Transparency Times May 2019

From the Chair

Suzanne Snively
TINZ Chair

New Zealand has a strong reputation for integrity based on international perceptions of our government, judiciary and public sector.

Later in May, Transparency International New Zealand will launch the 2018 National Integrity System (NIS) Assessment update to our landmark Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment. This study examines how this reputation is supported through policy and practice in the public, private and civil society sector. It recommends further improvements for maintaining this reputation.

In June we will formally launch the New Zealand Financial Integrity System Assessment (FISA). The FISA is a survey methodology which enables New Zealannd-based financial organisations to assess their integrity systems. Strong integrity systems are an indicator of good practice around conduct and culture. Research shows that strong integrity systems are the best antidote for corruption.

The decision by banks, insurers, finance companies and kiwi saver-providers to undertake the FISA online self-assessment both supports their brands and New Zealand’s reputation for integrity.

Committing voluntarily to prevent corruption will build on this perception, while at the same time creating enhancing business productivity and viability.

All this has the potential to lead to attrct better quality capital available to New Zealand businesses at lower interest rates. Businesses can then employ more people while producing better quality goods and services, in this way improving the quality of life for all New Zealanders.

Suzanne Snively, ONZM


Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

Building public trust in our financial systems

Henry Lynch, TINZ Director, Financial Sector / Integrity in Sport

Henry Lynch

TINZ Director: Financial Sector

This month, a Consumer New Zealand survey, found that only 47% of people surveyed said banks can be trusted and only 35% think banks have their best interests at heart.

It’s not surprising then that about 70% of New Zealanders agree that banks need to be monitored more closely to protect consumers from irresponsible practices.

The Australian Royal Commission on Banking and Finance was hard to miss. The Commission ran for much of last year uncovering unethical and/or immoral practices by high profile banks and insurance companies.  Wanting practices included the irresponsible sale of products that were not needed by customers, selling products to minors and instances of charging for services long after customers had died.

Of course everyone says “it couldn’t happen here” and that’s the reason that our own Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) interviewed some of the leaders of our banks and insurance companies to understand the culture and conduct at the top and what impacts there were for New Zealand customers.

The conduct and culture reviews by the FMA and RBNZ found evidence that New Zealand’s banks and insurers are more customer focused than their overseas counterparts. However, there are still serious issues that need to be resolved for customers in New Zealand.

The Consumers New Zealand survey finds a large proportion of bank customers are unhappy with their treatment. Complaint processes are considered not to work as they should.

Trust is earned

Banks, and all of our countries financial services, are fundamental to New Zealand’s integrity systems. Good, ethical, free-from-corruption banking practices make for a good, solid, trusted business.  Banks, finance and insurance companies are our domestic business partners. They help us buy our homes, run our households, manage the businesses we establish and help grow our individual and collective wealth. While it is essential we trust them, two out of three people don’t! We can’t just take their word for it that they are good. Customers need to see the evidence.

In some countries, regulation is the best method to ensure business integrity. In New Zealand there are other avenues that can work in a customer’s favour before regulation is required of our big brand institutions. The easiest and most effective method is the sunlight of transparency.

Financial Integrity System

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) has been working to apply its expertise in integrity systems to help New Zealanders know why we should trust our financial institutions. In June we will formally launch the New Zealand Financial Integrity System Assessment (FISA).

The FISA survey methodology enables Kiwi-based financial organisations to assess their good practices and uncover practices that require improvement. 

The tool is the first integrity assessment tool in the world for the financial services sector.  It has been over two years in design and creation. It has been co-designed with representatives from across the financial and business sectors to ensure it is fit for purpose.  Final testing and feedback is currently underway and will be completed to enable a national launch in June.

The finance sector can benefit from participating in FISA. This is because financial organisations can understand more about the areas of improvement they can make for their customers. It would potentially enhance their understanding of their competitive advantage. Resultant improved customers’ experiences and trust will help re-build public trust. This in turn increases the viability and security of our country’s financial system by setting up a positive spiral of financial integrity for New Zealand.

Financial Integrity System Assessment Overview

Suzanne Snively

Chair, Transparency International New Zealand

The New Zealand Financial Integrity System Assessment (FISA) is the first ever review of the integrity framework of any country’s financial system. Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) will lead the review as it is uniquely placed to ensure both independence and objectivity.

