Is it time for an ICAC?

With a multiple investigations currently underway with¬†regard¬†to the ACC in the¬†wake¬†of Michelle Boag’s and Bronwyn Pullar’s shameless standover attempts surely it is time to look once again at having an Independent Commission Against Corruption.

They could easily take on an investigation such as this and more to the point impartially look into a plethora of other such allegations of impropriety amongst our elected officials, civil servants, and local body affairs.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption could also take over the enforcement aspects of the Electoral Act given the police seem so unwilling or unable to deal with breaches against the laws that are supposed to protect our democracy.

With powers similar to the SFO and FMA, they could look into the financial affairs of political parties, unions, and public relations and lobbying firms.

There must be many PR practitioners that have looked at the antics that have been revealed of Michelle Boag’s shameless standover of an Insurance company, Vodafone and now ACC and start wondering precisely what they have committed in writing as they lobbied government departments and organisations.

The ICAC could easily sit under the auspices of the Auditor-General and provide real investigative and prosecutorial teeth.

I believe that the political will exists for such a body now. Labour can hardly oppose it after screaming loudly about cronyism, corruption and favouritism, never mind their own shameful record in such regard. NZ First can;t oppose it because it is one of their founding principles to establish such a body. The Greens can’t oppose it either because they have expressed a willingness to control, register and monitor lobbying firms….leaving just the Maori party, ACT and Peter Dunne. I hardly think ACT would oppose it either.

For the first time I believe there is near unanimous consensus that could allow the formation of an Independent Commission Against Corruption. Does the the government have the courage to establish it? That remains to be seen.

  • CommonSense404

    Great idea and I think you have the timing right Whale. Subject of course to having well defined jurisdiction and powers. It would certainly have the potential to sort the vocal but frivolous from the genuine scandals

  • Naylor

    Seeing the FMA and SFO merged into this and have five fingers feeley and sean hughes reporting into someone senior would be an excellent idea. They may then learn how to run cases instead of seeking media profiles for themselves.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OK7Y7PCSTJ27RCKZ2MGRSAYCTE NEIL

    I think the current state of politics in New Zealand show we’re well overdue for such. Far better than the in-the-know few and connected making out they know what’s happening on inside while the rest of us just become entirely suspicous of all involved and find out nothing.

  • Apolonia

    Why would any of our current MPs support an agency set up to get rid of corruption. Turkeys don’t vote for an early Christmas.
    Where’s our money Winston?

  • Positan

    The idea’s a good one, however the devil lies in the sort of talent selected to act as the “independent” commissioners. ¬†If those appointed were likely to perform anything like the “independent” commissioners of the Local Government Commission, it’d be a costly failure. ¬†

    The LGC’s slavish devotion to irrelevant PC points and its insistence on a 10 member Maori Advisory Board as a standing committee of full council has effectively wrecked any chance of the poll succeeding on whether Nelson and Tasman amalgamate.

    To be successful, a commission against corruption would need members of far more substance than the sort of government-bred, namby-pamby patsy, who is so often appointed. It’d need persons who’d been commercially competent, who’d demonstrated business capability/awareness and who were possessed of real balls.

  • Grizz30

    Mana would probably oppose it. How dare the government pry into the affairs Maori entities.

    • Mr_Blobby

      I can here the start of the speech now.
      “This ACT does nothing for Maori “
      Again

  • reedrob

    NZ needs an ICAC.

    The head of an ICAC will have to be elected by the people and not appointed by the government or it will be useless.

  • Guest

    Labour can hardly oppose it 

    Of course they will oppose it, because the first and second acts of any such body would be to close down the Unions and the Labour party. 

    Subject of course to having well defined jurisdiction and powers.

    To tackle politicians and judges, and ICAC needs to have very wide powers at least as far as all elected officials, all public servants, all SOEs & other state bodies are concerned. These powers should include (and not be limited to) the ability to ask questions on oath, to compel answers (like the old SOE), to imprison for contempt, to ban corrupt individuals, corrupt organizations, and members of corrupt organizations from participation in public life Рpermanently.   Similar considerations make clear why its decisions cannot be appealed either to the courts or to parliament. 

    The head of an ICAC will have to be elected by the people and not appointed by the government or it will be useless.

    Elected by the people implies arranged by political parties. A very bad idea indeed.

    The first head of ICAC needs to be appointed, and then subsequent replacements must be made only by the existing head of ICAC Рno parliamentary veto, and especially nothing to do with the current government. 

    The idea’s a good one, however the devil lies in the sort of talent selected to act as the “independent” commissioners.

    There is one outstanding candidate: Rodney Hide

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OK7Y7PCSTJ27RCKZ2MGRSAYCTE NEIL

       Poacher turned game keeper Eh?

      • AngryTory

        As the “Perkbuster” for years, Rodney was the closest thing to an ICAC we’ve ever had. ¬†More importantly, he understands the main job of an ICAC, to wipe out entrenched endemic corruption: Labour, Unions & Welfare.

    • Positan

      “Labour can hardly oppose it.”

      The outlook of Labour supporter/trade unionists stems from inherent inferiority and insecurity¬†complexes. They amplify such inadequacies by constant brooding on how much better off than they are, is their employer or any other successful, hardworking person. ¬†Their envy is such that¬†when they’re able¬†dishonestly¬†to seize some advantage or “perk” that’s fallen to hand, it isn’t “corruption.” ¬†To their singularly warped instincts it’s “only fair they should avail themselves of the opportunity.”¬†

      However, at the slightest hint of something untoward performed by their “class enemies” – those they see as advantaged – that outlook is completely and totally reversed. ¬†With instant “holier than thou” status, they¬†howl like demented wolves and denigrate the unfortunate one with every accusation possible, relevant or otherwise.

