Bribery allegations sting Key government

New Zealand government defends corruption stance after bribery criticism
[e]John Macdonald
New Zealand government defends corruption stance after bribery criticism

WELLINGTON, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) — The New Zealand government Friday defended its actions in fighting corruption after a report from the OECD group of developed nations criticized its failure to tackle New Zealand bribery abroad.
The report from the OECD (Organization for Economic Co- operation and Development) Working Group on Bribery said New Zealand must significantly expand efforts to detect, investigate and prosecute foreign bribery.
Since implementing the Convention of Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transaction 12 years ago, New Zealand had prosecuted no cases of foreign bribery and had notified only four allegations, said a statement from the OECD.
“Outdated perceptions that New Zealand individuals and companies do not bribe may have also undermined detection efforts, ” it said.
The working group recommendations for New Zealand included broadening the possibilities for holding companies liable for foreign bribery and ensuring significant sanctions, as well as strengthening detection, investigation and prosecution capacities.
Justice Minister Judith Collins said New Zealand had a strong international reputation for being free from and intolerant of corruption, and noted that the OECD report did not assess New Zealand’s enforcement of domestic bribery or other corruption offences.
“As we know from recent cases, New Zealand has a zero-tolerance approach to domestic corruption, and takes the same approach to investigating foreign bribery, when it’s reported,” Collins said in a statement.
“It’s also important to consider bribery and corruption within the big picture of organized crime, which undermines public safety, national security, economic development and good governance.”
Collins expected to introduce the Organized Crime and Anti- Corruption Legislation Bill to Parliament this year, which would include measures to tackle crimes such as money laundering, identify theft, human trafficking and corruption.
“This Bill will help ensure New Zealand maintains our reputation as a responsible international citizen and that our domestic law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to fight all forms of organized crime,” she said.  Enditem