Transparency International New Zealand today announced the release of "New Zealand Exporters' Experiences with Bribery and Corruption, A Qualitative Survey." This report, commissioned from UMR Research by Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ), gives an insight into some New Zealand exporters' experiences and perceptions of corruption in overseas markets.
This latest research highlights that there is some confusion as to what corruption is, what the law is, and how various companies respond to approaches for bribes and facilitation payments.
Trade Minister the Honourable Tim Groser attended the launch event this afternoon.
TINZ Director Claire Johnstone who commissioned this report notes:
"New Zealand exporters need to ensure that they not engage in practices which leave them open to accusations of being involved in corruption. This will not only damage the reputation of New Zealand, it could also lead to prosecution."
"The old adage of "doing what the cultural practice is" is not a justification to act unethically. All companies should train their staff on what corruption is and have very strong polices and guidelines on how to manage the issue when exporting. TINZ is working with the SFO to design such training to be available online."
In his speech the Minister noted:
"New Zealand is seen as one of the least corrupt countries in the world and New Zealanders as honest and ethical. This reputation can only enhance our export economy so we must all strive to ensure that these perceptions are fact."
The potential benefits to NZ businesses of following non-corrupt business practices in overseas markets, and of operating following the precepts of good governance include:
Lower cost to doing business;
Lower cost of capital as a result of higher returns and more manageable risks;
Easier (e.g. less expensive, more open and quicker) overseas market access;
Higher return on investment;
Greater staff loyalty and in turn more commitment by staff to achieve better business performance and outcomes.
Commenting for the survey Suzanne Snively, ONZM - Executive Chair, TI-NZ says,
"Information suggests that even our largest listed companies are complacent about corruption risks and lack the published principles confirming their business integrity. This is surprising given the benefits to the business bottom line of ethical practice. Our research shows that corrupt practices cost companies as much as 35% of the cost of doing business in Asia.
This is particularly concerning because of how rapidly our trade is shifting to countries with the high levels of corruption in both business and government."
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