Vietnamese provincial leaders visit New Zealand

In early July TINZ CEO, Julie Haggie, and Director, Brendon Wilson, presented to a visiting delegation of provincial Vietnamese public sector leaders. This was one small part of a two-week Victoria University programme for the delegation on governance and leadership in the New Zealand public sector.

Our presentation focussed on the importance of participation, transparency and accountability in the public sector.  

Delegation members were keen to hear about TINZ’s funding base and governance as well as about the work we do. 

The group were also very interested to hear about the Vietnamese results for the Corruption Barometer (Asia 2020) which surveyed Vietnamese people on their experience and views of corruption.   

Corruption has been a persistent problem in Vietnam, made worse by weak rule of law and a lack of transparency and accountability.  The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has taken substantial action against corruption in recent times.  7,500 individuals have been criminally investigated for corruption charges in the last two years, including 25 senior officials.  Early this year the anti-corruption campaign led to the forced resignations of the state president and two deputy prime ministers.    

Unfortunately top down control from CPV is also reducing civil society space in Vietnam, with a wave of recent NGO closures and the use of tax evasion charges to silence or imprison civil society leaders.   Restrictions and prison sentences have also applied to journalists who write about ‘controversial’ issues.

Our presentation focussed on what we know from TI global tools.  We talked about the results of the 2020 Global Corruption Barometer that covered Asian countries. 64% of Vietnamese citizens surveyed in that survey think corruption is a big problem.  15% report having paid a bribe to receive public services – this rate of bribery is relatively low compared to other Asian countries.  As in most countries surveyed in the GCB, citizens maintain a strong belief in the power of the people, with 68% believing that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

We ended the session with a game where teams presented to each other on the importance of transparency, accountability and participation for the provincial communities they serve, and then voted which team had made the best pointsMembers of the delegation enjoyed the active discussion and entered into it with great enthusiasm. They offered a range of examples of accountability and public engagement within the Communist Party structure.

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