Transparency Times September 2017

From the Chair

Suzanne Snively Chair Transparency International New Zealand

Suzanne Snively Chair Transparency International New Zealand

Transparency International New Zealand sent six questions to each political party asking about their position on topics important to our mission.

We asked questions related to transparency and accountability in:

  • Campaign funding
  • Transparency regarding the Official Information Act
  • Anti-corruption (two questions)
  • Protection for whistleblowers
  • Candidates’ conflicting interests

As you will seen from the table of compiled answers, the answers ranged from the belligerant (New Zealand First) to thoughtful (TOP, United Future, the NZ Democratic Party and the Greens). The Maori Party’s response reflects its long standing commitment to address corruption through attention to detail in its stated anti-corruption policy.

What is clear, though, is that there is still a role for TINZ. Its work won’t be replaced in the short-term through the efforts of any of the existing political parties. Our elections article directly follows this report.

The visit by TI’s Global Chair, José Ugaz has provided an opportunity for New Zealanders in Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Wanaka and Christchurch to gain greater knowledge about corruption.

José described first-hand the dangers of exposing and procuring grand corruption in Peru. Jose’s experience there provides a clear contrast between our society and his; much of his experience was because of the nature of Peru. His audiences were left with admiration for his courage.

While Peru's culture is quite different from New Zealand's, our immunity from offshore grand corruption is insufficient given the complacency that exists here through lack of awareness.

José received nationwide exposure through a NBR video interview of José by Susan Wood, a Radio Live interview by Mark Sainsbury and a RNZ interview with Don Wiseman.

José’s real-life experience in the housing market and direct knowledge of published examples from the Panama Papers resonated in New Zealand.

His parting promise to TINZ is to assist us in a study of the impact of money laundering on the housing market in Auckland along with a study of the Sydney housing market by our Australian colleagues.

With the upcoming election in three weeks, Election Commissioner Alicia Wright assures us in a story this month that the possibility of fraudulent voting, Russian sabotage or other cyber security breakdown is remote.

Even fake news is ruled out because of the simplicity of New Zealand’s voting system. New Zealand’s voting system may be simple, old fashioned, and paper based. But it is secure and the process has been improved to make voting easier and counting of votes quick and efficient.

The good news, then, is that the changing fortunes of the political parties and voter turnout are what will dominate the media here. With a boring style of voting, the voting process itself won’t make it into any news cycles.

Suzanne Snively, Chair
Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

7 September 2017

Transparency Questionnaire 2017 General Election: Party Responses

Elections

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) posed six key questions to each political party on issues of transparency, anti-corruption and protection for whistleblowers.

We asked each party to respond (in 50 words or less) to each of our six questions – on the basis that we would publish their responses verbatim. Accordingly, the parties’ responses compiled in the table below are “all their own words”. It is up to the public and individual citizens to form their own view on these responses.

TINZ Commentary

In addition, we at TINZ (as an apolitical, non-partisan organisation) have also evaluated the parties’ responses ourselves and offer our brief analysis below:

We were surprised prior to last year’s local body elections at how little knowledge Mayoral candidates had about corruption and policies to address it. When asked, Auckland, Palmerston North and Wellington Mayoral candidates were largely unaware of New Zealand’s vulnerability to the impact of corruption. They were naive about how our international reputation for strong integrity accrues value to their cities or of the damage that could be done to New Zealand’s reputation through failure to protect against corrupt practice.

With housing top of mind during their campaigns and the Panama Papers a hot topic, they were largely unaware that external – and possibly illicit – funds were likely driving up local housing, property and high valued goods prices.

Issues related to corruption and transparency have garnered unprecedented attention in the run up to this year’s Parliamentary elections:

  • There was a flurry of informed Parliamentary anti-corruption discussion in late 2015 leading to
    • unanimous ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
    • a cross party vote for the comprehensive anti-corruption legislation with 92 MPs in favour.
  • The release of the Panama Papers in April 2016 sparked an active and informed debate in Parliament.
  • In May 2016
    • the then Prime Minister John Key (whose own advisor ran a business around foreign trusts) was thrown out of the house for contempt
    • while Corrections Minister Judith Collins, who had been re-instated after penance for the Orvida affair, was in London representing New Zealand at David Cameron’s Anti-corruption Summit.
  • The comprehensive Shewan Report arising from the Panama Papers was released at the end of June. It
    • provided a quick education for politicians about the impact of loose legislation around the registration of foreign trusts in New Zealand,
    • showed the benefits of ongoing policy work done in this area by public servants (who, in a rare gesture, were given well-earned personal recognition in the Report),
    • is a model review with evidence-based logic so compelling that all but one of the recommendations were taken up, including a speeding up of phase two of the anti-money laundering legislation.

Given all the debate last year and the spate of activity in the last quarter of 2015, TINZ had high expectations that political parties would be prepared and knowledgeable when responding to our six question Transparency Questionnaire for the 2017 General Election.

Sadly, many of the Parties’ responses indicated a lack of the basic knowledge. If this had been an exam, more than a third of those tested (the Conservative Party, Act, NZ First and TOP, which might be excused as a newcomer) would have scored less than 50%.

Despite recent achievements in addressing corruption and a stated commitment to safeguarding New Zealand’s reputation, The National Party’s answers reflected limited knowledge. For example, they showed little understanding of the key features of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #16 to set in place (i) good governance to prevent corruption and (ii) a consistent international measure to monitor levels of corruption. The National Party’s approach to its candidates’ conflict is less rigorous than the policies it imposes on public servants. Its answers didn’t do justice to the record of the National Government over its last 3 years in office.

The New Zealand Democratic Party (which hasn’t been represented in Parliament for the past 30 years) showed a high level of understanding about more transparent ways of being accountable for political party funding, improving responsiveness of official information requests, managing conflicts and strengthening protective disclosure for whistleblowers.

