Transparency Times December 2019

Seasons Greeting from the Chair

What a year 2019 has been for exposing the inadequacies of our business sector in preventing corruption. Overcoming these inadequacies is urgent if New Zealand is to maintain its reputation for integrity and its designation as the best place to do business.

Seven Key Practices that Prevent Corruption

It’s important that businesses continually refresh Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ)’s seven key practices that prevent corruption:

  • tone at the top
  • living codes of ethics
  • anti-corruption communication and training
  • observance of the rule of law
  • whistleblowing and protective disclosure
  • robust procurement practices and
  • regular reviews/audits to uncover corrupt practice.

These practices need to be regarded as priorities for businesses to maintain and improve their competitiveness.

It’s essential that both the private and public sectors follow these principles if our people and economy are to be protected from the international wave of corrupt financial flows, estimated to be equal to as much as 3% of the worlds’ GDP.

The year started with the news that 66 New Zealand business people surveyed by the World Economic Forum, ‎believed there to be increasing corruption in the public sector, including in our judiciary. This group was one of the eight sources of survey information used to calculate Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (the TI-CPI) score for New Zealand. This survey impacted on our overall TI-CPI ranking. Our overall score fell, and our ranking slipped to number 2 behind Denmark.

This was despite the public sector progress observed in TINZ’s 2018 update of its 2013 National Integrity System Assessment. This assessment is based on detailed evidence about the way different sectors are addressing the identification, detection, and prevention of corruption.

Paradoxically, some of the progress in the public sector may itself have shaped the perceptions of those business people surveyed by the World Economic Forum, who marked down New Zealand’s performance.‎ Since 2013, the Serious Fraud Office has been given the mandate (though regretfully with limited resources) to prosecute cases of corruption.

Legal cases in the public sector, such as the Rodney District Council versus Borlase and Noone, are generally public with published judgments. In contrast, most private sector cases of bribery, corruption or fraud are settled out-of-court with limited, or no, publicity. This gives the impression of greater corruption in the public sector than in the private (or NGO) sectors.

Conduct and Culture Shape Integrity Systems

In terms of culture and conduct that make up integrity systems, this impression is inaccurate. The exposure this past year of the large Australian-owned banks’ treatment of customers, their failure of attestation of capital adequacy, and breaking the laws relating to Anti-Money Laundering, show a breathtaking disregard for their social licence.

Surveys of the private sector paint a consistent picture of a sector that sees the detection and prevention of corruption as of very low priority.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise when Professor Dr Michael Macaulay reported this month that no business participated in the survey taken to provide evidence for his analysis of whistleblowing practice in New Zealand.

Role of Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers have been busy this year, nearly every week a new one has come forward. 

Whistleblowers are a key source of information in cases where organisations and some of their people prefer not to be transparent. Protecting these whistleblowers  is a challenge that must be addressed so that people have the courage to speak up about inappropriate conduct.

A recent media story described how the evidence about New Zealand First’s Foundation, was left out for a journalist near a school. While this provided a cute angle to the story, by telling it the journalist may have included sufficient information for those in the know to put the identity and career of the whistleblower at risk

This would be unfortunate as the now public evidence about some of the features of political party funding needs improved accountability.

Thanks to this whistleblower’s initiative, the media has extensively explored different aspects of political party funding. Meantime new legislation has been introduced to tighten up on donations from overseas citizens. Separately, the Chair of the Electoral Commission has explicitly identified changes required to enable the Commission to carry out investigations in cases like this.

Peace on Earth

By always keeping vigilant it is possible to turn the saying of the season, “peace on earth”, from a cliché into a reality. By fronting up to the alter of transparency and accountability, the private sector can enhance its reputation, easier market access, lower costs, better access to capital, higher returns on investment, better quality, committed staff, and customer loyalty.

These are the factors that generate better quality paid work for more people. A strong private sector also enables greater innovation and trade in goods and services that are environmentally sustainable.

The 2019 TI Corruption Perceptions Index will be published on 23 January 2020. Let’s hope that the business people responding to the World Economic Forum survey, are better informed about our public sector and judiciary than last time.

Until then, on behalf of Transparency International New Zealand, best wishes for the holiday season!

Suzanne Snively, ONZM

Chair

Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

Clean as a Whistle – Whistleblowing lessons for New Zealand

Prof Michael Macaulay launches NZ Whistleblowiing Research Report, Dec 2019

Professor Michael Macaulay recently spoke to his soon-to-be-released New Zealand five step guide on whistleblowing. The Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) and Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) co-sponsored this breakfast event.

