I am excited and honoured to be the new Chair of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ), following on from the outstanding leadership of former Chair, Suzanne Snively. I am delighted to see Suzanne’s tireless work recognised with an honorary Damehood, DNZM (Hon).
With the New Zealand public sector and judiciary topping the world again, with Denmark, as the least corrupt, it is easy to become complacent. However, we are in quite unique times. Everyone is learning to work in different ways. There is much more government money than ever before being spent in our communities. The population is afraid of COVID-19 and far more accepting and uncritical of loss of freedoms. Last but not least, governments are making big spending decisions.
It is a critical time for New Zealand society. TINZ has a large role to play by:
- encouraging sound systems in central and local government for open and transparent decision-making
- working with the private sector to ensure they maintain high standards and constantly assess their practices, and
- ensuring a wide range of critical thinking takes place amongst our chief executives and academics.
After almost 30 years in politics, both local and central government, I have good experience to bring to the role of Chair. I understand how their systems work, the strengths and the opportunities for change. I also understand how organisations based on volunteers and members work – and respect the power of passionate people working together with a shared vision, plus common values and ethics.
I am delighted to have Dr Gillian Greer as a Deputy. She has enormous experience from a successful and broad career in civil society, and together we make a formidable team. However, we also owe a huge debt of thanks to Henry Lynch for his sterling work as Deputy supporting Suzanne. He is a known and trusted face in the Corporate world, particularly in Auckland and he will continue to play an important role as we revamp our TINZ Board, and be my right hand in Auckland.
We have much work on our plate, but that doesn’t mean we rest on our laurels. I am looking forward to the opportunities ahead for TINZ to strengthen New Zealand as a Treaty partner, as a Pacific nation, and as a great democracy.