Auckland hosts world anti-corruption and counter-fraud experts on tackling shared threats

Anti-corruption and counter-fraud experts from around the world have gathered in Auckland today to discuss shared threats, including organised and trans-national crime. 

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Lyn McDonald says NZ should not be complacent about corruption and fraud and all countries should talk together about the issues

The Fraud and Corruption conference, run by New Zealand's Serious Fraud Office, has hosted representatives from the UK, United States, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

That includes Lyn McDonald, the Director of the UK Cabinet Office's Fraud, Error, Debt and Grants team.

Ms McDonald told 1 NEWS it's important all countries talk about corruption and fraud issues "because fraudsters don't see boundaries, they just see money". 

"And the more we talk together, the less likely they are to able to succeed and corrupt any of our officials, or take any money from us."

Ms McDonald is in New Zealand to share expertise about the UK's preventative approach to reducing fraud and waste in government spending.

"As an extension of the work Lyn has been leading, the UK has recently established the International Public Sector Fraud Forum which is reaching out and working with other countries including New Zealand to share progress and good practice," said Stuart Nash, the Minister Responsible for New Zealand's SFO.

Ms McDonald said she is also hoping her visit to New Zealand will give her an opportunity to learn from New Zealand's practices.

New Zealand is currently rated as the second most transparent country in the world, but our Serious Fraud Office wants to work on its prevention of public sector fraud and corruption.

"The SFO is looking at the benefits of being not just the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, which is presently our main job, but also the fence at the top in terms of prevention," said Julie Read, Director of the Serious Fraud Office.

Ms McDonald said: "If the SFO succeeds on being able to look at prevention, to take on this role, that will be absolutely be a fantastic step that will make sure that you stay at the top of the transparency list because that's the next step.

"You've got to know where it is. If you can't find it you can't fight it.

"I don't think any country should be complacent and I think you should be continually monitoring what you're doing."

Mr Nash said the Government has a particular focus on tackling organised crime.

"We can learn a great deal from our international partners," he said.