Transparency Times December 2018

From the Chair

Suzanne Snively ONZM Chair Transparency International New Zealand

Suzanne Snively ONZM
Transparency International New Zealand

As you read this, you are likely to be caught up in the most frantic time of the year. December is when the final drive to‎ complete school and work projects is combined with the special end of year events designed to celebrate achievement and thank colleagues.  

It is a frustrating period where the desire to ‎spend meaningful time with people is compromised by an absolute lack of it.

The holidays provide time for true intimacy

Upcoming, though, is the possibility of relief over the summer which also, thankfully, is the holiday period. As well as being an opportunity to re-charge through relaxed reading, and, weather permitting, outdoor activities, it is a time to share true intimacy with whanau.

It is this intimacy that is the key antidote for corruption. The ‎ability to be compassionate and empathetic, to test standards of fairness and sharing, to include people who themselves may appear distant and exclusive, to negotiate in close circumstances where sometimes it appears a compromise is impossible. 

There is finally time while on holiday to fill the days with affection and activities that progress challenging relationships and build new ones.

These are the best times for building strong integrity systems – it is your imagination working to shape trusting relationships which is the instrument of moral good.

Through this, the wellbeing of the nation grows and living standards have greater potential to improve.

No amount of protection and enforcement against corruption will succeed unless the seeds of transparency, accountability and integrity are planted.  Time together with whanau over the holidays is especially fertile ground.

Trust is essential

As L’Oreal’s Vice President Ethics, Emmanuel Lulin demonstrated when he visited in September, technology is driving new ways of doing things so quickly it is increasingly challenging for legislation to keep pace. The prevention of corruption requires a transformational mind set.

Trust amongst all peoples is essential.  

A topic for discussion over the summer will be growing inequality and the impact it is having. Graphic examples are being dramatically played out such as by the Yellow Vests in France.

Opportunity to out westernised corruption

The social license obligations of the rich and powerful which verge on white collar, westernised corruption, are coming under greater scrutiny. For example in the UK, Netflix is currently under the spotlight.

Founded in 1997 based on DVDs, Netflix switched to streaming in 2007 and has grown to become one of the world’s highest valued entertainment companies. Despite this, it isn’t as profitable as other Internet companies because it re-invests a large share of ‎its annual income in building up a stock of movies and other entertainment. 

Even so, like any company, it has tax obligations.  Are these lessened because it is providing a space for artists to earn an income?

Watch Mexico

Meanwhile, Mexico’s first left-wing leader in 8 decades, President Lopez Obrador, has promised to lead a government “free from corruption where the poor come first.”

He says: “We are going to govern for everyone, but we are going to give preferences to the most impoverished and vulnerable.” 

Mexico is two countries – one governed with a rule of law and the other governed by the drug kings. 

President Obrador’s success is important to us as we watch what he does to address the great challenge of putting living standards first. This is a far greater challenge for Mexico than it is here because of the breakdown of the rule of law. 

Mexican drugs to New Zealand

A consequence on United States tightening at the Mexico border is the greater increase in the illegal drug trade heading for New Zealand coming from Mexico than from China.‎

A big part of the success of keeping drugs out of New Zealand is our Customs Agency’s border control.  Back in 2014, the drug trade from Mexico that was stopped at the border was $15 million. Now the captured Mexican-sourced illegal drugs that were headed for New Zealand are over 10 times this amount.

These dollar values fail to reflect the true costs of illegal drugs that do get through.  These products of corrupt international traders provide a source of income on the streets of our communities, leading to crime and family dysfunction. They also contribute to our high imprisonment rates. 

We know that the devious corrupt will always find a way around any enforcement, no matter how good.

Taking time to be together over the holidays to find other channels for the enjoyment of intimacy builds trust. This is a deterrent too.

Suzanne Snively, ONZM


Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

Voter turnout and E-voting trials

Karen Webster
Member with Delegated Authority
Defence and Defence Anti-Corruption Index, Local Government

By Dr Karen Webster
TINZ Member with delegated authority responsible for local government

The voter turnout challenge

Voter turnout in New Zealand’s local government elections has been declining nationally since 1992. This followed a peak of 52.8% at the 1989 introduction of postal voting. Turnout reached a low of 42% in 2013 and then stabilised at 43% in 2016.

Auckland voter turnout increased to 51% from interest generated around the 2010 amalgamation of Auckland councils. It has fallen since, to 35% in 2013 and 38% in 2016.  The latter figure compares with 79% voter turnout nationwide in last year’s general election.

The results of an LGNZ survey following the 2016 election have shown that the main reasons people give for not voting are:

  • not knowing enough about the candidates – 31%
  • forgot or left too late – 24%
  • not interested – 14%
  • too busy – 14%.

New Zealand’s local body voter turnout is lower than a number of OECD countries with similar forms of government, including Ireland, Denmark and Norway. But New Zealand’s turnout is higher than in Australia, England and Canada.  

Interestingly, the declining turnout is quite varied across New Zealand.  Much healthier turnout levels are achieved in smaller districts which have lower representation ratios, compared to those with higher ratios.  This suggests that the nature of our democracy impacts people’s engagement with local government.

Turnout enhancement

A proposal has been developed but now halted, to trial online voting for several volunteer councils, during the 2019 local authority elections.  There is optimism that once online voting garners confidence, it would complement other voter turnout improvement efforts.

