Steve Hart’s interview of Suzanne Snively

Recently Steve Hart Interviewed Suzanne Snively on his show , which we believe require clarification  we may have to spread the load over  several posts as we do not wish to go into overload.

 the Interview can be listened to here we will respond    in order starting with the elevator speech

The elevator speech
Suzanne’s Elevator speech was far more in line with her own objectives than that of the objectives formally adopted by the incorporated society , her response proves that she has no idea what the objectives of the society are shown at point 4 on the  latest rules

The  registered objectives are principally “to promote transparency, good governance and ethical practices in all sectors of society in New Zealand”

There is nothing in the rules which says anything about focusing on building stronger integrity systems or praising a society for being “already trusting “by deliberately ignoring corruption which is occurring.

I really have to wonder where the assumption of the already trusting society comes from Susan Snively is an economist and I have learned that assumptions are a very good starting point for economists.

“A physicist, a chemist, and an economist are stranded on a desert island. One can only imagine what sort of play date went awry to land them there. Anyway, they’re hungry. Like, desert island hungry. And then a can of soup washes ashore, Campbells Chicken Noodle, let’s say. Which is perfect, because the physicist can’t have much salt, and the chemist doesn’t eat red meat.
But, famished as they are, our three professionals have no way to open the can. So they put their brains to the problem. The physicist says “We could drop it from the top of that tree over there until it breaks open.” And the chemist says “We could build a fire and sit the can in the flames until it bursts open.”
Those two squabble a bit, until the economist says “No, no, no. Come on, guys, you’d lose most of the soup. Let’s just assume a can opener.”

While on the subject of assumptions  it has become apparent to me that Suzanne Snively may not be familiar with the legislation which governs  the incorporated society , as   will be noted later in the interview she  said that she was unsure of the structure of   Transparency International  and thought that it was a company.

The  overriding  feeling of the interview was   that Suzanne wanted to recruit more members  so as to increase revenue  but  Incorporated societies do not exist for pecuniary gain.

Membership
Suzanne claims that there are about 100 members , if you look at the web site you will see that the vast majority of the members are connected with either the large audit companies who contract to the office of the auditor general or are Government departments or past employees of these departments.

The perception which can be gained from the membership list is that the vast majority of the members have a vested interest in keeping the lid on corruption In New Zealand. This becomes obvious when you visit the partners/ sponsors page
There is one golden rule which pertains to impartiality and that is you cannot be impartial if you comprised of and paid for by the people whose integrity you are judging.

This in itself means that there is a lack of integrity.

Any good economist will tell you that if you get your wages paid by a group of people and or organisations that they will no doubt employ you again in the future if you do a favourable job.

So in this instance TINZ did an integrity study on 13 pillars this is who worked on them and how they were funded, note that I have paired up the funders to the pillar which they would most naturally be associated with . The researchers are as mentioned in the integrity report . You can see who   funded and researched the various pillars here Who funded and worked on the various pillars

A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.

The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks “What do two plus two equal?” The mathematician replies “Four.” The interviewer asks “Four, exactly?” The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says “Yes, four, exactly.”

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The accountant says “On average, four – give or take ten percent, but on average, four.”

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says “What do you want it to equal?”

Suzanne’s perception of the TINZ  chapter

  • only 5% of the population  knows it exists.

My comment: Yes but they sure get the false  message out  that  there is no corruption in New Zealand

  • The group that was initially involved was focused on building a chapter but not necessarily on how to get the message out to the wider community

My comment: They were and still are Government servants dressed up as a watchdog to  tell the  country  how well they are concealing corruption.

  • I knew nothing about TI until I became a director

My comment: I am so impressed that Susan  Has learnt so much  about corruption in New Zealand   in  three short years  especially since she has never examined corruption and does not wish to know it is there, In typical  Economist style she has carefully studied   everything except the reality

Three economists went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The first economists fired, but missed, by a meter to the left. The second economists fired, but also missed, by a meter to the right. The third economists didn’t fire, but shouted in triumph, “We got it! We got it!”

  • At about the same time a colleague  became executive chairman  of the Cambodian branch he got funding  and got over a million dollars.

My comment: My own  suspicion is that Susan  saw the possibility of becoming the CEO and getting  funding to pay her wages , I have sen this tactic used in many incorporated societies, most of the members dont care a toss and leave one person to run the   joint  and let them find a way to get their own wages . Incorporated societies are not supposed to work that way  but when you can   be part of an organization  which protects  you  from scrutiny in your day  job   then its  a great trade of for some.

  • we do have some govt members at the moment they became members to support the work of the TI integrity systems assessment

My comment: there is no integrity  in  getting  people to fund the independent research which affects them , its like paying for advertising  and a lot more efficient when  a government department  e.g. the office of the auditor general can pay some one to show  how effective   they are being.    That is far more economic than actually doing a good  job

Q:Why did God create economists ?
A:In order to make weather forecasters look good

  • very few people are aware of how well we score internationally and that international perceptions of our lack of corruption are not as widely understood across NZ as it could be , if it is true that we can be proud of as because it makes a difference to us as a trading nation in terms of how we trade and do business

My comment:it is all about boosting business  not about    the reality

Experienced economist and not so experienced economist are walking down the road. They get across shit lying on the asphalt.

Experienced economist: “If you eat it I’ll give you $20,000!”

Not so experienced economist runs his optimization problem and figures out he’s better off eating it so he does and collects money.

Continuing along the same road they almost step into yet another shit.

Not so experienced economist: “Now, if YOU eat this shit I’ll give YOU $20,000.”

After evaluating the proposal experienced economist eats shit getting the money.

They go on. Not so experienced economist starts thinking: “Listen, we both have the same amount of money we had before, but we both ate shit. I don’t see us being better off.”

Experienced economist: “Well, that’s true, but you overlooked the fact that we’ve been just involved in $40,000 of trade.”

  • the international perception is that we have the least or amongst the least corrupt public sector in the world

My comment: Yes that perception is kept alive by the members of transparency International  New Zealand  who are those   very same  govt departments  and  also fund the work to  make themselves look great.

  • It means that you can get up in the morning and go about your business without paying a backhander without paying facilitation or a bribe.

My comment: I agree  there are very few bribes or backhanders in New Zealand   but on the other hand every one has   some  dirt on every one else  and although  the  monitary transactions dont come into it , there are often  winks and nods involved…  same thing- corruption

  • we focus on systemic issues around corruption to ensure that there are systems in place that deal with corruption

My comment: but TINZ deal with the hypothetical only and refuse to look at the corruption which is occurring to learn from it to see how it occurs.  You cannot combat something which you dont understand.

Q: What is a recent economics graduate’s usual question in his first job?
A: What would you like to have with your french fries sir?

to be continued …..

If all economists were laid end to end they would not reach a conclusion.
– George Bernard Shaw

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