Background

In 2013 Transparency International New Zealand published the “Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment”.

The Report concluded that:

New Zealand’s national integrity system remains fundamentally strong, and New Zealand is rated highly against a broad range of cross-country transparency and good governance indicators. Since the first NIS assessment of New Zealand in 2003, a welcome strengthening of transparency and accountability has occurred in some areas. The assessment found that the strongest pillars in the NIS are the Office of the Auditor General, the judiciary, the Electoral Commission, and the Ombudsman. The Canterbury earthquakes represented a severe test of governance systems in terms of compliance with building standards and integrity in reconstruction, and (with two tragic exceptions, the collapses of the CTV and Pyne Gould Corporation buildings), systems have generally held up well.

However, New Zealand’s national integrity system faces increasing challenges. In key areas, passivity and complacency continue. New Zealand has not ratified the UN Convention against Corruption more than 10 years after signing it, and is not fully compliant with the legal requirements of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention more than 14 years after signing it. Areas of concern, weakness, and risk do exist; for example, the relative dominance of the political executive, shortfalls in transparency in many pillars, and inadequate efforts to build proactive strategies to enhance and protect integrity in New Zealand. The pillar that raises issues of most concern is the political parties pillar. The core message of this report, therefore, is that it is beyond time to take the protection and promotion of integrity in New Zealand more seriously.

In 2014 New Zealand submitted its first National Action Plan (NAP14) and joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP). One of the commitments it made in NAP14 was:

The third element of our Action Plan is the work we are embarking on with Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ), the civil society organisation that works to identify and address corruption. In 2013, TINZ produced a New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment which culminated in a detailed report that made a series of recommendations across 12 “pillars” of New Zealand's integrity system. These pillars are the legislature, the executive, the judiciary, public sector, law enforcement, electoral management, ombudsman, audit institutions, political parties, media, civil society and business.

The work with TINZ over the next two years will involve engaging in ongoing dialogue on TINZ's National Integrity System Assessment, and working with TINZ and other stakeholders to examine and respond to the recommendations.

This report summarises actions taken by central government to date in pursuit of that commitment. In preparing it, the State Services Commission consulted the Ministry of Justice, the Treasury, the Department of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Social Development, Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, the Department of Corrections, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Serious Fraud Office, the Ombudsman and the Office of the Auditor General. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet was informed.

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