Transparency Times November 2019

From the Chair

Suzanne Snively
TINZ Chair

Now is the time to seriously commit to further resourcing the Serious Fraud Office.

We continue to fight an uphill battle when it comes to attracting the attention of political leaders to adequately protect us from corruption’s undermining impact.

Corruption at the local level

Wellington city mayoral candidates were asked to address questions about their approach to anti-corruption policy and practice at TINZ’s 26 September event. Attendees told TINZ that the only times candidates talked explicitly about their policies to address corruption, was when TINZ asked them.

Only due to media coverage did candidates become aware that there was public interest in their sources of campaign funding.

Local body political candidates appear to think that the public is only interested in local body services and rates that directly impact on their households and communities.  

Yet, the strong integrity systems that inspect, detect, prevent and protect against corruption are essential if our local communities are to thrive. Strong local government integrity systems lead to better public services and attract population growth that results in lower rates per household.

The Auckland Transport case is a recent example of the negative way corruption can impact local communities. This case was prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office. https://www.reportitnow.co.nz/blog/serious-fraud-office-billions-in-public-funds-likely-lost-to-fraud/

Corruption, Wellbeing and the Government’s Budget

Integrity systems that address corruption clearly underpin better public services. They also enhance the wellbeing of people as employees, user of public services and roading infrastructure and as members of communities.

Last year was the first wellbeing budget. With corruption the major disruptive force contributing to negative wellbeing in other countries., it is crucial that this Government invests in the processes and practices that inspect, detect, prevent, protect against and prosecute corruption.

The main time to make a difference to how Government spends our taxes is NOW. According to the Treasury website, https://treasury.govt.nz/publications/guide/guide-budget-process, the strategic phase of the budget process,‎ takes place from June to December the year before the budget is published.

The timing of the central Government Budget’s strategic phase is transparently stated on the first page of Treasury’s website section about the Budget process. The process around the strategic phase, however, is far from transparent.

Until the budget is formally presented to the media and public – usually the 3rd Thursday of May each year. – budget decisions are cloaked in budget secrecy.

During the June to December strategic phase of the Budget, government agencies start developing and updating their four-year plans. These four-year plans help inform the Government’s decision-making about where to invest by identifying the strategic choices and trade-offs facing government departments.

As set out in the overview budget guidance, the strategy phase appears to be focussed on the government’s fiscal objectives with its wellbeing framework as an add on.

For the budget to be genuinely centred on wellbeing, it requires a strong platform based around an integrity system. This needs to be addressed as a key element of the strategy, not an add on.

Unfortunately, discussions are conducted under Budget secrecy until the full budget is published the following May. Over $150 billion of New Zealanders’ resources are allocated through processes that take place behind closed doors.

This is the time of year to budget anti-corruption efforts

By the time the Budget is released to the public in May each year, it’s too late to make a case for more funding. Instead of the Budget providing the public with choices, it provides the public with narrative promoting the priorities set during the strategic phase that started off nearly a year earlier.

Government agencies that fight corruption

Three of the government agencies that make a major impact on addressing corruption are the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Ombudsman and Office of the Auditor General (OAG). These agencies will be putting together their budget bids now https://treasury.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2018-12/budget19-guidance.pdf

There are quite important things each of these offices do that protect us New Zealanders from bribery, fraud and corruption.

The SFO detects, investigates and prosecutes corruption. It also aims to prevent corruption through education and promotion. It’s total budget for 2019/20 is $9.7 million and it has 50 staff.

The Controller and Auditor-General is responsible for auditing 3,600 public bodies who collectively spend more than $150 billion each year. It has included the investigation of their processes aimed at preventing corruption in their organisations. Its budgeted crown funding for 2019/20 is $15.8 million.

It’s 2018/19 Annual Report including a table showing that the New Zealand’s Integrity Ranking is #1, according to the International Civil Service Effectiveness Index compared to 38 other countries reviewed by the University of Oxford.

The Office of the Ombudsman has a total budget of $25.9 million for 2019/20. Its primary role is to investigate complaints against government agencies, investigate agencies that fail to provide information in accordance with the Official Information Act. It also has the responsibility to protect whistleblowers and investigate the administration of prisons.

The amount of funding ‎they each need to carry out their roles even more effectively than they do now is miniscule in comparison to funding for other agencies. Added all together and including the funding the OAG receives for its audits, these three agencies spend less than 0.1% of Government’s over $150 billion.

Focus on Wellbeing during the strategic phase

To focus on wellbeing, it’s time that the strategic phase of the Budget includes feedback about those things that will make a major positive impact on wellbeing.

The education work of the Serious Fraud Office is an example. This could equip communities and businesses with the knowledge to detect corrupt practice early and protect against deeper harm.

For the Government’s 2020/21 Budget to be genuinely centred on wellbeing, it requires a strong platform based around the public sector’s integrity systems. A well-designed integrity system will prevent corruption and enhance cooperation and coordination amongst government agencies in a way that more effectively enhances the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Its time NOW for the Prime Minister and her coalition Government to take a serious look at increasing its resourcing of our very capable anti-corruption monitors. If the SFO, OAG and Ombudsman have the capacity required to communicate across our whole country, they will ensure that our integrity systems support a living standards framework and a sustainable future for all our local communities.

Suzanne Snively, ONZM

Chair

Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

29 October 2019

TINZ Annual General Meeting 2019

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General

Our AGM was held on 4 November, and we were excited to host Her Excellency the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand.  Her Excellency was guest speaker after the short AGM.

We were also blessed to have Kirsten Patterson, Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors, speak on governance.  And the amazing Louisa Wall MP, was the M.C.

And there was more!   Following the guest speeches and questions, there was a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Victoria University of Wellington International Leadership Programme and TINZ, with a short address from Grant Guilford, Vice-Chancellor of  Victoria University of Wellington.

The evening concluded with an opportunity to mingle and network until 7.30 pm.

This newsletter is sent out too early to advise the results of the election of three Directors to the Board.  At the date of writing we have had a great response to our online election.  The final count will take place at the AGM.

This is a great time to join TINZ.  We have a process for you to apply for membership. If you think you are already a member but need to check your financial status, email your query to accounts@transparency.org.nz.

 

TINZ 2019 Annual Report

By Newsletter Staff

Transparency International New Zealand has published its 2019 Annual Report and Performance Report.    This reviews TINZ’s substantial accomplishments in the year to June 2019.    A look at the Statement of Service Performance indicates the high level of activity and effectiveness from our volunteers and personnel:

The desired outcomes of our work are:

  1. To engage a wider audience in the discussion of strong integrity systems
  2. To be the authoritative voice on transparency, good governance and ethical practices
  3. Fundraising to create a sustainable New Zealand Chapter
  4. Providing support for Pacific Chapters.