United Future and The Labour Party both demonstrated some awareness of the need for greater transparency around the disclosure of party funding sources, access to official information, the need to monitor and review the effectiveness of corruption laws and of the protective disclosure law.

The Green, Labour and Maori Parties’ answers demonstrated greater knowledge than the others about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and, in particular, how Goal 16’s strong governance provision could assist in preventing corruption.

In past TINZ surveys, the New Zealand Maori Party has been the only party with evidence of an anti-corruption policy. So, it is pleasing to see that when it came to providing more detailed answers to some specific questions about what its policy is, the Maori Party’s answers showed an understanding of the issues.

It is the Greens, though, who describe their anti-corruption policies in the most detail through their answers to the six questions. TINZ heralds the Green Party’s policy to appoint a commission and citizens’ assembly to investigate public funding for political parties. While there may be other answers to providing a level playing for party funding, the Green’s explicit initiative is an opportunity to address ideas around what to do before it becomes too late with wealthy parties effectively crowding out those without resources.

TINZ also strongly approves of the Green’s policy to

  • take a zero-tolerance approach to corruption,
  • amend legislation to make facilitation payments illegal,
  • make lobbying transparent through a public register,
  • facilitate nationwide dialogue about open government/ constitutional issues,
  • support the UN SDGs,
  • to protect whistleblowers
  • and publish information about the pecuniary interests of all Green candidates on their website.

It’s great to know that somebody has read the recommendations in Chapter 6 of TINZ Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment!

What is especially impressive are the Green’s fresh ideas to make lobbying more transparent by requiring Ministers to include organisations consulted in Regulatory Impact Statements and explanatory notes, and, to remove lobbyists’ Parliament access cards.

TINZ would like to take this opportunity to thank all ten Political Parties for making the effort to respond to its six questions. This wan an especially tough ask when the campaign period is as short as it is and when, in some cases, there has been no previous Political Party anti-corruption policy. This is a major step forward to have the policies of ten Political Parties on the record and provide the basis for greater levels of informed debate in the future.

Our country’s reputation and future prosperity will be the better for this.

Political party’s answer to questions about their anti-corruption policies

Compiled by Transparency International New Zealand

We asked each political party to respond to the following six questions and advised we will publish their results on our website, in social media and in releases to public media.

A. Campaign funding – what measures will your party take (for this and future elections) to ensure complete, detailed transparency of campaign funding from all funding sources to political parties?

B. Transparency – how will your party strengthen the Official Information Act process to ensure that Government entities provide timely and comprehensive information responses to the NZ public?

C. Anti-corruption – What measures will your party take to actively promote a wide-spread anti-corruption culture throughout NZ

D. Anti-corruption – In particular, what would your party do to support the development of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal # 16 to develop strong governance across public and private entities to prevent corruption?

E. Protection for whistle-blowers – What measures will your party take to strengthen the Protective Disclosure Act 2000 to support whistleblowing?

F. Candidates’ interests – Does your party require all your candidates to submit a full list of all of their beneficial interests and declare conflicts where/when they may arise? Please tell us how the public may access this information.

QUESTION A: Campaign Funding – What measures will your party take (for this and future elections) to ensure complete, detailed transparency of campaign funding from all funding sources to political parties?

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

ACT supports current electoral commission regulations surrounding campaign funding.

Conservative Party of New Zealand

Conservative Party of New Zealand

Operate in accordance with the current requirements of the Electoral Act.

Maori Party

Māori Party

The Māori Party will continue to comply with all laws related to campaign funding. Any individual or organisation engaging in political activity should be required to disclose their donors in real time to enable the public to know who is funding political parties, and what their agendas are, before the public votes.

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

We support the current law.

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

Labour supports campaign finance transparency, however we note that a sensible balance is needed between privacy, transparency, and administrative bureaucracy. The vast bulk of Labour’s funding comes in small donations, for instance our average online donation is around the $30 mark. If an objective of transparency is to ensure big money does not influence politics, then it may not be sensible (nor practical) to publish the full personal details of everyone who gives $1 or more. We believe the current donation disclosure thresholds as set in law strikes a good balance. Labour will be submitting to the Electoral Commission its 2017 donation and campaign expense returns for all candidates and for the Party as a whole.

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

The Green Party will:

  • Introduce tighter limits on anonymous donations;
  • Ban overseas donations;
  • Simplify the rolling disclosure system;
  • Maintain spending caps for parties and other promoters;
  • Appoint a commission and citizens’ assembly to investigate public funding of political parties.

 

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

Members of Parliament and people in the Parliamentary Service will be required to disclose their financial affairs to the Auditor General to ensure there is no conflict of interest between their private affairs and their public duties and all donations of whatever kind to parties will be required to be disclosed to the Electoral Commission.

The New Zealand National Party (National)

The New Zealand National Party (National)

The National Party complies with all disclosure requirements of the Electoral Act. This is the responsibility of the Party Secretary and overseen by the Board. The Party has implemented party-wide processes to ensure that all donations are captured and reported in accordance with the Electoral Act. The parties annual return is audited by BDO.

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

Starting new political parties should not be the preserve of the rich, which sadly it appears to be at the moment. New political parties are essential for democracy. The recommendations of the MMP review should be implemented. Spending caps should apply to all campaign spending (not just advertising) and taxpayer funding improved.

United Future New Zealand

United Future New Zealand

United Future would support a review of the existing rules + legislation to ensure that they are providing sufficient visibility for public.

QUESTION B: Transparency – How will your party strengthen the Official Information Act process to ensure that Government entities provide timely and comprehensive information responses to the NZ public?

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

ACT supported legislation to make Under-Secretaries adherent to the OIA – ACT is confident current processes around the OIA are sufficient – the OIA can be subject to abuse and some entities can be inundated by faux requests.

Conservative Party of New Zealand

Conservative Party of New Zealand

No policy.

Maori Party

Māori Party

The Māori Party would require government entities to provide regular reports on the timeliness of responses so that the public may see what is being asked and how long it took to respond to the request. The role of Office of the Ombudsman needs more resources to undertake more in-depth investigations.

