Friday, October 24, 2014

Turning a blind eye to corruption

As we are constantly reminded, New Zealand consistently leads the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index as the "least corrupt country in the world". And as we are increasingly becoming aware, that reputation may be undeserved. Today there's another nail in the coffin of that image, with a new report from Transparency International showing that we are dragging our feet on enforcing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

We're not alone in this - most of the Convention's parties are similar unenthused about stopping their companies bribing foreign officials. But the real shame is that we are behind even corrupt Australia in our enforcement, being rated only as "Limited Enforcement" versus Australia's "Moderate". Our investigations into corruption by our companies go nowhere, while key legislation has been left to rot on the Order Paper. The Companies and Limited Partnerships Amendment Bill, designed to close the loophole which, among other things, allows foreigners to establish NZ companies for use in money laundering and fraud, has been before the House for three years. Its headline Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill hasn't even had a first reading. You'd almost get the impression that policing their corrupt corporate mates just isn't a priority for the National Party.