New Zealand Law Society - Limited enforcement of anti-bribery convention may leave NZ vulnerable

Limited enforcement of anti-bribery convention may leave NZ vulnerable

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University of Canterbury law professor John Hopkins says that New Zealand’s limited enforcement of the global Anti-Bribery convention may leave us vulnerable to organised crime and corruption.

The report ‘Exporting corruption’ published by Transparency International rates the corruption enforcement against foreign bribery of 44 leading exporting nations.

Photo of Prof John Hopkins
Professor John Hopkins. 

Of the 44 countries, 40 are signatories to the OECD’s Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

The report has four categories: Active Enforcement, Moderate Enforcement, Limited Enforcement and Little to No Enforcement.

Aotearoa was identified as one of 11 countries demonstrating limited enforcement against foreign bribery along with Argentina, Austria, Canada, France, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Netherlands and South Africa.

Professor Hopkins, who is also a director of Transparency International New Zealand and an author of the report, echoes the findings which show that New Zealand has a deserved reputation for integrity but that there is still work to do.

“We are still one of the countries that turns a blind eye to bribery when it occurs overseas,” says Professor Hopkins.

“Although domestic corruption in New Zealand appears low, we really need to up our game in the way we respond to the threat of international corruption.”

He encourages the government to tighten the law and better resource enforcement agencies to ensure overseas criminals cannot abuse New Zealand’s reputation.

“New Zealand is widely regarded as one of the least corrupt countries, but we need to make sure our international approach lines up with that.”