Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Clean, green and increasingly corrupt

If I had a dollar for every time I've been told that New Zealand's clean, green reputation is too important to tinker with, I could fund Bernard Darnton's case against Helen Clark on my own.

Just as precious and undoubtedly more objective is the reputation New Zealand has as a corruption-free place to do business. Our reputation is so good that in the last survey performed by Transparency International, the globally recognised pre-eminent anti-corruption watchdog, NZ came out second only to Iceland (and equal with Finland) as a corruption-free place to do business.

That is a reputation worth protecting.

However, as Transparency International themselves point out, this reputation is under threat. Reports the Dominion:
Labour risks harming New Zealand’s reputation if it refuses to repay taxpayer funds unlawfully spent on campaigning and changes the law to make it legal, an anti-corruption watchdog has warned...
[Executive Officer] Mr Cave said Transparency International directors in this country – which include former ombudsman Mel Smith and former auditor-general David Macdonald – had grave concerns at Labour’s stance. “Any retrospective changing of the law to legitimise something that was previously illegal we would criticise in the strongest possible terms.”
This corrupt Government risks not only its own reputation here -- which is already lower than a snake's belly -- but that of New Zealand, and as we're all aware a repution once tainted is hard to regain. As an issue this goes well beyond party politics. However, as Bernard Darnton concludes:
To the list of people (too long to repeat here) who think that the Labour Party are a pack of dodgy buggers who need to be reigned in, you can add the world’s premier anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International. As Transparency International says, “Corruption ruins lives. Fight back.”
LINKS: Reputation at risk in funds row - Dominion Post
Transparency International warns Labour - Bernard Darnton, Darnton V Clark

RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour, Darnton V Clark

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