However, evidence to date also suggests that online voting may not be a panacea for improved voter turnout, as had been hoped.

LGNZ President Dave Cull says in order to improve voter turnout, the first step is to raise public awareness of the value of local government and the role it plays in the everyday lives of New Zealanders.  He suggests that creating a larger pool of skilled candidates is another key step to improving local democracy. This would ensure that the value that local government delivers to its communities, remains high.  A significant number of citizens interested in the process don’t vote. Others want to vote but say it’s too hard to find the information they need to make an informed decision.

“Addressing these factors is essential to improving voter turnout”, says Cull.

Online voting trial

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) will continue working with an online voting working group and several local authorities, to trial online voting but no longer part of the 2019 local authority elections.

In October this year, the local government online-voting pilot working party released a tender for a hosted online voting system that is to be at least as secure as current postal voting. The working party is also promoting “The Local Electoral Matters Bill” – now before Parliament to enable the trial. It includes changes to the legal framework governing local body elections.

The purpose of the trial was to:

  • future-proof voting as the postal service declines and becomes more costly 
  • support younger generations’ increased expectations for online services 
  • renew interest in democratic process 
  • enhance accessibility, especially to assist those with a disability in voting 
  • ease and convenience to all 
  • potentially increase turnout.


Marguerite Delbet, General Manager of Democracy Services at Auckland Council, is the spokesperson for the online voting working party. She says: “Online voting will not only make voting more convenient for voters, but also improve accessibility to local elections for those who can’t vote independently, or who are overseas during the election and are unable to vote at all.”

With one of the largest postal-mail volumes-decline rates in the world, the New Zealand postal service is becoming more expensive and less efficient. “Online voting will enable ease of access, more convenience and an alternative method in the face of a declining postal system in New Zealand,” says Delbet.

“Voting at a polling booth is not a practical solution, as local elections have a much larger array of options and votes to consider than other elections.  For example, in Waitakere in 2016 there were 21 different positions with 78 candidates.”

In Cull’s words “Online voting may increase turnout, but we don’t anticipate a complete sea-change.  What we do believe is that online voting will enable ease of access, more convenience and an alternative method in the face of a declining postal system in New Zealand.”


The project is controversial. Expectations about the impact on voter turnout are a point of contention. Also, serious concerns are being raised about system security and the imperative for citizens to have confidence in the integrity of the process.

Ultimately, the cost burden to the councils involved, forced the decision to halt the trial.


As New Zealand’s Maxim Institute observes, online voting won’t necessarily improve turnout as clearly demonstrated by experience both here and abroad. Stats NZ attempted its first online Census earlier this year, resulting in “the lowest participation nationally for the past five surveys.”

Delbert acknowledges that people have reservations about voting online – just as people were sceptical about internet banking or paying online via credit card when these options first become available.  However from survey results, the working party also knows that plenty of people want to vote online and hope that giving voters greater convenience and accessibility will mean more people can be actively involved in choosing the people who represent them.

Protected Disclosures Act review 2018

Julie Haggie

Julie Haggie
Chief Executive Officer TINZ

The State Services Commission (SSC) is conducting a review of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000.  It has sought public feedback on five options for change to encourage all New Zealanders to share their views on the benefits and risks of different proposals.

The consultation closes on 16 December. Be heard, take time now to make a submission!

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ)’s submission was prepared with input and oversight by experts in the field. They include Professor Michael Macaulay, a core member of the Whistling while they Work 2 research team, Debbie Gee who researched the Ministry of Transport case, as well as Suzanne Snively and Brendon Wilson.

TINZ general response

In summary, TINZ supports strengthening of, and improved clarity in, the Protected Disclosures Act.  We support a focus on encouraging open organisational cultures and on early risk assessment.  Both have been shown to encourage more ‘speaking up’ and more responsible behaviour by organisations. 

TINZ supports the inclusion of both private and not for profit (NFP) sectors in the legislation. While exemptions create loopholes, there is a case for micro-sized, community, NFP and voluntary organisations to be exempt. However, exemptions should not cover organisations in higher risk areas such as information security – nor those organisations with small staff numbers but which manage substantial sums of public or private money. 

The evidence clearly shows that the majority of individuals who ‘report’ under the existing legislation, experience negative repercussions. These often include collateral effects such as anxiety and stress. 

Key components within an organisation to mitigate negative repercussions are shown to be:

  • early response
  • early risk assessment
  • organisational awareness
  • good training, and crucially
  • leadership and management.

Specific aspects

In recognition of the unique relationship between the Crown and Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi, TINZ strongly recommends specific negotiation with Maori. This would improve understandings of:

  • how legislative changes may impact on and interact with tikanga and Te Ao Maori, and
  • identify whether ‘serious wrongdoing’ ought to include activities  which have a serious impact on Treaty relationships.

SSC’s discussion documents propose firming-up the definition of ‘wrongdoing’.  However we note that ‘serious wrongdoing’ is not always initially apparent, as was shown in the Ministry of Transport fraud case.  TINZ asks whether the considered changes will support the ability of organisations to initially recognise red flags that may lead to discovery of serious misconduct?   