Achievements:

  • Release of the 2018 update of the National Integrity System Assessment
  • Financial Integrity System Assessment (FISA) Methodology launched in Auckland on 5 June 2019 to over 100 representatives from banks, financial service and Kiwisaver providers, insurance companies and their regulators. (FISA is a major initiative to strengthen integrity systems within the insurance and financial services sector in New Zealand)
  • Nine media releases on current issues, including FISA, the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (TI-CPI) release (New Zealand ranked number 2),and comment on ministerial diary publication.
  • Additional video message of support and aroha from TINZ to the Muslim community, first responders and leaders following the March 15th attacks on the Muslim mosques in Christchurch.
  • Twelve Transparency Times newsletters distributed to wide audience through email, social media and website
  • Nineteen authoritative submissions and advocacy on several pieces of major policy including, Public Sector Reform Act, NCEA review, OGP National Action Plan, Protected Disclosures Act Review, ASEAN-Australia-NZ Free Trade Agreement, Zero Carbon Bill, Sustainable Development Goals Progress, OAG Draft Annual Plan, Racing Reform Bill, Inquiry into National and Local Elections, Infrastructure Commission and Therapeutic Products
  • Eight Leaders Integrity Forums held for public service leaders, partnering with the Office of the Auditor-General. Integrity forums for local government are planned for later in the 2019/20 financial year.
  • Several events hosted by TINZ or in collaboration with others including a Serious Fraud Office presentation at Canterbury University; and the visit of Emmanuel Lulin of L’Oreal on Ethical Business Leadership (with Victoria Business School), and a presentation with Peter Hughes, SSC
  • During the year TINZ started providing an advisory function to the New Zealand Chapter of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC)
  • Regular meetings with Members of Parliament as part of TINZ’s Parliamentary Liaison Strategy
  • Expert advice and strategic engagement on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (TI-CPI) , Anti-Money Laundering legislation, Sustainable Development Goals, Beneficial Ownership, Official Information Act, Clinical Trial Transparency, and Civil society engagement with the Ministry of Education  
  • Updating of the Anti-Corruption Pledge Tracker
  • Organisation of a highly successful Transparency International meeting of Pacific Chapters in Wellington in February
  • Attendance by TINZ representatives at Annual Members Meeting (AMM) and International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Copenhagen October 2018. CEO attended the Asia-Pacific Regional members meeting in Kuala Lumpur. Continued communication with Pacific Chapter leaders, TI-Australia, TI Secretariat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)
  • Provided support to Pacific colleagues to attend the International Anti-corruption Conference
  • Progress made on Integrity Fiji funding proposal with the MFAT, facilitated by TINZ, to support the accreditation of Fiji as a Transparency International chapter
  • Presentations throughout New Zealand including Taranaki, Auckland and Wellington to over 1000 people
  • Contribution to VUW Brian Picot Chair in Ethical Leadership, including representation at its Advisory Group and as presenters for its massive open on-line course (MOOC). 

Our Leadership

In her article, Snively reports:

“During the year ending 30 June 2019, TINZ was pleased to see practice and policy change across central government agencies to address corruption by strengthening integrity systems.

“TINZ’s NIS 2018 update Building accountability: Summary of the National Integrity System Assessment 2018 Update, found progress in the public sector. Disappointingly, the 2018 update found evidence of serious accumulating threats to the integrity of the media, political party funding, civil society institutions, and the business sector.

“Amongst other things, the unwillingness of organisations in these sectors to prioritise policies and practices to detect and prevent corruption, ‎reflects insufficient understanding of what it means to be a corruption-intolerant culture.”

Chief Executive Julie Haggie notes that leadership in the non-profit context is different to that in business. She says, “Being part of a movement for change means that collaborative and nimble work approaches are needed to support the voluntary commitment and passion. This also extends to managing workload due to multiple streams of activity. Meanwhile our funding restraints drive creativity.” She finds TINZ creative approach to growing knowledge about transparency, is interesting and challenging.

The TINZ 2019 Annual Report is available on our website. Thanks to TINZ CEO, Julie Haggie, and Finance Officer, Helen Bewley, for their major contributions to enhance the professionalism of this year’s Annual Report.

Photo by Annette Schuman on Unsplash

Is New Zealand becoming a plutocracy?

Maria Armoudian and Timothy Kuhner

Guest Authors

Maria Armoudian, , Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland
Timothy Kuhner, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland

Worrisome US tendencies

We’ve seen it in the United States — weak campaign finance laws have undermined democracy, transforming the country into a political regime that serves the wealthy above and beyond the rest of its citizens. Poorly regulated campaign contributions, outside expenditures, and lobbyists influence elections and buy access to those who are elected.

Research has shown that the great majority of funds available to campaigns, parties, and interest groups are provided by a tiny sliver of the population. Approximately 0.5% of the adult population controls the market for campaign funds. About 0.0001% of the adult population controls superPAC (Political Action Committee) spending. The great majority of lobbying activity favours big business interests.

This oligarchy denigrates and corrupts democracy by its insidious influence, degrading core values — such as political equality, citizen participation and trust, government representation, responsiveness and integrity. The resulting laws and policies — as political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page have shown — serve the rich, often to the detriment of the rest of the country, creating a downward spiral toward plutocracy and climate crisis.

While the US has historically overcome two previous plutocratic tendencies that plagued the country during slavery and the industrial era, it is now in the grip of a third. But instead of passing laws to address economic and political inequalities, the nation fell for the populist deception of President Donald Trump, whose policies are now exacerbating the corruption he promised to remedy.

A different path for New Zealand

New Zealand must not be allowed to follow the American lead down the path of greater inequality and plutocratic governance.

This small and distinguished country has a long history of standing up for democratic participation, an egalitarian ethos, and fair play.

  • But in New Zealand we face some of the same threats that are unravelling the United States’ democratic representation
  • The lobbying industry is almost entirely unregulated as Bryce Edwards has found
  • The political fundraising of National, Labour, and NZ First is unacceptably opaque, as Stuff has reported
  • Large political donations by corporations and trusts are allowed
  • And the threat to sovereignty and accountability posed by foreign donations isn’t taken seriously, as it is in Australia and the United States.

Researchers who wish to document the fundraising base and economic backers of the major parties, can’t even get a foothold because of the incredibly weak disclosure rules. Under such conditions, it’s all too predictable that this country’s reputation as one of the least corrupt in the world is poised to decline. More important than our reputation for high quality civil service and integrity, we risk losing the actual reality of good government.

Citizen confidence, freedom, equality, and self-governance for all, are now in doubt — right when the climate crisis and the technological crisis (fake news, deep fakes, and online hate) are striking.

Which way will New Zealand go?

