Corruption Perceptions Index

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys."

No one country is corruption free

Corrupt Free? – NZ drops again

2015 Corruption Perceptions Index

New Zealand has fallen to fourth place in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (TI-CPI). This is its second consecutive drop in a survey it has previously topped with the corruption-free reputation of its public sector.

Denmark, Finland and Sweden are now perceived to have the least corrupt public sectors. New Zealand was ranked number one in both the 2012 and 2013 surveys, falling behind Denmark in the 2014 survey then Sweden and Finland in the just-released 2015 survey.

The TI-CPI is produced each year to highlight the global importance of transparency. Dropping to fourth place has huge disadvantages for New Zealand, both from a governing and economic perspective.

2015 Corruption Perceptions Index Heat Map

About the Corruption Perceptions Index

Produced annually by Transparency International the CPI ranks countries on a scale from 100 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt) based on external surveys and assessments from 13 reputable international organizations.  The CPI measures perception of corruption due to the difficulty of measuring absolute levels of corruption.

First released in 1995, it is the best known of TI's tools. It has been widely credited with putting TI and the issue of corruption on the international policy agenda.

New Zealand CPI

The Index has consistently shown New Zealand as a country with low levels of corruption in its public sector. Since its inception, the country has always scored in the 98th percentile, with a score of 90 in 2012, and ranks either at the top or within the top three countries in the world.

The CPI focus is on corruption of public officials and government entities. 

What Factors Cause New Zealand to Rank Consistently at the Top of the CPI?

The TINZ 2013 Integrity Plus National Integrity System Assessment provides insight into the strengths of New Zealand's institutions and their contribution to our corruption intolerant society. 

Factors that contribute to New Zealand's strength include:

  • Historic leadership in human rights such as universal suffrage since 1893
  • Merit-based public service originating with the Public Service Act 1912.
  • The strong role played by the Ombudsman and Auditor General
  • Strong and enforceable code of law
  • A well educated population

Risks to New Zealand's Historic Strong CPI

There are a number of factors that could lead to increased levels of corruption in New Zealand and a lower international perception.

  • Complacency and lack of awareness
  • Changing trading patterns
  • Lack of controls in the massive Christchurch recovery effort

Note:  There is a highly significant correlation between real gross domestic product per capita and CPI ranking; New Zealand is an exception with a markedly lower GDP/Capita. 

Benefits of Low Corruption

  • Low corruption leads to a higher quality of life by ensuring proper use of resources.
  • Economic benefits accrue because:
    • High trust reduces business contracting costs
    • Project cost risk is reduced because bribe and facilitation payments are unlikely
    • Surveys indicate that individuals and businesses will pay premium prices to trade with ethical partners

Previous Articles and Reports

Corruption Perceptions Index 2014
New Zealand Drops to 2nd "Least Corrupt Country" in 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index 3 Dec, 2014
Corruption Perceptions Index 2013
For 2013 Denmark and New Zealand tie for first place in Transparency International's annual Global Corruption Perceptions Index due to perceptions that their public sectors have the lowest levels of corruption. 3 Dec, 2013
2012 Corruption Perceptions Index
The 2012 CPI places Denmark, Finland and New Zealand in a tie for first place helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions. 5 Dec, 2012
CPI 2007
Article - New Zealand still tops the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 26 Sep, 2007


Recent Activity

TINZ OGP Submission
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) submitted recommendations for New Zealand’s second Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan (NAP). Among the recommendations were a call for more ambition in creating NAPs and developing channels of communication for improving engagement with citizens. 19 Aug, 2016

Safeguarding the public interest in research
1 Aug, 2016

EU and New Zealand tax transparency
1 Aug, 2016

London Summit 2016 NZ Statement Commitments Progress
31 Jul, 2016

New Zealand Country Statement Anti Corruption Summit London 2016
29 May, 2016

Shewan Inquiry Submission Media Release
TINZ has provided its submission to the Shewan Inquiry calling on the government to widen the terms of reference to protect New Zealand's reputation and future proof our laws following the release of the "Panama papers". 21 May, 2016

CPI 2015 TINZ Media Release
Corruption Free? NZ drops again. New Zealand has fallen to fourth place in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). 26 Jan, 2016