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‘Open Letter’ /OIA to NZ Prime Minister John Key: ‘Corruption Risk Assessment(s)’ of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

‘Open Letter’ /OIA to NZ Prime Minister John Key: ‘Corruption Risk Assessment(s)’ of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

8 December 2010

‘Open Letter’ /OIA to NZ Prime Minister John Key

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

Corruption Risk ‘Assessment’.

Dear Prime Minister,

I have recently returned from Transparency International’s 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Bangkok, where attendees  were told:

“..the global procurement market is $14 trillion and that the cost of corruption can add from five to twenty percent – and sometimes even more – to the cost.

The potential monetary loss  is staggering, as is the impact on the lives of citizens – those who depend on public services. …”

[Enhancing Procurement Integrity through Collective Action – Session information Pg 85 Conference Programme]

The figure we were quoted as the amount estimated to be lost in bribery and corruption was $2.5 trillion – $2,500 billion –

(which would be paid by those who were end users of these public services – the public).

“Where is the ‘cost-benefit analysis’ – where are the  facts and evidence which are being relied upon which prove that the private procurement of public services once provided ‘in-house’ by central and local government, is a more ‘cost-effective’ use of public monies  for the public majority?”

I asked this question at both the Transparency International Conference (both at workshop and plenary sessions), and at the TPPA ‘Horizontal Issues’ meeting on Monday morning 6 December 2010, (which apparently caused some consternation because, unbeknown to me, as a registered ‘stakeholder’  –  I wasn’t supposed to have been present.)

Although I have been given (verbal) assurances that such cost-benefit analysis’/  facts and evidence, proving the ‘cost-effectiveness’ of private procurement of public services exists – I still have yet to see any of it.

My concern is the continuing focus on the  procurement ‘process’, as opposed to the underpinning procurement ‘model’.

It seems clear to me – that if private procurement /’contracting-out’ of public services is arguably the the main underpinning source of bribery and corruption, (how is it decided who gets the contracts?), and there is no evidence that private procurement is a more ‘cost-effective’ use of public monies for the public majority than ‘in-house’ public provision at central and local government – then why are governments  continuing to go down this path, and use this model?

Where is the evidence that what is good for business (particularly big business) – is good for the public majority?

Where exactly are our public monies going, and  who is benefiting?

THE POSITION OF TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL ON PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE:

http://www.transparency.org/global_priorities/public_contracting/instruments/trade_agreements

“Corruption and a lack of transparency distort the potential benefits of trade.

Public procurement also plays a major role in international trade, increasingly becoming part of regional, multilateral and bilateral Trade Agreements’…”

CAN YOU PLEASE PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

1)  Copies of all/any  ‘cost-benefit analyses’, since the introduction of the ‘neo-liberal’ / free market reforms introduced in New Zealand by the 1984- 1987 Labour Governments, (and continued by National Governments) which provide  the facts and evidence that prove that the private procurement of public services once provided ‘in-house’ by central and local government, is a more ‘cost-effective’ use of public monies  for the NZ public majority.

2) Copies of ‘briefing papers’ (or the like), provided to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff involved in the TPPA negotiations, relating to   ‘transparency’ and/or ‘anti-corruption’ safeguards, particularly in regards to  ‘procurement’ and ‘services’.

3) Copies of the ‘corruption risk assessments’ (or the like) of any aspect(s) of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that have been carried out by New Zealand, or any Governments or parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

4) Your explanation as to why New Zealand is the only country of those included in the proposed TPPA which has yet to ‘ratify’ the UN Convention Against Corruption  (UNCAC).

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/signatories.html

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised ‘
Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.
2010 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

‘Anti-Corruption campaigner’.
Attendee: Australian Public Sector  Anti-Corruption Conference  Brisbane 2009.
Attendee: Transparency International 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference Bangkok 2010.

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127

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December 8, 2010 - Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Transparency in Govt spending

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