Professor Macaulay said that whistleblowing processes are vital to the integrity, good governance and freedom from corruption in institutions across the world. Many organisations are becoming more aware of both the benefits and responsibilities that go with effective speak up processes. 

Speaking up

The term ‘whistleblower’ has lost some currency because of its negative connotations.  Nevertheless, it is still a well-known term to describe a person who exposes secretive information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, immoral or not correct within a private or public organisation. Accordingly, ‘speak up’ processes require careful design and implementation to encourage and protect people (e.g. staff members at any level) who speak up about organisational wrong-doing.

The Protected Disclosures Act 2000 sets out New Zealand’s whistleblowing legislation. Many commentators including TINZ, consider this Act substantially deficient. It has been under review, but there is no indication of when the legislation will be changed.

New Zealand focussed research

Professor Macaulay spoke about the soon to be released Clean as a Whistle – Lessons for New Zealand report that provides an update on New Zealand’s whistleblowing practices and shortfalls. The findings in this report are distilled from a broader Australasia-wide report Whistling While They Work 2 project (August 2019). This promotes a 5-step circular process to achieve better whistleblower policy and practice.

Five steps for better whistleblowing policy and practice

The New Zealand report identifies current issues and offers tips for best practice on developing positive workplace interventions including establishing new forms of oversight. Professor Macaulay identified key points from the research in regard to New Zealand:

  • trust and safety are the top reasons for non-reporting (reluctance to speak up)
  • the greater the seniority of the alleged wrongdoer, the worse was the outcome for the reporter (whistleblower)
  • for overall whistleblowing awareness by personnel, New Zealand’s central government scored worst of all the Australasian government categories, and New Zealand local government performs little better
  • awareness of whistleblowing legislation is low 
  • New Zealand scores lowest in the provision of formal versus informal whistleblower training, compared to all other Australasian types of government. Moreover, central government is exceptionally reliant on informal training (i.e. by way of team and management meetings) rather than formal training. Professor Macaulay asked whether this could reflect the generally smaller, face to face nature of many New Zealand workplaces 
  • pro-active risk assessment leads to change and risk assessment reduces the extent of repercussions
  • positive change is created in organisations where whistleblowers or others who speak up, are treated well by management and colleagues. 

Protected Disclosures Act reform

The following table summarises reform to the Protected Disclosures Act recommended by the research team.

Protected Disclosures Act Reform
Option 1
  • Issue guidance to support legislative reform
  • Improve definition of serious wrongdoing
  • Strengthen obligations around organisational procedures
  • Improve protections
  • Clarify list of appropriate external authorities
  • Clarify the path to compensation.
Option 2
  • Option 1 plus
  • Allow people to report concerns to an appropriate authority at any time.
Option 3
  • Option 2 plus
  • Introduce dedicated ‘one stop shop’ for advice.
Option 4
  • Option 3 plus
  • Introduce monitoring for the public sector.
Option 5
  • Option 4 plus
  • Introduce monitoring for the private and not for profit sectors.
Off the table
  • Extending the protections of the Act to people who report directly to the media
  • Extending the protections of the Act to people who report concerns anonymously
  • Introducing penalties for employers who breach their obligations.

A link to the full report “Clean as a Whistle – Lessons for New Zealand” will be made available when published in the New Year.

An overview of the original Australasia-wide research report  Whistling While They Work 2 was included in the August 2019 TINZ Transparency Times.

Guidance to current arrangements

Chief Ombudsman, Judge Peter Boshier, sets out the nuts and bolts of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, and why we need to lift our game in both awareness and practice in this recent article published by the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ). Whistleblowing: legislation is just part of the picture.

Environmental reporting requires more transparency

New Zealand does not “collect the right data to know how our environment is faring, undermining efforts to protect it.” This is the conclusion of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) Simon Upton.

His report Focusing Aotearoa New Zealand’s environmental reporting system, is an outcome from of the Environmental Reporting Act 2015. The report identifies huge gaps in data and knowledge that undermine New Zealand’s stewardship of the environment. He recommends concerted action and serious investment to improve the system. Data gaps, along with inconsistent data collection and analysis, make it hard to construct a clear national picture of the state of our environment – and whether it is getting better or worse.

This is a good example where lack of accountability reduces the transparency required for good decision-making. It also leaves the sector wide open for bribery, fraud and corruption.

Expert comment on the PCE report

A selection of experts were invited by the Science Media Centre (SMC) to comment on the PCE‘s report. Of particular interest to Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) are observations made by Dr Murray Petrie, Senior Research Associate, Institute of Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington:

“This is an excellent report from the PCE. It addresses a number of critically important and under-appreciated constraints on the ability of governments to manage our natural environment and to be held accountable for it.

