Corruption Perceptions Index

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

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 2016 TINZ media release
Transparency International 25 Jan, 2017
Corruption Perceptions Index 2015
New Zealand has fallen to fourth place in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). This is its second consecutive drop in a survey it has previously topped with the corruption-free reputation of its public sector. 25 Jan, 2016
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

Protect our whistleblowers
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) is calls for better whistleblower protection. 8 Aug, 2017

Auditor General resignation requires transparency
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) calls on Parliament to release the report by Sir Maarten Wevers that lead to the resignation of Auditor-General Martin Matthews. 5 Aug, 2017

TINZ applauds decline in foreign trusts
Government implementation of tougher disclosure requirements for foreign trusts have led to around 75% discontinuing or exiting New Zealand. 9 Jul, 2017

Public Sector Integrity Media Release
State Services Commission took a very positive step in addressing a key recommendation of TINZ's Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment by advertising a role for Deputy Commissioner, Integrity, Ethics and Standards. 11 May, 2017

Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 TINZ media release
Transparency International 25 Jan, 2017