Minister Clare Curran engages with TINZ agenda

Hon Clare Curran has the portfolios of Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, and Minister for Government Digital Services. She is also Associate Minister for the State Services (Open Government).

Minister Clare Curran visited the TINZ board meeting on 18 December 2017.  She acknowledged the years of work from TINZ which has built a solid long term reputation for flag flying for transparency in New Zealand. She pledged to pay attention to – and assist where practical – the work of TINZ.

She expressed enthusiasm about her portfolio which spans many areas of interest to her and TINZ.  She gave her reason to become involved in many areas of the government as her desire for a more open and transparent government through all levels. 

Areas she touched on where she feels there is work to be done include:

  • Activities related to open government and the Open Government Partnership
  • Digital Inclusion and building the economy on technology and innovation
  • Committed to finding a Chief Technology Officer – a high level, outward facing position to engage in the thinking about how to do technology well
  • Ensuring the Official Information Act is fit for purpose
  • The role of whistleblowers in New Zealand and Whistleblower legislation. 
  • Breaking down the cynicism between citizens and government and earning more trust of the government by its citizens.

When referring to the lack of protective disclosure for whistleblowers, the minister made a link to her other portfolios for Broadcasting and Digital Media. As most protective disclosures are currently unusable, whistleblowers put themselves at risk. There are lots of grey areas, particularly in the cyber arena. In opposition, the minister was involved in protecting whistleblowers.

The Minister’s key interests that align with TINZ involve public sector transparency and integrity, including:

  • The Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment which is the definitive document about New Zealand’s integrity systems.
  • Issues related to foreign financial involvement in New Zealand markets:
    • The Shewan Inquiry – both it’s success and shortcomings.
    • The Panama and Paradise Papers
    • Anti-money laundering – and AML/CFT legislation
    • Registration of beneficial ownership of companies and trusts
    • Offshore ownership of New Zealand property
  • Commitments made by New Zealand at the 2016 Global Anti-Corruption Summit.
  • The Open Government Partnership where New Zealand has been a laggard – the minister is engaged in rising to its challenges
  • Whistleblowing issues.

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