UK hosts anti-corruption conference


A major conference is underway in the UK to attempt to put an end to the bane of all governments -- corruption.

The British Prime Minister is looking for a tangible response in the wake of the Panama Papers release, but New Zealand's being more cautious.

Fifty-one very important people turned up at British Prime Minister David Cameron's anti-corruption conference and 40th on the list was Judith Collins.

She came hoping to achieve a communique, but Mr Cameron's angling for something more ambitious than just a statement -- law change, transparency, information sharing and to be seen as the 'big dog' tackling corruption.

"Corruption is the cancer at the heart of so many problems we need to tackle in our world," he says.

The US was similarly dramatic.

"Corruption, writ large, is as much of an enemy, because it destroys a nation's states, as some of the extremists we're fighting," says US Secretary of State John Kerry.

So what are they going to do about it?

Chief among the commitments to come out of the global hui is a pledge by six countries, including the UK and France, to set up a public register revealing the people who really own the companies.

It's a slight rehash -- the UK actually announced this three years ago.

More countries are now on board -- just not New Zealand.

"We never actually say we're going to do something and then just not do it," Ms Collins says.

In fact, of the 16 initiatives announced, the UK was committed to them all. New Zealand's name was alongside just two.

Ms Collins doesn't think it's a poor effort.

"We actually always ranked either one, or in the top five of the International Transparency's list of perception of least corrupt countries."

Down the road, Newshub found Winston Peters with views of our summit's representative and the Prime Minister that sent her.

"I'm not going to let [John Key] get away with claiming he's got standards, when his actions prove he's got standards so low, that they could parachute out of the bottom of a snake and have room for spare."

Now is the moment for governments to get busy when it comes to combating corruption -- Mr Cameron knows this and has been hanging out for the summit as a chance to get on the offence.

New Zealand is being more cautious in the approach, leaving it wide open to further post-Panama reproach.