Is New Zealand on its way to a privatised democracy and a public policy environment systematically opposed to the interests of every-day citizens and residents?

With such colossal vulnerabilities to undue influence and government capture, it is no wonder that economic inequality has grown substantially in recent decades and voter participation has decreased.

Citizens would do well to wonder whether a political system with such vulnerability to monied interests will be independent and public-spirited enough to address the housing crisis,  protect the right to access to clean, potable water, or respond adequately to climate change. As time passes, there’s no guarantee that citizens will retain their faith in government or keep bothering to participate in elections and public debate.     

Options for New Zealand

New Zealand has a number of options to correct its course.  Whether New Zealand takes a cue from more successful models or blazes a trail of its own, true democratic governance requires a few features:

  • At the most fundamental level, New Zealanders need access to greater transparency. With much more rigorous reporting requirements and publicly available political funding information, voters would have vital information they need to make decisions. Reports with detailed campaign contributions from $100 upwards and lobbying information, can be placed real-time, when received, into a user-friendly searchable website at the Electoral Commission
  • Secondly, an outright ban on foreign contributions to candidates and parties prevents improper influence from interest groups outside our borders or skewing our policies to favour another country 
  • Third, hard limits on contributions, to candidates and parties or other politically active groups, help level the playing field as do outright bans on contributions from organisations such as corporations
  • Fourth, ethics requirements for lobbying including prohibitions on gifts and limitations on revolving doors help prevent access inequalities and more fair representation within our own borders.

Current progress

Important reforms have already been introduced. For example, an earlier attempt to strengthen lobbying transparency failed after its first reading, but could be redesigned and resubmitted if citizens demand it. The Electoral (Strengthening Democracy) Amendment Bill is still active, aiming to improve voting rights, limit the influence of big money, and strengthen disclosure requirements.

These critical measures to protect the public interest deserve New Zealanders’ full attention. We are wary of the potential for good government to be compromised by complacency.

Make no mistake about it: despite New Zealand’s reputation for low corruption and high quality civil service, the country is surprisingly vulnerable to capture by monied interests.

 

Maria Armoudian is a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland, the author of two books –Reporting from the Danger Zone, Frontline Journalists, Their Jobs and an Increasingly Perilous Future and Kill the Messenger: The Media’s Role in the Fate of the World – and the founding director of the Project for Public Interest Media.

Timothy Kuhner is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. His teaching and research focus on comparative constitutional law, corruption, political finance, and law and society. He is the author of numerous articles and several books including Capitalism v. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution (Stanford University Press, 2014). 

Are you a Supporter of Slave Trading?

Tod Cooper
TINZ Director
Special interest areas include Procurement, Online Training and Whistleblowing

Tod Cooper
TINZ Director
Special interest in Procurement

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in partnership with the Walk Free Foundation and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), there are over 40-million people around the world who remain victims of modern slavery.  Many of them work for you!

Some stats from Global Estimate of Modern Slavery; there are over 25-million people in forced labour, 75% of them are women or girls, and sadly 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children… CHILDREN!

As consumers, we have a choice to consider where our products and services come from. 

While individually we may not be able to influence change, collectively we most certainly can! If for example we all opted out of grocery and liquor products that we buy without a clear ethical or Fairtrade certification, collectively we will influence some of the $5.5 billion dollar retail spending.  See Statistics NZ.

Still not convinced this will work?  Not so long ago we took a stance on the ethical and Fairtrade production of coffee.  Now you have to search far and wide for coffee in New Zealand not sourced from either an ethical or Fairtrade certified producer.

“Modern slavery is not something that happens ‘over there’ that we don’t have to think about.  If you care about the people who make our products we can make a difference.”

Walk Free co-founder Grace Forrest

From a business perspective, and as a procurement practitioner, I live and breathe supply chain. 

Disappointingly, outside of a simple box ticking exercise, the New Zealand Government is still not doing enough collectively to address where they source the $41billion of products and services they consume each year.  Why would they? Regrettably, they are not held to account for this, or resourced to make it work. 

However, some positive exceptions occur. For example, the Department of Corrections does great work around building visibility and accountability in a critical supply chain that reached into regions that were a high risk for modern slavery. 

These positive examples should be the norm, not the exception.

In fact, New Zealand doesn’t even feature in a list of 40 countries actively taking action to cut supply chain slavery (shown in red below). 

Walk Free initiative has collected global data on progress towards eradicating modern slavery
Walk Free initiative has collected global data on progress towards eradicating modern slavery

 

The United States has various State legislation and US Executive Orders are combating modern slavery. The UK has a well embedded Modern Slavery Act, and Australia has followed suit by enacting a Modern Slavery Act in December 2018.

A positive move this year is the New Zealand government’s Supplier Code of Conduct which outlines the expectations government have of their suppliers.  The issue is that government leaders are not yet held to account. While this Supplier Code of Conduct is specifically referenced in the 4th edition of the Government Procurement Rules, there are no consequences of breaching these rules.

Collectively, we need to get much better at assessing our suppliers attitudes towards modern slavery, we need to investigate their social systems. We need to ensure we are undertaking necessary due diligence on our current and new suppliers as part of our procurement and supply chain management activities.  By doing this, we will flesh out those that enable modern slavery and put real dent in this modern slavery atrocity.

Watch out for a future article about the Bali Process, what is it? why is it so important?

Anti-corruption pledge tracking: Elusive final pledge

Ferdinand Balfoort
Member with Delegated Authority
Anti-Corruption Pledges, Fundraising, Governance

Ferdinand Balfoort

TINZ Member with Delegated Authority for Corporate Governance, Fundraising

Good intentions

At the 2016 Global Anti-Corruption Summit in London (ACS), New Zealand made a number of key commitments or pledges towards eliminating corruption, in order to align to international best practice. Progress towards implementing the commitments in New Zealand is monitored by Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ).

Pledge tracker

Five of New Zealand’s commitments are tracked internationally within The Anti-Corruption Pledge Tracker created by Transparency International UK. The pledge tracker now monitors progress on the commitments made by 18 participating countries. It focuses on six key themes out of the larger selection involving over 40 initially participating countries. These key themes were selected to enable progress to be compared.

Recent progress

TINZ has recently completed another half yearly round of gathering independent verifications on progress with New Zealand’s commitments. In the process,  TINZ has sought comment from the Ministry of Justice.

TINZ continues to report on the New Zealand Government’s progress on its original ACS commitments, of which a few remain actionable.

This report represents a substantial and positive effort by New Zealand agencies to address original ACS commitments and demonstrates their overall recognition of the importance of preventing corruption.

Sport: New Zealand’s additional initiative

A commitment that is not part of the ACS Tracker is New Zealand’s sporting integrity pledge. Sport commands huge interest in New Zealand and because of the massive threat of sport corruption, it is critical to progress this pledge.

