Transcript: Sensitive expenditure: Impartiality

Transcript for a video about why sensitive expenditure decisions need to be impartial.

Title: Office of the Auditor-General logo

Title: Sensitive expenditure: Impartiality

Julie Haggie, Transparency International New Zealand

Trust in those who have power over public funds and assets is gained over the long term but it can be lost in a headline. Impartiality is a major contributor to trust. Unfortunately, from time to time, we do see instances of conflict of interest, favouritism or bias influencing sensitive expenditure decisions.

The public expects that expenditure decisions are based on objective criteria. There need to be policies around gifts and expenses, and these should take a prudent approach towards the use of public funds.

During my career I have seen many instances of sound decision-making on expenditure that preserved impartiality, but the situations that just felt wrong are the ones I remember most clearly: the bottle of whiskey at Christmas time; complimentary tickets to the rugby corporate box; board members signing off on sensitive expenditure that they incurred.

The public should have confidence that decisions on expenditure are impartial. That’s why public organisations need clear principles and guidance on what impartiality means, and how it can be achieved, measured, and preserved.

All those who hold entrusted power should welcome accountability and transparency. It is for the common good.

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