“Of particular importance are the [PCE’s] recommendations to:

  • Expand the coverage of State of Environment reports to include the drivers of environmental pressures (bringing New Zealand closer into line with the internationally recognised DPSIR reporting framework) as well as forward-looking environmental outlooks that are critical to better stewardship.
  • Invest in significantly expanded environmental data collection and monitoring – which needs to be recognised as part of New Zealand’s core national infrastructure.
  • Require a synthesis report every six years (from 2025), retaining alignment with the electoral cycle, and a government response to each report – thereby increasing direct public accountability and ensuring the reports are not shelved”.

Need to work smarter 

Petrie continues: “Environmental reporting and stewardship could be further strengthened, beyond the recommendations in the report, by:

  • Generating and using better evidence on the intended and unintended environmental impacts of current policies (a knowledge gap not referred to in the report).
  • Stipulating that the government response to each synthesis report must include goals for its priority environmental outcomes with measurable targets, milestones and progress reports – similar to the mandated accountability arrangements for fiscal and monetary policy.
  • Specifying that environmental outlooks should include data and discussion on resilience, risks, and tipping points – to promote earlier mitigation and provide detail on environmental risks that can be brought to bear alongside the wealth of information on fiscal risks. This would enable explicit consideration of policy priorities and trade-offs across domains in the setting of medium-term fiscal strategy.”

Expectations yet to be met

In its National Integrity System Assessment (NISA) 2013, TINZ recommended regular, technically independent, state of the environment reporting. Refer to NIS Supplementary Paper Environmental Governance. The 2015 Act subsequently provided a reasonable but limited start.

There is an urgent need to introduce more transparency and accountability into environmental reporting, both to protect New Zealand’s natural capital, and to prevent corruption led by the malicious who exploit unprotected systems.

Transparency of Political Party Funding Essential

Transparency International New Zealand
Media Release

Transparency of political party funding is essential to provide clarity about who is influencing decision making.

The lack of transparency is putting New Zealand’s reputation for strong integrity at serious risk. It erodes trust in our elected representatives, degrades our financial well-being, and impacts on our society and how it works together.

Allegations published by Stuff.co.nz NZ First Foundation dodging electoral rules? Records suggest breaches are particularly harmful. This latest story has gone around the world in 80 seconds – it’s a very bad look.

“Transparency International New Zealand has been raising the red flag about political party funding for over 16 years,” says Suzanne Snively, Chair, Transparency International New Zealand. Our Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment  strongly recommended a complete review of the funding of political parties and candidates’ campaigns.”

We re-emphasized this need in our Building Accountability: National Integrity System Assessment 2018 Update,” adds Liz Brown, National Integrity System Assessment Project Director

Political parties everywhere receive the majority of their funding from a few major funders. All to often they prefer to hide these sources from public scrutiny. They may engage in questionable practices such as setting up private foundations too maintain anonymity of the sources and amounts of contributions.

Political Party funding reform must prevent behaviours intended to shield major funders and include financial transparency throughout the political process.

The challenges of moving to a more transparent political party funding system are complex. It will take strong public and cross-party political will to address this. But it has to be done to maintain our integrity as a nation.

TINZ’s 2019 Annual General Meeting

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ)’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 5th November was dazzling, even in the face of strong competition from a number of other Wellington events.

The evening began with a formal AGM. TINZ Chair, Suzanne Snively, efficiently presented the formal business of the organisation and a recap of the year’s events, refer to AGM presentation and agenda and the TINZ Annual Report for year ended 30 June 2019.

Louisa Wall, Member of Parliament, chaired the speakers’ and Q&A session with informative presentations from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General, and Kirsten Patterson, CEO of the Institute of Directors. (Kirstin’s presentation). Attendees commented that both speeches were insightful in their depth and breadth, within the general context of governance and women in leadership.

The meeting also included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Transparency International New Zealand and Victoria University of Wellington Victoria International Leadership Programme.

TINZ is most grateful to the ANZ for the contribution of their meeting space for our event.

The election of Directors of TINZ by members was concluded. For the first time, it was held online as well as at the AGM meeting. It was a closely fought race, with only a few votes separating the outcome. The three elected Directors are Henry Lynch (re-elected), Luke Qin (previously appointed by the Board and now elected) and Ferdinand Balfoort (newly elected).

Missing out is David McNeill, who has been a TINZ Director since 2013. TINZ acknowledges David’s fine contribution including two years as Deputy Chair, support of TINZ’s IT System (to work across its Directors, Members-with-Delegated-Authority (MDAs) and staff) and his commitment to a range of special topics such as political party funding. He is keen to continue as an MDA while also providing guidance and practical information technology assistance.