The FISA methodology is in its final stage of consultation. The consultation document can be found on the TINZ website, Comments and suggestions about the questions, the subject areas, the approach, and the online self-assessment are welcome.  It is through discussions like this that there can be wider knowledge and understanding of the ways with which the financial system can improve outcomes for all New Zealanders.

Why the time is now

The recent Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and Financial Markets Authority (FMA) review into the major trading Banks said:

“Overall, there are weaknesses in the governance and management of conduct risks, and significant gaps in the measurement and reporting of customer outcomes”

They noted that there was “significant variation in the maturity of banks’ approaches to identifying, managing and remediating conduct risks and issues”, with some banks described as “reactive at best, and complacent at worst”

Their review into life insurers found:

“Extensive weaknesses in life insurers’ systems and controls… governance and management of conduct risks is weak and there is a lack of focus on good customer outcomes.”

The report urged life insurers to act urgently.

FISA aim

The aim of the FISA assessment is to:

  • Build trust and confidence in New Zealand’s financial system
  • Examine the state of integrity systems within the New Zealand financial system
  • Foster and support good conduct
  • Prevent and combat corruption, and
  • Reinforce a culture of integrity.

FISA will provide customers, citizens, communities, civil society organisations, government and businesses with information about the way the financial system identifies and seeks to prevent corruption. This enables them to identify good performance and push for improvement.

Financial organisations will have a blueprint for improvement enabling them to set clear priorities for preventing corruption while seeking the additional returns that result from improved integrity.

FISA Strategy

FISA’s strategy is to set in place a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement through self-assessment. Incorporated in the cycle will be the design and implementation of tools to improve corruption prevention and to sustain strategies aimed at growth in productivity.

The FISA strategy to create a virtuous cycle is motivated by the following stages:

  1. Online self-assessment completed by financial organisations, e.g.  banks, finance companies, Kiwi-Saver providers, credit unions, building societies, and insurance companies
  2. Publication of the anonymised results of the self-assessment
  3. Review and context provided by the independent assessment
  4. Development of TINZ tools for professional services firms to strengthen their advice to their financial services clients to enhance their integrity systems. 
  5. The next annual self-assessment provides an opportunity to monitor improved outcomes for policy, customers, staff etc. 

Good conduct prevents corruption

The FISA assessment examines the extent that financial organisations implement seven key practices selected by Transparency International New Zealand that shape integrity systems. They are:

  1. Tone at the top
  2. Continuous improvement in conduct and ethical behaviour
  3. Strengthening integrity systems through effective communication and training
  4. Up-to-date knowledge of relevant legislation/regulation
  5. Avenues for reporting ethical standards breaches including anonymity for whistleblowers
  6. Effective Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Supplier (KYS) procedures
  7. Regular audits backed up by independent risk assessments that uncover corrupt practices and advise on weaknesses in integrity systems.

These seven key practices provide the framework for good conduct that contributes to the prevention of corruption. They are a platform for organisations to create and maintain strong integrity systems.

Realising the benefits of a strong integrity system

FISA contends that financial organisations can harvest the benefits arising from a financial system that displays a high level of integrity. It strives to examine the practices that lead to improved outcomes and to measure the net change in these benefits.

Evidence will be collected about the following integrity system factors:

  1. Reputation and brand
  2. Easier market access
  3. Lower costs
  4. Customer loyalty
  5. Easier access to quality capital
  6. Quality committed staff
  7. Higher returns/ productivity.

Organisations can grow in an ethical and sustainable ways from reaping these benefits by addressing bribery and corruption.

By examining the ways that financial organisations take steps to implement these factors, FISA will provide a context for a national discussion of what works best to sustain organisations that are committed to high levels of integrity.

Assessment Subjects

The FISA online self-assessment questions overall, relate to nine areas where there is pressure on integrity and risk of corruption which are: 

  1. Policy
  2. Government
  3. Accountability
  4. Information and communication
  5. Human capital
  6. Customers
  7. Operations
  8. Risk management and monitoring
  9. Procurement.

