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New Zealand shares the top slot with Denmark  in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.


(TI CPI) has found that the New Zealand and Denmark public sectors are the least corrupt in the world.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is the leading global indicator of public sector corruption. Compiled by Berlin-based Transparency International (TI), it is a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of corruption world-wide, arrived at by scoring and ranking the public sectors in countries from all over the globe. This year’s Index encompasses 176 countries.

When the Corruption Perceptions Index is produced each year, it reinforces the global importance of transparency in the public sector.

“Our public sector agencies have focused successfully on developing processes that prevent corruption and these contribute to New Zealand’s stand-out reputation for a trusted public sector” says Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) Chair, Suzanne Snively. “New Zealand trades on its low corruption reputation and we are increasingly finding how to transfer these behaviours from our public to our private sector to leverage off this enviable reputation for integrity.”

“Our public servants from throughout the country have a right to celebrate this news. The TI-CPI proves that they are working to do a good job preventing corrupt behaviour.”

Deloitte Partner, Barry Jordan notes: “It’s tremendous to see Transparency International’s latest score for New Zealand. In recent years, New Zealand’s regulators, law enforcement officers, public sector organisations and professional services firms have all invested considerably more in identifying and preventing bribery and corruption. This helps build public trust and business confidence.”

“A larger number of public sector agencies have integrated corruption prevention activities into their regular routine, in line with the northern European countries,” adds Snively. “Significantly, they are moving from defensiveness and complacency, increasingly providing training and monitoring of bribery and corruption in order to stop it.”

She continues, “Most importantly, we have noticed a growing awareness that public sector leaders can inspire businesses and communities to also build on the value integrity contributes to creating a more prosperous society.”

The biggest challenge for New Zealand public servants to maintain a top ranking on the TI-CPI has been a tendency to become complacent. The prevention of corruption can be regarded as a lesser priority, given all the other pressures, including earthquakes, the global financial crisis and the consequent reductions in baseline funding.

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) is one of around 100 local chapters of Berlin-based Transparency International. It is one of only 22 Chapters from countries with a reputation as low corruption environments. For many of the other chapters, corruption is such a major part of daily life that they are focused on enforcement and often unable to experience the positive impact of corruption-prevention measures.

TINZ Patron Sir Don notes that: “as a previous Commonwealth Secretary General, I am conscious of the unique features of the New Zealand’s trustworthy public service. The TI -CPI score is an independent and objective assessment and is sending a clear message to anyone skeptical about the integrity of our public service. It’s time to work harder and harvest the benefits of this authentic brand, to increase sales and profits creating jobs and widening the tax base to invest in essential services like education and healthcare.”

Rebecca Smith, Executive Director of the New Zealand Story, commended Transparency International NZ for its clarity and sense of purpose. “With a public sector that works assiduously to build strong integrity systems, it becomes easier for business to gain market access offshore. There are clear material as well as moral benefits associated with transparency and integrity.

Corruption erodes trust and makes the powerful more powerful.

Topping the index doesn’t mean there is no corruption and we need continued vigilance to detect and deter it.

The benefits to New Zealand, New Zealanders, visitors and those with whom we trade from our reputation for relative lack of corruption are immeasurable.

First place in the TI CPI follows top ranking in Legatum’s prosperity index and the World Bank’s ease of doing business report.

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