24 July 2013

The six monthly disclosure by States Services chief executives of travel, gifts and hospitality expenses seems to have become an accepted and largely unremarkable contribution to transparency – and more importantly, integrity modeling.   Disclosures for the January – June 2013 period, expected to be published by the end of July,  have already been posted to www.data.govt.nz by 19 agencies.  What is notable is the large degree of consistency among the early publishers, although the readiness of some Crown entities seems to have been matched this month by a growing number of departments. The State Services Commissioner whose disclosure was published today joins four other Public Service chief executives.

The disclosures to varying degrees record the lobbying that chief executives are exposed to. Some are explicit in naming the people providing gifts and hospitality.

What hasn’t “caught on” is the example set by the Treasury in publishing the agency gift and hospitality register. Launched in the face of criticism and in line with  a Deloitte report recommendation in 2011, Treasury has since posted annually its register of gifts and hospitality valued more than $50 accepted by staff.  The report for the last 12 months is now due for release.