Shaping the Future – Transparency International’s Annual Members Meeting

Transparency International has been working to fight corruption for the past 25 years.

Julie Haggie
Chief Executive Officer Transparency International New Zealand

This year’s Annual Members Meeting (AMM) of the global Transparency International (TI) movement was held in Berlin in November. The Board and Members worked more collectively to ensure strong internal behaviour, structure and governance, all focussed on the main ‘mahi’ of the movement – reducing corruption.

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) was represented by its Chair, Suzanne Snively, and Chief Executive Officer, Julie Haggie.

Good improvements

The TI Board applied some pragmatic processes this year to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the meeting. These added value for attendees, who included around 30 Individual Members (IMs) – official Chapter Representatives from the over 110 national chapters – plus TI staff and other Chapter team members.

There was discussion around a set of complaints of bullying made by secretariat staff in Berlin. While there is still work to do in addressing these complaints and preventing such behaviour in the future, current progress provides evidence of a maturing organisation.

TI’s structure has evolved from once consisting of a set of individual founders – IMs – to now comprising largely of national Chapters. In recognition of this in a move supported by the individual members, the voting structure was changed to remove IMs’ voting power.

Commitments 

This AMM made a commitment to prioritise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a unifying element of its actions. This included the two global priorities of Dirty Money and Political Integrity. TI will prioritise the follow-up through monitoring and active participation in the anti-corruption targets of the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 16.

Attendees also resolved to increase TI’s efforts to ensure countries that are receiving stolen assets, will enforce justice, punish culprits and reinstate stolen assets to victim populations.

The TI Annual Members Meeting was an important opportunity for attendees to informally meet during the programme. Suzanne and Julie took advantage of this to meet face to face with other chapter representatives and TI staff, on topics ranging from the Pacific Programme to Anti Money Laundering.

Peter Eigen, co-founder of Transparency International (with New Zealander Jeremy Pope, who sadly passed away in 2012) receives a standing ovation during the 2019 Annual Members Meeting
Transparency International Annual Membership Meeting November 2019

Asia Pacific Integrity Conference

Lewis Rowland,TINZ MDA,
presenting to the Asia Pacific Integrity Conference - Dec 2019

Lewis Rowland

Member with Delegated Authority

Defence and Defence Anti-Corruption Index

On behalf of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ), I recently attended and presented at the Asia Pacific Integrity Conference, held in Seoul on 5 December. Around 60 people attended, including several overseas speakers from Indonesia, PNG, Taiwan and New Zealand.

My 15 minute presentation covered transparency in the New Zealand defence sector. The presentation was well received. New Zealand is held in high respect in the Asia Pacific region, where it is ranked #1 for its lack of corruption. Internationally, it sits second to Denmark for the openness and transparency of its public sector generally. I noted that we sometimes take this for granted and the lesson is that everyone needs to remain vigilant.

The conference was well organised and well attended, mostly by South Koreans from various civil society groups. I was impressed by the efforts of our gracious host, Transparency International Korea (TIK), in ensuring the conference’s success.

The benefit of attending these type of events is the networking opportunities and the chance to share and swap stories and advice. What struck me was the dedication and persistence displayed by many in the audience to reduce corruption and bribery in their respective countries. Encouragingly, I was left with the impression that, overall, the situation was gradually improving.

TIK announced that it would be jointly hosting the 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) between 2-5 June 2020, in Seoul. Around 2,000 participants are expected to attend. New Zealand is of course invited! TINZ plans to organise a group of attendees from the Pacific region.

Asia Pacific Integrity Conference-December 2019 group picture

Public Service Bill introduced to Parliament

In mid November, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins introduced the Public Service Bill marking the beginning of a legislative process that will continue until mid-next year. 

According to the State Services Commission announcement, the Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed and replaced with a new Public Service Act.

“The current Act has reached the limit of what it can achieve,” Chris Hipkins said.

“The State Sector Act 1988 was designed for its time, and since then there have been major social, economic and technological changes, many of them on a global scale.  

“It is no longer possible for a single agency to fix the really big and complex problems New Zealand faces today.

“While the current Act has provided some benefits to efficiency and effectiveness at the agency level, it can no longer support the way modern public services need to be delivered,” Chris Hipkins said.

The new Act:

  • provides a more flexible set of options for how the Public Service can organise itself to better respond to specific priorities and to deliver services in a more convenient way   
  • allows public servants to move between agencies more easily
  • strengthens leadership across the Public Service and, in particular, provides for system and future focussed leadership
  • supports the Crown in its commitment to and relationship with Māori, and
  • clearly establishes the purpose, principles, and values of an apolitical Public Service, as well as its role in government formation.

