Tag Archives: Transparency International NZ

Rainy Day reading —The Spinoff : Ministry of Transport fraud case

The ever-deepening storm centred on the Joanne Harrison fraud case just became a hurricane. Yesterday’s State Services Commission investigation report is likely to trigger a new chain of events that could extend well beyond embattled Auditor General Martin Matthews, writes Peter Newport

### thespinoff.co.nz July 21, 2017
Politics
The Ministry of Transport fraud case: Why the rot goes deeper than Joanne Harrison
By Peter Newport | Contributing writer
The State Services Commission investigation, published yesterday, makes one thing very clear: Joanne Harrison influenced the exit of four fellow Ministry of Transport employees who tried to tell their bosses that she was a fraudster. She managed to hire friends and steal over $700,000 from the ministry despite numerous staff attempting to call attention to her actions. This all happened while she was reporting directly to then-chief executive Martin Matthews, who is now our auditor general – albeit on temporary leave. The Commission has now apologised and is offering compensation to those former staff members. Its report also highlights many other issues at the Ministry, arguing that the 17-year-old legislation that covers whistleblowers needs to be changed and improved.

A second investigation, into whether Martin Matthews is a suitable person to continue as auditor general, is due from Sir Maarten Wevers in the coming days. Matthews is currently constructing his response to the unpublished, but complete, Wevers investigation. He has been given until the end of this week to complete it.

The Harrison case has some similar dynamics to the Todd Barclay drama. It’s become less about the initial problem than how it was handled. Who told the truth and who tried to obscure or even bury the truth. The difference with the Harrison situation is that she is now in jail and the truth is coming out – fast.

The Spinoff has been looking at exactly who did what, and when. That job has been made easier by a new, recent MOT whistle-blower who has produced and provided to us a detailed timeline noting all the evidence, which we publish here, utilising material released by the Ministry of Transport and available to view here. The same whistle-blower has shared a bizarre insight into Martin Matthews’ statements during his time at the Ministry of Transport.

But first, a quick tour of the jigsaw puzzle of documents that reveal a picture of Martin Matthews being given not clues, or hints, but what appear to be multiple solid facts that highlighted Joanne Harrison as a Grade A con artist and thief.
Read more

Founded in 2014, The Spinoff is New Zealand’s fastest growing media startup, amassing a monthly New Zealand audience of over 500,000 in less than three years.
We’ve assembled a team of agenda-setting journalists and critics, working across text, audio and video to create a true 21st century media brand. In just two years, The Spinoff has been nominated for 24 Canon awards, winning six. Our growth has been driven by a creative editorial style and innovative business model, emphasising long-term relationships with like-minded brands and a close connection with a young, educated and urban audience. Duncan Greive won both NZ Marketing Magazine‘s Editor of the Year as well as the People’s Choice title for Editor and Media Visionary in their media issue, July 2017. The Spinoff also claimed the title for Digital Media Brand of the Year as well as the People’s Choice title for the same award.

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Comment received from russandbev
2017/07/21 at 10:52 am

The recent revelations about what happened to the whistleblowers in the Ministry of Transport have, I’d suggest, application in Dunedin. Think of the parallels. In the MoT case a manipulative person with a barely-hidden track record of fraud and vindictiveness as well as a well developed sense of entitlement goes about systematically defrauding a government department of close on 3/4 million dollars. Not through some incredibly complex fraud, but one of simply creating business that didn’t exist and creating invoices from them for services that were never provided. Not exactly something that would take a lot to investigate.

Whistleblowers blow the alarm whistles to their managers and nothing happens and the further up the chain the questions were asked, the more dismissive the denials became. Meantime the fraudster moves against the whistleblowers. The Head of the Ministry moves on to even more wondrous things as Auditor General (is that ironic or is that ironic?) and the Minister dismisses all suggestions of wrong-doing. Even the Speaker of the House who employs the Auditor General doesn’t want to get involved.

Now found that the whistleblowers were entirely vindicated by their concerns and they get private and public apologies and a confidential settlement to, in part, recompense them for their treatment by both a fraudster and by management and governance failures. The Protected Disclosures Act [2000] is supposed to protect whistleblowers in BOTH public and private sectors.

Now, I don’t think anyone is suggesting fraud in the case of Aurora/Delta and that should be made plain. However look at the track record of these companies. A fearful record of stupid property speculation costing many many millions which is still going on thanks to Yaldhurst. A willingness to go along with borrowing to supply dividends to the DCHL and the DCC. Decades of ignoring maintenance on the Aurora network closely linked to the governance requirements to minimise costs, maximise profits and supply dividends to build vanity projects by the owners and now the spendup of northwards of 3/4 billion dollars on urgent maintenance bought about these years of neglect.

