The struggle for integrity in politics

Bryce Edwards has another political roundup, this time examining the state of democracy and integrity in politics.

Political roundup: the struggle for integrity

Some soul searching about the state of democracy and transparency in New Zealand public life is warranted at the end of the year. Bryce Edwards looks back at the struggle for integrity in politics in 2015. 

The integrity of governance of any society is dependent on numerous pillars that hold up democracy. Akin to an old roman temple, important institutions such as the Official Information Act, public servants and watchdogs act as the foundations of a corruption-free society.

But in 2015 it became apparent that some of the pillars of New Zealand’s governing arrangements have eroded, making democracy less stable. There have been apparent failings in the OIA regime, transparency of Government ministers and departments, murky deals struck and clampdowns on attempts to get accountability.

It’s a long read with many links to further articles and posts.

It covers:

  • Tightening elite control over information
  • The OIA “Game of Hide and Seek”
  • Taxpayer-funded politicisation
  • Cronyism in government
  • Risks of corruption in New Zealand
  • Government efforts against corruption
  • Saudi Sheep scandal rolls on
  • Erosion of public information



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  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  16th December 2015

    Edwards is too slanted for my taste so I rarely read him. I do think most of the recent Ombudsmen have not been up to the job though, but that may be the fault of the job which is essentially toothless so who would take it?

    • Mefrostate

       /  16th December 2015

      Shouldn’t you be deliberately seeking out the opinions of those you disagree with, in order ‘see how the other half live’?

      Regardless, Edwards’ political roundups are usually very good compendiums of any given issue.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  16th December 2015

        I know how the “other half” think already and it’s mostly second hand and second rate opinion which I don’t find interesting.

        • Mefrostate

           /  16th December 2015

          Well that’s remarkably self-assured of you, and in my opinion far too insular.

  2. Timoti

     /  16th December 2015

    What democracy? Democracy died in New Zealand long ago. Remember when Clark
    banned a holocaust denier from entering New Zealand? What about Canterbury
    University trying to stop visiting Israelis give a campus speech? Still, its good to see
    someone still alive in the media.

  3. Since its kinda “fun” day, for some reason –

    “Integrity in politics”. Isn’t this an absolute contradiction in terms?

    It’s an uphill battle all right! That’s for sure. Swimming against the current, pissing into the wind, pushing sh*t uphill …

    Elite control, cronyism, corruption, scandal and erosion? Put the word “politics” with any of these and I can relate to it.

  4. I can’t pretend any interest in the work of Mr Edwards. His bias is so absolute one cannot even apply a filter to achieve balance. Sorry PG.

    • I find that some of his links are worth following,

    • Mefrostate

       /  16th December 2015

      Everyone has a bias, and the best way to challenge yours is to expose it to opinions with which you disagree. This is difficult, since it’s easier and more rewarding to read something with which we agree, but it’s an important effect to counter – lest we fall into the trap of ignoring unpleasant truths.

      As I stated above, Edwards’ political roundups tend to be less filtered through his world-view and more a compendium of writings on a topic.

      • traveller

         /  17th December 2015

        There are many voices in NZ politics left and right and I follow many of them. I am not unaware or ignorant, I just choose to leave Mr Edwards out of a large and varied mix.

  5. Yes, It’s a pity that my own prejudice towards his writing precludes me from reading him, let alone clicking on what possbly are excellent links. I hope I can rely on others to examine and comment. One has only so much time to devote to politics and his long winded, agenda driven pieces bore me.


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