Any corruption at any level is rapidly seized upon by news media to escalate civil society awareness that corruption in New Zealand is very real, often down-played or denied by affected sporting bodies, and therefore ineffectively addressed.

More to be done

The elusive and thorny commitment and theme yet to be completed, are related to the of ‘Beneficial Ownership’ (BO) of companies (and trusts), as well as Public Procurement.

Where the legislative changes fall short is for public transparency. The initial communique states that the register will be “available and fully accessible to those who have a legitimate need for it, including to help prevent abuse.”

This would include journalists, and also NGOs such as TINZ, to research any particular case.  New Zealand cannot rely solely on NZ Police and SFO to be sufficiently resourced and focussed on identifying anomalies on the BO Register.  Journalists, advocates, investigators, auditors and NGO’s are also very important in identifying corruption and fraud related issues.

Broadening the access will improve New Zealand’s ability to combat money laundering and grand corruption

Progress made

Progress on the pledges monitored by TINZ, is detailed as follows:

Company beneficial ownership Underway
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué: “We will ensure accurate and timely basic and beneficial ownership information (including legal ownership information) is collected, available and fully accessible to those who have a legitimate need for it, including to help prevent abuse. This requires mechanisms to ensure law enforcement and other competent authorities, including tax authorities, have full and effective access to accurate and up to date information…”

Country Statement: “New Zealand will continue to ensure that law enforcement agencies have full and effective access to beneficial ownership information for companies and other legal entities of risk registered within their jurisdiction. New Zealand will also continue to implement bilateral arrangements that will ensure law enforcement in one partner country has full and effective access to the beneficial ownership information of companies incorporated in the other partner country.”

The Companies Act 1993 and Limited Partnerships Act 2008 contain requirements for companies and limited partnerships to provide an identifiable and accessible point of contact and disclose their ultimate holding company (if they have one) to identify relationships between companies.

The Registrar of Companies may disclose information relating to ultimate ownership and control to a government agency for “law enforcement purposes.”  This ensures that information can be shared with New Zealand Police and the Serious Fraud Office to detect, investigate and prosecute corrupt activity.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act 2009 requires that all businesses with obligations (reporting entities) conduct customer due diligence on any beneficial owner of a customer.  The AML/CFT Act requires reporting entities to conduct enhanced customer due diligence if the customer is a trust or a company with nominee shareholders.  Enhanced customer due diligence requires the reporting entity to additionally obtain information about the name and date of birth of all beneficiaries of a trust or each class or type of beneficiary.

The AML/CFT Amendment Act 2017 extended obligations to designated non-financial businesses and professions, such as lawyers, conveyancers, and real estate agents.  These measures mitigate the risk of nominees being used to hide beneficial owners in relation to real estate transactions, as lawyers or conveyancers must be involved in the ultimate transfer of real estate.  Lawyers and conveyancers are required to conduct customer due diligence (or enhanced customer due diligence) on their client, which includes the purchaser of the land, irrespective of the use of nominees in the formation of the agreement.

Basic and beneficial ownership information held by reporting entities via the AML/CFT Act is available to statutory supervisors upon request, and the New Zealand Police can request the information if it is relevant for analysing information received under the Act.  Furthermore, Principle 11E of the Privacy Act 1992 is routinely used to ensure the information can be made available.  The Police and the NZ Bankers Association have further agreed a process for Police to request disclosures, which is also used for financial institutions that are non-banks.

The Taxation (Business Tax, Exchange of Information, and Remedial Matters) Bill, which followed the Government Inquiry into Foreign Trust Disclosure Rules, received Royal Assent on 21 February 2017. The Act has been implemented by Inland Revenue, including the registration requirements for foreign trusts.  Following the Act coming into force, Inland Revenue has reported a significant decrease in the number of foreign trusts operating in New Zealand.  . The requirement for annual returns will commence later this year. New Zealand law enforcement agencies can receive and provide information through various bilateral arrangements (such as tax treaties), multilateral arrangements (e.g. the Egmont Group), and through formal mutual legal assistance arrangements.

Based on updates received from the New Zealand Government via the Ministry of Justice, main point of contact for TI NZ, more progress has been made since the communiqué on measures to obtain beneficial ownership (BO) information.  Further legislation has been introduced and confirmed in the interim which puts the onus on professional service providers to undertake due diligence on counterparties and retain evidence of this.  The range of professional sectors now covered has expanded positively.  TI NZ notes however that the information is not available to all those with legitimate needs, and that access to such information currently remains restricted to law enforcement agencies.

Where the legislative changes fall short is for public transparency.  The initial communique states that the register will be “available and fully accessible to those who have a legitimate need for it, including to help prevent abuse.”

This would include journalists, and also NGOs such as TI NZ, to research any particular case.  New Zealand cannot rely solely on NZ Police and SFO to be sufficiently resourced and focussed on identifying anomalies on the BO Register.  Journalists, advocates, investigators, auditors and NGO’s are also very important in identifying corruption and fraud related issues.

Broadening the access will improve New Zealand’s ability to combat money laundering and grand corruption

TI NZ also sees an opportunity for greater efficiency of Beneficial Ownership registration.  Under current legislation, information is dispersed among professional service providers, and not centralized. 

This increases administrative burden on the micro businesses and SME that make up over 80% of New Zealand businesses.

The costs to businesses of managing the beneficial ownership register could be reduced in time and cost.

In contrast, a public, central register, from a business point of view, would improve efficiency.

New Zealand has a similar system in place for individual identification of users utilizing government databases. (RealMe).

Company beneficial ownership – public register Underway
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué: “… It may include establishing public central registers.”

Country Statement:  “New Zealand commits to exploring the establishment of a public central register of company beneficial ownership information.”

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is exploring the establishment of a public central register of company beneficial ownership information. This work was noted in the Select Committee report on the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill, and MBIE’s Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs.  http://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/who-we-are/our-publications/briefings-to-incoming-ministers/2017-bims/commerce-consumer-affairs.pdf

On 19 June 2018, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a discussion document seeking feedback on what requirements there should be on New Zealand companies and limited partnerships to hold and disclose information about their beneficial owners. Submissions closed on 3 August 2018. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/business/business-law/supporting-the-integrity-of-the-corporate-governance-system/increasing-transparency-beneficial-ownership-nz-companies-and-ltd-partnerships

Twenty-nine submissions have been received. Officials are currently analysing the submissions before making recommendations.  

MBIE is in the process of seeking direction from Cabinet about establishing a register of company beneficial ownership information.
Limited progress has been made therefore. Interest has been indicated to progress this ahead of the EU by the current Speaker of the House, Justice Minister and Minister Open Data.
Procurement Underway
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué: “We will ensure public contracts are awarded and managed openly, accountably and fairly, consistent with applicable law -making public procurement open by default… We will make greater use of e-procurement to make public contracting processes more transparent.”

