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RBNZ’s Orr ‘off-the-record’ in Transparency Intl speech

Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr will extol the virtues of transparency for an initiated few in an off-the-record speech to anti-corruption campaigners Transparency International tonight. 

Billed as a speech on the relevance of transparency, accountability and integrity in the financial services sector, a Reserve Bank spokesman said the address to the organisation's New Zealand annual meeting in Wellington won't be published as it's off-the-record. 

Transparency International chief executive Julie Haggie confirmed the charitable trust was aware of the condition. Orr will be introduced by State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes and thanked by Justice Secretary Andrew Kibblewhite. 

The speech comes a week before the Reserve Bank delivers a full monetary policy statement, with the monetary policy committee meeting this week to make its decision. 

The RBNZ made 81 presentations in the year ended June 30, of which 10 were on-the-record speeches. Orr only took the reins as governor in March. 

His appointment was seen as ushering in a new level of openness in the Reserve Bank's communications. In his first outing as governor he acknowledged the challenge of having a dialogue with a wider audience in plain language. In its annual report on the performance of the governor, the board said it expected Orr to ensure some "key stakeholder relationships" improve in the coming year. 

Last week, deputy governor Geoff Bascand delivered a presentation to the Bank Negara Malaysia conference entitled 'Disclosure and accessibility: challenges and opportunities'. The three conclusions from the presentation were that: enhanced transparency is a feature of financial stability frameworks; that there are opportunities from new channels and tools and a broader audience; and that greater transparency is usually, but not always, better. 

The Transparency International NZ members-only annual meeting is billed as an opportunity to meet patron and former Auditor General Lyn Provost and new CEO Haggie, and "network with like-minded individuals over refreshments". 

Chair Suzanne Snively, who also chairs the expert panel reviewing the Reserve Bank Act, will highlight the trust's achievements in 2018 and outline its goals for the coming year. 

In the June 2017 year, Transparency International NZ increased its membership base to more than 165 and built affiliation partnerships with Oxfam and the Institute of Internal Auditors. Those members contributed fees and subscriptions of $25,800 in the June 2017 financial year, almost twice as much a year earlier and ahead of budget. 

Transparency International NZ's primary revenue source was $254,000 of public sector support, most of which came from the State Services Commission and participating agencies. The trust also received 'in kind' goods and services from Bell Gully, Chapman Tripp, Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, Victoria University's Institute of Governance and Policy Studies and the Office of the Auditor General. 

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