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

We support the current law.

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

Labour will strengthen the powers of the Ombudsman to issue instructions to government bodies regarding the release of official information, to monitor the adequacy and timelines of responses to request, and to embed staff in government bodies to reform systems and culture if chronic issues are identified.

 

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

The Green Party will:

  • Adopt all recommendations of the 2012 Law Commission’s Review of Official Information Legislation;
  • Produce league tables revealing government agencies’ compliance with the OIA;
  • Resource the Office of the Ombudsman adequately to deal with the requests and complaints it receives.

 

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

The official information act is being treated in a cavalier fashion by Ministers and government departments. We want to see the grounds for withholding and redacting information tightened significantly and the time frame for responses shortened. If more staff are needed to meet those requirements, a few less media consultants should be employed.

The New Zealand National Party (National)

The New Zealand National Party (National)

The Government is happy with our present official information regulation settings. Improving interaction with government, including greater access to information is one of our Better Public Services targets, and we are working with agencies to improve responsiveness and transparency.

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

We support the Ombudsman’s work on this (e.g. scorecard) and if necessary would increases funding. TOP would require all papers, reports and evaluations to be online a set time after they have been through the Cabinet process. We need to clarify that the public service serves the public, not Ministers. This should be a part of a written Constitution.

United Future New Zealand

United Future New Zealand

United Future would support a review current processes to ensure they’re working effectively (including timely) for both the public and public sector. Explore clearer guidelines around what can and cannot be withheld. Create greater visibility on what is being released and to who.

QUESTION C: Anti-corruption – What measures will your party take to actively promote a wide spread anti-corruption culture throughout NZ?

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

New Zealand is deemed one of the least corrupt countries globally – we believe an anti-corruption culture already exists and by supporting core services such as justice this can be safeguarded.

Conservative Party of New Zealand

Conservative Party of New Zealand

We would introduce truth based education on healthy relationships in public schools.

Maori Party

Māori Party

We would ensure the active promotion of transparent government and would monitor progress against defined targets. We would also apply a much harsher punitive regime where / if corruption were identified. We would also align anti-corruption measures with market, behavioural and social forces and adopt integrity standards for all.

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

We challenge the level of investigations of Transparency International that goes into the superficial examinations of corruption in New Zealand. New Zealand First has been outspoken against corruption – including FujiXerox, Silver Fern Farms, MPI and imports of manure, the PM’s text messages.

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

Labour will operate a transparent Government that will have zero tolerance for corruption in the public and private sector. We will lead by example by ensuring all public entities are properly resourced to ensure a high level of oversight of their operations, contracts and funding and expect a higher level of compliance with the Official Information Act.

Labour will review all anti-corruption laws and institutions to ensure we are satisfying both the letter and the spirit of the UN Convention Against Corruption.

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

Take a truly zero-tolerance approach to corruption including:

  • Amend legislation to make facilitation payments illegal;
  • Make lobbying transparent – introduce a public register, require Ministers to include organisations consulted in Regulatory Impact Statements and explanatory notes, remove lobbyists’ parliament access cards;
  • Facilitate nationwide dialogue about open government and constitutional issues.

 

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

Parliamentary Services, government departments and larger companies would be required to implement an anti-corruption culture of compliance with effective standards and controls, requiring top management commitment, regular training, and ongoing monitoring and auditing.

The New Zealand National Party (National)

The New Zealand National Party (National)

The Government is committed to safeguarding New Zealand’s reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world and a good place to do business. The Government works with agencies, organisations, and businesses to support anti- corruption efforts and strengthen our anti-bribery laws.

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

We need to clarify the public service serves the public not Ministers. TOP would pursue a written Constitution to clarify and protect our rights and values as a society. We also need to celebrate that a low corruption is a source of business advantage and thus it is worth protecting.

United Future New Zealand

United Future New Zealand

Continue to hold government to high standard to lead by example for transparency and openness. No legislative changes planned – currently corruption laws appear effective but continue to monitor and review.

QUESTION D: Anti-corruption – In particular, what would your party do to support the development of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #16 to develop strong governance across public and private entities to prevent corruption?

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

See above answer

Conservative Party of New Zealand

Conservative Party of New Zealand

We would promote and strengthen traditional marriage and the natural family unit. A loving mum and dad in a stable relationship raising children in a loving environment provides the best outcomes for children and will minimise the violence and abuse that many children suffer today. We would ensure birth certificates declare biological gender.

Maori Party

Māori Party

We would create more open and transparent processes, provide a legal framework for the transparent management of resources, insist on governance training for all members across the entities and adopt procedures that allow monitoring and evaluation.

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

No political appointments, we believe in a political meritocracy not political cronyism.

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

Labour supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal #16. In Government, we will promote the independence of our public sector so that our departments and officials can operate with confidence. We will also ensure our watchdogs are fully resourced to undertake investigations and prosecutions into situations that may constitute corruption.

Labour will review state sector practices to ensure we are building a culture of a unified public sector committed to the principles of good government, including open government.

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

We will do our fair share to meet SDGs.

  • Support trade agreements that observe democratic principles;
  • Encourage ethical investment and disclosure regimes;
  • Meet our ODA target, ensure funds are not tied to consultancy interests and channel more through NZ NGOs;
  • Support NGOs and civil society organisations committed to open government.

 

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

Answered in “c” above

The New Zealand National Party (National)

The New Zealand National Party (National)

We have made law reforms to better tackle money laundering and terrorism financing, helping New Zealand meet its international obligations and closing gaps that international money launders can exploit. We’re working with businesses to help them understand and comply with their new obligations.

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

We need to clarify the public service serves the public not Ministers. TOP would pursue a written Constitution to clarify and protect our rights and values as a society. We also need to improve funding of public interest journalism and civics education as part of this.

