Strong civil societies help to uphold human rights and democratic systems. When citizens understand and help to shape the rules that govern society, regulations are more effective, business environments are stronger and levels of corruption are lower.
Active civic engagement encourages participation of women and other marginalised groups in democratic processes, it empowers citizens to improve health and education, it encourages investigative journalism, and more. We are made stronger by the active involvement of citizens in local and national decision-making, and through open government responses.
TINZ works with other civil society organisations, such as Integrity Fiji, to share anti-corruption information and messages across South Pacific networks, and with PI individuals and networks in New Zealand.
As part of an ongoing effort to strengthen our networks in Pacific communities in both New Zealand and in the Pacific, we work with NGOs, youth and student groups, faith-based networks, unions, academia, and media. We will also reach out to business and professional networks across the Pacific.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) invites a wide range of citizens from diverse backgrounds to participate in creating a National Action Plan (NAP) to deliver to Cabinet every two years. Each NAP is centred around improving transparency and accountability, providing easier access to information, strengthening integrity and enabling greater citizen participation in government decision-making. A NAP comprises 5-15 specific measurable commitments to be completed by either government, civil society organisations, universities, local or regional councils, an NGO, and/or a community group.
We promote the Open Government Partnership (OGP) as an important part of New Zealand’s journey to preventing corruption and promoting transparency. Suzanne Snively, Chair of TINZ, sits on the OAG Expert Advisory Panel, which supports the delivery of a plan to achieve practical commitments alongside other civil society partners and with local and central government officials.
The current (Fourth) OGP National Action Plan is under consultation.
Corruption poses a serious threat to sustainable development, as it can undermine a nation's ability to progress efficiently toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals. When people in power are working in their own private interests, they can – directly or indirectly – draw key resources away from sustainable development initiatives and objectives.
The United Nations have detailed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. The SDGs recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
TINZ is particularly focused on ‘Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’, because it is concerned with good governance to achieve transparent and accountable institutions. This is critical to the achievement of all other SDGs.
Education and understanding of civics is vital for our rangatahi to engage and participate in the conversations that affect them and their futures. Civics education includes learning how voting works, how governments are formed, how laws are made, rights and responsibilities and how individuals and communities can engage with central and local government to bring about change. In New Zealand, civics also includes an understanding of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi, as our founding document, and what obligations arise from our Treaty partnership.
Transparency International New Zealand supports work that improves our young people’s awareness of citizenship roles and responsibilities. One of our Directors was part of a cross-agency working group, collaborating with the Ministry of Education to develop civics education resources. These resources are part of the School Leavers’ Toolkit, and provide an understanding of civics and how our political system operates.