NZ tops anti-corruption index - but our offshore dealings more dubious

Click image for larger view. See the full survey here.

New Zealand keeps its reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, but there are concerns about the private sector's lack of awareness about corruption, Transparency International said on releasing its 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index.

New Zealand, which held the top spot alone in 2009, ranked equal with Denmark and Singapore after its score slipped slightly to 9.3 out of 10, compared with 9.4 last year.

"Bummer for Warner Brothers leaning on NZ for more subsidies for The Hobbit," quipped entrepreneur Sam Morgan on Twitter as the news was announced. He was joking, of course.

The index measures the perception of corruption among public officials and politicians. It does not take into account private sector attitudes when conducting business here and overseas.

"Whilst the result is pleasing, there is no room for complacency," Transparency International NZ director Alex Tan said.

"We note that in April this year the Serious Fraud Office announced an investigation into serious allegations of corruption at a public entity."

In April, ACC referred matters of concern about a staff member, who had been dismissed, to the SFO.

Companies' complacency about corruption was a concern, with less than half of listed companies explicitly prohibiting bribery and corruption, and even fewer prohibiting "facilitation" payments.

NZ businesses naive in dealing with foreigners
"We believe there is a real risk that New Zealand organisations do not take the risks of bribery and corruption seriously when operating offshore," Mr Tan said.

Under the Crimes Act 1961, it is an offence for New Zealand entities, citizens or residents to bribe a foreign official, but New Zealand has been criticised for never recording a conviction for such an offence.

"We know that New Zealand organisations operating overseas are sometimes under pressure to make inappropriate payments in order to obtain or retain business," he said.

"The use of overseas agents also presents a significant risk which is often overlooked."

New Zealand needed to follow the growing trend overseas to introduce legislation to strictly control both domestic and foreign corruption, including the use of agents.

Transparency International also wanted the Government to tighten up laws and regulations about combating bribery and corruption.

New Zealand signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in 2003, but was one of only 18 countries not to have ratified it, he said.

Occupying the bottom four places in the global index were Somalia, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Iraq.


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This report seems out of whack with what I observe in NZ.

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I agree totally with Tired Famer. We may lack corruption in Government, but this certainly not the case in the corporate world.

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These people must be smoking something. Having worked in South America and New Zealand over a long period of time the level of corruption both in government and private arenas has steadly increased here in NZ as our imigration trends have changed.

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Local government in NZ certainly is corrupt. I have seen many dodgy resource consents pushed through in Wanaka over the years, usually following a 'private meeting' with the QLDC planners.

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"The index measures the perception of corruption among public officials and politicians. It does not take into account private sector attitudes when conducting business here and overseas."

This is a total non-event. If the index is based on the "perception" of elected officials then it is as good as their campaign promises. Hollow at best.

There is rampant graft in NZ which can be seen by anyone with an IQ over that of a rock.

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The difference is that we in NZ are better at hiding it than in other countries

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Ask the finance company investors.Most of the results from that gaggle of uptown con artists ,seems to have escaped the survey.Least Corrupt?YEAH RIGHT.

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I really think you guys don't have a clue what corrup[tion really is. try living overseas in real corrupt countries and you may be able to see the difference.

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I agree - the score does not say NZ is not corrupt, simply that we are less corrupt than everyone else. As a society we don't tolerate it, and we need to stay vigilant.
So - for those commenters above - if you actually did see corruption, why did you not report it?

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Keep telling yourselves that NZ is not corrupt. Perpetuate the meme. Stay complacent.

Minister of Racing
Pokie funds
Justice Wilson
Strategic Finance
Hanover Finance
Crafar/Natural Dairy
SCF
NZ Police
SSC
ACC

Corruption is not just taking money for services; it is either allowing something that is not transparent or NOT doing something that should be done (e.g. following up every investigation). NZ is the last bastion of the Old Boys Network in this sense.

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Want local corruption? - just look at the Marine & Coastal Bill the Government is pushing through. No public or parliamentary scrutiny allowed when Maori negotiate in secret with the AG handing over billions of NZ assets in return for Maori Party support. No right of appeal for anyone affected. Successful claimants can mine or commercialise without RMA consents. They can veto other businesses (unless they receive a payoff maybe?). If there isn't corruption now, there certainly will be if this Bill gets passed as is.

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There is a very fine line between bribery/kickbacks and third party commission.

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Nice one Lance Wiggins.

I think this puts it all into perspective although john key is trying his damnedest to scew the record in favour of Corruption with Warner Brothers.
how can he be so naive, he is not stupid so he must be naive or corrupt.

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....and at local government level?
Is there any other example of a husband-and-wife team earning $6-mil a year plus for "defending" the "interests" of ratepayers of Auckland and other TAs against the ratepayer-victims of the same local authorities?
Avid and committed defender of their batting average of costing $200-350K a pop to pull back about $30-60K....for the ratepayers, of course, is so highly esteemed (read: "locked-in") that he's been invited to stay on. And then we have the infamous paving contract.
Having lived and worked in cities in the US, UK, Africa and Australia I cannot see why we rate so highly.
Our paperwork and presentation is first class....delivery another question.
Would the Hells Angels be allowed to set up a plush HQ in White Plains? I doubt it. Or Tourak? Methinks not.

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Missing from the corruption list above is the NZ Food Safety Authority (NZFSA)

NZFSA makes false claims in court as to the dose levels of food pathogens. NZFSA is the organisation every kiwi is supposed to rely on for accurate information about food safety.

Its former director, Andrew McKenzie, topped the list of public service
bosses for spending $66,105 on his tax payer funded credit card "through the toughest times in decades."
"The spending came during a time when the government was borrowing heavily to cover public sector budgets and cutting hundreds of jobs to make ends meet."

Integrity, honesty I don't think so.

Source: Dominion Post and publicly available court records.

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What about the global warming rort. That is one of the biggest cons.

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When someone does blow the whistle you take them to court and aim to get them bankrupted. Courts don’t need evidence and if you are blessed with the charitable dollar and a law degree you can use that to silence those who may wish to blow the whistle on your scam trust which gave a false end title to the lord of the rings (that no animals were hurt or injured ). You can also then use rate payers money to use this same fictional organisation to operate like an SPCA from council premises using council staff and resources while you use the council logo to collect donations into the bank account which only you operate. . No one will do a thing when you are trusted.. after all you wrote the legislation so that you could profit yourself.. corrupt no not by New Zealand standards. Just as well the system is geared to crucify whistle blowers.. a lowered corruption index would be bad for business . http://wp.me/pIG48-5y

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The film, construction & hire industries are rife with graft, backhanders and padded invoices. There are virtually no investigations or prosecutions because the Secret Commissions Act is so old & unusable. The police have to get the SG's permission to use it.

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