Corruption watchdog calls for Parliamentary report on Matthews

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Transparency International New Zealand

Wellington, August 5, 2017

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) calls on Parliament to release the report by Sir Maarten Weavers that led to the resignation of Auditor-General Martin Matthews.

The Auditor-General resigned an hour before the deadline for submission of the report into his handling of the Ministry of Transport fraud case while he was the CEO.

Judgment scrutinised

The report commissioned by the Officers of Parliament Committee will not be released to the public. Speaker of the House, David Carter refused, in a radio interview, to comment about whether or not a deal was done with the committee to keep the report secret if Mr Matthews stepped down.

While not accused of anything unlawful, Mr Matthews’ judgement has been subject to scrutiny over the fraud convictions. His suitability to perform the role of auditor general was inevitably brought into question.

Mr Matthews stated, “I have resigned as Auditor-General because I understand the expectations associated with this role are high. It is important to me, and to the office, that the public has complete confidence in the person holding the position of Auditor-General.”

TINZ agrees that New Zealand’s expectations about the Auditor-General are high and confidence in this office is very important. The Auditor-General remains New Zealand’s most important public financial integrity official.

Disappointing decision

“We are disappointed in the decision not to publish the report. Such a decision invites speculation and further diminishes transparency – when this happens in the public sector all of us in our society lose confidence and trust. It does not reflect well on the Officers of Parliament Committee,” Charles Hett, TINZ Director of Ethics said.

“Public accountability and understanding is essential to learn and to help prevent a similar issue in the future,” he added.

TINZ expects the highest levels of integrity and accountability in all our public figures. Releasing the report is important to a transparent political process and to an environment that seeks always to prevent corruption.

About Transparency International

Transparency International is a global civil society coalition leading the fight against corruption. It compiles a number of measures of different aspects of corruption including the Corruption Perceptions Index, the Global Corruption Barometer, and the Bribe Payers Index. Information on Transparency International can be found at www.transparency.org and detailed information on the Corruption Perceptions Index can be found at www.transparency.org/cpi

About TINZ

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) is the local chapter of the global organisation – www.transparency.org.nz

TINZ works to actively promote the highest levels of transparency, accountability, integrity and public participation in government and civil society in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Transparency International New Zealand provides a free Anti-Corruption Training Tool (transparency.org.nz/Anti-Corruption-Training) designed by leading experts in the field, and enables organisations to provide training for their personnel. This was developed in partnership with the Serious Fraud Office and BusinessNZ

Transparency International New Zealand published the Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment and is actively engaged in the implementation of its recommendations.

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