Under the changes, boards, made up of chief executives from relevant government agencies, could be established to tackle the most pressing issues. These boards, or joint ventures, would be accountable to a single Minister and receive direct budget appropriations. Public servants from across the system will be deployed as required.

“The Bill builds on successes of the past, is more citizen focussed and future proofs the public service,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Long-held principles and values of the public service – political neutrality, free and frank advice, and merit-based appointments – will be embedded into the new Act.

“These changes will ensure the public service operates with integrity and continues to earn the trust, confidence and respect of New Zealanders,” Chris Hipkins said.

You can make a submission on the Public Service Bill to the select committee. Read more here.

Public servants have the same rights and freedoms as other New Zealanders, can make submissions on the Bill and appear as witnesses before the committee. If you want to make a submission, you need to be clear you are acting in a private capacity and generally should not comment on policy areas directly related to your agency role. Read more here.

The deadline for submissions to the Public Service Legislation Bill is Friday 31 January 2020. If you are thinking about making a submission, we encourage you to provide your insights about the shape of the public sector over the next 30 years.

Member profile: David McNeill

David McNeill, TINZ Member with Delegated Authority

David has a strong background in Information Technology, currently in data centre technical services with Vodafone NZ and corporate decommissioning at Computer Recycling.

He has wide experience in small & medium business technology consulting, mainly in Auckland. He has also undertaken financial and technology audit services for Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC). He holds a BComm from Auckland University. He has a practical, grass roots approach, giving a direct view of where potentially corrupt local situations can arise.

David was a TINZ director from 2013 through 2019 and is currently a Member with Delegated Authority with focus on climate change, TINZ internal information technology systems and political party financing.

What motivated you to become involved with  TINZ?

I learned about the organisation from a work colleague interested in encouraging transparency in New Zealand. Becoming involved with TINZ is an opportunity for me to make a difference and contribute to the community.

On corruption in New Zealand

Corruption reduces the resources available to share amongst us all, while allowing the corrupt to vacuum them up. It negatively impacts our shared environment. We can safeguard against corruption in New Zealand through our attitude and our national culture of taking pride in doing the right thing.

Corruption in other countries has a very direct impact on New Zealand. It is being imported by people with cultures much more accepting of corruption. We have to consistently show New Zealanders, international visitors, and overseas partners that there is a better path.

What particular corruption related issues are important to you?

I am particularly concerned about actions or inactions that exploit the environment, leaving a less beautiful would for our grand-children.

It is critical for each of us to be firm in our sphere of influence. We can’t accede to lower standards, or allow those in power, bullies and the greedy to impose on all of us.

Regarding TINZ

We offer an important service and help minimise corruption in New Zealand by encouraging and empowering everyone to think about the issues around corruption, and inspiring them to act on it as they see fit.

One of TINZ’s primary roles is to provide thought leadership on integrity issues. It is needed for facilitating collaboration between people, shaping suitable language and discussion frameworks.

Within TINZ, I contribute my time and expertise to influencing policy when it is being formed and discussed. I back this up with careful, thoughtful analysis and deep supporting research. I also help create and maintain the infrastructure and branding that enables TINZ to communicate successfully and cohesively and to be worthy of funding

World Anti-Corruption Day 2019

On International Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December, the Solomon Islands’ anti corruption worker, Ruth Liloqula, was saluted.

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) is very proud of our colleague, the Executive Director of Transparency Solomon Islands. Ruth was awarded an Amalia Award in the Professional Excellence Category at the recent Annual Members Meeting of Transparency International, in Berlin. Ruth and the team at TI Solomon Islands work tirelessly to inform citizens about their rights and possibilities to hold leaders accountable and report corruption, in a country where accessing information can be difficult.

Ruth’s key focus is “Empowerment is the unifying message that we preach to the people”.

Report of International Anti-Corruption Day from Integrity Fiji

INTEGRITY FIJI organised its International Anti Corruption Day (IACD) event on December 9th 2019 at the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

There was a good turnout of participants who were all given Integrity Fiji brochures and membership forms.

Two main speeches were delivered by Dr Joseph Veramu, Chief Executive of Integrity Fiji, and Ms Kolora Naliva-Celua, Manager Corruption Prevention at the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

The event was noteworthy because ‘Youths for Integrity’ presented Youtube films, video messages, live performances of dance, poetry and rap music on the theme of anti-corruption and integrity. They personalised the message and stressed the importance of ACTION rather than mere lip service in the fight against corruption.