TINZ also asks if there a case for an offence of ‘Misconduct in Public Office’ to address misuse of power in public office, that can manifest in many forms including bullying and harassment?   TINZ also refers SSC to the European Commission’s recommendations around reporting, including for media and in specific areas of high interest.

TINZ considers that it is neither desirable nor necessary to require monitoring across the private sector, at least initially.  The compliance load would be counter-productive to the goal of supporting active organisational leadership and culture change.  Similarly we do not support at the introductory stage, any penalty for non-compliance with monitoring or implementation.  Ideally, greater knowledge of the significant role that reporting channels can play in protecting organisations should motivate employers to adopt stronger and more effective channels.


TINZ applauds the process for improving the Protected Disclosures Act. We are optimistic of organization cultures where disclosures are less necessary and, when required, are less punitive to the individual reporter. 

Courtesy Human Rights Measurement Initiative

Human Rights: Measuring what matters!

Author of HRMI article Nov 2018

Thalia Kehoe Rowden, Human Rights Measurement Initiative Communications Lead

Thalia Kehoe Rowden

Communications Lead, Human Rights Measurement Initiative

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

How good is Guatemala or Greenland at respecting human rights? Who are the best performers in the world, and the worst? What are New Zealand’s or Nigeria’s main human rights challenges? Where should activists, investors and ambassadors target their influence? A new NGO, the Human Rights Measurement Initiative, is answering these questions.

Measuring what matters

Until now the world hasn’t had a simple, transparent way to monitor how people are treated. This was a problem. As Transparency International members know very well, when something is not measured, it is easily overlooked and undervalued.

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) is filling this gap. We produce a free, easy-to-access database of metrics, summarising human rights performance in countries around the world. With a good set of measures, it will be easier to improve human rights.

Human rights performance in Saudi-Arabia

Credit: April-Brady Project on Middle-East Democracy

Jamal Khashoggi
Right of freedom from torture

Data in action

HRMI data, scores and graphs are freely available and particularly useful for journalists, human rights practitioners, governments and researchers. We can show, for example, that Saudi Arabia’s recent killing of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, is not an outlier, but part of a pattern of human rights abuses.

HRMI data shows that Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers contributed to its poor human rights scores, something that can help advocates make the case for more humane policies. Users can also compare different countries, harnessing a competitive spirit to show, for example, that Australia is performing much worse than New Zealand on several of the rights we measure.

We want to see countries competing to see who can treat their people the best.

A global team

We’re an international team working for global change.

Co-founder Anne-Marie Brook, is a former OECD economist based in Wellington, New Zealand. Frustrated by the lack of human rights data available for investors and economists, she realised there was a bigger problem. She teamed up with two American human rights experts, Dr Susan Randolph, who leads our Economic and Social Rights measurement work, and Dr K Chad Clay, our Civil and Political Rights lead, to develop the world’s first initiative to track the human rights performance of countries.

Through partnerships and a series of co-design workshops with human rights practitioners from dozens of countries, we have developed measurement and data tools for 12 key human rights. Our global team of experts is ever-expanding. All our data are freely available, and users can search by country, region or right to explore data that will help them in their work.

Here are some of the ways information is presented on the Human Rights Measurement Initiative data site.  Anne-Marie Brook is leading the work:

Summary of human rights performance in New Zealand, HRMI 2018 
Right to education in The Americas
Right to freedom from disappearance

Employees given insufficient ethical support

Guy Somerset

Senior Communications Advisor

Victoria University of Wellington

Only 29% of New Zealand employees surveyed say their organisation has a comprehensive ethics programme, while 10% say their organisation has none at all.

This Ethics at Work: 2018 survey of employees – Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom originated from the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) in 2005. It has now for the first time included New Zealand. The IBE’s national partner is Victoria University of Wellington’s Brian Picot Chair in Ethical Leadership.

Of more than 2,000 employees surveyed across the three countries, 752 were in New Zealand.

The survey asks employees how they experience ethical dilemmas in their day-to-day working lives. It also looks at whether they have witnessed misconduct, whether they have reported it, and what stops them doing so.

Key findings

The IBE identified four key building blocks needed for a comprehensive ethics programme:

  • Code of Ethics – 70% of New Zealand employees said their organisation has written standards of ethical business conduct (compared with 73% in Australia and 69% in the UK)
  • Speak Up/Whistleblowing process – 56% have a means of reporting misconduct confidentially (compared with 64% in the UK and 61% in Australia)
  • Advice line – Less than half (46%) have access to an advice or information helpline about behaving ethically (compared with 52% in Australia and 51% in the UK)
  • Ethics training – Only 51% are given training on ethical conduct (compared with 59% in Australia and 56% in the UK).

The survey asked employees how their organisation supported them to ‘do the right thing’. It highlights the positive impact on employees of having a comprehensive ethics programme. For example:

  • Across the three countries, 85% of employees in organisations with a comprehensive ethics programme say their organisation acts responsibly in all its business dealings. This compares with 54% in organisations without a programme.