Country Statement:  “New Zealand will continue and intensify efforts to develop procurement capability, including initiatives that safeguard integrity in the procurement process.”

Government tenders are advertised online at: https://www.gets.govt.nz/ExternalIndex.htm

New Zealand has established a Procurement Capability Index, which is a tool designed to assist government agencies to self-assess procurement performance against a wide range of measures, including governance, accountability and good procurement practice measures.

From mid to late 2017, all agencies covered by the Government Rules of Sourcing were required to complete the Procurement Capability Index.

New Zealand has consulted on amendments to the Government Procurement Rules which strengthen the government’s expectations for ethical behaviour and for suppliers not to engage in any form of corruption. Subject to Cabinet approval, the amended Rules are expected to come into force in October 2019.

In July 2018 Cabinet agreed to a cross-agency Anti-Corruption Work Programme, through which work is being done to understand procurement vulnerabilities in New Zealand. Part of this work involves a focus on local councils and will result in working with national Local Government bodies to share guidance and best practice

Procurement is managed through the Minister for Economic Development who under the previous government regarded procurement as a low priority. Recent events, such as the Auckland Transport Case, has brought procurement practice into focus. 
Register of company corruption convictions Complete
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué: “Corrupt bidders should not be allowed to participate in public procurement tenders. We will make efforts to ensure relevant information, such as final convictions, is made available to contracting authorities to inform decisions on suspending and excluding bidders where appropriate. We encourage countries to explore ways of sharing relevant information …”

Country Statement:  “New Zealand will explore establishing an accessible and central database of companies with final convictions for bribery and corruption offences, and ways of sharing information on corrupt bidders across borders.”

Some relevant information is already available on the Serious Fraud Office website (https://www.sfo.govt.nz/cases  and through the New Zealand Companies Office Register (http://www.procurement.govt.nz/procurement/companies/about-us/enforcement/conviction-results). 

Agencies have not provided formal advice on centralising this information into an accessible database. However, officials’ preliminary exploration suggests that there is likely to be little benefit in establishing such a database. New Zealand has not convicted a company of bribery of corruption and, as such, there is no information for New Zealand to put in such a register at present. Overseas countries and civil society may, therefore, be better placed to establish registers in relation to overseas convictions that could then be shared with New Zealand.

We have given consideration to this issue, and the provisional view is that it is not a tangible benefit in proceeding with it at this stage. Given the commitment is to “explore”, not to implement, our view is that this commitment could arguably be assessed as having been completed.
FATF Complete
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué: “In the non-financial professional services sector, we call on all countries to regulate and effectively supervise the legal, accounting, property, trust and company services sectors and support the promotion of global industry best practice in these sectors to underpin full and consistent implementation of FATF standards globally. We will also be alert to activities or sectors emerging as vulnerable to being used for facilitating or laundering proceeds of corruption.”

Country Statement: “New Zealand has implemented the FATF Recommendations on beneficial ownership to ensure that accurate and timely company beneficial ownership information is available and accessible to those who have a need for it and can prevent abuse. New Zealand will also explore how to appropriately incorporate the FATF standards on preventing money laundering in the non-financial professional services sector into domestic legislation.”

The AML/CFT Amendment Act 2017 received the Royal Assent on 10 August 2017.

The Act extends the AML/CFT Act to lawyers, conveyancers, accountants, real estate agents, and sports and racing betting. Businesses that deal in certain high value goods, including motor vehicles, jewellery and art, will also have obligations under the Act when they accept or make large cash transactions.

The implementation of the AML/CFT Amendment Act has concluded, with all additional sectors now being required to comply with their AML/CFG obligations.

Information on the legislation can be found at: https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/key-initiatives/aml-cft/aml-cft-amendment-bill/.

There will be a FATF Review in New Zealand in 2020.

Combat the misuse of non-financial professional services sector.  Phased implementation will take place over a 2 year period. 

The obligations for lawyers, conveyancers and businesses that provide trust and company services began on 1 July 2018. Accountants came into the regime on 1 October 2018.  Real estate agents were covered from 1 January 2019.  From 1 August 2019 the AML/CFT legislation will extend to cover some high value dealers and the NZ Racing Board.
IACC Complete
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué: “We welcome the proposal to establish an International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre by interested countries, which will work closely with relevant international and national organisations, including FIUs, and support countries that have suffered from grand corruption.”

Country Statement: “New Zealand will support the proposal to establish an International Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Coordination Centre (‘IACCC’) by nominating a representative to the IACCC.”
New Zealand has nominated representatives to the Governance Board of the IACCC and provided a London based resource to the IACCC. This person is employed by the NZ Serious Fraud Office who liaises regularly to facilitate the provision of NZ based information relevant to IACCC work. The SFO/IACCC relationship has become a valuable one and liaison is frequent on matters of mutual interest. SFO seek to make the posting and arrangement a permanent one. New Zealand Police have increased the capacity of its FIU so that, amongst other things, it is better equipped to work closely with relevant international and national organisations to support countries to keep out the proceeds/ activities of grand corruption.
UNCAC Complete
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué: “We underline the centrality of UNCAC and call on States that have not yet done so to ratify or accede to it and implement its provisions. We support the implementation review mechanism of UNCAC and call on providers of development assistance to support implementation efforts.”

Country Statement:  “New Zealand commits to working together to support efforts to implement the United Nations Convention Against Corruption including the voluntary provisions.”

New Zealand underwent its’s first cycle of self-assessment under the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) “Implementation Review Mechanism”, which began in July 2016. The executive summary of the reviewers’ findings, including their recommendations, is publicly available on the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s website.

New Zealand is currently one of Kenya’s reviewers for the second cycle of assessment. Our second cycle review will take place in 2020/2021.
NZ continues to engage with the UNCAC process including the assessment mechanism. 
Denial of entry Complete
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué:“We want to make it harder for them to travel and do business in our countries. By increasingly seeking to prevent international travel by corrupt individuals, in ways consistent with national laws, we will help stop those engaged in corruption from enjoying their ill-gotten gains.”

Country Statement: “New Zealand will also, where appropriate under New Zealand law, deny entry to specific individuals who are identified as being involved in grand scale corruption.”

The Minister of Immigration may refuse to grant a visa or entry permission to a person who is, or is likely to be, a threat to the public interest, which can include risk to international reputation; see section 16 of the Immigration Act 2009. This does not require a conviction, but must have a rational basis.

