NZ ratifies UN Convention Against Corruption

  • Amy Adams

New Zealand has reinforced its commitment to combating corruption by ratifying the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.

The Convention is a legally binding global agreement to address corruption in the private and public spheres.

“While New Zealand already has a strong reputation for having low levels of corruption, we cannot be complacent. We have broadly complied with the Convention for a number of years, but we needed to make a limited number of law changes before we could ratify it,” says Ms Adams.

The necessary changes were made through the Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill, which amended 15 Acts and was recently passed by Parliament.

“The changes made by the Bill, along with our formal ratification of the Convention, mean New Zealand’s ability to combat corruption is now stronger than ever. Benefits of ratifying the Convention include ensuring our domestic anti-corruption measures remain robust and meet international best practice.

“It’s also a clear demonstration that New Zealand values a fair and corruption-free international trading system. This is important for maintaining New Zealand’s reputation as a trustworthy trading partner with zero-tolerance for corruption.

“As a member of the Convention, New Zealand will be able to better contribute to global anti-corruption efforts by providing a legal basis for extradition and mutual legal assistance between other member countries when dealing with corruption-related crimes,” says Ms Adams.

New Zealand joins 177 other countries as a State Party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. The Convention focuses on four key areas:  prevention, criminalisation, international cooperation, and recovery of the proceeds of corruption.

The specific amendments made by the Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill to enable ratification of the Convention include:

  • the creation of new corruption offences related to solicitation and acceptance of bribes by foreign public officials, and trading in influence over public officials
  • increased penalties for private sector corruption
  • clarification that no bribes are tax deductible.