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MEDIA RELEASE

PO Box 10123
The Terrace
Wellington, 6143
New Zealand

Transparency International New Zealand
18 September 2020
Patron, Lyn Provost

Political parties on transparency and corruption

Whilst kiwi political parties say they take corruption prevention seriously, there does not appear to be much knowledge or planned action to back that up.

This is what Transparency International New Zealand found when we posed questions to political parties, on the topics of pandemic recovery, political party funding, codes of ethics, whistleblower protection, and anti corruption measures.

See their Election 2020 questionnaire responses.

All ten parties were clear that they oppose corruption and think it is a serious issue.  However, TINZ remains concerned that political parties are largely unaware of New Zealand’s vulnerability to the impact of corruption originating from overseas. They are generally naïve about how our international reputation for strong integrity has both positive and negative impacts.

They do not inspire confidence that they recognise the extent of the external threat of corruption. Nor do they link our reputation to our economy’s recovery,” says Suzanne Snively, Chair of Transparency International New Zealand.

A surprising area of weakness is the absence of codes of conducts in the case of most political parties. Whilst 9 of the 10 political parties have rules around pecuniary interests, the Labour Party is the only party to state that it has a code of conduct for its members. The Māori Party provides references to its comprehensive constitution driven by its values proposition.

TINZ recommends that all organisations adopt Codes of Ethics, designed from the bottom up and supported by staff. This contrasts with Codes of Conduct, often dictated from the top and enforced through compliance. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that the best antidote for corruption are strong integrity systems. Codes of Ethics provide explicit guidelines that support these systems.

All parties want greater protection of whistleblowers, but none provided details about what they would do other than support the key deficiencies addressed by the current bill in front of the house.

A common thread that runs through the answers suggests a lack of basic knowledge about the threat of corruption and the key policies and practices required to address this threat. But the good news is that the intent is there.

“The good news”, adds Snively “is that all 10 parties show evidence of taking these questions seriously. There is less complacency. This is an important change in behaviour, especially given all the other things going on at this time. While not one party would achieve an excellent grade, all the respondents would score over 50% if this was an exam.”

 


Background information for journalists

  1. Media Contacts

    Suzanne Snively

    Chair

    Transparency International New Zealand

    +64 21 925 689

    suzanne.snively@tinz.org.nz

  2. Election Articles
  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. PDF of Media Release

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