A reminder today that New Zealand’s poor perception of corruption is slipping in comparison to other developed countries.
New Zealand’s ranking in Transparency International’s annual Corruptions Perceptions Index recently slipped from second to fourth place.
A survey by the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) had found that only half of New Zealand businesses would report an illegal demand from customers or suppliers and only 16% had a formal anti-bribery/corruption policy in place. Furthermore, there is scant protection for corruption whistleblowers:
CA ANZ New Zealand Country Head Kirsten Patterson said this represents a “massive level of under reporting”.
The survey, involving 1000 New Zealand businesses of different sizes across industries countrywide, shows that only 51% of businesses would definitely report an illegal demand with larger firms more likely to do so than smaller ones.
Overall, 6% reported having had illegal demands or bribes made by customers or suppliers.
Patterson said “The survey highlights our concerns that New Zealand’s small-to-medium businesses are unaware of the dangers of bribery and corruption.
“We need urgent education and action to ensure our businesses understand the risks and are implementing measures to help stamp out any corruption they encounter.
“Organisations such as ourselves recognise the importance of codes of ethics, and compulsory training on ethics, but still more could be done.”…
…only 16% of businesses surveyed had a formal anti-bribery/corruption policy in place – Wellington businesses were most likely to at 21.8% and Auckland least likely at 11.6%.
And, only 20% knew about the Protected Disclosures Act which provides protection for whistle-blowers who are one of the most common sources of bribery/corruption disclosures.
Only 18% of respondents think whistle-blowers should be rewarded, as happens in some countries which offer rewards for whistle-blowing on tax issues… more here
and it’s interesting to see the sectors where corruption is most prevalent:
Construction and manufacturing sector businesses taking part in the CA ANZ survey reported the highest levels of illegal demands at 11.1% and 7.7% respectively. By region, Auckland businesses faced the highest level of illegal demands (7.4%) with Wellington businesses the lowest at 2.3%.
Government criticized for losing its moral compass
The present government has been criticized for losing its moral compass when allowing controversial building developments. Environment Minister Nick Smith stepped into a legal appeal in a housing project in an Auckland quarry.
Dr Smith has announced that he will use his right under the Resource Management Act to oppose an appeal by two local residents’ groups against a $1.2 billion Fletcher Building plan for up to 1500 apartments and townhouses on the site of the old Winstones quarry at Three Kings…
Dr Smith’s move to join the case is the first time an Environment Minister has used this power since 1999.
Surprisingly, Environmental Defence Society executive director Gary Taylor welcomed it.
“Arguably the Government’s view on resource consent applications ought to be more routinely put before the Environment Court on appeals,” he said.
“But that hasn’t happened for ages, so this is new and obviously the Government is concerned about community groups thwarting intensification in Auckland, and that is a valid planning concern.
“It will be up to the court to decide what weight to attach to his submission and any evidence that he might call.”… read more here
The outcome is already a foregone conclusion but we’ll be watching to see what happens.