Individuals identified as being involved in grand scale corruption could meet these criteria. A person the Minister considers is likely to commit an imprisonable offence in New Zealand, such as corruption, may also be denied entry.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has a dedicated team of open-source researchers and welcomes information from international partners.

New Zealand may not be able to refuse entry in every such case, particularly as affected individuals must be given the chance to comment on potentially prejudicial material.

Since May 2016:

INZ has not received any information from international partners in regard to individuals involved in grand scale corruption

INZ’s specialist Risk Assessment Team has not assessed any application from an individual known to be involved in grand scale corruption, and

INZ has not identified any individual who is known to be involved in grand scale corruption who has been granted entry permission to New Zealand.
NZ appears to have sufficient laws and mechanisms to allow denial of entry for individuals identified as being involved in grand corruption.  Increased resourcing of the Police FIU will assist through gaining information identifying those engaged in corruption.
Common Reporting Standard Initiative – Complete
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué: “We will increase international transparency on tax to deter tax evasion and other tax crimes and to prevent individuals from concealing proceeds of crime, including corruption in other jurisdictions. We will endorse and take steps to implement the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) on automatic exchange of information, which is vital for global tax transparency, in time for the first exchanges in 2018 at the latest.”

Country Statement: “New Zealand has signed up to the Common Reporting Standard initiative.”

The Taxation (Business Tax, Exchange of Information, and Remedial Matters) Bill, including the measures to implement the CRS as well as tightening disclosure rules for foreign trusts, received Royal assent on 21 February 2017.

As set out at ‘Company beneficial ownership’, above, Inland Revenue has proceeded to implement the legislation.

Legislation has been enacted to implement the common reporting standard initiative, which supports the exchange of information commencing in 2018.
Asset recovery Complete
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué: “Consistent with the provisions of UNCAC, we will co-operate to provide timely, coordinated and appropriate technical assistance and expertise on asset recovery, especially when a country is in need of urgent support. We encourage countries to support the efforts of the World Bank and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to strengthen StAR in support of countries’ efforts to recover and return stolen assets. We welcome efforts to strengthen international cooperation on the transparent and accountable management of frozen and returned assets. We will develop advice and practical ideas for those engaged in the return of stolen assets, and welcome work by the UNODC and others to start this.”

Country Statement: “New Zealand supports efforts to develop internationally-endorsed guidelines for the transparent and accountable management of returned stolen assets. New Zealand also supports the development of common principles governing the payment of compensation to countries affected by corruption, to ensure that such payments are made safely, fairly and in a transparent manner.”
New Zealand continues to contribute to discussions concerning asset recovery via international organisations and fora, including the OECD Working Group on Bribery and the UNCAC Implementation Review Group. NZ is engaging with international organisations through multilateral fora on the development of internationally endorsed guidelines for the return of stolen assets.  Its role is strengthened through the work of the larger Police FIU
Sport Inactive
Communiqué text and Country statement Action reported by the Ministry of Justice TINZ comment on progress made on commitments

Communiqué: sports organisations and other key stakeholders to support and strengthen efforts to implement high standards of transparency and good governance, and to underpin the wider fight to eliminate corruption from sport. We will encourage good governance within national sports organisations (including through educational and capacity building initiatives) and improve information sharing between international sports organisations and law enforcement agencies…”

Country Statement: “New Zealand will work with international sports bodies to develop a partnership for combating corruption in sport.”

New Zealand is working closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency (a global partnership between governments and the sports movement) to protect the international anti-doping system from corruption. In 2018, New Zealand will take over the Oceania seat on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Executive Committee from Australia for one year. New Zealand will also remain on the WADA Foundation Board (WADA’s supreme decision-making body).

New Zealand also promotes its policy on Sports Match-Fixing and Related Corruption, and encourages the adoption of good governance standards by sports bodies. Sport NZ is also currently undertaking a Sport Integrity Review to ensure both government and the sector are responding appropriately.

New Zealand will monitor the International Sports Integrity Partnership and may consider joining it in the future.

We consider this commitment to be inactive rather than complete.

Much needs to be done internationally and in New Zealand to combat corruption in sport.

Brain Food Integrity Forums

by Julie Haggie

Chief Executive Officer

Where in the World are we?

We were fortunate to have two of New Zealand’s senior trade and diplomatic experts present for the second of our “Brain Food” Integrity Forums. They looked back to New Zealand’s historical response to the tyranny of distance, and outwards to our current position in world trade.  

Colin Keating – former Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations and former Executive Director of Security Council Report – and Vangelis Vitalis – Deputy Secretary Trade and Economic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade presented to this forum. Suzanne Snively, Chair of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ), chaired the forum and facilitated the discussions.

Colin started with ideas about ‘where we are’ or ‘where we belong’, are ephemeral. They can change. They do change. What does not change is the geography – the bundle comprising location, size, resources and the risks and opportunities that come with it.

Driven by geographical position

He then focussed on how New Zealanders as a people have responded to our geography and how this has influenced our choices in foreign and trade policy.

Colin took us on the journey from the beginnings of New Zealand trade, and how we confronted the geographical weakness through innovation and entrepreneurship. He talked about how our political responsibility for Pacific states has influenced our social view. He covered the challenges that we have faced, including the removal of the British security blanket and the UK trade access blanket when the UK began negotiations for entry to the EEC in 1970. This drove our strong advocacy for the United Nations and for GATT/WHO, and later the Closer Economic Relationship (CER) with Australia.

We also faced French nuclear testing, demands for independence from Samoa, Cook Islands and Niue, our diplomatic efforts on behalf of the Antarctic, and the strengthening of control over the oceans that surround us.

Nimble and innovative policy

Colin reflected that New Zealand has been nimble and innovative in adapting its foreign and trade policy to manage the changing risks and opportunities. We have a diverse trade profile, he notes “geography is a bit like DNA. It is your inheritance. You can’t change it. But your future is all about how you respond to the challenges and opportunities of those inheritances.” Click here to read or download Colin Keating’s presentation.

Golden weather under threat

Our second speaker Vangelis Vitalis has been Chief Negotiator on several of New Zealand’s core trading agreements. Vangelis talked about the period of golden weather for New Zealand trade, This offered us many opportunities to grow and diversify our trading relationships and to take advantage of rules based structures of global cooperation, such as the World Trade Organisation. This is how we were able to challenge the Australians on apple imports, and the USA on lamb, the European union on Dairy and Indonesia on beef.

Unfortunately the golden weather is under threat. There has recently been an increase in protectionist approaches, from the US and China and also from the European Union.

In the discussion that followed, Vangelis talked about New Zealand’s approach to Brexit – i.e. to secure bilateral and continuity arrangements. He also talked about the need for New Zealand to be in the room at trade discussions, and continuing to work on all of our negotiations and to encourage rules based approaches to trade.

