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). It is based on calculated using 13 different data sources from 12 different institutions that capture perceptions of corruption within the past two years. 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 87 in 2018, 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 Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment published by Transparency International New Zealand in 2013 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

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