New Zealand loses first place in corruption-free rankings

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The Corruption Perceptions Index (TI-CPI) – created by Berlin-based Transparency International – has seen New Zealand’s drop its score fraud and corruption perception to come second after Denmark.

Since the inception of the Index in 1995, New Zealand has vied for first place with the Scandinavian countries. According to the report’s authors, New Zealand’s fraud and corruption perception 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.”

“Our public sector ranks very highly internationally, but we must resist complacency,” says Suzanne Snively, Chair of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ).

“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.”

“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.

Corruption = low priority

According to Transparency International, the prevention of corruption is too often a low priority – partly because of the perception that New Zealand doesn’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,” says the group. “It reported successful prosecutions for $188 million of alleged fraud during the 2017/18 year.”

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.

View more results from the Index here.

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