New Zealand’s 1st Place in the Corruption Index a Boon for Business

By Alan McDonald
TINZ Director

New Zealand is the least corrupt country in the world to carry out business – again.

Alright, technically we were first equal with Denmark and Finland but given that we were first equal last year and we’re consistently in the top three I’ll apply a sports analogy and say we came out ahead on cumulative score – again.

We are also clearly the leading nation in the Asia-Pacific region.

While the analysis in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index applies to governments and public sector institutions, it is just as important for the business sector both domestically in New Zealand and for the lifeblood of our economy, the export sector.

With economies around the world increasingly seeking to do business with ethical, open and trusted countries and businesses, New Zealand’s ongoing success and reputation as a safe place to do business also takes on increasing importance.

Stable, trusted and open democracies give a sense of confidence to international investors looking for good returns on their investments and the comfort of knowing their investment isn’t at risk from corrupt practices.

It doesn’t matter to investors whether it’s small-scale backhanders or larger scale local or central government bribery or worse - potentially unstable governments that make rapid, massive and costly policy shifts to protect their own positions add risk.

For our exporters who utilise New Zealand’s image as a clean, green and savvy little country to help leverage their own very smart products, having their customers know they are dealing with a business from the least corrupt country in the world, is another point in favour in clinching those all-important export deals.

Transparency, traceability, sustainability, ethically sourced and strong human rights frameworks are all key factors in the business lexicon of the 21st century and continue to grow in importance.

It’s no accident that countries high on the list of the least corrupt are also those high on the preservation of human rights and free society.

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) will continue to play its part to ensure our practices in New Zealand are maintained at their current levels and improved – 88 out of 100 is not a perfect score and there remain areas where we can improve such as protected disclosures, procurement transparency, freedom of information and soon post pandemic restoration of freedoms.

From a TINZ point of view it was also pleasing, given the work we’ve been doing with Fiji to see them re-enter the index rating with a score of 55, placing it well inside the top 50 countries. We continue to work with other Pacific nations to bring them into and up the index.

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