Corruption is not a Kiwi value

Just because other countries have a problem with corruption doesn’t mean that we need to bring it here.

Stuff ?reports: quote:

Last year, I heard a disturbing story from a building site.

Long story short, an Auckland Council building inspector was on the site of a new home build on Auckland’s North Shore. The developer was a new New Zealander and the entire build team comprised immigrant labour.

The building inspector, having completed his inspection of the steel and concrete foundations, left the site and moved on to his next job. But 20 minutes later he realised that he had left his iPad at the previous site.

He quickly returned to collect it only to discover the steel foundations being lifted out before the concrete truck arrived. The idea being that the same steel could be used in the next set of foundations, in advance of the next inspection, and so on. end quote.

Yes, and in a country prone to earthquakes, this could have been a disaster for the people in the house, although the consequence would be much worse in a commercial building. I wonder how an insurance claim would go if it turned out that the foundations had no steel? quote:

There’s been a lot of talk about our Kiwi values during the last week. I’ve heard words and phrases like kindness, a sense of humour, religious freedom and gender equality. I’ve even heard suggestions that the ability to name the All Blacks, drink beer and make a pavlova should be included in the makeup of our critical values set. end quote.

I think naming the current All Black team should be a question on the current citizenship form. quote:

But we possess a value at least as important as some of those above, and we take it for granted.

This particular value ranks high in respect of the way the great majority of New Zealanders conduct their lives, and we rank high internationally for it. And yet, it is something we’re not. We are not particularly corrupt. We are a low corruption country.

In fact, global anti-corruption coalition Transparency International ranks NZ number one out of 180 countries as the least corrupt country. That’s something we should be incredibly proud of. It’s also something that we should strive to maintain. end quote.

We were a low corruption country but these days, I am not so sure. quote?:

But maintaining such a standard is a challenge, particularly when we are seeking to “import”?workers to support our growing economy. As we bring in people from other countries, we also risk importing the cultures and behaviours that are common in those countries. end quote.

The risks are huge. Remember that building in Taiwan that collapsed in an earthquake because it was held up by cooking oil cans instead of steel? We don’t want that sort of practice here. quote:

Corruption is rife in many economies, so much so that many people within those countries accept it as simply “the way things are done”. At its worst, corruption ruins entire countries. Think Zimbabwe or more recently Venezuela. Being corruption-free or more likely close to corruption-free, is a good thing to lead the world in.

The world continues to globalise and New Zealand’s challenge is to maintain a set of values that don’t condone or support corruption. As we continue to bring immigrants into New Zealand, we need to acknowledge that some of those people are used to a way of life where corruption is rife. Somehow, we need to teach them that such practices are not acceptable here. end quote.

Or maybe we need to keep those sorts of people out of New Zealand in the first place? Trouble is, our current immigration policies are likely to bring in more of these people, not less of them. quote:

The great majority of New Zealanders are honest people with a level of integrity that suggests that we are trustworthy and that we will do what’s right. Sure, we have a few rat-bags, but who doesn’t.

But when it comes to the values that we should seek in the people who move to our country, I would rank being “corruption-free”?at the top of that list.

If we can maintain a society that is as close as possible to being corruption-free, then that in turn will continue to provide the very sound foundation that supports the broader values representative of being a New Zealander. Things like freedom, equality, fairness and fun.

Let’s go back to that building site. If we can’t stamp out that type of behaviour, it might just lead to our next leaky building saga. Except this time they won’t leak, they’ll fall over.

And so will we. end quote.

The cost of building is expensive enough here in New Zealand as it is. The last thing we need is poorly constructed buildings that will not stand up to the extremes we experience here – storms, high winds, and of course, earthquakes.

It is not just the construction industry that is at risk here. Once we are no longer seen as a country with very low levels of corruption, all of our trading partners may think twice about dealing with us in the future and that really would be a total disaster for this country.