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MEDIA RELEASE

PO Box 10123
The Terrace
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Transparency International New Zealand
23 January 2020
Patron, Lyn Provost

New Zealand tops the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index

The New Zealand public sector and judiciary has again been ranked the least corrupt in the world.

The Corruption Perceptions Index released today by Transparency International (a global anti-corruption organisation), ranks New Zealand first equal with Denmark, with a score of 87 out of 100.

2019 Corruption Perceptions Index World Map highlighting New Zealand
2019 Corruption Perceptions Index World Map highlighting New Zealand

Compiled annually, this index ranks countries worldwide by perceived levels of public sector corruption.

Over the past eight years New Zealand has vied with Denmark and Finland to be the first-ranked country with the least corrupt public sector.

Last year New Zealand came second to Denmark. Its score stayed at 87 out of 100 while Denmark dropped from 88 to 87.

The Chair of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ), Suzanne Snively says there is much to celebrate about our trustworthy public service high ranking.

“We know fraud and bribery exists in New Zealand, and we see instances of this happening in central and local government. But we also know that when it is found out, serious wrongdoing is investigated and prosecuted. That is one of our strengths.

“Another strength is our multiple ways of deterring and detecting public sector wrongdoing. Our score would further improve if more resources were provided to oversight organisations like the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and local government, for their promotion of good conduct, and detection and prevention of corruption.”

The global focus of the Corruption Perceptions Index this year is political integrity. Snively says that the 2020 national election provides a good opportunity to shine light on political integrity in New Zealand. “We must have high expectations of our national and local politicians. Any behaviour that tries to circumvent the electoral rules undermines the public’s trust in politicians. It is also important to actively oppose the cynical manipulation of social media, as recently seen in the United Kingdom and the United States. A healthy democracy needs active public awareness and involvement.”

TINZ has been arguing for a parliamentary code of conduct. “We expect more transparency around lobbying of MPs. And we think there is more that can be done to reduce the influence of funding from vested interests on political outcomes.”

Internationally there are many examples of grand corruption involving senior parliamentarians or government officials. Recently corruption in Malaysia, Brazil, Sudan, the Republic of Congo and Mozambique has been exposed. Such corruption results in large scale deprivation for the population. Avoiding this requires both good integrity systems and strong-willed citizens.

“New Zealand has a number of good checks and balances on those who hold power. We have an independent and effective judiciary and we uphold the rule of law. We have strong interest in national elections. A country that has strong integrity systems and active participation of citizens is much more likely to be able to prevent and detect political corruption,” notes Snively.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is an excellent tool for raising visibility to issues of international corruption. It is used worldwide for supporting trade and business decisions, directly helping New Zealand business’ bottom line. New Zealand’s businesses benefit from reduced corruption risk for better market access and ease of doing business.

New Zealanders as a whole, benefit because our high Corruption Perceptions Index ranking, endorses our values of integrity and fairness.

It is imperative that we continue to improve our public sector integrity, and not let our score slip. We know the value of integrity to our business and our social wellbeing. All New Zealanders will experience enduring benefits of enhanced wellbeing if our government can avoid complacency by continuing to improve on our top of world anti-corruption performance.


Background information for journalists

  1. Media Contacts

    Julie Haggie

    Chief Executive Officer

    Transparency International New Zealand

    +64 27 498 9126

    Julie.haggie@tinz.org.nz

    Suzanne Snively

    Chair

    Transparency International New Zealand

    64 21 925 689

    suzanne.snively@tinz.org.nz

  2. Benefit of strong integrity systems

    TINZ has identified seven important benefits for the New Zealand economy based on having strong integrity systems. These include:

    • a positive reputation and brand
    • greater customer loyalty
    • committed and engaged staff
    • easier market access
    • lower cost of business
    • increased returns on investments
    • improved access to capital
  3. About Transparency International

    Transparency International is a global civil society coalition based in Berlin, leading the fight against corruption. It compiles a number of measures of different aspects of corruption including the Corruption Perceptions Index, the Global Corruption Barometer, and the Bribe Payers Index. Information on Transparency International can be found at www.transparency.org.

  4. About the Corruption Perceptions Index

    The Corruption Perceptions Index scored and ranked 180 countries/territories based on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be. It is a composite index, a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of reputable institutions. The Corruption Perceptions Index is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide.

    CPI key measures used for New Zealand (and abbreviations)

      • Bertelsmann Foundation Sustainable Governance Indicators – BF SGI
      • Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Ratings – EIU CRR
      • Global Insight Country Risk Ratings – GI CRR
      • IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016 – IMD WCY
      • Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide – PRS ICRG
      • World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey – WEF EOS
      • World Justice Project Rule of Law Index – WJP RLI
      • Varieties of Democracy Project – V-Dem

    Top performers share key characteristics: high levels of press freedom; access to budget information so the public knows where money comes from and how it is spent; high levels of integrity among people in power; and judiciaries that don’t differentiate between rich and poor, independent from other parts of government.

    Detailed information about the Corruption Perceptions Index is at http://www.transparency.org/cpi and for New Zealand at https://www.transparency.org.nz/cpi/.

  5. About the New Zealand chapter of Transparency International

    The local chapter of Transparency International works to actively promote the highest levels of transparency, accountability, integrity and public participation in government and civil society in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Find TINZ at www.transparency.org.nz.

    Transparency International New Zealand has several projects designed to support greater integrity.  These can be viewed in our Annual Report, and include:

    Chief Executive Officer

    Julie Haggie

    Transparency International New Zealand

    +64 27 498 9126

    Julie.haggie@tinz.org.nz

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