United Future New Zealand

United Future New Zealand

United Future would review our current legislation and practical application against the UN goal to ensure that all laws and regulations are working to their desired effect.

QUESTION E: Protection for whistleblowers – What measures will your party take to strengthen the Protective Disclosure Act 2000 to support whistleblowing?

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

We believe the current Act is sufficient

Conservative Party of New Zealand

Conservative Party of New Zealand

No policy.

Maori Party

Māori Party

We would amend the Act to better protect employees, and would review the current system, to find ways to improve managerial responses to whistle blowing. NZ has fairly comprehensive legislation for protected disclosures but people need to know how to use them.

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

Please read what we said about the Martin Matthews case. We were the only party that took the view the Auditor-General failed in his requirements and the parliamentary committee reports should have been made public.

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

Labour will investigate what changes need to be made to the Protected Disclosure Act to strengthen protection for whistleblowers and the information they provide

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

Reverse changes in the 2016 Intelligence and Security Bill that created a new offence for those who reveal classified information. We should protect whistleblowers not target them.

Bolster the standing and resources of appropriate authorities in the Act.

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

We would ensure that anyone who makes a protected disclosure of information and who claims to have suffered retaliatory action of any kind is supported by the crown both with expertise and funding in taking a personal grievance claim.

The New Zealand National Party (National)

The New Zealand National Party (National)

This Government is committed to protecting whistleblowers. The State Services Commission has made some recommendations around the Protected Disclosure Act which we are currently looking at. We will change the law if it’s not working because it’s important that we have integrity and transparency in our public service.

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

We need to clarify the public service serves the public not Ministers. TOP would pursue a written Constitution to clarify and protect our rights and values as a society. We want to strengthen the ability of officials to state when Ministers ignore advice from officials. We also want to remove gag clauses from all government contracts.

United Future New Zealand

United Future New Zealand

United Future will review the Protective Disclosure Act legalisation and practical application to ensure that whistleblowers are protected and any are compensated fairly for any losses incurred as a result of a disclosure.

QUESTION F: Candidates’ interests – Does your party require all your candidates to submit a full list of all of their beneficial interests and declare conflicts where/when they may arise? Please tell us how the public may access this information.

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

ACT New Zealand (ACT)

The ACT party has its own private processes to vet candidates – successful candidates who become MP’s are bound by parliamentary procedures such as filing information for the register of pecuniary interests

Conservative Party of New Zealand

Conservative Party of New Zealand

No. not at this stage of our growth.

Maori Party

Māori Party

Yes, candidates are required to submit a full list of all of their beneficial interests and declare conflicts where/when they may arise. Information related to candidates can be directed to the National Secretary at gensecmaoriparty1@gmail.com

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

New Zealand First Party (New Zealand First)

Candidates are not MPs and MPs are not Ministers. All three are required to submit to different disclosure requirements and do so.

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

New Zealand Labour Party (Labour)

All non-MP Labour candidates, should they become Members of Parliament, will be required to submit their interests to the Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests which is published by the Speaker on an annual basis. As Members of Parliament, or as Ministers, they will be required to address any conflicts or other issues relating to any interest at that time.

 

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

All potential candidates answer questions relating to conflicts of interest and past history.  They pledge commitment to the Green Charter, the Green Party Constitution, and to Green Party policies presented to the public during the election campaign. Information on candidates is publicly available on the Green Party website.

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

No it doesn’t and we don’t see a need for that with candidates. On becoming an MP the requirements relating to MPs would apply.

 

The New Zealand National Party (National)

The New Zealand National Party (National)

Candidates are required to complete a nomination application form which seeks various declarations and assurances. In addition, the selection process has a number of vetting stages. Once a candidate is selected as an MP they must disclose their personal interests on the Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests Register.

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

We are a new party and haven’t done this as yet but we are happy to for our next campaign and certainly will do so for any people that make it into Parliament.

United Future New Zealand

United Future New Zealand

This isn’t something that United Future currently does and it hasn’t been an issue so far. However, we will explore this for future elections.

Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update

David Dunsheath

TINZ Board Member

Delegated authority for Parliamentary Relations and Co-Editor Newsletter

 

When the National Party came into power in the 1990 election, it was confronted with a much worse fiscal and economic position than the out-going Government had disclosed. The forecast budget surplus was quickly revised to a large budget deficit. In response, the new Government announced significant cuts to social welfare benefits, and reversed a major election promise.

That Government then introduced the Fiscal Responsibility Act described at http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2001/01-25/04.htm, now part of the Public Finance Act 1989. It ensures that no future New Zealand government will be faced with the fiscal shock that it had experienced in that election. The Act requires The Treasury, prior to every election, to independently open the Government’s books to what it observes in the current economic and fiscal climate, and the risks that may be faced over future years. Hence the term Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU). The Treasury’s advice is aimed to be ‘New Zealander centric’ using Treasury’s Living Standards Framework to recognize the different aspects of New Zealanders’ living standards and well-being, refer to http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/forecasts/prefu2017/001.htm.

TINZ attended the 2017 PREFU hosted by The Treasury on 23 August. The two-hour lock-down (communications prohibited) event was attended by representatives of interested political, news and other organisations. This preceded the public release of PREFU information at noon that day.

The Treasury Secretary, Gabriel Makhiouf provided a short overview of Treasury’s findings before copies of its printed PREFU documentation were distributed to attendees. An hour later the Minister of Finance, Hon Steven Joyce arrived to provide his observations about budget trends followed by Q&A covering a wide range of topics. These included the 4-year forecasted surplus complete with international and national factors that may influence its trend.

Overall the 2017 PREFU provided good clarity on Treasury’s detailed data projections and the Minister’s views on implications for the next government’s policies.