Independent assessors, with a strong background in the regulation, governance and scrutiny of financial organisations, will be appointed to conduct the financial sector assessment,  using the responses to self-assessments as part of their evidence base.

Benefits of an independent assessment

The New Zealand Story, the government’s brand research specialists, found widespread evidence that our country is regarded as unique in that it does business with integrity (see NZ’s reputation: perception or reality in this newsletter). This is backed up by the World Bank analysis that regularly places New Zealand as number 1 as the best place to do business.

Despite these positive perceptions about New Zealand, its financial system is overlooked by many investors because of its small size.

The demonstration of willingness by banks, insurance companies, financial companies and other financial services providers to engage with a voluntary self-assessment, will draw the world’s attention. At the same time, the assessment provides a framework to describe and demonstrate the positive attributes of the New Zealand financial sector.

However, the recent reviews of the major trading banks and life insurers have established that weaknesses in both governance and management are leading to poor customer outcomes. FISA provides a framework for organisations to self-assess and then to address these governance and management issues. At the same time the framework enables growth in knowledge that leads to improved customer outcomes.

Importantly, an attribute of New Zealand, as a trusted society, is that it is possible to do the right thing without the need for extensive regulation. Financial organisations that participate in the FISA self-assessment will be well placed to strengthen integrity systems within their businesses.

Official Information Act: Current review

Liz Brown
Member with Delegated Authority
Financial Integrity System Assessment, Local Government, National Integrity Assessment Programme

Liz Brown

TINZ Member with Delegated Authority for

New Zealand’s National Integrity System

Need for reform?

The Minister of Justice, Hon. Andrew Little, recently sought engagement of experts and practitioners familiar with the Official Information Act (OIA) 1982.  This wasn’t a full review, but an opportunity to comment on whether a formal review was needed.  The consultation asked what the key issues are with the OIA; whether these issues are related to legislation or practice; and what reforms to the legislation would make the most difference.

The need, in part, for inviting submissions stems from OIA operational statistics  reported in the April issue Transparency Times. 

This engagement comprises the initial implementation of ‘Commitment 7: Official Information’ within the Government’s Open Government Partnership National Action Plan (OGP-NAP) 2018-2020 (refer to sidebar).

A major existing resource is the TINZ National Integrity Systems Assessment (NIS) 2013 and subsequent updating that is due for release this month. This meant that TINZ was well equipped to respond.

Submission summary

In summary TINZ’s main comments are that:

  1. The 2012 Law Commission report is as relevant now as it was then and its recommendations should be implemented 
  2. The scope of the Act should broaden, including Officers of Parliament and Parliamentary Services.
  3. Adherence to the spirit of the OIA is variable, but has improved over the last five years. 
  4. There remains opaqueness around public funding provided to political parties
  5. The OIA should, apply to all information held by organisations in receipt of public funds. This would require an explicit principle about the sort of organisations covered by the Act.  Over time there has been a blurring of types of government entities. But it seems obvious to TINZ that the OIA should cover all use of public funds inclusive of local government.
    For example, if a privately-owned organisation is operating on public funding, then it should be subject to the same transparency regime as a publicly owned one, at least for its publicly funded activities)
  6. TINZ also wants to see improved oversight, greater sanctions for delays, and an initial triage process for information requests. Essentially an organisation should ask itself, not “is this an OIA request?” but “do we have any concerns about releasing this information?”. If the answer is “no”, then the information can be released. If it is “yes”, then it should get referred to someone with knowledge of the OIA to decide whether any of the withholding reasons apply.

Key reforms

Overall, the most significant reform identified in the TINZ submission is to clarify the principles of coverage. This would result in an extension of the coverage of the OIA to include:

  • all agencies in receipt of public funding (in respect of their publicly funded activities)
  • the administration of Parliament and officers of Parliament
  • public money provided to political parties.

TINZ submission to The Official Information Act Review Questions April 2019.


Therapeutic Products Bill: Consultation

TINZ CEO, Julie Haggie

Julie Haggie

CEO, Transparency International New Zealand

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) recently commented on the Therapeutic Products Bill. The Government proposes this as a replacement for the Medicines Act 1981 and to enable a new regulatory scheme for therapeutic products. The Bill includes medicines (including cell and tissue products) and medical devices. But natural health products (including rongoā Māori) will be excluded as far as possible. This exclusion is because the Government is considering options for how these could be regulated as a separate process.

