From the Chair

Suzanne Snively ONZM Chair Transparency International New Zealand

Suzanne Snively ONZM
Transparency International New Zealand

Over recent years, Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) has become increasingly knowledgeable about the nature of transparency in the public, private and NGO sectors. TINZ newsletter articles have described how transparency and accountability strengthen integrity systems with real-time examples of how this works to prevent bribery, corruption and fraud while improving outcomes for people, business and communities. 

TINZ has made many recommendations about ways to further improve transparency, accountability and accessibility. 

Slow but determined progress in raising awareness and legislative action is being made in many sectors of New Zealand.  This issue highlights: the inaugural lecture from Victoria University’s newly formed Brian Picot Chair in Ethical Leadership; Victoria University’s Institute of Governance and Policy Studies (IGPS) recently published its second Public Trust Survey showing increased trust in New Zealand’s public sector (in contrast to most of the world); and New Zealand’s continuing Open Government Partnership initiative.

Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi is moving forward with a public register of beneficial ownership of companies.

TINZ is pleased to see practice and policy change across central government agencies that address several of the recommendations in our 2013 National Integrity System Assessment. Examples include: joining the Open Government Partnership; increasing resources to enhance the effectiveness of the Ombudsman and Electoral Office; ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) – unanimously after passing omnibus anti-corruption legislation; online access to almost all current central government legislation; ability for all New Zealanders to follow select committees live on Facebook; and moves to better resource public broadcasting.

Unfortunately, the New Zealand Stock Exchange has not kept up with the pace of improvement in our public sector. In 2009, TINZ published a study of the top 50 listed companies, As Good as We are Perceived.  Our research found less than half of those companies published information that demonstrated the attributes of a culture of integrity, either in their annual reports or on their websites. While a high level analysis has found that companies are now better prepared to address corruption, the current challenge is that the lack of transparency in New Zealand Stock Exchange transactions may be driving investors away. This, as well as the lack of transparency in trading, are factors leading to New Zealand companies like Xero moving to the Australian Stock Exchange.

Suzanne Snively, ONZM


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