Interestingly, despite the centrality of the information to political party election policy during the election campaign:

  • there were plenty of unfilled seats on the day (following a pre-registration process in case of unrealised high demand), 
  • the concluding Q&A session dried-up after 30 minutes – some 15 minutes before the end of allocated time – which implied that attendees were satisfied with information received, 
  • whereas the public is largely reliant on the news media for its PREFU information, it is able to go online directly to view the comprehensive Treasury information, including specifically designed graphics and tables to communicate to the wider public,
  • even these tables though, require an educated eye to fully interpret its detail, highlighting that responsibilities of fiscal transparency need also to take into account the best ways of engaging the wider public.
Minister of Finance Steven Joyce at PREFU 23 Aug 2017

New Zealanders can trust the voting system

Alicia Wright

Alicia Wright

Chief Electoral Officer

Electoral Commission

Since starting at the Electoral Commission at the beginning of this year, I have seen first-hand the attention to detail that ensures our electoral system is robust and secure. Voters can be confident when they head to the polls later this year that their vote will count.

International events have raised public interest in the integrity of voting systems worldwide. It would be unfair if this caused doubt in the minds of New Zealand voters, as ours is a trustworthy, transparent and rigorous system.

It starts with the integrity of the Parliamentary electoral roll. About 90% of the estimated eligible population is already registered to vote. The accuracy of the roll is maintained through monitoring that identifies irregular enrolments.

When it comes to the vote, there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in New Zealand. We have only one roll and the same person cannot be registered twice.

Cases of people voting more than once, either under their own name or by impersonating another voter, are rare. These are picked up by the Electoral Commission during the official count when electoral rolls from voting places around the country are checked against the master roll. After the 2014 election, 126 cases of people voting more than once were identified and referred to the Police. 126 out of 2,446,279 votes cast is a very small number.

Procedures are in place to ensure secure handling of voting papers and ballot boxes during voting and counting. Electoral officials are responsible for the transportation and safe keeping of voting papers and boxes. Each voting paper is numbered and can be traced if necessary. Votes are counted twice, first in the preliminary count on election night, and then again in a meticulous count that takes two weeks and is overseen by electoral officials and Justices of the Peace.

Many steps are taken throughout this process to maintain the secrecy of the ballot, so no one will know how another person has voted. There is no information on the ballot paper that can readily identify who the voter is. The ballot paper goes into a box that is sealed until the count starts and, as described above, the counts are conducted in a secure place, overseen by officials.

In New Zealand we have checks and balances to promote transparency in elections. One of the most obvious is that the vote is overseen by our peers, by people like ourselves.

We will have about 15,000 election day staff running our voting places. They are people from the local community who want to be involved in the election process. They receive training and are guided by experienced leaders.

Scrutineers appointed by candidates and parties also have an important role to play observing the conduct of the election and providing assurance that electoral procedures and rules have been followed by officials and voters.

There are checks and balances too for the politicians. Clear campaign rules are set out in law for political parties, candidates and third parties around election advertising, spending limits, and declarations of donations and expenses. These declarations provide the public with information about their election activities.

Importantly, we have struck a balance between providing a secure system and, at the same time, maintaining ease of enrolling and voting. Voting has to be easy if we want to encourage participation, and in New Zealand, people do have a good understanding of how to enroll, and how and when to vote. In a survey after the 2014 election, 92% of voters said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their voting experience.

In 2017, boundaries will be pushed, claims will be made, new forms of advertising will test the rules. But there are laws and processes in place that can give us all confidence in the integrity of the system itself as we move towards the 2017 General Election.

TINZ hosts Asia Pacific Regional Meeting

Asia Pacific Regional Meeting Group Photo

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) hosted a mid-year Asia Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) from 28–30 July 2017 in Wellington for the Chapters of the region. As funding and unexpectedly stringent New Zealand visa requirements prohibited the attendance of representatives from Chapters such as Pakistan, the meeting was a “virtual one”, using digital technology.

Transparency International Chair, José Ugaz, was in New Zealand for this meeting.

Attending were representatives from China, Australia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, and the members of the TINZ Board. Additionally, Taiwan and Sri Lanka participated via Skype.

Key activities included; presentations by Chapters of their achievements to prevent corruption; a video-link presentation by Mihaela Stojkoska (UNDP) on ‘How can we work together to fight corruption in the Pacific?’; and a discussion led by Gill Greer (VSA / UNDP) on ‘Preventing Corruption in Large Ocean Nations to Strengthen World Integrity Systems’ and preventing corruption in NGO’s.

Overseas attendees at the Pacific Regional Meeting (in order of appearance down the right-hand side of the following photo montage, Suzanne Snively from TINZ is the fifth image.).

  • TI-PNG: Arianne Kassman
  • TI Secretariat: Alejandro Salas
  • TI-Vanuatu: Evelyne Toa
  • TI-Australia: Greg Thompson
  • TI-PNG: Lawrence Stephens
  • TI-Solomon Islands: Ruth Liloqula

Other overseas attendees were:

  • TI-Peru: José Ugaz
  • TI-China: Han Jingyang, Song Wei and An Jiayu
  • TI-South Korea: Sang-Hak Lee

Peripheral activities for our visitors included: a formal Mihi Whakatau (speech of welcome) hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; a luncheon presentation hosted by the Deputy Controller and Auditor General (Greg Schollum, pictured above between TI Chair José Ugaz and TINZ Chair Suzanne Snively), dinner hosted by TINZ Chair, Suzanne Snively; a guided tour of He Tohu Exhibition at the National Library; cocktails hosted by Sir Anand and Lady Susan Satyanand; and attendance at a New Zealand Symphony Orchestra concert.

Asia Pacific Regional Meeting Group Photo

Global Transparency International Chair, José Ugaz, visited New Zealand

In 2017 Transparency International New Zealand had the privilege of welcoming the International Chair of Transparency International, José Ugaz, in his first visit to New Zealand. He was in Aotearoa for 8 days before he headed across the pacific to visit the Countries of two other chapters of Transparency International, PNG and Australia.