The Bill is a massive and complex piece of legislation. TINZ’s focus is on transparency issues.

TINZ approach

In forming the TINZ submission, we worked with two groups: TranspariMED is an international advocacy group working for transparency in clinical trials; Mesh Down Under is a New Zealand advocacy group that raises awareness, provides information and advocates on the topic of surgical mesh.

TINZ and Mesh Down Under met with the Health Research Council, to better understand the extent of transparency in clinical trial registration and reporting. They directed us to a very informative ‘The Clinical Trials Landscape in New Zealand 2006–2015’ report by the Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry.

TINZ then identified the following aims to:

We will also meet with the Ministry of Health.

Key points

The TINZ online submission addressed specific aspects of the new Bill. Our key points were:

  • Concern that there is insufficient balance in the principles of the new legislation for considering ‘benefit over risk’
  • NZ should sign up to the WHO joint statement on public disclosure of results from clinical trials
  • Strong advocacy for improved transparency in clinical trials, particularly: timely and more comprehensive registration; mandatory timely reporting of results including negative outcomes; and timely ethics approval for all trials including random control trials 
  • Opposition to the proposed continuation of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescribed medicines. Currently this is allowed only in USA and Poland. 
    There is growing opposition from medical professionals in New Zealand about the practice, as well as USA evidence about the risks of direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription medicines.
    Given the changing professional views, it would have been useful if the Ministry of Health had provided more considered justification for not restricting direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription medicines. At least the gap in evidence could be acknowledged with a plan on how to address that.

A copy of the relevant content of the TINZ submission: Therapeutic products regulatory consultation TINZ.

Access to Secondary Legislation

Julie Haggie

Julie Haggie

CEO, Transparency International New Zealand

At a forum on government procurement held in April, I learned more about the following project run by the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) called “Access to Secondary Legislation”.

The Government has agreed (as part of its Open Government Partnership – OGP) to include secondary legislation on the New Zealand Legislation website. The latter currently doesn’t include legislation made by local authorities and councils.

Ready access to the law is fundamental to a democratic society based on openness and the rule of law. While all Acts of Parliament (primary legislation) are now easily accessible in consolidated form on the New Zealand Legislation website thanks to an earlier OGP commitment, most secondary legislation is not published centrally.

Ministers agreed in late 2016 that the New Zealand Legislation website should be expanded to provide access to all current secondary legislation. To do this, the PCO set up the Access to Secondary Legislation Project.

Relevant legislation

There are two relevant pieces of legislation to make this happen. 

New legislation is needed to define secondary legislation and make it accessible. The Legislation Bill defines secondary legislation. It is currently on its second reading in Parliament, and will repeal the Legislation Act 2012.

A second Bill, with the working title Secondary Legislation (Access) Bill, is being prepared for introduction to Parliament.

Secondary legislation is the term in the Legislation Bill for instruments that make or change the law and are made under a law-making power delegated by Parliament. This term will replace existing categories, including “disallowable instrument”, “legislative instrument”, and “tertiary legislation”.

The lead agency is the Parliamentary Council Office. It is gearing up for a round of workshops focused closely on the needs and interests of the many makers of secondary legislation, large and small. The workshops will be hosted, with PCO support,  by the agencies that administer primary legislation. Policy makers attending the workshops will hear directly from the PCO about the Access to Secondary Legislation Project. They will be able to discuss the implications for them, with the agency and the PCO.

Invitations are expected to be issued in April. Interested makers can register their interest with the agency that administers the primary legislation they operate under.

A key commitment of Open Government Partnership

This Access Project continues to be a key undertaking (Commitment 4) in the National Action Plan 2018–2020 under the Open Government Partnership.

New Zealand’s secondary legislation work has been awarded “star commitment” status by the international Open Government Partnership Independent Reporting Mechanism. Star commitment status is awarded to exemplary reforms that have a potentially transformative impact on a nation’s citizens.

Editor’s note: This content includes sections of the Parliamentary Counsel Office website Access Project.