Hate speech. free speech

Most people who think about this topic sit on and off fences, wanting to enable freedom of expression, but not wanting the result to be discriminatory or dangerous. This event was an opportunity to think more deeply than clickbait, and it certainly delivered for the attendees.

In our final of the three ‘Brain Food Integrity Forums’, we heard from Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University; and Liam Hehir, lawyer and regular political commentator on this and other topics. The session was facilitated by Debbie Gee, Transparency International New Zealand Member with Delegated Authority. 

Myths debunked

Professor Spoonley first debunked some myths. He said that what we are facing is not intolerance of speech. Instead there is simply more speech and so more objectionable speech.

In his various roles he has encountered deeply concerning hate speech. He challenged the myth that hate speech is too difficult to define and he offered definitions from both the Council of Europe and Facebook.

“Hate speech covers all forms of expression that spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, or other forms of hatred based on intolerance” – Council of Europe.

“Hate speech is anything that directly attacks people based on what are known as their “protected characteristics” – race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliations, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, or serious disability or disease” – Facebook.

Professor Spoonley recommended reading ‘The Harm in Hate Speech’ by Jeremy Waldron, an internationally regarded New Zealand legal academic. In this book Jeremy talks about the harm caused by hate speech to vulnerable groups in particular. Professor Spoonley also noted research that establishes a direct link between online hate and hate crimes.

Delicate balance

Liam Hehir put the case that argued that there is a fine balance needed when calling for restrictions on speech.  Liam offered JS Mill’s four justifications for free speech:

  • First, the opinion might be true
  • Secondly, the collision of error and truth often sheds more light on the latter
  • Third, if we don’t vigorously defend the truth we fail to understand it
  • Fourth, if the truth becomes a dogma then we may cease to really believe it. 

He noted that free speech is particularly sensitive to a chilling effect, such as the typically high cost of seeking justice to defend one’s position. This also has a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

He noted that there is good guidance to work out if something is hate speech, which includes the intent of the speaker and the likely impact of the comment.

Preferred responses

In discussion after the presentations Liam and Paul agreed that non-censorious government responses, civic education and sophisticated counter-speech including ridicule, are effective antidotes to hate speech.

Liam noted that the European Commission on Racism and Intolerance had previously urged hate speech prosecutions. But after monitoring, it pivoted to alternative measures.

Attendees commented on a range of positions including freedom to question religious belief and freedom to define sexual identity.

Presentations: Hate Speech or Free Speech Liam Hehir and Hate Speech or Free Speech Paul Spoonley.

Lessons for New Zealand – Whistleblowing report launch event

Michael Macaulay MA (Hons), MSc, PhD
Professor of Public Administration
School of Government
Victoria University Business School

“Lessons for New Zealand” a whistleblowing report will be released on 4 December. In this, Professor Michael Macaulay details New Zealand results from the ‘Whistling While They Work 2’ project.

A formal launch event jointly sponsored by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) will be held in Wellington on 4 December. For more details about the event and to register, please visit the event page.

The report identifies current issues and also offers tips for best practice on developing positive workplace interventions, including establishing new forms of oversight. It outlines five steps to better whistleblowing policy including recognition, supporting and protecting, and roles and responsibilities.

The research project was a three-year study that covers both New Zealand and Australia for the first time. It also the first of its kind to compare public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Professor Michael Macaulay, from the School of Government at Victoria University, was the NZ lead for the research, which was overseen by Professor A J Brown at Griffith University in Australia. As Professor Macaulay has commented, the publication of this work could not be more timely, especially as the legislative reforms around the Protected Disclosure Act have been slightly delayed. This report can add valuable insights into the discussion on ‘Speak Up’ standards and public consultation on the Act.

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Leaders Integrity Forum: Working with integrity with Maori

TINZ Director, Karen Coutts

Karen Coutts

TINZ Director, Tiriti-O-Waitangi

Chair of Maori Caucus

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ)’s Leaders Integrity Forum held in September 2019, took the opportunity to coincide with Te wiki o te reo Māori. It focussed on what it would mean to work with Māori with integrity: Ka Kotahitanga Tikanga.

Meaningful partnerships goal

The title of the forum made it clear that for TINZ, achieving meaningful partnership is the goal for how Crown agents should work with Māori. The forum speakers helped the audience explore how well this concept is progressing within their own organisations and other relationships.

The two wahine toa spoke of their own experiences as senior public servants. Dr Charlotte Severne (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Tuhoe) is the Māori Trustee and Chief Executive of Te Tumu Paeroa. Dr Rawinia Higgins (Ngāi Tuhoe) is the Māori Language Commissioner and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) at Victoria University. TINZ Director, Karen Coutts, chaired the session. 

Relevancy of consultation

Charlotte gave context to her work and the breadth of touch she has with Māori land-owners to support their management of their land blocks. The Trustee works with over 90,000 hectares of Māori land. She indicated that engagement by government agencies could be last minute and after decisions had already been shaped. There was the possibility that some agencies were unsure of why they had to consult with the Māori Trustee, i.e. they had not identified the relevancy for this need.

Differing perspectives

For Rawinia, the picture was not much better. Through her role at the university, she faces assumptions that Māori support/advice is provided free of charge. This is unlike expectations for other expertise and academic support across the university. Furthermore, when academics are introduced to Māori perspectives relevant to their research, they often are unable to cope with Māori having different views from themselves.

Mutually beneficial outcomes

From the forum discussion it was clear that attendees, as with Charlotte and Rawinia, wanted to take up processes that have integrity and can help achieve purposeful mutually beneficial outcomes for all parties. Minimal and reasonable expectations for understanding Māori and their priorities, requires engagement at the beginning of the process, with personal approaches made before more formal inputs. Such expectations are a start on what is still a journey for Crown agencies as they move towards achieving meaningful partnerships with Māori. 

The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) follows each Leaders Integrity Forum with a detailed and thoughtful blog post. Recent posts include Protecting our value in a volatile world and Ethical leadership – all the more important when the going gets tough. Visit the OAG blog for recent updates – including one on this event to be added shortly – and past Leadership Integrity Forum posts. 

NZ International Fraud Film Festival: 13-14 November

The third NZ International Fraud Film Festival 2019 is set to touch down in Auckland 13 and 14 November. The great line-up of films will expose the underbelly of fraud and its impact globally and locally. 

The two day programme explores three main themes of Corruption, Technology and Dishonesty. Within these themes, six films and panel discussions examine scams, tax evasion, cyber-security, corporate culture, and art forgery.

A business focus

The full-day session on Wednesday 13 November will have a business focus. Included will be the New Zealand premiere screenings of four international films, lunch, opportunities for individuals and teams to network throughout the day, and refreshments and drinks following the final film.