José participated in a meeting of Transparency International’s Asia Pacific Regional Meeting and then had a whirlwind trip across the North and South Islands meeting with representatives from the government, TINZ’s affiliated partner the Institute of Internal Auditors New Zealand, leading businesses and speaking at events in Wellington, Palmerston North, Wanaka and Christchurch.

At a well-attended public lecture held in conjunction with Victoria University of Wellington’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies on 1 August, José was interviewed by broadcaster Ian Fraser. Discussion was then extended to a panel comprising (left to right in photo below) Lyn McKenzie (representing Civil Society with roles including as former international Chair, Zonta), James Ryan (Trade-me) and Kirik Hope (CEO of Business New Zealand and former CEO of the New Zealand Bankers Association).

In the final stop during his visit he was welcomed to the University of Canterbury Law School by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dr. Rod Carr, to speak about issues of grand corruption and how they concern New Zealand. The event was attended by students, university staff and members of the public. Highly praised by those who attended, José’s visit to New Zealand has hopefully ignited a discussion about the issues of corruption that New Zealand, and the world, are currently facing.

José Ugaz in New Zealand

José Ugaz in New Zealand

New Zealand needs to grasp the nettle of protected disclosures immediately

Michael Macaulay Associate Professor The School of Government, Victoria University

by Michael Macaulay, Associate Professor

The School of Government, Victoria University

TINZ delegated authority for Open Government Partnership

Our recent report into Trans-Tasman whistleblowing processes indicates that New Zealand has fallen behind our Australian counterparts on just about every measure. This news was greeted by surprise in some quarters, which turned to a grudging acceptance once the aftermath of the recent tribulations at the Ministry of Transport (MOT) came to light.

Yet the results weren’t really any kind of a surprise. The 2013 State Services Commission’s integrity and conduct survey, reported the responses of over 13,000 public sector workers from across a wide range of agencies. Among other things, it found that only 30% of respondents felt that their agency investigated allegations of misconduct in a robust manner, and the same percentage expressed satisfaction with their agency’s response. In terms of bullying, only a mere 25% of respondents felt that the outcome of their complaint was fair.

Our work, therefore, didn’t really discover anything new but rather revealed that very little had been done to resolve the issues that the public service itself identified as problematic.

The tide appears to be changing somewhat. In the wake of the MOT scandal the State Services Commission (SSC) has unveiled it’s ‘Speak Up” guidelines. There is also the much publicised creation of a new Deputy Commissioner for Integrity, Ethics and Standards, although that post has yet to be filled on a permanent basis. These are both very positive steps but we can and should be looking much further ahead.

Our research is already being used by colleagues at the International Organisation for Standardisation to start work on an ISO standard for protected disclosures. New Zealand should be leading this charge and should reassess our own Protected Disclosures Act. We need to clear up who the public can turn to. We should look again at the role of the media.

International research has repeatedly shown that many people blow the whistle to the media because they are unable to find the correct person to turn to in their own organisations. One can’t do this in New Zealand under terms of the Protective Disclosures Act (PDA).

Everybody knows that the concerns over whistleblowing in New Zealand are real. Many of you reading this will be experiencing your own problems in this regard. You shouldn’t have to. Let’s make it stop.

To join our research project or to read any of our work please go to http://www.whistlingwhiletheywork.edu.au/ or contact me at michael.macaulay@vuw.ac.nz.

Opportunity for lessons learned from the resignation of the Auditor-General

David McNeill

David McNeill

TINZ Deputy Chair

Reporting from Auckland

Election season is upon us and Parliament has been dissolved. Yet the sense that something sordid remains to be divulged in Sir Maarten Wevers’ report and the brief tenure of Martin Matthews as Auditor-General.

If the contents of the Sir Maarten Wevers report simply covers personal employment matters, then just say so. As it is, we are left with the appearance that the Officers of Parliament Committee is avoiding disclosure of its mistakes. We suggest Speaker, David Carter’s report be sent to the State Services Commissioner who could combine its key messages about better ways of managing fraud, with information from well-informed whistleblowers. With this information, lessons can be identified and future guidelines developed for the following reasons: These lessons are important for all public-sector managers in central and local government.

  1. Lesson learned for Parliament’s political party leaders in regards to due diligence for appointment of key roles such as that of the Auditor General. This case also highlights the need for the Law Commission to review these processes.
  2. Given the recent several million-dollar Fuji-Xerox fraud case, there may be important learnings for private sector and NGO leaders as well

New Zealand’s international reputation for integrity is based on effective and candid disclosure of mistakes, not sweeping them under the carpet. Many countries think the only reason New Zealand doesn’t have fraud and corruption is because we don’t look for it. By bringing transparency and accountability to the important appointment process of Auditor General, New Zealand’s behaviour will be as good as it’s perceived. The current secrecy is a blight to our reputation.

The Officers of Parliament Committee – made up of the Speaker and political party representatives – is accountable to a single tier parliament. In reality, it needs to be clear that this committee is accountable to the New Zealand people. It needs to review its processes in order to ensure there is greater transparency in the future.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer in a recent interview on RNZ National offered his thoughts on the current lack of transparency surrounding Sir Maarten Wevers’ investigative report into the former Auditor-General, together with the timing of the latter’s resignation.

Submissions on the Open Government Partnership National Action Plan 2016-18

On 1 August TINZ submitted feedback on the draft Open Government Partnership National Action Plan mid-term self-assessment.

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international agreement by governments committed to creating greater transparency, increasing civic participation and using new technologies to make government more open, effective, and accountable, refer to http://www.ogp.org.nz/what-is-the-ogp .

The OGP calls for scheduled self-assessment progress reports on each member’s implementation of its National Action Plan (NAP).  The current New Zealand NAP covers 2016-18, refer http://ogp.org.nz/national-action-plan-2016-18/ .

The latest of these, dated May 2017, refer http://www.ogp.org.nz/our-progress, outlines progress under the seven discrete ‘commitments’ contained within the NAP. This information is derived from each lead ministry or department by the OGP administrator, State Services Commission (SSC). Convenient two-stage drill-down is provided for brief self-assessment detail against each commitment.

