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NZ among the least corrupt public sectors in the world

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand has again been ranked as having one of the least corrupt public sectors and judiciaries in the World.

The Corruption Perceptions Index (TI-CPI) released today by Berlin based Transparency International has New Zealand dropping its score to come second after Denmark, whose overall score stayed the same.

Since the inception of the TI-CPI in 1995, New Zealand has vied for first place with the Scandinavian countries. For the 2017 TI-CPI, Denmark came second to New Zealand.

New Zealand's drop in ranking is primarily due to poorer results from the survey conducted by one of the 13 sources of the TI-CPI, the World Economic Forum's Executive Opinion Survey.

Because of the closeness of the TI-CPI values amongst the top-ranked group of countries, it is unclear if this change for New Zealand is a one-time deviation or a warning from executives of emerging concerns here.

The Chair of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ), Suzanne Snively, said "Our public sector ranks very highly internationally, but we must resist complacency. We have a lot to lose if this fall were to continue, which would reflect a belief that there was a decline in the integrity of public administration in New Zealand. Our public sector, of which we should be very proud, has been ranked in the top five for the whole 25 years of the TI-CPI."

In contrast, the ranking of two of our major trading partners, China and the United States, has fallen to new lows.

"We know corruption exists in New Zealand, as exemplified by the recent case of bribery at Auckland Transport which saw two senior executives sent to prison last year. The recent NZTA case of bribes for driver's licences is another example. These cases illustrate the nature of corruption and the need for strong integrity systems to identify and manage the risk of it," says Snively.

The prevention of corruption is too often a low priority - partly because of the perception that we don't have a problem. On closer inspection, the lack of prevention has resulted in high costs, particularly in the business sector, with evidence of money laundering and major fraud investigations from the Serious Fraud Office. It reported successful prosecutions for $188 million of alleged fraud during the 2017/18 year.

To maintain world leadership, New Zealand needs to:

Take a stronger approach towards corrupt business practices, transparency of corporate and trust ownership, and protection of whistleblowers

Hold our business and non-profit sectors to the same high standards

Set the "tone at the top" by extending the Official Information Act, introducing a code of conduct for Parliament and increased transparency around lobbying

Be open about incidents that involve corruption, immediately when they are discovered.

Lyn Provost, Patron of Transparency International New Zealand, said "the international perception of New Zealand as an open country free from corruption is a key driver of New Zealand's reputation as a good place to do business and a safe place to travel. This reputation is hugely valuable to NZ Inc. We must be vigilant in maintaining that reputation".

Rebecca Smith, Director of the New Zealand Story notes that New Zealand ranks fifth in the Reputation Institute's 2018 Country Reputation study.

Smith says "Being seen as an ethical country with high transparency and low corruption is an important factor in driving favourability and consideration for New Zealand globally. It is encouraging to once again see New Zealand at the top of the Corruption Perceptions Index."

Compiled annually by Berlin-based Transparency International, the TI-CPI ranks countries worldwide by perceived levels of public sector corruption using 13 international data sources and risk assessments, 8 which are applied to calculate New Zealand's score. It does not measure corruption in the non-profit or business sectors.

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