And then think of the years and layers of denials that these things happened over. When Richard Healey found he could no longer keep working in the company because of all that was being hidden, he gets vilified by EVERYONE that should have listened. EVERYONE is in denial including his past Managers who continued to receive their grossly inflated salaries and those in governance – many of whom refused to even sit down with him and discuss his concerns.

Am I the only one to see the parallels in how a Ministry or a City company deals with whistleblowers? I wonder if we will ever see similar end results in the case of Richard Healey?

{Link added. -Eds}

Reply from Elizabeth
2017/07/21 at 1:02 pm

Not involving Aurora:

Charges of Constructive Fraud have been brought, by joinder, against Delta Utility Services Ltd in the Christchurch High Court by the caveators (original property owners of the Noble Subdivision) at Yaldhurst. The case proceeds.

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Transparency International New Zealand
http://www.transparency.org.nz/

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Corruption serious threat to New Zealand #CAANZ

Anyone home at Dunedin City Council ?
[indicators only serve to show New Zealand hasn’t been properly measured and reported for corrupt practice in this and previous decades, dodgy as]

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 14:30, September 17 2015
CAANZ: Rising corruption a serious threat to New Zealand
By Ellen Read
Rewarding whistle-blowers and ensuring companies have anti-corruption policies are just two things needed to help fight financial corruption and protect New Zealand’s reputation.

That is according to Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand (CAANZ), which released a trans-Tasman report Are Australia and New Zealand corrupt? in Sydney on Thursday along with a strong message that complacency is not an option.

A high level roundtable is planned to follow the launch with New Zealand represented by Serious Fraud Office director Julie Read, Financial Market Authority head of enforcement Belinda Moffat and Suzanne Snively, head of Transparency International NZ.
While New Zealand ranked a healthy second in the 2014 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, it was a slip from the top place it had held for many years. Denmark now holds the top spot. Australia is ranked 11th, the second consecutive drop.

“Not only do reports indicate that rates of corruption in [Australia and New Zealand] may be rising, we are also doing more business with countries that have different ethical frameworks from our own,” CAANZ president Fred Hutchings says in the report.

Of New Zealand’s top 10 trading partners two rank poorly in the Transparency International Index – China sits in 100th place (out of 176 countries surveyed) and Thailand at number 85.
There is no measure or estimate of how much corruption costs New Zealand each year but the CAANZ report singled out recent finance company collapses and director prosecutions as costly examples.
Read more

Stuff: Bribery and corruption report should be ‘a wake-up call’

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### charteredaccountantsanz.com 17 September 2015
NEWS
Calls for action in fight against corruption
Australia and New Zealand risk losing their global standing in anti-corruption efforts, prompting our calls for a holistic and sustainable approach to addressing bribery and corruption in the region. Corruption is on the rise according to our latest future[inc] publication, Are Australia and New Zealand Corrupt?, with both countries increasingly trading with countries considered to be corrupt.

Research suggests bribery and corruption has increased by upwards of 80% and both Australia and New Zealand have fallen in global rankings for transparency and corruption.

Chartered Accountants ANZ CEO Lee White said that while both Australia and New Zealand have traditionally traded on reputations of honesty and integrity, this reputation is at risk if the issue isn’t addressed, and steps put in place to mitigate the threat. […] The report suggests legislation alone will not stamp out corruption, but does outline a series of recommendations which could be adopted across Australia and New Zealand. Recommendations include compulsory anti-bribery and corruption policies in NZX and ASX listing rulings, regulation to prohibit the awarding of public sector contracts for those with past convictions, and a prohibition on rewarding public sector contracts to companies without corruption policies.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Public Service and Integrity —Sunday Morning, RNZ National

Updated Post 7.4.13

Radio New Zealand National
Sunday Morning with Chris Laidlaw
Listen on 101 FM or online at radionz.co.nz
Link to Twitter page from their website: http://www.radionz.co.nz/sunday

7 April 2013
8:43 Suzanne Snively – Public Service and Integrity

The New Zealand public sector has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the least corrupt in the world. Suzanne Snively, from anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International NZ, talks to Chris about the 100th anniversary of this country’s Public Service Act – its importance to our democracy and how it affects the lives of all New Zealanders. (16′33″)
Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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