022 AGM.
  • A lot of ongoing work complements NIS areas (e.g. electoral reform, local government reform). This will be taken into account when determining the function areas to address.

The Board at its April meeting allocated reserve funding towards the NIS and decided that the two areas focus for 2023 (also within a Te Tiriti analysis) will be:

  • Business Integrity, with a focus on the interface between business and government (e.g. influence, procurement)
  • Corruption prevention and exposure

Members and stakeholders will have the opportunity to contribute to the NIS assessment as it progresses throughout this year and into 2024.

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