Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Government’s comprehensive approach to fighting all forms of organised crime will help safeguard New Zealand’s economy, international reputation and public safety.
This month a number of international bodies are evaluating New Zealand’s compliance with international standards related to financial crimes – including the OECD, which will report on New Zealand’s compliance with an international convention to combat bribery of foreign public officials.
“I welcome the release of these reports. This Government takes all forms of organised crime and corruption very seriously,” Ms Collins says.
“New Zealand has a strong international reputation for being free from – and intolerant of – corruption. We consistently rank first on Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index, which ranks countries by perceived corruption levels among public officials and politicians.”
Ms Collins notes the OECD report focuses on a single criminal offence – bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions. It does 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.
“It’s also important to consider bribery and corruption within the big picture of organised crime, which undermines public safety, national security, economic development and good governance.”
As announced earlier this year, Ms Collins expects to introduce the Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill to Parliament before the end of the year. The Bill puts in place many of the measures at the heart of the ongoing ‘All of Government Response to Organised Crime’ strategy. This will 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 organised crime.
“We’re sending a clear message to international and domestic criminals – New Zealand will not tolerate their activities.”