  • In organisations with a comprehensive ethics programme, 79% of employees who had been aware of misconduct, spoke up about misconduct. In comparison, only 32% of those with similar awareness within organisations without a programme spoke out.
  • Line managers in organisations with an ethics programme set a better example. In such organisations, 83% of employees say their line manager sets a good example of ethical business behaviour. This compares with 38% in organisations without an ethics programme.
Philippa Foster-Back,
Director of the Institute of Business Ethics
Dr Karin Lasthuizen,
Brian Picot Chair in Ethical Leadership,
Victoria University of Wellington


IBE Director Philippa Foster Back, launched the survey findings in New Zealand in late November. She says: “The New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) has issued recommendations for listed companies to have a code of ethics and training programme, and these results show the value of these programmes. Not only do they support employees to do the right thing, they also provide assurance to stakeholders – like investors and customers – that the organisation is operating sustainably, with business ethics in mind.”

Professor Karin Lasthuizen says that in her work as Brian Picot Chair in Ethical Leadership, she aims to facilitate a transparent and ethically sound business sector in New Zealand.

“The facts and figures in this report give important insights on employees’ attitudes to, and views on, workplace ethics,” says Professor Lasthuizen.

“It worries me that, although a majority of respondents in New Zealand are positive about the behaviour of their line manager, 10% still say they have felt some form of pressure to compromise their organisation’s standards of ethical behaviour. Employees who have felt pressured to compromise ethical standards are more likely to have negative perceptions of the ability of managers to promote ethics at the workplace.

“Ethical leadership is key, to establish a supportive organisational culture and to help mitigate the risks that can lead to organisational failures. Clarifying the organisation’s ethical expectations and setting clear boundaries for behaviour are important tasks for management, especially in light of these findings.”

For full details, refer to  ‘Ethics at Work: 2018 Survey of Employees – New Zealand‘ 

Time for governance boards to step up

Bernie McKendrey, Deputy Chair, The Institute of Internal Auditors New Zealand

Bernie McKendrey
Deputy Chair
The Institute of Internal Auditors New Zealand

“Governance Board steps in to address cultural and ethical issues negatively affecting performance… They are concerned over the organisation’s reputation and performance”.

Did you see this recent headline?  Me neither…

Unfortunately, we are bereft of good examples where a governance body has acted proactively and stepped up.  Are there any?  Are openness, transparency and disclosure only about the ‘good times’ or just when under the regulatory spotlight? 

While there is agreement that culture is a core ingredient to organisation success and a core governance responsibility, boards and management often appear to have limited understanding about how to gain appropriate assurance around culture. Directors may believe their organisation’s culture is appropriate mainly because the CEO and management told them so.  They may know that there is a “Speak Up” programme in place – but not whether it’s ever known about, understood, used or effective.

Culture is recognised as a critical component of organisational governance. It is often the root cause of significant issues that negatively impact performance and ultimately lead to significant reputational and financial damage. It was 17 years ago that the demise of Enron ‘occurred’. But the list of organisations that have suffered due to a lack of understanding of ethical and cultural issues continues today, and continues to increase in number and negative impact. 

The current Royal Commission in the Australian banking market comes to mind, as unethical practices have been routinely aired throughout the Commission’s work.  New Zealand has its own list of organisations (both public and private) that have been affected negatively as well. Building industry construction failures are the most recent examples, and Pike River continues to be a national tragedy that could have been prevented.

What can organisations and boards do?

Assurance functions are the internal conscience.  Governance feedback teams within organisations are critical to having an informed governing body.  An assurance framework (for example, the three lines of defence outlined below) must be put in place by organisations to effectively manage risk:

  • Risk Owners/Managers – As the first line of defense, operational managers own and manage controls and risks. They also are responsible for actions to address process and control deficiencies.
  • Risk Control and Compliance – Management establishes various risk management, oversight and monitoring and compliance functions to help build and/or monitor the first line-of-defense controls.
  • Risk Assurance – Independent objective reviews provide assurance on the effectiveness of governance, risk management, and internal controls, including the manner in which the first and second lines of defence achieve risk management and control objectives.

All three lines should exist in some form at every organisation regardless of size or complexity. Risk management normally is strongest when there are three separate and clearly identified lines of defence.

The board’s focus on what assurance they are receiving in relation to these lines of defence should include: 

  • What do risk owners/managers report about culture and ethics – is there ownership by this group? Are ethics owned by managers – how is this demonstrated?
  • What monitoring activities are conducted in relation to culture and ethics – are risks in the organisation managed in these areas?
  • Are internal audit providing assurance over culture and ethics? For example, are they requested to provide assurance on the effectiveness of “Speak Up” programmes, which can be a reflection of organisational culture and ethics?  Are culture and ethics programmes independently reviewed for effectiveness?

Employee perceptions about ‘how things actually get done’ may override good systems and processes.  Internal auditors as independent, objective consultants are well placed to undertake specific assessments on culture and ethics. They benefit from daily professional scepticism (a necessary tool for any auditor) to alert them to areas where attention is needed. 

It is time for governance bodies to reacquaint themselves with the internal assurance mechanisms they have in place to assist them in discharging their accountabilities. Boards must step up.

A New Zealand failure of governance – facing the reality

Tod Cooper
Member with delegated authority for
Procurement/ Online Training/ Whistleblowing

by Tod Cooper

TINZ Director

Writing for Employers and Manufacturers Association

BusinessPlus Magazine


Peter Thomas, the NZ Managing Director of scandal-ridden print giant Fuji Xerox spoke at a recent Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply event in Wellington.

