When people in power make decisions for their own private gain, it draws resources and policies away from the common good. This perpetuates inequality, undermines democracy and can deprive people of their human rights. It can also result in exploitation of natural resources and breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Political integrity means always exercising political power in the public interest, independent from private interests, and not using power to maintain an individual’s own wealth and position. This applies across national and local government.
Political integrity is only possible when:
Our work includes supporting existing checks and balances, providing assessments of parliament and political parties, and developing new ways to hold our leaders accountable. In all our work, we are non-partisan and work with parliamentarians across the political spectrum.
When voters don’t trust the electoral system, democracy is at risk. Building trust in the system helps citizens feel empowered, knowing that their vote counts. Trust is built when all aspects of the electoral process – from funding to administration – are transparent, open, and governed by fair and consistent rules.
When people see politicians acting with integrity, trust is built. When they see fair political debate with an impartial adjudicator, trust is built. When there are checks in place to ensure fair electoral processes and funding, trust is built. When the election administrators are independent, competent and well-resourced enough to monitor and address wrongdoing, trust is built.
Knowing who funds political parties helps us to understand who is influencing decision making. New Zealanders have lower levels of trust in the way political parties are funded, because it is not completely transparent.
New Zealand provides partial funding of political parties to cover election advertising, and also to fund their operations including research and coordination and some advocacy. Because this has developed over time in an unplanned way, there are now grey areas around receiving additional funding and donations. Some donations have even been subject to investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, with criminal charges being laid in a few instances.
TINZ wants funding to be organised in a way which minimises the potential for corruption and creates a balanced playing field between political parties. We need your support to help fund our current research and advocacy in this area.
The Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) is an international alliance of legislators working together to combat corruption, strengthen democracy, and uphold the rule of law. GOPAC has members from over 50 countries across all regions of the world.
The New Zealand chapter of GOPAC is made up of those members of Parliament who have chosen to join the organisation. Since 2019, Transparency International NZ have provided advice to the New Zealand GOPAC chapter about corruption challenges in New Zealand, and how we can improve political transparency in our country.
Video at http://gopacnetwork.org/overview/.