      Such moral (immoral?) flexibility reminds me of the ’70′s Bob Jones’ hoarding in Lower Hutt, located alongside one that touted “Mobil – Trust It.” ¬†Jones’ one proclaimed, “Labour Don’t Trust It.” ¬†

      Labour/union attitudes are just the same today and no crystal ball is needed to predict that Labour’s current posturing and calls for an anti-corruption body will evaporate the moment an anti-corruption commission is announced. ¬†

      Labour’s always the most dishonest party in every political system.

  • Euan Rt

    Would make an interesting private members bill, to see who would support it.

    • AngryTory

      Yeah, but so would a bill directly attacking the corrupt in NZ: Labour, Unions, Greenies. 

      You’d think National, Maori, & ACT at least would all support that, but really only ACT would vote in favor. ¬†Just shows how far gone NZ is.

  • Penny Bright

    Seen this?

    A petition calling for an NZ ‘Independent Commission Against Corruption’ has been launched – copies are downloadable from http://www.anticorruption.co.nz
    _____________________________________________________________________________

    28 March 2012

    PRESS RELEASE:

    ‘Whistleblower’ Grace Haden launches a petition for a New Zealand ‘Independent Commission Against Corruption’.

    Former Police Prosecutor, now a Private Investigator/’ ‘whistleblower’ Grace Haden, has had enough, and is now taking her fight against corruption to the ‘highest Court in the land’ – the New Zealand House of Parliament.

    The following petition can be downloaded on http://www.anticorruption.co.nz

    “That the House legislate to set up an Independent Commission Against Corruption tasked with the prevention, education, detection and prosecution of corruption in New Zealand.”

    “After six years of fighting central and local government inaction on matters of serious
    corruption involving the use of tax payers’
    resources for private gain, I have become aware of¬†¬† a form of ‘grand’ corruption known as¬† ‘State
    Capture’ – where vested interests get their way at the policy level,
    before legislation is passed which serves their interests,” says Haden.

    “Over
    the last six years, I have taken my complaint to a series of ‘third
    party statutory ‘public watchdogs’ – but to no avail, and have
    experienced firsthand how the New Zealand ‘justice system’ is
    effectively being used to persecute and silence ‘whistleblowers’ such as
    myself – who have no current protection under NZ law,” she continues.

    In 2003 New Zealand was a signatory of the United Nations Convention against Corruption,
    but has yet to ratify it – despite being ‘perceived’ as ‘the least
    corrupt country in the world’ (according to the 2011 Transparency
    International ‘Corruption Perception Index’.

    http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/results/#CountryResults

    “If
    New Zealand is ‘perceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the
    world’ – then shouldn’t we be the most transparent, and accountable,
    with a legislative framework already in place which also protects
    ‘whistleblowers’ ?” asks Haden.

    “In my opinion, there is a distinct lack of knowledge in New Zealand, as to what corruption actually is, and
    ignorance currently serves the corrupt well because if it is not defined
    it cannot be properly identified or exposed.”

    [Corruption is operationally defined as the abuse
    of entrusted power for private gain, according to Transparency International (TI)
     http://www.transparency.org/news_room/faq/corruption_faq#faqcorr1  ]

    Haden believes that the establishment of a genuinely independent New Zealand Commission Against Corruption tasked with  preventing corruption, helping to educate the public through the introduction and enforcement of ethics,
    transparency, codes of conduct and anti-corruption policies, is long overdue.

    “Had I been a criminal and not a ‘whistle-blower’ I believe that I
    would  have had a right to justice and had a proper trial at which
    evidence would have  produced and if found guilty my penalty would have
    been a fraction of that which I am now facing,  and the matter would
    have been well and truly concluded by now.  The situation now is that I
    am facing bankruptcy for telling the truth and exposing corruption,” says Haden.

    ” I call upon all concerned New Zealanders to please¬† sign the petition so New Zealand can strive for a true corruption free status rather than relying on one based on¬† ‘perception’,” concludes Haden.

    Grace Haden
    ( [email protected] )___________________Forwarded in the public interest by Penny Bright’Anti-corruption’ campaigner.

    • Euan Rt

      Good post Penny (didn’t think I’d ever say that) Grace seems like the kind of candidate I could be persuaded voting for if she was in my electorate. If Conservatives can get more candidates like her then they have a chance of forming a coalition with National in 2014.

      • AngryTory

        If the Conservatives got the three seats they actually won at the last election, they’d already be in coalition with National & ACT, the Maori party would be nowhere, and almost all the reforms NZ so badly needs would have been started in a December mini-budget!

        Oh, and asset sales would be off the agenda!  But the Dole, DBP, state schools and welfare would be gone!

        Of course, if NZ had an ICAC with any real teeth, National would be governing alone, the opposition consisting of ACT, the Conservatives, and Dunne! 

        Labour/Greens/Maori/Mana/NZF would all have been banned for corruption.

  • jay cee

    I.C.A.C. sounds like another quango to me,all bark and no teeth.

  • Gpdavis

    Politicians don’t allow anything “independent.”

    This post is naive.

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