When introducing him I said he would open his kimono – and that he certainly did! Thomas spoke candidly about the past couple of years. He graphically described his experiences since taking over from the two former managing directors, both of whom are now facing civil charges for fraud. 

It is a gripping story. Thomas spoke from the heart to a group of about 70 procurement and business professionals, holding no details back. In our audience, no one checked their phones or drifted discreetly back towards the bar, such was the speaker’s honest and genuine remorse for the actions and omissions of his predecessors in the role. 

And as you would imagine, the following Q&A session was brutal. Impressively, Thomas did not shy away from answering the barrage of questions.

He avoided only those directly relating to the current civil charges that Fuji Xerox have filed against the two former MDs and the former CFO. With emotion, he stated that it was a matter of principle that those who did this should not just walk away. 

Accounting irregularities

The story is well known and has been comprehensively reported, so I won’t cover the details. Suffice to say that more than $350 million in ‘accounting irregularities’ were found in the company. A handful of staff did pretty well out of those ‘irregularities’. 

What were those irregularities? In a nutshell, they were about capturing and bringing forward hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues from long term contracts, many of which were volume-based with grossly overstated annual values. 

The way that staff were remunerated under the accounting practices meant that this procedure substantially boosted their bonuses. Basically, under these practices the contracts were apparently super profitable on day one, but in fact lost major money for the company from day two. 

The key focus from Thomas’s perspective is that he and they can’t change the past, but they must learn from it, and share those learnings. An admirable position to take, maybe out of reputational necessity – publicity couldn’t get any worse – but Thomas didn’t have to. He could have done what many others in similar-sized organisations would do and have done, and spend millions on lawyers and spin doctor PR to quell the publicity and tough it out.

Road to recovery

From Thomas’s perspective they have a lot of work to do.

A priority is to regain the trust and confidence of stakeholders, none more important than existing customers, staff, and partners, many of whom have stuck with them through this. I’ll admit I was one. 

Despite significant liabilities and negative equity (both in the hundreds of millions) Thomas talked about how Fuji Xerox needed to rebuild the business from the ground up. This means implementing significant restructuring of the business, processes and culture. 

Thomas spoke about the need to incorporate rigorous controls into the new structure. These include, for example, implementing robust checks and balances, a resilient and well communicated whistle-blowing process, strong independent accountant and auditing, and more.  He went on to say that “as critical as these controls and processes are, they are like an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff:  a robust governance structure to focus on integrity is fundamental”.

For me, this was at the heart of Thomas’s demonstrated understanding of the Fuji Xerox scandal. 

Thomas talked about: 

  • replacing a board (that never met) was a priority, so there could be much better governance and accountability from the top
  • moving to a more distributed hierarchy of control, so the managing director does not hold absolute power
  • developing and applying better internal policies and processes to apply to everyone, without exceptions
  • ensuring a strong internal staff culture based on fair and reasonable remuneration. Lack of an ethical culture was the problem. While the fraud was the work of a small few, it tarnished everyone in Fuji Xerox – and brought the company to its knees. 

The New Zealand lesson – who we are

It is scandals like these, and honest reflections such as Thomas gave, that remind me just how vulnerable we are as Kiwis and Kiwi businesses. It is a reminder of how we often have a predisposition to trust – sadly a susceptibility which can be exploited. This attitude of trust is who we are, part of what makes this place of ours so great. However, we need to be ever-mindful that even here in little ol’ New Zealand, even in our calm blue waters, crocodiles can be lurking. 

Civics education needs consensus

John Hall
TINZ Director
Civics & Human Rights, OGP, Auckland Events

John Hall

TINZ Director

Civics & Human Rights

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) recently commented on the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Review conducted as part of the national Education Conversation | Korero Matauranga.  TINZ advocated an important attribute of any transparent and accountable society is that its citizens have the literacy to actively participate in routine social and democratic activities. 

Divergent understandings

However, a major obstacle is the lack of sufficient common platforms for public discourse. This could lead to different civic and political conversations developing within different communities. There is a risk that this might eventually be reflected in legislation leading to a divergence in different communities’ understanding of the law. The lack of a sufficient consensus on the definition and standards of civic literacy may have led to the confusion concerning what constitutes basic civic literacy. 

  • On the one hand, uncertainty about what values lie behind our institutions could lead teachers to focus on only the most mechanical of civic processes (such as voting). This risks leaving students without an understanding of the rationale for these processes.
  • On the other hand, leaving the scope of civics too broad may allow teachers to focus solely on issues of interest to them, at the expense of explaining the processes. See Citizenship Education in New Zealand policy and practice.

Without a common approach across socio-economic demographics to the teaching of civics, there is a risk that students’ literacy with social systems may correlate with decile backgrounds. The International Civic and Citizenship Study (ICCS) study of 2008 identified a disparity in civics knowledge between students from European or Asian ethnic groups and those from Maori or Pasifika backgrounds. There are serious repercussions for society if demographic or geographic communities are developing diverging understandings of society itself.

The case for robust civil literacy

A robust civics education needs to be of benefit to the individual, the community and society in general. An important outcome is that an informed and engaged polity is one where robust integrity systems can develop that are strong antidotes for corruption.

