Transparency Times July 2015

From the Chair

Suzanne Snively

Suzanne Snively
TINZ Chair

Diplomacy and sport are areas where New Zealand punches above its weight on the international stage. And in each case, an attribute is a focus on fairness and trust, factors that contribute to international experts' assessments, compiled into the TI CPI ranking New Zealand as one of the least corrupt public sectors on the globe.

And yet corruption has been very much at the forefront of the news here this past month. In sport, the football under-20 competition in New Zealand was clouded by corruption allegations going all the way to the top of FIFA. True to its values, New Zealand voted against Sepp Blatter's continued leadership. It is encouraging that our sport governance organisations insist on true reform within FIFA and throughout the sporting world.

In the case of diplomacy, however, the values underpinning governance actions are murkier. New Zealand’s reputation for integrity, based on the TI CPI, helped secure its position on the United Nations Security Council, which it chairs this month.

However, has the New Zealand Government's deal with a Saudi businessman over live sheep trading compromised our reputation for integrity?

This issue illustrates the complexity of preventing corrupt practice when there is a lack of transparency over international deals.

Suzanne Snively, Chair
Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

Fraud and Corruption in the Public Sector

TINZ Director Janine McGruddy

By Janine McGruddy, Public Sector Strategist and Director TINZ

I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend a seminar on Fraud and Corruption in the Public Sector held by the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ) on the 2nd of July. It is heartening to see that the issues confronting the public sector are being taken seriously and publicly discussed, if not necessarily directly by the public sector itself. This important issue was presented by Julie Read, Chief Executive and Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and used the TI definition of corruption.

As the IPANZ promotion material for this event noted “For a long time New Zealand has enjoyed a reputation for having one of the least corrupt public sectors in the world. We have been ranked in the top three countries in the world on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, since its first release in 1995.

Julie Read Serious Fraud Office

Julie Read
Serious Fraud Office

However, during this period there have been several high profile cases of fraud and corruption in New Zealand's Public Sector, ranging from nepotism to electoral fraud and theft.  Transparency International New Zealand lists one of the biggest risk factors for fraud and corruption in New Zealand's public sector as complacency and lack of awareness.”

The means for stopping corruption in the public sector were prevention and detection. Prevention through anti-corruption training, strong integrity systems, supporting politically exposed persons (PEPs) and detection through awareness of conditions that give rise to an environment conducive to fraud and corruption, identifying audit red flags and improving conditions for whistle-blowers. Advice for public servants having suspicions of malpractice was for them to report it to the highest level possible within their organisation.

There is clearly more work to be done but it is wonderful to see the level of awareness being raised by IPANZ and the SFO.

Is New Zealand Ready to Host Olympics?

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was recently welcomed to New Zealand with a powhiri.  He likened the ceremony to the Olympic movement – something that signifies peace, friendship and equality – and noted that New Zealand embraces the same values through sport.

The IOC is a not for profit independent international organisation, made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. Since taking up the presidency, Bach has been a constant advocate for autonomy and good governance in sport and, in particular, has focussed on the implementation of transparency, responsibility and accountability by all Olympic movement constituents.

Josephine Serrallach

Article by Josephine Serrallach TINZ Director

At a press conference while in New Zealand, Bach invited New Zealanders to think about the possibility of hosting the Olympic Games. This is part of the Olympic Agenda 2020, which encourages constituent countries to consider how the Olympic Games could fit into their social, economic, environmental and sporting needs.

Notwithstanding that sport is a global symbol of fair play, corruption remains a constant risk. Corruption is a global problem because of the large and growing stakes involved in international sport.

SportNZ has a leadership role to promote fundamental ethical principles consistent with the Olympics Charter, investing both in sport in education and education in sport.  It provides education programmes, anti-match-fixing on-line training courses and has introduced a number of sport integrity measures through the launching of a national match-fixing policy. A cross-government group has been formed, which is responsible for intelligence on integrity threats, match fixing and doping and where information is gathered, analysed and acted upon.

SportNZ is also carrying out research partnering with NZ Recreation Association and Skills Active.

As a consequence of the background work done by the cross-government agencies, the  Crimes Match-Fixing Amendment Act 2014 was passed in New Zealand late last year, making match-fixing a criminal offence.

New Zealand is one of only three countries in the world that have established and implemented national action plans for the prevention of match-fixing and of corruption in sport, the other two countries being Norway and Australia.

New Zealand may or may not meet the major requirements for hosting Olympic Games in terms of its infrastructure.  It would certainly fit the criteria of highly placed in the world for integrity in sport.

Is Facebook Replacing the Ballot Box?

by Josephine Serrallach

The New Zealand Chapter of Transparency International (TINZ) is embarking on a journey to understand the level of commitment by NZ Universities in the critical role of thought leadership about retaining and investing in stronger integrity systems to prevent corruption.

A matter of concern to TINZ is what appears to be a disengagement of young people from taking an active part in the political development of the country as reflected by the low percentage of young people turning out to vote in the last general election.

At the 2014 general election, 73.35% of eligible people aged 18 to 24 enroled to participate and of these only 62.73% voted, thus the total participation of that age group was 45%. This means that people in this age group aren’t greatly motivated to play any active part in the political arena, and, consequently, wouldn’t know how to seize the levers that produce the type of society they would wish to live in in the future.

Prof Stuart McCutcheon and Josephine Serrallach

Prof Stuart McCutcheon and Josephine Serrallach

The University of Auckland has 42,000 individual students enroled, 6,000 are international students comprising 108 nationalities, the largest group being Chinese and the second largest North American (mainly Study Abroad students). This translates to 32,000 full time equivalents, including 5,000 international EFTs.