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Data ethics – Keeping people at the centre

Anne Gilbert

TINZ Public Sector Project Manager

Director GCSB, Andrew Hampton, chairs the Leaders Integrity Forum, March 2019

Data Ethics was the topic of rich and well considered discussion at the public sector Leaders Integrity Forum held in March. It was co-hosted by Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) and the Office of the Auditor General (OAG).

The session lived up to its name through the skilled chairing of Andrew Hampton (Director General of the Government Communications Security Bureau). Presentations were provided by Liz McPherson (Government Statistician) and Jon Duffy (Assistant Privacy Commissioner).   

All three speakers recognised that data is an incredibly valuable resource. It has the power to do great good, but only whilst people have trust and confidence in how data is used.  

Data ethics

Govt Statistician &
Chief Data Steward, Liz MacPherson, addresses the Leaders Integrity Forum, March 2019

Data ethics is about making moral judgements on how data is collected and analysed, while also being transparent about those judgements.   It means being very clear about how people’s personal information is protected, what data they are being asked to provide, and how their data is analysed. For example,

Assistant Privacy Commissioner, Jon Duffy, addresses the Leaders Integrity Forum, March 2019

transparency of algorithm coding is a key requirement to maintain public trust in what data is being used and for what purpose. 

Keeping people at the centre of data policy and strategy is essential to ensure decision-making tools reflect community and stakeholder expectations.

Use of effective communications requires common jargon-free terminology to gain stakeholders’ trust and engagement, while not misleading them. When there is possible doubt about people’s perceptions and opinions on useage of their data , it is essential to pro-actively seek to engage with them, to gain respect and understanding.   

The OAG provides a more detailed blog on each of the Leaders Integrity Forums.  

Fairer tax through transparent reporting

Joanna Spratt

Advocacy and Campaigns Director

Oxfam New Zealand

Wherever we live in this world, we all need the same things – a safe home to live in, nutritious food to eat, clean water to drink, and the knowledge and skills to help our communities flourish. What is crucial for meeting these everyday human needs are transparent and fair global tax systems.

Tax avoidance

In a recent 2019 paper on corporate taxation in the global economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shows that in 2013 alone, tax revenue losses from multinational corporation tax avoidance, totalled approximately:

  • US$450 billion for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries.
  • US$100 billion for non-OECD countries.

This is money that is owed to governments so that they can invest in meeting the needs of their people, providing the nurses, teachers, roads, police and rubbish collection that help to reduce and prevent poverty and inequality.

Developing countries in particular rely heavily on corporate taxation for government revenue. The IMF estimates that:

  • corporate income tax makes up an average 16 percent of government revenues for low and middle-income countries, compared to
  • an average 8 percent in high income countries.

Stopping multinational corporate tax avoidance (and evasion) is, therefore, an important tool for fixing our unfair, global economic machine, and helping to lift countries and their people out of poverty.

Improved financial transparency

One way to stop tax avoidance is to require multinational corporations to be more transparent about their finances. Public country-by-country reporting (pCBCR) puts the onus on multinational corporations to place basic financial information in the public realm. This then allows academics, journalists, civil society and governments to access the information, to assess whether or not they are paying their fair share of taxes.

Because multinational corporations operate across multiple countries, this information must be broken down country-by-country. Only then can any moving of profits to secretive, low/no tax jurisdictions be revealed.

PCBCR has been required of European-based multinational banks since 2015. Also several countries including Canada and Norway, require extractive industries (mining, oil, gas and logging) to publish these reports. Research into the European regime shows that pCBCR increased the effective tax rate of banks, which indicates they reduced their tax avoidance practices (Overesch & Wolff, 2019).

Other research shows that there was no negative impact on business competitiveness due to the pCBCR requirements, refer Transparency International Europe, 2016. Investors too, favour pCBCR because it helps them to assess risk and make wiser investments.

Call to action

In its Fair Tax Now campaign, Oxfam is asking the New Zealand government to legislate for pCBCR. Greater transparency will be a brake on tax avoidance and help developing countries which could not otherwise access the information easily.

Add your voice now to the petition and visit your MP to talk to them about this issue.