Public feedback was invited on this progress report during July. On 1 August TINZ submitted feedback with a mix of positive comment plus recommendations and suggestions for further improvements. We also took the opportunity to reiterate relevant unaddressed recommendations from the TINZ Integrity Plus 2013 National Integrity Systems Assessment. Our recommendations included:

  • BUDGET: Mandate a separate independent agency for publication of financial information reformatted to provide greater relevance to the public  
  • OFFICIAL INFORMATION REQUESTS: Place strong statistical emphasis on non-timely responses, and cumulative scoring for each entity. Review the adequacy of Ombudsman funding.
  • OPEN DATA ACCESS: Provide easier access to greater breadth of data.
  • OPEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP: Give priority to increasing youth and community engagements in civics, and better engagement of communities in ‘sub-national’ projects.
  • ACCESS TO LEGISLATION: Improve public participation in development of legislation and access to Cabinet papers.
  • POLICY PRACTICES: Improve the advertising for public consultation opportunities and lengthen consultation windows.
  • POST-ELECTION GOVERNMENT: Engage early with the new government to promote open government and identify its views.   

The public feedback process for this important initiative has been disappointing. It lacked good advance publicity, provided a very narrow (2-week) period for acceptance of submissions, and required submission delivery via email or a primitive web form. (SSC personnel provided excellent communication to overcome the latter difficulty.)

It is understood that only four submissions were made – including TINZ’s submission. As of this newsletter going to print, these have not yet been made public as intended pending the Minister’s approval for public release.

As also reported in Transparency Times July issue, the OGP ‘Independent Reporter’ for New Zealand, Keitha Booth, separately sought direct verbal opinion from TINZ as she prepares her own report destined for OGP headquarters in Washington in September.

There is still much that needs done by the Government and Civil Society to achieve much broader participation in this initiative.

Interview of Keitha Booth, new Open Government Partnership reporter

Liz Brown

TINZ Board Member

National Integrity System Project Manager

Former Banking Ombudsman

Keitha Booth has been appointed to succeed Steven Price as the Open Government Partnership reporter for New Zealand. She speaks to Liz Brown.

Tell me something about the role of the OGP reporter and how you came to be appointed.

There is an Independent Reporting Mechanism which is associated with the OGP and is run out of the OGP headquarters in Washington. It appoints one person from each country member of OGP to be the independent reporter for that country. The reporter is expected to report twice on each two-year OGP national plan, a progress report at the end of the first year and a further report at the end of the second year. The reports are the main way stakeholders can track OGP progress in individual countries.

The independent reviewer is employed and paid by the Independent Reporting Mechanism, and reports through that body.  There is an intensive two-day training programme before an independent reporter starts work on the progress report and further training ahead of preparing the end-of-term report.

The selection process is a rigorous one. The Independent Reporting Mechanism first seeks expressions of interest and draws up a shortlist from those who have expressed interest. The shortlisted candidates then sit a 2½ hour test of their writing and analytical ability, followed by an online interview. The IRM’s independent experts panel assesses candidates for actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest and at this point the New Zealand government is also asked for an assessment of conflicts of interest.  This is the only part played by the NZ government in the selection process.

How did you become interested in open government, and what background and skills do you bring to your new role?

I have been interested in government since the civics classes of my primary school days.  A visit to the Parliamentary Library as I was completing primary school convinced me that was where I wanted to work.  After university, I started as the Copyright Officer at the Library, and that was the beginning of a career focused on government information and its availability. It became very clear to me then, even when we had a centralised Government Printing Office, that government information was not well managed and accessible.

In 1996, after a period in the private sector using government information extensively, I was appointed as Information Centre Manager, NZ Ministry of Economic Development, after the Government Printing Office had been sold and government information was more difficult to find. There was little understanding of the nature of Crown copyright. Both there and later at the National Library, the State Services Commission and Land Information New Zealand, I worked on what became the government’s open information and data policies. I am pleased that these policies mean that there is now much more government data available for the public to use innovatively and legally. For example, GPS applications and weather forecasts use this open data. Anyone can also copy and remix the openly licensed items in Te Papa’s online collection and via Digital New Zealand.

The OGP and the IRM both consider I have the background and ability for the role – and they and I see the key attributes as independence, commitment to dealing in fact-based assessments, and, probably the most important of all, persistence.

What is your approach to the role of independent reporter, and what are your priorities?

There is some time pressure as New Zealand’s second OGP national action plan was due at the end of July 2016, but the time was extended and the plan was published in October 2016. However, I still had to complete a progress report for the period to the end of June 2017.

There was a consultation period about the development of the second plan, due on 31 July. The draft progress report is due by 1 October 2017.

Then I move to assessing progress on the commitments from October through to the end of June. Early next year, I will start my review of the second year, with the draft end of term report due by 15 September 2018.

OGP plans require governments to engage with and to facilitate the participation of civil society in the planning process.  I find that the concept of civil society is not well understood in New Zealand, either at a government level or in our wider society. It is difficult to engage with civil society organisations outside Wellington or to identify all those that may have a particular interest in sections of the OGP plan. Wide and effective consultation is a high priority for me.

How would you like to receive feedback from interested persons and organisations, and what are the deadlines?

Feedback should be sent by email to keithabooth@gmail.com no later than 30 September on progress on this year’s commitments.

The reports will be launched in January 2018 and 2019.

Information about the Plan including a downloadable copy of the Plan, can be found at www.ogp.org.nz.

The New Zealand Project

Publication cover The New Zealand Project

The New Zealand Project
by Max Harris (Bridget Williams Books, 2017)

Book review by David Dunsheath

TINZ Board Member

Newsletter Editor

This is a book about the state of politics and society in Aotearoa New Zealand that will stimulate your thinking no matter what your political bent.  It is a comprehensive, non-partisan exploration of New Zealand’s society, politics and values (or lack of), set against a backdrop of historical events and international comparisons.

