30 October 2012 

A Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) survey report published yesterday suggests a complacency among New Zealand companies trading in overseas markets.  Responses also suggest a naivety about dealing in corrupt societies.

The conclusions were drawn from interviews with ten exporters. UMR Research, which conducted the research on behalf of TINZ, reported that there was confusion about what was acceptable, such as gifts or facilitation payments on the one hand, and outright bribes on the other.

TINZ was critical of New Zealand companies for not showing the enthusiasm their British counter parts have for policies and guidelines about corruption, and a commitment to corruption training for staff exposed to dubious foreign business practices.

Interestingly,  neither the TINZ report nor any of the respondents showed any awareness of the APEC Anti Corruption Code of Conduct for Business.  The New Zealand Government committed to this code in 2008.  Of course New Zealand also committed to the APEC Conduct Principles for Public Officials at the same time, and they, too, go unpromoted.

The Anti Corruption Code of Conduct for Business covers all the issues about which TINZ is concerned.  These include;

  • Charitable Contributions
  • Gifts, Hospitality and Expenses
  • Facilitation Payments
  • Political Contributions
  • Monitoring and Review
  • Raising Concerns and Seeking Guidance
  • Training
  • Organisation and Responsibilities

The TINZ anxiety may be better directed to the agencies responsible for giving effect to New Zealand’s international commitments.