TINZ, therefore, supports the broadening of the literacy requirements to include compulsory civics literacy standards. TINZ hopes the Ministry recognises civic literacy as the process whereby citizens can name, analyse, and take effective action on a social or political issue.

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Forums explore Well-being and Open Government

Anne Gilbert

Anne Gilbert, TINZ Public Sector Project Manager

Open Government – Do we hear the people sing?

Open government is built on transparency, participation and accountability- it’s a cornerstone of good government, supporting New Zealanders to have their say on what matters to them.  

The theme of the October Leaders Integrity Forum was Open Government and effectively listening to the people. Andrew Kibblewhite, Chief Executive, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and Paul James, Chief Executive of Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), spoke. Then followed an in-depth discussion very ably chaired by Catherine Williams, Deputy State Services Commissioner, Integrity, Ethics and Standards.

Andrew described the key elements of Open Government as:

  • Listening
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Participatory democracy.

He referred to the IAP2 Public Participation Spectrum to illustrate how far we’ve come and how much more needs to be done to ensure New Zealand citizens have real opportunities to contribute to decision-making.  He suggested that New Zealand public servants are doing well at informing and consulting with the people, but have room for improvement in involving, collaborating and empowering. 

Andrew referred to the Policy Project frameworks and tools co-developed across the policy community to improve performance. He suggested the need to better manage expectations and ensure transparency of process. Important also is to close the loop, back to all participants.

To meet Commitment 5 ‘Public participation in policy development’ in New Zealand’s third Open Government Partnership National Action Plan 2018-2020 (OGP NAP3), different and new skill sets will be required to manage open conversations. This applies to both executives and ministers to be better at being really open. 

Paul James, Chief Executive of Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), could easily draw the comparisons between the work of DIA and his previous role in the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.  “Being custodians of our nation’s precious taonga and public records is a role common to both DIA and MCH. Preserving our memories and conserving our documents ensure we pass on our heritage for future generations.”

DIA is building more openness and transparency in the way it operates and is leading three commitments within the current OGP NAP3 namely: Inclusive service design, Monitoring effectiveness of public information management, and Authoritative dataset of government organisations.  

Listening is key to openness. As society becomes more open, the public will expect to be listened to. It is thus important that government departments listen actively if they are to stay relevant and responsive.

Paul acknowledged that:

  • there are cultural challenges to be overcome before we are truly open and transparent,
  • breaking down silos between and within agencies may not be easy
  • there will be tensions between agencies as they are required to work together.
  • but all of this can be achieved when everyone stays focused on the common objective of providing good public services to all.

For more on this forum see the Office of the Auditor-General blog and presentations by Andrew Kibblewhite Listening to the People and Paul James Integrity and transparency .

CE of DPMC, Andrew-Kibblewhite, addresses the Leaders Integrity Forum on 16 Oct 2018
Deputy State Services Commissioner, Catherine Williams, chairs the Leaders Integrity Forum on 16 Oct 2018
CE of DIA, Paul James, addresses the Leaders Integrity Forum on 16 Oct 2018

Well-being from two perspectives

LGNZ CEO Malcolm Alexander, Auditor General John Ryan, and Treasury Deputy Secretary Tim Ng during Q&A at November 2018 Leaders Integrity Forum
Q&A discussion at November 2018 Leaders Integrity Forum
TINZ Chair Suzanne Snively concludes the November 2018 Leaders Integrity Forum

The November Leaders Integrity Forum offered valuable insights into central and local government’s respective thinking on well-being. With the Government’s commitment towards people’s well-being, there was keen interest to hear the perspective of senior officials from The Treasury and Local Government.

The Forum Chair, Auditor-General, John Ryan, identified that proposed reporting on well-being is a real opportunity to better measure how we’re doing as a country. It will enable a whole discussion on what works and how.

Tim Ng, Treasury Deputy Secretary and Chief Economic Advisor, described central government’s development of the Living Standards Framework (LSF) based on the four indicators of future well-being:

  • Natural capital
  • Human capital
  • Social capital (rules, norms of behaviour that bind us together)
  • Financial/physical capital.

The LSF is intended to support Treasury’s advice about prioritisation living standards improvements. In addition, it aims to strengthen coherence, transparency and evidence within its advice process.  

Malcolm Alexander, Chief Executive, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) indicated that local government has a big role to play in the well-beings conversation because it “talks at the community level”. He argued that local government needs to be more closely engaged. From LGNZ’s perspective, centralised policy development deadens democracy, is costly, and constrains the ability of local government to respond to the well-being needs of their communities.

I came away wondering how a balance between to two perspectives can be found to ensure all people receive an equal level of good public services that fit the local context. As John Ryan said in his introduction, this conversation isn’t for the faint-hearted.

For more information see the Office of the Auditor-General blog and presentations by Tim Ng’s The Treasury Living Standards Framework and Malcolm Alexander’s Localism and Well-Being .

Third OGP Plan readied for publication

Newsletter Co-editor
Member with Delegated Authority for Open Government Partnership, Parliamentarian Network and SGDs

David Dunsheath

TINZ Member with Delegated Authority for Open Government

Transparency Times Newsletter Co-editor

3rd National Action Plan (2018-2020)

New Zealand’s third Open Government Partnership National Action Plan (OGP-NAP3) 2018-2020 was recently issued to the OGP International Secretariat for publication.