Max Harris is an Examination Fellow at All Souls College in Oxford and former Rhodes Scholar. After graduating from University of Auckland he became a clerk for Chief Justice Sian Elias, then a consultant in Helen Clark’s Executive Office at UNDP. Collectively these experiences led him to preparing this book.

Harris provides ideas for rediscovering New Zealand’s lost direction as observed by him during this time of global political upheaval. He invites both establishment and youth to examine the status quo, form opinions and seize opportunities to address his observations of increasing discontent with current social, cultural, political and economic problems. By this means, looming complex issues such as climate change, future of work, wealth inequality and new populism can be addressed.

He argues that social values as well as economic indicators are needed to determine whether governments are effectively focused and to test policy outcomes. Discussion is structured around “the lack of values-based politics at the electoral level and the need for a politics grounded in three cornerstone progressive values”, which are: (i) Care, comprising freedom, equality, dignity and integrity; (ii) Community, comprising identity, security, responsibility and inclusiveness; and (iii) Creativity. Harris refers to these three Cs as the “politics of love.

He identifies three barriers to values-based politics. First is “a rise of selfishness and self-interest in society at large, mainly due to economic reforms. Second, the framework for determining the purpose of politics has been lost. Third, there’s been a continued emphasis on a technical and value free approach to political activity” [i.e.] “cost-benefit calculations without open-ended moral and ethical judgements.

The New Zealand Project, which is well structured, easy to read, and extensively referenced, is a valuable contribution to the advancement of a values-based government resulting in structural changes to “… help ensure that people power, a fuller realisation of the ideal of democracy, drives and disciplines the state”.

Internal Audits role in whistleblowing

James Rees-Thomas

by James Rees-Thomas

Institute of Internal Auditors New Zealand board member

As we often hear on the sports field – it ends at the final whistle. But when it comes to reporting inappropriate behaviour in an organisational setting, this metaphorical blowing of the whistle actually signals the start of a very important process. The whistle can only be blown effectively if the action occurs from within a well-constructed and supportive framework. This includes a healthy organisational culture and sincere tone from the top, a robust system for escalating concerns of wrongdoing and established people and process elements that work cohesively and collectively to promote ethical and compliant behaviour.

Internal Audit has a part to play in all of this. The recently published State Services Commission (SSC) report into the aftermath of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) fraud is a useful catalyst for action for the profession. The report is valuable because it prompts the reader to reflect on, for the first time in recent memory, the legislative and organisational frameworks that should exist to support the act of whistleblowing.

These include:

  • The Protected Disclosures Act, what it covers and its limitations
  • As a logical consequence, the difference between organisational wrongdoing, and “serious wrongdoing” as defined by the Act
  • The current scope of systems and processes that organisations have in place for dealing with concerns of wrongdoing and potential gaps
  • The impact on the person raising the concern and the safeguards necessary to ensure that disclosing a wrongdoing does not result in the whistleblower being disadvantaged.

While the Protected Disclosures Act provides a (albeit limited) basis for protecting the courageous among us, it is fair to say many New Zealanders either don’t understand it or don’t trust its application. Incidents like that which led to the SSC’s investigation of whistleblowing by MOT staff has the unfortunate result of reinforcing such perceptions.

Internal Audit’s professional standards, social obligation and corporate responsibilities coupled with its natural independence makes it the ideal guardian for disclosures of wrongdoing. This means an organisation’s Chief Internal Auditor (CIA) or equivalent is best placed to ensure the following are in place. The table below, previously published in our May and June newsletters, and now expanded in light of the SSC’s findings:

Recommendation

Expansion

Organisations should maintain a whistleblower mechanism (phone, email or personal disclosure) that enables employees to report their concerns safely and confidentially.

Internal Audit should administer, monitor and maintain the organisation’s whistleblowing mechanism. This should be configured to ensure wrongdoing concerns are disclosed directly and confidentially to the Chief Internal Auditor (CIA) or equivalent.

The recipient of the disclosure should be knowledgeable in the Protective Disclosure Act, and its practical application in a work setting.

The CIA should be knowledgeable in the Act and its limitations and ensure that staff are encouraged and able to raise concerns of wrongdoing even if these do not fall within the narrow definition of the Act.

Mechanisms should exist to ensure and safeguard the independence of the recipient of the disclosure, or alternatively, effectively workflow the disclosure while protecting the integrity of the disclosed information and that of the whistleblower.

The whistleblowing mechanism should be regularly tested for confidentiality and security. Underlying policies and processes should be in place to manage disclosures in a manner that protects the whistleblower and ensures the organisation meets its obligations to them as a good employer. 

The recipient of the disclosure should hold an office of sufficient authority (organisational hierarchy, reporting lines and mandate) to reassure the whistleblower that the disclosure will be safeguarded and pursued.

The CIA should occupy a position of sufficient seniority and possess delegated authority to give staff confidence and guarantee that they will be protected without fear of punishment or reprisal.

Short takes

David McNeill

David McNeill

David-McNeill becomes TINZ Deputy Chair

David-McNeill was elected TINZ Deputy Chair at our August board meeting. David is based in Auckland and one of our longer tenured directors and contributors.

James Brown is stepping aside from his position as Deputy Chair so that he can better focus on progressing the TINZ Financial Integrity System Assessment.

Protect our whistleblowers

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) issued a media release on 8 August 2017 calling for better whistleblower protection. Read the media release.

Auditor General resignation requires transparency

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) issued a media release on 8 August 2017 calling on Parliament to release the report by Sir Maarten Wevers that lead to the resignation of Auditor-General Martin Matthews. Read the media release.

TINZ applauds decline in foreign trusts Media Release

The sharp decline in registrations strongly suggests that there are number of foreign trusts involved in activities that couldn’t stand scrutiny. TINZ media release 11 Jul, 2017.