A public focus 

Local New Zealand impacts of fraud will be highlighted in a free ‘Scam Prevention with Fair Go’ session (email registration required) at 10am on Thursday 14 November.  

Tickets for the lunchtime screening of The Panama Papers and the afternoon screening of There are No Fakes on Thursday 14 November may be purchased individually ($15) or as a pair ($25).

Creating awareness and debate

NZ International Fraud Film Festival spokesperson, Ian Tuke, says the aim of the Festival is to educate people, create awareness, and spark debate around fraud prevention.  “At the same time, it provides an opportunity to foster cross-industry collaboration for the key public and private sector organisations involved in the fight against fraud,” he adds.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Fraud Film Festival website.

TINZ Submissions activity

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. 

‘LocalismNZ’: Reinvigorating local democracy

  • Deadline: Sunday 15 December 2019
  • Public submissions on a discussion paper are sought by Local Government NZ (LGNZ) 

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. 

Recent TINZ submissions

View earlier submissions prepared by TINZ, or search on the ‘Submissions’ category at the bottom of TINZ homepage www.transparency.org.nz . 

Coming events

Wednesday 13 – Thursday 14 November 2019, Auckland: NZ International Fraud Film Festival 2019, refer here  

Wednesday 20 November 2019, Wellington, 12:30-2:00 pm, Rutherford House Lecture Theatre 3 (RHLT3- Ground Floor), 23 Lambton Quay, Pipitea Campus: 
“Linear to Circular” – New Zealand’s opportunities and challenges in the 21st century – Enablers and barriers in transitioning from a linear, to a circular, economy and the chance and challenge for our generation! “Towards true sustainability”. 

Aspects to be covered include: Economy, environment and society working together – not against each other. Redesign of thinking towards restorative systems, bringing opportunities to widen our circle of compassion, wellbeing and happiness to incorporate the ‘web of life’ through our individual and collective interactions with the economy around us. 

This public forum is presented by TINZ affiliate, United Nations Association of New Zealand (Wellington Branch) in collaboration with the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington. Speakers are:

  • Professor Girol Karacaoglu, Head of School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Dr Florian Graichen, Science Leader-Biopolymers and Chemicals, SCION Research, Rotorua. 

Wednesday 4 December 2019, Wellington: launch of the report “Lessons for New Zealand” a whistleblowing report by Professor Michael Macaulay details New Zealand results from the ‘Whistling While They Work 2’ project, refer to earlier article for details.

 

In case you missed it

Banking and Finance

Human Slavery

The shocking story of what happens to refugees in Italy RNZ

Is it time for New Zealand to push through anti-slavery laws? RNZ

Slave-picked tomatoes – how do you know? RNZ

Money Laundering

Finance company fined $4 million for anti-money laundering breaches

  • A money transfer company has been fined $4 million for repeated non-compliance with anti-money laundering legislation

Anti-Money-Laundering Watchdog Provides More Guidance on Beneficial Ownership Transparency

  • Countries should establish systems that use one or more different methods to identify the beneficial ownership of an entity, a global anti-money-laundering watchdog said in a new report.

Cayman commits to public register of beneficial ownership

  • The Cayman Islands government has announced that it intends to introduce a public register of beneficial ownership of all financial entities domiciled by 2023. The required legislation is expected to be introduced in 2022 and will bring the Caymans in line with evolving standards and international obligations such as those reflected in the principles of EU 5th Anti Money Laundering Directive: Anti-money laundering

Dirty money ‘targeting UK prestige services’

  • Dirty money has spread throughout the UK economy, reaching as far as private schools and interior designers, says watchdog Transparency International.

How Britain can help you get away with stealing millions: a five-step guide

  • Money laundering made simple. This article outlines the complete lack of surveillance within UKs Companies House registration and monitoring procedures. The only fraud court case it has initiated was successful against a whistleblower who tried several time to raise concerns with UK Parliament.

New Zealand NGOs

Governance for good; developing the capability of New Zealand’s $20 billion not-for-profit sector

  • A report into the future of governance for New Zealand’s NGOs, produced by the Centre for Social Impact in partnership with the Superdiversity Institute for Law, Policy and Business, has identified a need for considerable investment into NGO governance capabilities.The report looks at the future for governance of New Zealand’s 114,000 NGOs which employ around 100,000 full and part-time staff and manage a combined income of around $20 billion a year. Good governance is a subject close to the heart of all of us. We hope you find this a useful insight into current good practice in NGO governance, challenges, and opportunities for development.

Educating for Social Change series on Wellington Access Radio 27/10/2019: United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-16Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

  • Suzanne Snively, Chair of TINZ, and Jayden van Leeuwen, National President of UN Youth New Zealand, discussed SDG-16 facilitated by Joy Dunsheath, Immediate Past President of United Nations Association of New Zealand, an affiliate of TINZ. 

New Zealand transparency, integrity and accountability

Concerns about ‘rogue employers’ in seasonal worker scheme as corruption complaint investigated by Immigration NZ

  • It has been revealed a complaint of possible corruption against an Immigration New Zealand staff member is currently being investigated.

Political Roundup: Who’s to blame for the crisis of declining local voter turnout?

Deported Australian gang members predicted to attempt to corrupt police

  • There will be more attempts to corrupt officers as the influx of deported Australian gang members influence organised crime in this country, a police gang expert says.

A New Zealand guide for whistleblowers

New anti-bribery e-training course available for small and medium sized businesses

  • Transparency International UK has today launched an updated version of its free-to-use ‘Doing Business Without Bribery’ e-learning course.

Young voters want more info on council contenders

  • A study by a researcher at the University of Otago has found young people want to vote in the upcoming local government elections but don’t feel they have enough information to make an informed decision.Much attention continues to be given to the means of voting (i.e. on-line, in addition to posted papers) to attract young voters. The far bigger issue facing all voter age groups is how to become better informed about candidates’ governance capabilities and their personal policy actions as part of a team. Candidates’ statements (within 150 word limits) rarely mention these topics adequately.

New Zealand 19th most competitive

  • New Zealand is the 19th most competitive nation in the world, according to the Global Competitiveness Index.

Why it will never be possible to have a completely protected online voting

Sport

Progress in sports governance is measurable, but slow

  • The increased public and political pressure on international sports federations is leaving its mark on their governance standards. But progress comes much too slowly, and most federations are still governed in a way that is far from satisfying.

Transparency International

Fighting corruption in the age of “fake news”

  • Four key approaches

Condemnation of murder of Brazilian anti-corruption activist

EU countries’ chance to lead on whistleblower protection

  • The recent formal adoption of the EU Whistleblowing Directive creates a two-year window of opportunity for EU Member States to take the global lead on protecting whistleblowers as they transpose the directive into national law

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