Frequently Asked Questions about New Zealand’s Integrity Plus 2013 National Integrity System Assessment

What is a National Integrity System?

A good working definition of a National Integrity System is: ‘the institutions, laws, procedures, practices and attitudes that encourage and support integrity in the exercise of power.’ Integrity systems ensure that power is exercised in a manner that is true to the values, purposes, and duties for which that power is entrusted or held by institutions and individual office-holders in the public sector, the private sector, or civil society organisations.

What is Transparency International and why has it undertaken this work?

Transparency International is a politically non-partisan global civil society organisation with a mission to create change that will lead to a world that is free of corruption. The New Zealand Chapter – Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) works to promote transparency, good governance and ethical practices in New Zealand’s private and public sectors, in the South Pacific, and internationally, as part of the global Transparency International movement.

Visit the Transparency International website. Transparency International New Zealand’s website is You can find out more at

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Has this work to been undertaken in New Zealand before?

Yes. Transparency International New Zealand completed the first NIS assessment in 2003. Integrity Plus, 2013 is New Zealand’s second NIS assessment. The first is available as a .pdf file.

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Why is this assessment needed?

An NIS assessment enables independent evaluation of a country’s principal governance systems and therefore the integrity of a country’s institutional arrangements. If the systems function well and in balance with each other they provide an effective protection against the abuse of power and foster transparency, accountability and integrity.

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Who has paid for this work to be undertaken?

Direct costs have been financed by a range of public sector entities, the Gama Foundation (a CSO) with in-kind contributions from private firms. However most of the resource input has been in the form of the voluntary time contributed by a large and diverse team of researchers and reviewers. We estimate a minimum of 500 person days has been provided in support of this project. Transparency International New Zealand does not receive Chapter funding from the international body of TI.

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How did you choose the pillars to be reported on?

New Zealander Jeremy Pope pioneered the concept of a national integrity system assessment through his early work with Transparency InternationaI. A research methodology, involving a comprehensive range of questions, was developed over a decade ago and has been improved and used in over 100 different countries through the last decade (visit for specific information).

Key to the methodology is a country specific template. For 2013, New Zealand’s second NIS assessment, New Zealand has been assessed against a range of standards including independence, resourcing, transparency, integrity and accountability. These indicators support domestic laws and norms, international obligations and standards of advanced practices, as well as expectations of New Zealand citizens. Transparency International New Zealand has called its approach Integrity Plus 2013

At the heart of this assessment are reports on twelve ‘pillars’. The pillars assessed are Legislative, Executive, Judiciary, Public Sector, Law Enforcement/Anti-corruption, Electoral Management, Ombudsman, Audit Institutions, Political Parties, Media, Civil Society and Business. These branches of government, sectors or agencies collectively make up New Zealand’s national integrity system.

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What are the key findings of the Report?

New Zealand remains highly rated against a broad range of indicators of transparency and quality of governance, however, a number of areas of concern or weakness highlighted in 2003 remain. Please refer to Full Report for details. The core message of the report is that it is ‘beyond time for serious and urgent action to protect and extend integrity in New Zealand’.

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What happens now the report has been completed?

It is hoped this research provides a reference for an implementation programme which focuses on ensuring the identified gaps in the NIS are ameliorated. It will also provide a useful reference for organisations focussed on integrity and ensuring corruption-free behaviour. And TINZ hopes it will also stimulate the development of more simplified tools and resources to support ongoing education for people of all ages and backgrounds about New Zealand’s national institutions, sectors or agencies and their interactions to promote a society that values improving integrity, transparency and accountability.

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