Open Government Partnership National Action Plan 2018-2020 commitments

It contains twelve Commitments within three OGP Values. Each commitment is underpinned by several milestones. Development and implementation of each commitment is owned by a lead government agency. There are currently nine lead agencies involved in this plan. 

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) has participated at various stages of the plan’s development. The primary message of the last TINZ submission in October is that more work needs to be done to attract broader civic engagement in the process.

This OGP-NAP3 will now be independently reviewed under the OGP Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) process at several stages of its implementation and conclusion.

2nd National Action Plan (2016-2018)

The OGP-NAP2 (2016-2018) plan was completed in mid 2018. Since then the government has published its OGP 2nd National Action Plan end-of-term Self-Assessment Report on the final outcomes from this second plan. 

TINZ prepared a submission in November, focused primarily on generic recommendations to improve the submission/feedback process itself. The removal of unnecessary editing, formatting and other obstacles would simplify the mechanics of submissions thereby encouraging increased public feedback on OGP and all other topics. 

At present the IRM independent reviewer report on the government’s end-of-term Self-Assessment Report is being drafted. Public feedback will be invited on this, in January 2019.    

Corruption Perceptions Index 2018

CPI Release

The Transparency International 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (TI CPI) will be released at 5:00pm 29 January 2019 New Zealand time. Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) will release the results and supporting documents to the general public.

Members of the Media are encouraged to contact TINZ at ahead of time to arrange a point of contact for copies of embargoed information.

Special report: Corruption in New Zealand

In conjunction with the release of the TI CPI findings, TINZ will publish a special edition of this newsletter “Corruption in New Zealand.”

It will take a big picture approach about the levels of corruption in New Zealand and initiatives to further prevent it.

Submissions schedule

TINZ encourages you to exercise your democratic responsibilities by responding to invitations from government agencies, with your opinions on future direction-setting and legislation. 

The following two centralised websites known to TINZ, invite and facilitate public submissions on a variety of legislation, policies, levies, plans and projects currently being processed, together with recently closed submissions:

Unfortunately only some agencies utilise either or both of these facilities. Other agencies conduct their own publicity.  TINZ aims to ensure this fragmentation is remedied within the spirit of the new Open Government Partnership National Action Plan (2018-2020).

Submissions currently being sought

The following invitations known to be of relevance to TINZ, are currently open for public comment by their stated deadline. While TINZ intends to respond to these as an organisation, we encourage everyone to become involved directly as important opportunities to exercise your democratic responsibilities.

Reserve Bank Act review phase 2

  • Deadline Friday 25 January 2019
  • This first round of consultation for Phase 2 of the ‘Reserve Bank Act Review: Safeguarding the future of our financial system’, seeks feedback to The Treasury on five key issues.

Recent TINZ submissions

In case you missed it

Imploring G20 leaders to take the fight against corruption seriously in Buenos Aires. #G20TakeAction

NZ Ministers to release diaries

Government to proactively release Ministerial diaries

Government to proactively release Ministerial diaries

Government ministers’ meetings to be made public from next year

Government to release ministerial diaries from January

New Zealand transparency, integrity and accountability

Councils halt online voting trial for local body elections. Councils have been forced to halt a proposed trial of online voting in next year’s local body elections due to costs. They will continue to work collaboratively with the relevant government sectors to deliver online voting for the 2022 local body elections.

Transparency trashed, Official Information Act plans kept secret .Your NZ. Although the mandate of the Official Information Act is to enable public access to Government information and improve transparency, it doesn’t always work that way.

Algorithm stocktake: “need to take care in their use” . RNZ. The first ever stock-take into government agencies’ use of algorithms and predictive modelling to deliver their services to citizens, indicates the use of algorithms must be done with caution. The Government Chief Data Steward Liz MacPherson, along with the Government Chief Digital Officer, have looked at how fourteen government agencies use algorithms.

Bid to clean up NZ’s business reputation divides submitters . Stuff highlights comments received from the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment discussion document on beneficial ownership.
Note: TINZ is not a “lobbying group” as stated. It is a corruption monitoring and thought leadership group, representing non-partisan views from throughout New Zealand.

New Zealand politics: how political donations could be reformed to reduce potential influence by Simon Chapple.  The Conversation.

Norman Gemmell: Government seems to want a second source of fiscal advice.  NZ Herald. The proposed introduction of an independent fiscal institution (IFI).

Friends or foes: Privacy Act and anti-money laundering law . Privacy Commissioner. In answer to the question ‘friends or foes?’, the Anti-Money Laundering Countering Financing of Terrorism Act and the Privacy Act could perhaps be described as friends that meet for coffee from time to time, but both parties aren’t so close that they’re likely to remember the other’s birthday.

Spy agency watchdog is committed ‘encouraging and demonstrating transparency’ NZ Herald. The department which oversees New Zealand’s intelligence and spy agencies says the theme of much of its work this year had been “encouraging and demonstrating transparency.”

From North Korean gun running to El Chapo’s drugs cartel .  New Zealand Police have received more than 350 criminal investigation inquiries about New Zealand companies that the notorious Taylors established.


