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New 'integrity group' formed to help educate and protect NZ business from bribery and corruption

Posted in Business

An "integrity group" including the Serious Fraud Office, Transparency International and ExportNZ, has been formed with the aim of improving the protection of New Zealand business from exposure to bribery and corruption risk.

The group also includes Deloitte, Chapman Tripp, BusinessNZ, the New Zealand Institute of Directors and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants. Minister of Police Anne Tolley and Commerce Minister Craig Foss will launch the project.

The move comes after the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last year raised "serious concerns" about New Zealand's efforts to combat bribery.

"An online ‘anti-corruption training' module for New Zealand has been created by Transparency International and the Serious Fraud Office which provides training on recognising and reporting concerns about improper practices both within an organisation and in external organisations. At a time when New Zealand businesses and public sector organisations are increasingly interacting with parts of the world where corruption is commonplace, the training provides practical assistance in developing an understanding of avoiding bribery and corruption while doing business," the new group says.

Deloitte and Chapman Tripp have prepared personal training courses aimed at raising awareness of the risk of corruption, and to help businesses and others deal with corruption by others.

"With many countries tightening their anti-bribery laws and the OECD recommending a focus on raising awareness of the risks of corruption, regular and open communication about this topic is crucial. Following the training, users will be able to: understand what bribery is, understand the legislation around bribery both in New Zealand and around the world, and recognise and respond appropriately to situations that may indicate bribery," the group says.

"The integrity group believe that all New Zealanders should be proud of our very low levels of perceived corruption but exposure to unethical business practice in other countries could harm this reputation."

They note New Zealand is ranked first equal (with Denmark) in the world for freedom from corruption, according to the latest Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

"That freedom from corruption is of immense value to New Zealand businesses and the New Zealand brand, and the anti-corruption training will help maintain this standing. Training courses will be run through the country by the member organisations involved. The project will also be launched in Wellington next week."

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