What’s on this year for anti-corruption efforts in New Zealand

by Julie Haggie
Chief Executive Officer
Transparency International New Zealand

United Nations Convention against Corruption

New Zealand signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2003 and ratified it in November 2015.


Once every 5 years UNCAC signatories undergo a review process that consists of a self-assessment, then peer review and completed with the publication of a country review report.

New Zealand’s first cycle review was in 2016/17. It included a peer review by Cameroon and Turkey in 2017 and the final report published in 2020.

New Zealand submitted its self-assessment checklist in 2020 for the second review cycle. TINZ was invited to review and comment on the self-assessment and many of TINZ’s comments were reflected in the final document.

The review was then put on hold due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and is only now getting underway, with a review due in the second half of June 2023. Iceland and Solomon Islands are conducting the peer review.

UNCAC Requirements

UNCAC requires countries to criminalise a broad range of corrupt conduct, including both domestic and foreign bribery and related offences such as obstruction of justice, embezzlement of public funds and money laundering. UNCAC also obliges countries to adopt coordinated preventative measures such as transparent procurement processes, codes of conduct for public officials, enhanced access to public information, effective auditing and accounting standards for the private sector and active engagement with civil society.

TINZ will be advocating for more open discussion with civil society in the UNCAC process and contents, and more proactive transparency and timeliness of reporting on New Zealand’s review reports.

OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

New Zealand signed the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 1997 and ratified it in 2001. All of New Zealand’s previous reports are available online via the OECD’s website. NZ’s most recent mutual evaluation against the Convention was in 2013 with an update on that in 2016. Another mutual evaluation is overdue, with COVID again interrupting progress. We hear  that the review is more likely to occur in 2024.

The Convention requires countries to criminalise the offence of foreign bribery (i.e. where an individual or business from New Zealand pays a bribe to a foreign public official in the conduct of international business).

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