The organisations represented at this event were:

Government Ministries/Departments

  • Office of the Prime Minister
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Fijian Elections Office
  • Reserve Bank of Fiji
  • Fiji National Sports Commission

Media

  • Communications Fiji Ltd
  • FIJI TIMES
  • Fiji Chinese Media

Corporations

  • Flour Mills of Fiji
  • Alliance for Future Generations (AFG)

Embassies

  • USAID

Organisations

  • Methodist Church of Fiji

Highlights

It was a significant day for us because FICAC has formally agreed to partner with INTEGRITY FIJI and to utilise our ‘Youths for Integrity’ in FICAC’s public interventions. The young people have built up a national reputation for creative methods/strategies to spread messages on anti-corruption, transparency and accountability themes.

The Fiji National Sports Commission has also indicated they wish to work with our ‘Youths for Integrity’ to promote integrity in sport.

Mr Chuck Bennett of the US Embassy asked many questions about ‘Youths for Integrity’ during a private discussion.

Conclusion

The Integrity Fiji Board formally notes the tremendous support of Transparency International New Zealand in the high levels of efficiency and sustainability that we have reached in the development of our policies, strategic and corporate plans and sustainability strategies. 

The support of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the interim period is noted with deep gratitude. It is hoped that continued support for anti corruption work in Fiji in the upcoming five year strategic plan, will be seriously considered through ongoing funding of Integrity Fiji, channelled through Transparency International New Zealand.

Corruption Perceptions Index banner of slice of southern hemisphere featuring New Zealand

2019 CPI to be launched 23 January

Transparency International (TI) has announced that its 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (TI-CPI) will be launched on Thursday, 23 January 2020. The theme for the 2019 CPI is “Political Integrity.” 

The TI-CPI is produced annually by Transparency International. It is focussed on corruption across the public sector and judiciary.

The TI-CPI ranks countries on a scale from 100 (very clean) to zero (highly corrupt). It is calculated using 13 different data sources from 12 different institutions which capture perceptions of corruption within the past two years. It measures perception of corruption, due to the difficulty of measuring absolute levels of corruption. 

First released in 1995, it is the best known of TI’s tools. It has been widely credited with putting TI and the issue of corruption, on the international policy agenda.

The TI-CPI has consistently shown New Zealand to be a country with low levels of corruption in its public sector and judiciary. Since its inception, New Zealand has always scored in the 98th percentile, with a score of 87 in 2018, and has been ranked either at the top or within the top three countries in the world.

TINZ plans to publish a special edition of the Transparency Times when the TI-CPI is released. We will be providing more information as the report launch approaches. For media members who would like access to an embargoed copy of the TI-CPI, please contact Julie Haggie.

TINZ Submissions activity

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) encourages its readers to exercise their democratic responsibilities by making submissions and responding to government consultation processes with your opinions on future direction-setting and legislation.

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

Not all government agencies utilise one or both of these facilities. Many government agencies conduct their own publicity when seeking submissions.

In the spirit of the new and joined-up open government, TINZ’s recommendations are that:

  • There be a single submissions website link where all central and local government requests for submissions are listed 
  • This same website location is administered with constantly improving frameworks for the making of submissions and for following-up on submissions.
  • The process would ideally:  
    • provide analyses of the responses to submissions, by key population indicators including geographical spread, and of the individuals and organisations that make submissions 
    • summarise the content of submissions and how the content becomes included in policy development and legislation 
    • provide timelines/milestones to track the progress of submissions passing through the submissions/legislative processes.

Submissions currently being sought

The following invitations to submissions known to, and of relevance to TINZ, are currently open for public comment by their stated deadline. We encourage our readers to take the time to draft a submission, even if it is a short one. The submission process is an opportunity to exercise your democratic rights. 

Government algorithm transparency and accountability

  • Deadline: Tuesday 31 December 2019
  • Public submissions on draft Algorithm Charter are sought by Statistics NZ
  • The proposed charter will commit government agencies to improving transparency and accountability in their use of algorithms over the next five years. 

Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill

  • Deadline: Friday 17 January 2020
  • Public submissions are invited by the Environment Committee of Parliament
  • The bill seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by amending the Climate Change Response Act 2002 through changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Public Service Legislation Bill

  • Deadline: Friday 31 January 2020
  • Public submissions are invited by the Governance and Administration Committee of Parliament
  • This bill proposes a modern legislative framework for achieving a more adaptive and collaborative Public Service, by repeal of the State Sector Act 1988. 