Credit: Chris Williams

NZ’s reputation: perception or reality

Rebecca Smith, Director, New Zealand Story

Rebecca Smith

Director, New Zealand Story

Corruption Perceptions Index

New Zealand has again been ranked as having one of the least corrupt public sectors and judiciaries in the World. New Zealand ranks second after Denmark in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (TI-CPI) released in January 2019. The TI-CPI measures comparative levels of corruption as perceived by those who have dealings with governments at any level.

It might seem easy to just write this result off as yet another “perception index” that doesn’t necessarily fit with our own individual versions of reality.

The TI-CPI is a composite index; combining of 13 surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of reputable institutions. As reported in the January issue of Transparency Times, the drop in New Zealand’s overall score and ranking in 2018 is largely attributable to one survey of 66 New Zealand business executives. 

Whilst the TI-CPI does not consider corruption in the business or non-profit sectors, the results of this particular survey should cause us to pause and understand whether this is a reflection of overall business sentiment at the time or if it’s the beginning of a trend.

Ranking 2nd certainly doesn’t mean New Zealand is corruption free but it does give us a valuable benchmark and more importantly, a sense of obligation and commitment to maintain this position. After all, it’s our reputation on the line.

Reputation Index

New Zealand also ranks well in the Reputation Institute’s Country Reputation Index. This is the largest normative database on country reputation in the world. It encompasses 58,000 individual ratings from an informed general public in G8 countries, who ranked 55 of the world’s largest countries.

Reputation Institute Country RepTrak Survey 2018

The reputation of a country is built on perceptions across three core areas:

  • Appealing Environment,
  • Effective Government,
  • Advanced Economy.

Perceptions of Appealing Environment and Effective Government account for over three quarters of a country’s reputation.

As with the TI-CPI, Northern European countries share the top with New Zealand at 5th leading the Pacific Rim countries. Notably Australia has dropped 2 ranks from 2017.

New Zealand maintained its position and perceptions of it have been on the improve over the past four years. In line with the global trend, the score did drop slightly. According to the Reputation Institute, underlying feelings of geo-political tension, nationalism, and social unrest has resulted in an overall reputation decline for all nations.




Being welcoming, safe, beautiful and highly principled drives a country’s reputation accounting for 51% of a country’s score on the RepTrak index.

Key attributes

The above statement is largely why New Zealand has universally excellent scores. It will come as no surprise that New Zealand’s strong reputation foundation is the ‘Appealing Environment’ dimension where we rank 1st out of all 55 countries.

Four out of the five most important individual attribute drivers are from this dimension (friendly and welcoming, beautiful country, appealing lifestyle, is an enjoyable country). New Zealand received excellent results on each of those measures, ranking first on ‘beautiful country’ and ‘friendly and welcoming’.

Moreover, New Zealand is also perceived favourably on the most important attribute within the ‘Effective Government’ dimension, ranking 5th for ‘is a safe place’. What’s more, our overall reputation is positively influenced by perceptions of our performance in the following three attributes:

  • ‘is an ethical country with high transparency and low corruption’
  • ‘has adopted social and economic policies’
  • ‘is a responsible participant in the global community’

It’s important we maintain these positive perceptions as they are key to our overall ranking of 8th on the broader ‘Effective Government’ dimension.

The reputation of a country has a direct impact on it’s ability to attract people, talent, investment, and open doors for exporters. It also opens doors and support for New Zealand to influence and impact environmental, societal, and human progress domestically and globally.

In short, being an ethical country with high transparency and low corruption is the 6th most important area to drive country reputation. Perceptions of our performance in this area are undeniably driving global favourability and consideration for New Zealand.

A weak link

Unfortunately, we rank only 16th on the third dimension, ‘Advanced Economy’ – which is about average according to RepTrak. Perceptions in this area have been consistent over the past seven years. We simply don’t have that many well-known brands. We’re not seen as a particularly important contributor to global culture. We’re not perceived as having high quality products & services. Nor are we considered technologically advanced.

Those of us living inside New Zealand know that there is a gap between perception and reality. We definitely need to share with the world that we are a progressive and creative nation, that our tech sector is our fastest growing sector, that we have some great brands. You just need to read the book Number 8 Rewired to be reminded of the ingenuity that exists in New Zealand. There is no question that we need to share these stories with the world. But the research tells us that touting all those ‘Advanced Economy’ attributes doesn’t necessarily influence consideration for our country as much as the other attributes I’ve already covered.