Gregor Paul: Rules and code of ethics far too blurred in rugby

Sustainable Development

Court decision on greenhouse gas emissions a warning for NZ  .Newsroom. Sarah Meade reports that in a landmark judgment issued earlier this month, the Hague Court of Appeal ordered that the Dutch state’s target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was in breach of its duty to protect its citizens’ human rights, and was deemed illegal. 


Turn up the volume on whistleblowing . Newsroom. The Government is currently carrying out their promised review of whistleblowing laws, something that is long overdue and in need of bold reform, says Dr Bryce Edwards. But he warns that politicians and officials seem to be trying not to rock the boat, leaving New Zealand vulnerable to corruption and other ethical wrongdoing.

One in 10 Kiwi workers have felt pressure to act ‘unethically’ Stuff. One in 10 Kiwi workers have felt some form of pressure to “compromise their organisation’s standards of ethical behaviour”, according to a survey by the British-based Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) and Victoria University.

Nearly half of whistleblowers treated badly by their bosses . NBR. Legislation important but organisational culture matters. NBR whistleblowing interviews with Michael Macaulay.
Note: Access to NBR (National Business Review) articles requires your simple one-time pre-registration which then entitles you to view two articles per week for free .

Many of the more radical ideas for encouraging and protecting whistleblowing appear to have received little support during “targeted consultations” run by the State Services Commission. However, the commission says there is still an opportunity for people to put their views forward. Public feedback will be sought before the Minister of State Services intends to report back to Cabinet in April 2019 to seek agreement on final policy proposals. Stuff.


After 15 years’ work, it’s time: Australia’s national integrity commission solution explained Fifteen years after Transparency International Australia and Griffith University researchers first assessed Australia as needing a comprehensive federal anti-corruption body, the full legislative plan is finally on the table.


Fighting land corruption in Papua New Guinea Transparency International (press release) Betty contacted Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) to … Like many other Transparency International chapters around the world, …


Democratic establishments across the world continue to fall like dominoes under waves of popular anger and resentment against the decay of institutions riddled with corruption or captured by organised special interest. On Sunday, it was Brazil’s turn. “The revolt against a moribund political class transmutes into a revolt against democratic governance itself”

Anti-graft authorities to inspect financial firms China’s disciplinary authorities are allocating supervision teams to large financial enterprises as part of the country’s intensified efforts to fight corruption in the financial sector

The Struggle Against Corruption Timothy K. Kuhner Associate Professor, University of Auckland, Faculty of Law and TINZ member produced this video documentary with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The Struggle Against Corruption is a powerful 20-minute documentary piece featuring interviews with members of UNODC staff.

Research identifies the need for vastly improved on-line voting systems’ transparency and auditing to restore observable vote counting and electoral integrity as the basis of democracies, without which concealed, computerised vote counting systems are overly vulnerable to fraud.

#G20TAKEACTION – Transparency International takes anti-corruption message to streets of Buenos Aires In a last ditch attempt to get G20 leaders to take the fight against corruption seriously, Transparency International and its Argentinian chapter Poder Ciudadano, have lined streets in Buenos Aires with posters with the slogan “#G20TakeAction: Implement Your Anti-Corruption Commitments” in advance of this week’s summit.

political lobbying in the UK, following publication of a new Transparency International report into their activities.

UK suspends fast-track visa scheme for wealthy investors Eighty-two Indian nationals applied for an ‘Investor (Tier 1) visa through this route between 2008 and March 2018, according to Transparency International.

German real estate market a hotbed of money laundering, Transparency reports . Deutsche Welle. Billions of euros of illicit funds are being funneled into German real estate, anti-corruption group Transparency International said in a report on Friday.

International Anti-Corruption Conference

News: PWYP calls for commitments on beneficial ownership disclosure and protection of civic space

The Copenhagen Declaration – Stand Together for Peace, Security and Development The 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Copenhagen brought together more than 1,800 delegates. These included former TINZ Patron, Sir Anand Satyanand, Chair, Suzanne Snively, CEO, Julie Haggie, Director, Josephine Serrallach and Board Legal Secretary, Sarah Mead.

Delegates were from civil society, governments, multilateral agencies, and the private sector from 144 countries. As an anti-corruption movement, delegates leave this conference stronger, more determined and more motivated to take action. They are a global force which will not be silenced.

18th IACC High Level Segment Commitments The 18th IACC included a high-level segment, where around 40 ministers, leaders of international organisations and private companies came together to discuss strategies for the international collaboration on anti-corruption. Participants presented concrete anti-corruption action plans and commitments.

Transparency International

Transparency International scrutinises Facebook, Google and Amazon over political lobbying . The Drum. Amazon, Facebook and Google are facing further questions over the extent of their political lobbying in the UK, following publication of a new Transparency International report into their activities.

International Anti-Corruption Day 9 December 2018: The power of people’s pressure Transparency International (press release) (blog)Across the world, Transparency International chapters work hard to help the public become involved and engaged in the fight against corruption.


TINZ engages New Zealand and New Zealanders in a broad range of issues related to building stronger integrity systems to mitigate the impact of bribery and corruption. TINZ Directors, Members with Delegated Authority and staff provide subject matter expertise in the topic areas of interest.

TINZ Subject Matter Experts, current at the time of this newsletter publication, can be can be found at TINZ Team December 2018. To view by topic, visit the category page which lists TINZ topics and respective current subject matter experts.