Education and Training Bill

  • Deadline: Friday 14 February 2020
  • Public submissions are invited by the Education and Workforce Committee of Parliament
  • This bill seeks to establish and regulate an education system to provide New Zealanders with lifelong learning opportunities so that they engage fully in society.

Recent TINZ submissions

In case you missed it

New Zealand transparency, integrity and accountability

Plans to combat misinformation in election-year referendum debates

  • The Minister of Justice has plans in place to combat misinformation and manipulation in any campaigns leading up to, potentially, two divisive referendums at next year’s election.

SFO files charges in West Coast corruption case

  • Four people have been charged by the Serious Fraud Office for allegedly manipulating Westland District Council’s procurement processes for financial gain.

Public official charged with corruption, fraud

  • According to stuff.co.nz A public official and three company directors have been charged with fraud and corruption. Their names have yet to be released

New terrorism bill could breach press freedom

  • The Terrorism Suppression Bill, designed to deal with terrorists returning from overseas, has hit its latest speed bump as Amnesty International raises concerns it could be used to stifle press freedom.

NZ Police anti-money laundering assessment cites trusts among attractive money laundering vehicles as government plans to exclude them from strengthened beneficial ownership disclosure regime

The insurance industry needs to increase transparency and rebuild trust

  • A speech by Richard Harding at the Insurance Council of New Zealand Conference on 5/11/19. scoop.co.nz

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment to seek Cabinet approval soon for policy proposals that aim to improve the transparency of New Zealand company & limited partnership ownership

  • The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) will soon be seeking Cabinet approval for policy proposals that aim to improve the transparency of the beneficial owners of New Zealand companies and limited partnerships.

No profits from Malaysia and Papua New Guinea but vast assets in NZ!

  • The saintly Sibu logging companies have made clear that their ‘development’ activities, stripping out billions of dollars worth of timber from Sarawak, PNG and other South East Asian jewels of natural heritage has been done for decades at a loss. Yet miraculously, it appears their overall efforts have resulted in massive property and business investments throughout the region.

Political party financing

Law professor questions transparency of loans from mysterious foundation to NZ First

  • A mysterious foundation that loans money to New Zealand First is under scrutiny, with a university law professor saying although it’s lawful, it fails to provide the transparency voters need in a democracy.

Shake-up for incorporated societies includes political parties

  • The law that governs New Zealand’s 23,000 incorporated societies is more than 100 years old, and well-overdue for a refresh. Laura Walters reports on what this means for a range of organisations, including political parties. Long-overdue changes to the laws governing incorporated societies are set to improve transparency, but political parties that don’t want the intricacies of their financials to be public knowledge will likely find a new mechanism.

A wine box, a deep throat and a dumpster – the trail that led to the NZ First donations scandal

  • Matt Shand broke the biggest political story of the year with explosive revelations about a NZ First slush fund. He talks about the clandestine way in which the documents came into his possession and asks why reporters must go to such lengths to access information which should be publicly available.

Who are the donors behind the NZ First Foundation?

The overseas donation ban is a excellent issue – but it will never defend NZ from political corruption | Pete McKenzie

The NZ First donations scandal is very serious, and won’t let Jacinda Ardern hide

A weeping sore – Jacinda Ardern must clean up New Zealand’s political donations mess

  • Max Rashbrooke. New revelations about party funding are a stain on the country’s reputation for transparency. 

What will happen next with New Zealand First Foundation saga?

  • The biggest story of the week has been the scandal surrounding the New Zealand First Foundation, but what happens next?

Mike’s Minute: NZ First saga shows donation laws aren’t working

Simon Bridges rejects state funding of political parties

  • National leader Simon Bridges says the revelations around NZ First’s funding this week do not necessarily mean electoral laws need to be changed.

‘Looks to be in contravention of the Electoral Act’: Law professor weighs in on NZ First donations

NZ First-linked company applied for $15m govt loan, pledges transparency

  • A forestry company with close links to New Zealand First has revealed it applied for a $15 million loan from the Provincial Growth Fund, which is overseen by NZ First minister Shane Jones.

The Second (and Final?) Crucifixion of Winston Peters

New details revealed over NZ First-linked company and Shane Jones’ office

The foreign donation ban is a good thing – but it won’t protect NZ from political corruption

  • New Zealand’s political system relies on an untraceable flow of donations from rich individuals, many with personal agendas. That won’t change.

Climate

Corruption and climate action

  • While the outcomes are not clear yet, one thing is: Governments have to urgently spend billions of dollars on climate mitigation measures, from flood shelters to reforestation and renewable energy. We can’t afford to lose that money to corruption.

