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MEDIA RELEASE

PO Box 10123
The Terrace
Wellington, 6143
New Zealand

Transparency International New Zealand
28 March 2020
Patron, Lyn Provost

Parliamentary monitoring and reporting is critical in dealing with COVID-19 responses

“The risk of fraud and corruption is compounded during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. When quick decisions are necessary to move vast amounts of resources, bribery, fraud and corruption abound,” says Suzanne Snively, Chair of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ). “We must anticipate this now to avoid dilution of our government’s relief and recovery efforts.”

To ensure accountability that prevents corruption, TINZ urges that strong oversight measures be built into the Government’s response to the pandemic, in its relief efforts and legislation.

Billions of taxpayers’ dollars are at stake. Unless policies designed to get money out include controls to weed out fraudulent claims and mandate oversight, we will not prevent the corrupt from redirecting resources for personal gain. Without effective oversight measures in place, bribery, corruption and fraud have the potential to prolong the transmission of the virus to New Zealanders while undermining our economic recovery.

Government procurement and conflict management practices designed around transparency will enable people to see that resources are going towards fighting the virus, relief and economic recovery where most needed.

TINZ commends the transparency of our Government and our Parliament in dealing with Covid-19 to date. It welcomes the establishment of an Epidemic Response Committee to scrutinize the use of emergency powers. It applauds the cross-government balance of this committee, the appointment the Leader of the Opposition as chair, and that its meetings are accessible live online.

Instead of being a rubber stamp, if the committee prioritises its oversight and monitoring role, it can further prevent attempts to corrupt and derail the relief process.

Transparency and accountability provides information so that the public can see that funds are used for economic recovery.

Meantime, by keeping well, being kind and staying trustworthy, all New Zealanders can contribute to our future wellbeing.

 


Background information for journalists

  1. Media Contacts

    Suzanne Snively

    Chair

    Transparency International New Zealand

    +64 21 925 689

    suzanne.snively@tinz.org.nz


    Julie Haggie

    Chief Executive Officer

    Transparency International New Zealand

    +64 27 498 9126

    Julie.haggie@tinz.org.nz

  2. About Transparency International

    Transparency International is a global civil society coalition based in Berlin, leading the fight against corruption. It compiles a number of measures of different aspects of corruption including the Corruption Perceptions Index, the Global Corruption Barometer, and the Bribe Payers Index. Information on Transparency International can be found at www.transparency.org.

  3. About the New Zealand chapter of Transparency International

    The local chapter of Transparency International works to actively promote the highest levels of transparency, accountability, integrity and public participation in government and civil society in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Find TINZ at www.transparency.org.nz.

    Transparency International New Zealand has several projects designed to support greater integrity.  These can be viewed in our Annual Report, and include:

    • National Integrity System Assessment, a risk assessment of the pillars of democracy
    • Development of a Financial Integrity Systems Assessment Tool, for use with the financial sector;
    • Leaders Integrity forums for senior public leaders
    • Submissions and advocacy
    • Thought leadership through communications and events.

    Chief Executive Officer

    Julie Haggie

    Transparency International New Zealand

    +64 27 498 9126

    Julie.haggie@tinz.org.nz

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