New Zealanders will be prosecuted for bribing foreign public officials under proposed laws.
An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report, released last night, raps New Zealand for failing to tackle foreign bribery.
It focuses on corruption in international business transactions and compliance with an anti-bribery convention.
The report notes that New Zealanders are reluctant to accept their business community pays sweeteners.
Only four allegations have surfaced, with the first investigations into two opened this year, the report says.
There have been no prosecutions since 2001.
The low number of allegations is not a reflection that New Zealand is immune from foreign bribery, the report says.
Justice Minister Judith Collins said the Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill, to be introduced to Parliament this year, would make it a crime to offer bribes overseas.
This would relate to the provision of international aid, acceptance of bribes and trading in influence. It would also prevent bribes being tax-deductible.
The Government took New Zealand's anti-corruption stance seriously, Collins said.
"We consistently rank first on Transparency International's corruption perceptions index, which ranks countries by perceived corruption levels among public officials and politicians," she said.
The OECD report focuses on a single criminal offence - bribery in international business transactions - and does not assess domestic corruption offences.
The proposed legislation would make it easier for police to prosecute money laundering.
It would require banks to report on all international transfers over $1000 and all physical cash transactions over $10,000 to the police financial intelligence unit.
The bill will be introduced to Parliament as part of the Government's crackdown on international organised crime.
Collins said it contained measures to tackle identity theft and human trafficking.
"We are sending a clear message to international and domestic criminals: New Zealand will not tolerate their activities," she said.
Collins will travel to China next week to discuss anti-corruption with counterpart Wu Aiying.
- © Fairfax NZ News