Corruption is destroying the world’s forests

  • 13 million hectares of forest are lost every year — equivalent to a football field every two minutes. Corruption is a significant cause.

Whistleblowing

Whistleblowing: legislation is just part of the picture

  • Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier sets out the nuts and bolts of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, and why we need to lift our game in both awareness and practice. Link to .pdf

Pacific

The Context of Money Laundering Compliance Costs

  • Press Release: Asia Pacific AML

Trainee law students join Transparency International

  • Three law students from the UPNG Law School have now embarked on the Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) Legal Internship Program (LIP), as they seek to bolster the functions of the anti-corruption body. – PNG Post Courier

International

EU forced to back down on plan for tech giant tax transparency

  • In the latest discussion at Council level during Finland’s presidency, 12 EU member states rejected the proposals so they will not go forward to the European parliament/

1 in 2 Indians paid a bribe at least once in the past year, survey finds

  • At least one in every two people in India have paid a bribe in the past year, according to a new national corruption report, which branded the practice “part and parcel of daily life.”

New Zealand-born banker Andrew Pearse admits taking NZ $70m (or US $45m) in bribes in Mozambique corruption scandal: Reports

  • New Zealander Andrew Pearse has reportedly admitted to receiving US$45 million in bribes as part of a multi-billion loan scheme which took advantage of one of the world’s poorest nations. stuff.co.nz

The Laundromat: Panama Papers real-life thriller

  • His exploration of the scandal is now a book and a film starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas.The Laundromat, is released on Netflix – despite a lawsuit from Mossack Fonseca lawyers trying to shut it down.

Farrell Testifies Before U.S. Lawmakers on Dark Money and Climate Misinformation

G20 need more ambitious climate strategies – report

  • No G20 country has a climate strategy in line with the Paris Agreement’s ambitious main target – to limit global warming to 1.5°C – although most are technically capable and have economic incentives to do so, writes Climate Transparency, an international partnership of climate research organisations and NGOs, in a report.

13.5 tonnes of gold worth up to £520million is found in a corrupt Chinese official’s home and £30 billion in suspected bribe money in his bank account

  • Zhang Qi, 58, who was a top official in the province of Hainan, China is suspected to have received 13.5 tonnes of gold and £30 billion cash in bribes.

New ACCA policy report places focus on corporate transparency

  • Rather than avoiding tax, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) recommends that companies consider the ramifications of their tax avoidance schemes—even if legal—on an ethical basis.

Transparency International New Zealand in the news

Crackdown on Money Laundering Applauded

  • It is essential to New Zealand’s reputation and well being that serious effort is made to prevent money laundering activities within our financial, corporate and trust systems.

Party funding must become public knowledge

Somehow or the other, all of us are supporting slave trading

Is New Zealand becoming a plutocracy?

Transparency International

Facing future corruption challenges — trends of the next decade

  • Transparency International has been leading the global fight against corruption for the past 26 years. To continue to do so in the future, it is now looking at upcoming challenges and opportunities. On the basis of an in-depth research project, this article identifies four major developments that will drive corruption over the next decade — understanding them will be key to addressing future challenges effectively. In a second article, we will explore new opportunities to fight corruption in the next decade.

Seized 1MDB assets must be safely returned to the Malaysian people

  • The value of assets recovered in the civil forfeiture case between the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and Jho Low should be returned to Malaysia in a transparent and accountable manner that ensures it benefits the Malaysian people.

Condemnation of harassment against anti-corruption campaigner in Mozambique

  • Transparency International condemns the intimidation and harassment of Edson Cortez, Executive Director of Centro de Integridade Publica (TI Mozambique), and his family.

Voices of Transparency

Future anti-corruption trends—four reasons to be optimistic

  • This is the second of two articles reflecting on the key findings of an in-depth, participatory strategic research project that Firetail, a strategy consulting firm, conducted with Transparency International. The first article identified key trends that will drive corruption over the next decade. This article explores reasons to nevertheless remain optimistic about the future.

Mystery companies and money laundering

  • Opaque company ownership structures are often made to be confusing. Though not always created with criminal intent, they are frequently used to cover up crimes and launder assets.

‘Clusters of Progress’ in Anti-Corruption Reforms

  • TI UK created, together with other TI national chapters, the Global Anti-Corruption Pledge Tracker, an innovative tool to track the progress of the anti-corruption commitments made at the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit.The Global Anti-Corruption Pledge Tracker aims to answer the question: after the summit is over, how do we hold governments accountable to their promises?

TINZ Team

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 2019. To view by topic, visit the category page which lists TINZ topics and respective current subject matter experts.