26 June 2013
New Zealand has never shared the enthusiasm throughout the rest of the OECD for constraining lobbying and lobbyists. Two years ago member states were expected to commit to regulating the lobbying industry. Most made some attempt. New Zealand showed no interest. The Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying gained no traction, and have no “existence” here.
Even the Greens’ Lobbying Disclosure Bill , due for report back from Select Committee in July, has little relationship to the Principles. And the Bill’s future may be limited, with many of the 105 submissions, including that from the Office of the Clerk, being very critical.
This week the OECD is having another attempt to raise awareness and generate renewed enthusiasm for regulation to moderate the effect lobbying. The rationale remains that lobbying can pervert public decision-making through undue influence, incur high financial cost and undermine citizens’ confidence in their governments.
Advocates for enhanced measures point to the global crisis as a consequence of inadequate protection of the public interest and the need for open, balanced and informed public decision-making processes. The “How to Win Back Trust” forum taking place in Paris will consider challenges in designing and implementing cost effective compliance systems. The search is for practical ways to improve transparency and integrity in lobbying for the benefit of all. One of the sessions explores Open Government as a constraint on improper lobbying.
It may be significant that the annual report last week on Open Government in New Zealand had no reference to lobbying – and the MFAT website has no reference to the OECD Forum this week – in fact the OECD page on the MFAT website has not been updated for nine months.
www.oecd.org/gov/ethics/Lobbying-Forum-Agenda.pdf www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/004D2123-F995-46A1-9CFC-56D3AD81DD24/247708/50SCGA_EVI_00DBHOH_BILL11278_1_A281807_ClerkoftheH.pdf www.mfat.govt.nz/Trade-and-Economic-Relations/OECD/index.php https://integritytalkingpoints.com/2011/02/25/oecd-drives-transparency-in-lobbying/