We are in the fortunate position that the things we do well, and are well known for, contribute the most to how positive consumers feel about a country.

So, is perception reality? And which comes first?

Well the simple answer is both. If we take the right actions to be an ethical, safe, transparent, welcoming nation, then our reality turns up in the perceptions of others – such as we see in these indices.

When we see how others perceive us in these areas, we are encouraged to continue to meet or exceed these positive expectations. New Zealanders tend to feel an obligation to ensure our reality matches perceptions. And if there is a disconnect, we rightly take action to rectify the gap, whether that be through activism, demonstration, lobbying, stating our opinions through a free media, or voting. Often, we take it upon ourselves to close the gap by changing our business practices, implementing sustainable practices, collaborating with others, and living up to our own expectations. And therein lies the beautiful and perpetual cycle of reputation.

When other countries ask how we achieve our results though, the answer is somewhat more complicated and to a large extent is the result of our unique history, culture and values.

Comparatively, we’re an egalitarian society with a low power-distance ratio. Our diversity and subsequent blend of cultures means we value tolerance, equality, fairness, and inclusivity. We have the ability to influence how we’re governed through free speech, media choice, equal rights, a fairly simple electoral system, and ….. a comparative lack corruption in our Government and our Judiciary.

It’s not all milk and honey though. We’ve got some fairly big issues to sort out in our own back yard. But knowing that we’re perceived positively, that others are starting to see who we are and how we are as a people and as a nation, should inspire us to work even harder to be even better.

Promoting New Zealand

We need to keep sharing our stories with the world. The real stories that matter. The stories of how we care for our environment and our society. The stories of ingenuity, kaitiaki and integrity. The stories of what we’re doing to make a difference and progress our place, our people and our planet.

The role of  New Zealand Story is to make it easy for all citizens to play their part. Just follow us on our social media channels and share the stories we make. Share them with your friends and family on Facebook, your business colleagues on LinkedIn, your global contacts on Twitter, or your distributors and partners on WeChat or any other channel that works for you. Become an #nzstoryteller now to continue to improve perceptions, and increase favourability toward New Zealand. Drive the future actions that our nation needs to be not just a good country, but a country that is good for the world. 

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:

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 open government, TINZ thinks it is time that this fragmentation is eliminated.

Submissions currently being sought

The following invitations to submissions 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.

New Zealand Infrastructure Commission/Te Waihanga Bill

  • Deadline Friday, 17 May 2019
  • A new independent infrastructure body, the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga, is being established to ensure that New Zealand gets the quality infrastructure investment needed to improve our long-term economic performance and social wellbeing.
  • Public submissions are now being called for the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission/Te Waihanga Bill.

Overseas Investment Act 2005

  • Deadline Friday 24 May
  • Views are sought by The Treasury on the the Government’s second phase of its reforms to the Overseas Investment Act.
  • The consultation document addresses issues relating to the types of assets that are screened, who is screened, and how the screening process is conducted.

Charities Act 2005

  • Deadline now extended to Friday 31 May
  • Views are sought by the Department of Internal Affairs on modernising the Act
  • You are encouraged to have your say by attending a community meeting and/or sending in a written submission in response to the discussion document.

Recent TINZ submissions

TINZ Affiliates’ news

United Nations Association NZ

  • 8 May 2019, Wellington: ‘Intergenerational Wellbeing and Public Policy; An Integrated Environmental, Social, and Economic Framework’, talk by Professor Girol Karacaoglu (Head of the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington), 12.30 pm, St Andrews Conference Centre (hosted by UNA Wellington) RSVP to

Ed: Organisations affiliated to Transparency International New Zealand are invited to briefly share their news and announcements of potential interest to the broad readership of Transparency Times. Copy should be submitted by 28th of the month to, for publication early in following month. 

