Brain Food Integrity Forums

Modern Gangsters in New Zealand

A fascinating insight into the current activities of organised crime groups in New Zealand, was provided at the lunchtime public forum Modern Gangsters in NZ on 12 September. This first, sell-out event in Transparency International New Zealand’s Brain Food Integrity Forum series, generated a long waitlist from strong interest in the topic.  Many attendees were business professionals or government employees wanting to learn more about organised crime and what to watch for. 

Our two speakers were Detective Superintendent Greg Williams, National Manager for Organised Crime with the New Zealand Police, and Paul O’Neil, General Counsel at the Serious Fraud Office.

Detective Superintendent Greg Williams NZ Police presents at the September 2019 Brain Food Integrity Forum

Attendees learned about drugs, firearms and counterfeiting; a range of identity, investment and other fraud types; people abuse including migrant smuggling, prostitution and pornography; sports corruption; and cyber-crime.  

The criminal gangs in New Zealand are highly resourced, internationally connected and brutal.  There has been active recruitment of young men resulting in a large increase of members to an expanding number of gangs.  Many deaths have resulted – a third of gun-related homicides are linked to gangs or criminal activity, like drug dealing or robbery.

In the area of fraud, authorities are investigating and prosecuting cases of sophisticated mortgage, property and development fraud. 

We learned about the complexity of these cases involving, for example, multiple loan applications and property transactions facilitated by crooked lawyers.  Authorities face increasingly sophisticated forgeries and transactions that generate convincing documentation.

We learned about the systemic challenges around addressing fraud in New Zealand. These include complacency, difficulty in really understanding the scale and extent of corruption, and insufficient linkages and consistency of action across anti-corruption and integrity efforts. These challenges are compounded by the changing size and nature of complex fraud cases.   

New Zealand is fortunate to have an increasingly good coordination between key national agencies and with overseas anti-corruption and intelligence agencies. The Proceeds of Crimes Act is also a useful tool in fighting money laundering and exposing criminal activity.  It is, however, an ongoing challenge when criminals are constantly seeking new ways of profiting through illicit dealings and exploitation.

Two more Forums: Bring your lunch and feed your mind

Where in the World are We?:   

Thurs 3 October 2019, 12:30pm-1:30pm, Wellington CBD

The centre of economic geography is re-aligning to Asia. New Zealand is close to the action, and close to the risks. How can we maintain our reputation and values of integrity, fairness and pragmatism whilst making the most of our opportunities?

Presenters: Colin Keating, former Permanent Representative of NZ to the United Nations and former Executive Director of Security Council Report; and Vangelis Vitalis, Deputy Secretary Trade and Economic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Suzanne Snively will Chair the event. .

Register Now!

Hate Speech or free Speech:   

Thurs 10 October 2019, 12:30pm-1:30pm, Wellington

Most people who think about this topic sit on and off fences, wanting to enable freedom of expression, but not wanting the result to be discriminatory or dangerous. This is an opportunity to think more deeply than clickbait. Hear different points of view and offer your view in respectful discussion.

Presenters: Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University; and Liam Hehir, Partner, Fitzherbert Rowe Lawyers, and regular blogger on this and other social topics.

Register Now!

Registration is required for each event, as there will be no registration at the door. There is a modest charge ($40) per forum ($30 for members), which goes directly towards supporting the work of Transparency International New Zealand.

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