10 October 2011
The storm in a champagne flute at the Serious Fraud Office, concern about inappropriate acceptance of gifts and hospitality at the Treasury, the proposal to legislate to limit parliamentarians’ travel and expenses entitlements to more publicly acceptable levels, and the allegation that New Zealand is becoming a haven for tax evaders, suggests that the spirit of service may not be as well imbued in the New Zealand State sector as generally thought.
Whether these issues will have influenced the perception of those who shape the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index will be known soon enough. The CPI is published later this year. The New Zealand position in equal first place may be challenged.
The belief that there has always been a stronger commitment to ethical behaviour in government in New Zealand than in Australia can perhaps find strength in the proceedings underway in New South Wales, where evidence is being heard by their anti corruption commission into widespread payments being made by suppliers, to officials in numerous local authorities.