Coming Events

Watch out for:

  • 30 May 2019, Wellington: 2019 Budget delivery by the Minister of Finance
  • 3 July 2019, free global online Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): ‘Ethical Leadership in a Changing World‘, Brian Picot Chair in Ethical Leadership, School of Management, Victoria University of Wellington.
  • Watch this space for the launch of the 2018 Update of the 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System (NIS) Assessment.
  • Pending 2019: Launch of the 2019 Financial Integrity System Assessment (FISA) 

In case you missed it

New Zealand transparency, integrity and accountability

Data Security Now the Top New Zealand Consumer Priority When Choosing a Bank – New Unisys Research Finds New Zealanders trust banks more than twice as much as the government with their personal data – Unisys Asia Pacific Banking Insights study

Andrew Dickens: Fight between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ looming Opinion

APEC contracts to be reviewed after audit concerns Foreign affairs officials have been forced to review all contracts for New Zealand’s hosting of a major international summit, after the Auditor-General raised concerns about flaws in their procurement practices.

NZ’s open government work brings only marginal change New Zealand’s open government work over 2016-2018 brings only marginal change in government practice, new report suggests.

MPs to consider ban on foreign political donations MPs will consider banning foreign donations to political parties after the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) warned that foreign governments want to influence New Zealand politicians.

Spy agencies concerned about foreign political donations and influence campaigns The heads of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies have told MPs they are concerned about political donations by hidden state actors and attempts to influence diaspora communities.

RBNZ Embarking on New Communication Strategy, Governor Orr Says New Zealand’s central bank is embarking on a new communication strategy that will see its policy makers speak less behind closed doors and cover a wider range of topics, RBNZ governor Adrian Orr said.

Spies shine light on interference, in spotlight over terror “…. the information laid out by the NZSIS and GCSB about efforts to covertly or deceptively affect New Zealand’s political system brought the issue alive in striking, if somewhat disconcerting, detail.”

Fashion grades: Rating the retail brands that make your clothes Most New Zealand fashion retailers are doing a good job of looking after the people who make their clothes, but some brands have work to do.- NZHerald

Report fails New Zealand fashion retailers on ethical grade Report fails New Zealand fashion retailers on ethical grade – Newshub.

Nine Kiwi brands failing to protect workers, ethical fashion report says Some of New Zealand’s highest-profile fashion brands have scored poorly in a new report into the industry’s ethics.


Trust in politicians under cloud as anti-corruption body concerns grow The anti-corruption body Transparency International will today update its wish-list for an Australian national integrity body, amid concerns that it won’t be properly resourced to fight corruption.

Government corruption and the need for a Federal ICAC


PNG Govt to table anti-corruption bill A bill to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption in Papua New Guinea will be tabled in Parliament next month, the Justice Minister says.

NGO wants PNG anti-corruption body to be strong Transparency International (Secretariat in Berlin) says it’s waiting to see how strong the Papua New Guinea government’s planned Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will be.


Transparency International UK’s strategies for combatting corruption – A guide for sports organisations Lawn Sport Published 18 April 2019 | Authored by: Keith Oliver, Craig Hogg (Article references 2014 work by TI UK)

Transparency International

Three years after the Panama Papers: progress on horizon Whistleblowers and investigative journalists are helping pick apart the cross-border corruption networks that exploit the global financial system at the expense of human development.


Why Julian Assange’s arrest is troubling for whistleblowers

Repercussions for revealing corruption The new EU Whistleblower protection directive is a huge step forward, but journalists and activists still need to exercise caution in their work with whistleblowers. New principles for journalists offer a much needed guide.


Report: Construction and Real Estate Carry Greatest Corruption Risk Construction and real estate development are the business sectors globally most exposed to corruption, according to a new report by Risk Advisory, a London-based consultancy.

International organizations and the promotion of democracy Democracy without Boarders World Views, Daniele Archibugi & Marco Cellini,5. April 2019

As Global Democracy Stumbles, Corruption Flourishes Transparency International says the continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis in democracy…

Misleading takedowns: Facebook needs to be a lot more transparent when it comes to banning Pages, Groups Facebook’s role in taking down posts threatening electoral democracy needs to be understood better.

Social media executives could be liable for harmful content – The Guardian

Corruption a big issue in muslim-majority nations Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad expressed regret that Muslims are involved in corruption when Islam prohibits it. New Straits Times, Malaysia

Corruption Challenges Index 2019 Corruption danger spots for business in 2019 by Risk Advisory, a London-based consultancy.


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