Global Anti-Corruption Pledge Tracker – NZ successes

Ferdinand-Balfoort
Member with Delegated Authority
Anti-Corruption Pledges, Fundraising, Governance

Ferdinand Balfoort

TINZ Member with Delegated Authority for 

Global Anti-Corruption Pledges

At the 2016 Global Anti-Corruption Summit in London (ACS), New Zealand made seven specific commitments or pledges towards eliminating corruption. Progress towards implementing these pledges has since been monitored by Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) and internationally reported.

In this regard TINZ has recently completed another round of independent observations and communicated closely with the Ministry of Justice to verify its findings.

Internationally Transparency International UK (TIUK) has created a global anti-corruption pledge tracker to monitor progress. Key themes were selected to enable progress to be compared across the over 40 participating countries. TINZ is working with TIUK to maintain current and accurate data for New Zealand. The table below is the current status of New Zealand’s pledges at the summit.

TINZ is pleased to report on the New Zealand Government’s progress with its seven original ACS commitments.

This represents a substantial effort by all New Zealand Agencies to address the ACS pledges, and is a very positive sign of New Zealand’s commitment to the initial pledges and action plans, as well as overall recognition of the importance of preventing corruption.

The elusively thorny pledge yet to be completed is that of ‘Beneficial Ownership’ of companies (and trusts).

Progress on the five pledges monitored by TI are sumarised as follows: 

Pledge Status Comment
1. Beneficial Ownership

Public register

On-going

The company registry holds basic information but is not required to obtain BO information and this measure is therefore not effective.

The measures for foreign trusts lack transparency and do not cover domestic trusts

There are strong initiatives aimed at setting up a central register of company beneficial ownership, including overseas owners. Despite this, only limited progress has been made as of September 2018.
2. Beneficial Ownership

Access to international law enforcement

Underway

The Taxation (Business Tax, Exchange of Information, and Remedial Matters) Act (2017) which followed the Government Inquiry into Foreign Trust Disclosure Rules, tightens New Zealand’s foreign trust disclosure rules, including for beneficiaries of fixed trusts.

New Zealand will also continue to implement bilateral arrangements that will ensure law enforcement in one partner country has full and effective access to the beneficial ownership information of companies incorporated in the other partner country
3. Law Enforcement

Support establishment of International Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Coordination Centre (‘IACCC’)

Completed

New Zealand has representatives on the Governance Board of the IACCC and provides a London based resource (employed by the NZ Serious Fraud Office) to the IACCC.

 
4. Debarment Database:

Register of company corruption convictions

Completed:

Exploration of a NZ database was found to lack tangible benefit (e.g. no convictions to record in it). However, some information is publicly available (Serious Fraud Office and Companies Office).

Reliance on access to overseas registers is being pursued.
5. Transparency and Integrity

Public procurement

Ongoing

All agencies covered by the Government Rules of Sourcing are now required to use a new Procurement Capability Index.

The government is continuing to:

  • intensify efforts to develop procurement capability, including initiatives that safeguard integrity in the procurement process.
  • review its policy framework and guidance to strengthen the government’s expectations for ethical behaviour and for suppliers not to engage in any form of corruption.
6. Department Database

Public Procurement): NZ will explore establishing an accessible and central database of companies with final convictions for bribery and corruption offences, and ways of sharing information on corrupt bidders across borders.

Inactive New Zealand’s remaining ACS commitment is deemed “inactive”, and no longer being tracked.

Sport: New Zealand’s additional initiative

In addition to the recent refocus on six themes in the formal ACS Pledge Tracker, is ‘Integrity in Sport’. Sport commands huge interest in New Zealand and is under constant threat of major corruption. Sport corruption at any level is rapidly seized upon by news media and escalates civil society awareness that corruption in New Zealand is very real Like most corruption it is often down-played or denied by affected sporting bodies, and therefore, ineffectively addressed.

Topic Status Comment
7. International Sport Integrity Partnership

To explore working with international sports bodies to develop a partnership for combating corruption in sport.

Ongoing New Zealand continues to pursue initiatives aimed are addressing corruption in sport. It is working closely with the World Anti-coping Agency (WADA) and has its own Sporting Integrity Review in development.