In a discussion with TINZ’s Josephine Serrallach, University of Auckland Vice Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, said that apathy is not the right word to describe their state of affairs.  He considers that there is a high level of student engagement on social, environmental and community issues, which, however, is not translated in turning up to vote or in participating in the formal political process. Professor McCutcheon quoted as examples, the strong support for the green movement among university students and the great number of student-led initiatives and programmes throughout the University. Although some students are mainly interested in CV building, in general they more than ever want to do good and contribute to the community.

Earlier generations of students were involved in protest movements against the establishment, he added, while now students’ views and voices could reach millions through social media. Professor McCutcheon agrees that although students are community-minded and they contribute to society, there seems to be a level of cynicism about what can be achieved through the formal political process.

Speculating over the reasons for the low voting turn out, MMP could be a factor. McCutcheon pointed out that in the past, people knew that their vote would count to put a political party in power, while now a vote has less direct influence as it depends on party coalitions to form a government without a majority.

Professor McCutcheon stated that the University has a role in promoting critical thinking through rational discussion and debates to provide the structures to be able to do so in a safe environment.

TINZ thanks Sir Anand Satyanand


Sir Anand Satyanand

Transparency International New Zealand thanks Sir Anand Satyanand for being its patron for the past three years. While his three year term ended 1 March, he has been travelling on other business and so his official farewell is planned for the July TINZ board meeting.

His name has been put forward to serve on the Transparency International Advisory Council. Sir Anand has much to contribute on an ongoing basis to the TI movement.

New Zealand's Corruption Free Reputation

Will we slip further?

CPI 2014 Country Map With Scores

Click on Map for Full Sized Version

2014 was the first year since 2006 where New Zealand was not ranked or tied for first in Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index. This could hardly be construed as a fall since Denmark improved slightly scoring 92 out of a possible 100 in the index while New Zealand remained at 91.

In a personal opinion piece published in the New Zealand Herald in December, TINZ Board Member Bryce Edwards raised this topic pointing out that the impact of Nicky Hager's  “Dirty Politics” – if any – would not have been reflected in the 2014 survey.

Since then Judith Collin's resignation, questions raised about the Government’s unorthodox scheme of flying sheep to Saudi Arabia and fitting out a private farm with $6 million of kit, and the intentionally un-transparent process of the TPPA negotiations all are tarnishing our reputation.

Even with allegations of corruption largely unproven, the perception that it occurred is strong. Corrupt or not, each case is a glaring lack of transparency. Our reputation demands taking steps to ensure that similar activities be conducted openly in a manner where there is little reason to even perceive that corruption occurred.

Furthermore Parliament appears unprepared to curtail facilitation payments in international transactions in the guise of international competitiveness.

We can expect to fall in the index; there are few similar allegations of corruption in other traditional CPI leaders Denmark, Finland orSweden.

This should serve as a wake-up call. The costs of corruption are too high to tolerate anything other than strong international leadership and New Zealand remaining on the top of the CPI.

TINZ Update

Transparency International New Zealand is involved in an unprecedented number of initiatives.

Chair Suzanne Snively and her fund raising team are actively recruiting members and partners. This is to ensure TINZ sustainability and to support hiring a full time paid executive director to be a source of templates, training, research and reporting about effective ways of addressing corruption.

TINZ has been engaged in finalising the Pacific Integrity Initiative in partnership with MFAT and UNDP which will provide desperately needed resourcing so that the four Pacific TI chapters can reduce corruption.

Implementation of the 2013 Integrity Plus National Integrity Systems Assessment recommendations continues with TINZ initiatives and in conjunction with work being conducted through the State Services Commission who have embraced the effort and The Open Government Partnership National Action Plan.

TINZ continues to monitor the progress of the Crimes Bill while advocating at every step for the acknowledgement that facilitation payments are bribes and outlawing them.

Other projects include Business Integrity, contributing to TI's Strategy 2020, School Civics Curriculum, corruption in sport, and member seminars.

Now is a great time to become involved in Transparency International New Zealand. Join, donate or contribute your time.

In Case You Missed It

Resource Curse

With more than 20 countries possessing bountiful oil and mineral deposits, Africa is home to more resource-rich states than any other region in the world. Yet, living conditions for most citizens remain dismal as a result of inequitable distribution. The Pacific region faces nearly identical issues. Read this very succinct and helpful report.

Tonga MPs Join Worldwide Network to Tackle Corruption

Media Release 13 May 2015: Parliamentarians in Tonga join the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) and commit to working together to combat corruption, strengthen good government and uphold the rule of law.

Bribery and corruption report should be ‘wake-up call’

30 April 2015 Stuff.co.nz by TINZ Director Daniel King: OPINION: Bribery and corruption risks are a serious threat, according to a recent Deloitte survey of Australian and New Zealand companies and organisations.

Auckland Council moves to improve transparency

Voxy.co.nz Council moves to improve transparency

TPPA

Business News

New Zealand Companies are Behind in Release of Transparency of Their Privacy Information The Dominion Post, 18 April 2015 – NZ companies lost in the fog on release of private data. The article notes that releasing privacy information provides protection against government abuse of data request authority.

Listing and Transparency 4-traders.com 17, April 2015 – Companies more transparent when they’re listed.

Four Things to Look for in Open Government in the Next Five Years

Four Things to Look for in Open Government in the Next Five Years comments by Resources 4 Development Managing Director Nathaniel Heller.

Coming Events

Transparency International New Zealand Inc AGM, 16 November 2015: Members mark your diaries – Wellington venue and speaker to be advised.