From the Chair

Suzanne Snively
Chair
Transparency International New Zealand

Good news to start the year 2020! The New Zealand public sector and judiciary are again ranked at Number 1 on the Transparency International Corruptions Perceptions Index (TI-CPI). (See next article)

The TI-CPI was established in 1995 and New Zealand has always been one of the Top 4 countries. It is important to acknowledge the role of the public sector and judiciary in maintaining New Zealand’s top TI-CPI score.

Consider the impact on other sectors of the economy. For example:

  • The absence of corruption is reflected in lower prices and greater disposable income for households

  • A reputation for a trusted public sector eases access to international trading opportunities, in this way developing bigger export markets

  • Bigger export markets increase business returns resulting in a larger tax base. This, in turn, assists New Zealand’s economy to deliver well-being to the wider population.

The Trade for All Advisory Board (TFAAB) circulated a report for comment before Christmas. They recommend specific policies to advance the Government’s objective of making trade policy work for all New Zealanders.

TFABB members agree on the need for our country to lift its trade performance. While exports as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) have been growing rapidly in the rest of the world, exports have been in long-term decline in New Zealand since early in the 21st century.

According to the TFAAB Report, “New Zealand’s productivity ultimately depends on having the right policy settings domestically in order to deliver higher, more sustainable, standards of living and better jobs…”. Addressing export decline is a key component.

There are important interconnections between transparency, productivity, sustainability and inclusiveness.

Improved export returns will assist the great transformation requirements of the 21st century, especially climate change and rapid technological change.

The TFABB is unanimous that the Government’s objective of maximising the opportunities and minimising the risks around trade agreements will produce a virtuous cycle: “better engagement with stakeholders leading to better information; better information leading to better analysis; better analysis leading both to better policy and a firmer basis for future communication and…better overall outcomes”.

Building the number of export capable companies of all sizes is the primary challenge to improving New Zealand’s export performance.

The Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council has recommended that the Government take a serious review of its offshore investment models. Increasing trade and export returns requires stronger strategic initiatives led by Government. A more proactive approach is needed to the identification of sectors with comparative advantage and working to create scale.

Our public sector’s top TI-CPI ranking provides a clear signal that New Zealand is good to do business with. In a modern globalised world, an authentic and demonstrated reputation for integrity is a primary success factor, and a competitive advantage.

A Government serious about increasing trade returns as a means of improving prosperity and well-being, can get started right now on promoting New Zealand exporters and tourism companies. Our world leading reputation for public sector integrity is a key benefit to promote.

Suzanne Snively, ONZM

Chair

Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

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