Annual report 2022/23

Our international work

images used for Our international workOur work promotes and supports the transparent, accountable, effective, and efficient use of public sector resources in the Pacific. There are three main components to our international work:

  • We are contracted by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to work with the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) Secretariat to improve PASAI processes, programmes, and governance, and to ensure regional co-ordination with other development organisations working to develop the public financial management system in the Pacific region.
  • The Auditor-General of New Zealand is also the Auditor-General of the Governments of Niue and Tokelau.
  • We work with the global auditing community to tackle common problems faced by Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs), hosting visiting international delegations and collaborating with the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).

Supporting PASAI to enhance outcomes for Pacific people

This year we supported PASAI to produce its fourth Accountability and Transparency Report. This report highlights the successes of SAIs in the region and the challenges they currently face to progress their independence and build the capability needed to deliver their mandates.

We continue to provide support and technical expertise to our twinning partnerships with SAI Samoa and SAI Cook Islands. Both twinning partners are demonstrating increasing maturity, regional leadership, and commitment to improving public accountability in their countries.

We supported PASAI to host an in-person Congress in Palau, the first since the pandemic, and we managed an independent evaluation of PASAI’s delivery against its 2014-2024 Strategy. Overall, PASAI is recognised as a key enabler for change, supporting SAIs across the region to build capacity and capability, and advocating for integrity system improvements in their countries. We will continue our work with the PASAI Secretariat and the Governing Board as they consider a strategic reset of PASAI’s work.

Progressing audits for the governments of Niue and Tokelau

The Auditor-General of New Zealand is also the Auditor-General of the governments of Niue and Tokelau. This year we addressed the delayed audits of the financial statements of government of Niue for the years ended 30 June 2016 to 30 June 2021. This was a significant achievement and sets up the basis for improved accountability for the people of Niue. A similar project is under way for Tokelau, which we expect to complete in 2023/24.

Collaborative work with INTOSAI

In November 2022, the Auditor-General, in his capacity as Secretary-General of PASAI, attended the International Congress of Supreme Audit Institutions (INCOSAI) in Brazil. Participants from more than 160 countries discussed key issues faced by the public audit community and potential solutions. The Auditor-General presented on our Integrity Framework for the public sector.

The Office is active in INTOSAI. This includes the Regional Working Group on Environmental Auditing, which gathered in Sydney in May 2023 to discuss environmental issues for our region, notably climate change and biodiversity in the Pacific. From this conference a number of Pacific SAIs committed to a co-ordinated audit about climate change.

We also supported IntoSAINT (INTOSAI’s Self-Assessment of Integrity Tool). In June, the Tongan Public Services Commission and the Tongan Office of the Auditor General undertook this assessment process to examine the values, systems, and norms of their own workplaces. This work helped staff assess ways of working that will help to build and sustain integrity across their organisations.

Another international achievement in 2022/23 includes continuing to run a webinar series promoting topics to support good governance, transparency, and accountability for effective national integrity systems. Participants include those from SAIs, the Ombudsman, Te Kawa Mataaho, other public organisations, and civil society organisations across the Pacific region.

Speakers included Helen Clark, the Auditor-General, the Palau and Tongan Auditors-General, the Ombudsman, the Tongan Ombudsman, the Public Service Commissioner, the Tongan Public Service Commissioner, representatives of the Pacific branch of Transparency International, and the Executive Director of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO).

The Office and our staff continue to be highly respected in the international audit community. This year, our Office was invited by the Comptroller General of the United States Government Accountability Office to contribute two members to an international review team to perform a peer review of that office. The peer review was led by the Norwegian Audit Office and began in the second quarter of 2022/23. The peer review team’s final report is expected to become publicly available in the second quarter of 2023/24.

Our former Deputy Auditor-General Greg Schollum joined the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) in January 2023 after being nominated by the External Reporting Board of New Zealand. Todd Beardsworth, our Assistant Auditor-General Audit Quality, has continued as a member of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) since 2018.