Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: Corruption-free? How about the Kiwi family

16 comments
Culture of backhanders and erratic justice exists in most NZ homes.
The way we bribe and punish our children would not pass the squeaky-clean test. Photo / Getty Images
The way we bribe and punish our children would not pass the squeaky-clean test. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand was the fourth least corrupt country in the world last year, according to Transparency International's perception index. We used to be the number one least corrupt but now Denmark is. The Danes are always beating us in "good things" studies. Them and Sweden and Norway. If it wasn't for Scandinavia we would be number one across the board.

As usual, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Finland and Switzerland are up near the top too. I feel for people in countries at the bottom.

They must see us at the top of all these lists and think "wankers".

What a piece of amazingly good, dumb luck it is to be from New Zealand. Every morning you should get up, look in the mirror and yell "geez it's great to be here and not in Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan, Angola, Libya, Haiti, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Guinea-Bissau, Turkmenistan, Zimbabwe, Cambodia or North Korea". Yell it twice. It feels really good.

Still, we have dropped from one to four. So are we getting more corrupt?

In Russia, most people have dashcams on their cars to protect them against insurance fraud and police corruption. Next time you're pulled over by a Kiwi cop try flicking them 50 bucks to make it "all go away". You'll be down the station on a bribery charge in seconds. Kiwi cops are too Kiwi to get up to that kind of thing. Sure they get a bit "Manitowoc County" around some of the larger murder cases. But on the whole they're as uncorrupt as cops anywhere in the world.

What about our politics? We have the odd campaign finance form incorrectly filled. But you don't see Bill English taking briefcase backhanders for building consents. You don't see John Key imprisoning Andrew Little because they disagree on the TPP. Paula Bennett doesn't set the storm troopers on Jacinda Ardern when they disagree on state home issues.

Corruption in New Zealand is mostly low-level. Like the difference between how burgers look in advertising compared with their reality at the drive-through.

There is, however, one massively corrupt area in our country. Where unelected governing bodies rule with an iron fist. Imprisoning, bribing and indoctrinating their subjects. Slave labour is rife, media is strictly controlled and so is freedom of travel. I refer of course to the family unit.

If a child does something a parent doesn't agree with, they're sent to time out. No trial, no talking back. Ruthlessly taken away from their beloved telly for up to five minutes' hard time on a leader's whim. That's corruption.

There is, however, one massively corrupt area in our country. Where unelected governing bodies rule with an iron fist.

There's rampant bribery and match-fixing in our homes. "If you score 25 runs son, it's pizzas, ice-cream and doughnuts for lunch." Imagine if the PM rang up Martin Guptill before the Australian series: "$50,000 says you get a hundy, Guppy." There would be an uproar.

How about those domestic threats and standover tactics? "Eat your veges or you're not playing on your iPad tonight."

Kids are ordered to do the dishes, put the rubbish out, find the remotes and put their lego back in their rooms. All for no pay - slavery.

If we are going to completely stamp out corruption in New Zealand, we are going to have to make a change at home. I suggest letting your kids do whatever they want, whenever they want. Tell them nothing, never punish them and pay them $14.75 an hour to clean their rooms. Try it for a week and see how you go.

New Zealand is near the top of all the "good things" lists. It's great to be one of the lucky ones. While we may have dropped to number four least corrupt, I'm confident if we all pull together we can find a way back to the top. We're so close. The Danes are only two points ahead. A cheeky little backhander to Transparency International would do it.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

Read more by Matt Heath

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 26 Sep 2016 06:40:26 Processing Time: 683ms