National Integrity System 2018 Update: Now launched

David Dunsheath

TINZ Member with Delegated Authority for Open Government

Transparency Times Newsletter Co-editor

The launch

The National Integrity System Assessment 2018 Update (NIS 2018 Update) was launched in Parliament on 22 May 2019.  It is the result of a thorough review of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ)’s earlier NIS 2013 assessment. The development project was led throughout 2018, and edited, by Liz Brown, a previous Banking Ombudsman. 

Hon. Trevor Mallard, Speaker of House of Representatives

The event was hosted by Trevor Mallard, Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives. Those present included the Deputy Speaker, various Ministers of the Crown, Parliamentarians from various parties, senior public sector leaders, and TINZ officers and supporters. 

Tone at the top

Speaker Mallard spoke about the importance of transparency for the legislative, executive, judiciary and the public sector and the significance of roles where the Speaker has oversight such as the ombudsman, OAG, Electoral Commission and law enforcement, to monitor and sanction in a way that ensures accountability. He noted the critical importance of ‘tone at the top’ for any organisation to achieve effective, integrity culture and practices.

Sir Anand Satyanand

He acknowledged the presence of members of New Zealand’s Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), who are considering development a code of ethics and conduct for Parliament.

Maintaining New Zealand’s reputation 

Sir Anand Satyanand (former TINZ Patron, member of Transparency International’s Independent Advisory Group, and Chair External Advisory Group for NIS 2013) spoke of New Zealand’s international reputation. This he observed is reflected in its consistently very high rankings on Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI). He spoke of the prudence needed to keep testing assumptions to ensure we can maintain our reputation that “New Zealand is a country that works” as Kofi Annan, previous Secretary General of the United Nations, once said.

Core messages and recommendations

Liz Brown reminded us of the core message for New Zealand from NIS 2013 “It is beyond time for serious and urgent action to protect and extend integrity in New Zealand.”  She then briefly outlined the positive and negative progress since NIS 2013 and summarised the new six key recommendations (refer to separate article) and new core message for New Zealand (refer to ‘From the Chair’ in this issue of Transparency Times) during her presentation.  

Future progress

John Ryan, Auditor General, described the contributions provided through the monitoring role by independent civil society organisations, and thanked TINZ for such contributions, as significantly demonstrated at this event.

John Ryan, Auditor General

Andrew Kibblewhite, Secretary for Justice, spoke of the challenges and successes within the public sector towards building our National Integrity System.  He outlined the work plan for the government’s multi-agency anti-corruption programme. 

He said “When you have something that is as important to our country as our reputation for integrity, then steady progress, which is what I would describe we have had since 2013, is really only a minimum level.  We have to keep working, it is something that matters so much to us that it deserves all the effort we can put into it…  the National Integrity System Assessment is that kind of effort that keeps the rest of us honest.”

Life Member award

Suzanne Snively, Chair of TINZ, took the opportunity to note the progress made within the public sector and thanked all contributors to development of the NIS 2018 Update.

She then bestowed Life Membership of TINZ to Murray Petrie for his substantial roles including Co-Director of the NIS 2013 (refer to separate article).

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