New Zealand remains one of the top countries in the world for low levels of perceived corruption, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.
Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index released today ranked New Zealand second out of 175 countries. The index scores and ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be on a scale of zero to 100.
New Zealand retained last year’s score of 91, taking out second place to Denmark which moved up one point to 92.
Ms Adams says New Zealand’s high ranking reflects the Government and the public sector’s strong commitment to protecting New Zealanders’ rights and freedoms.
“New Zealand is perceived as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. We’ve got a strong track record of open and transparent government and our public sector is internationally renowned for low levels of corruption,” says Ms Adams.
“The Government is continually working to prevent and address the risk of corruption. Our robust legal frameworks encourage transparency, criminalise bribery and corruption, and facilitate collaboration with other countries to tackle such practices.
“I note Transparency International have noted a concern that we have not ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. However, the legislation to enable this has passed its first reading and is currently before a select committee for consideration.”
“This year we’ve progressed a range of initiatives to strengthen anti-corruption measures and further enhance transparency,” says Ms Adams.
Anti-corruption initiatives progressed by the Government this year include:
- introducing the Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill to strengthen New Zealand’s bribery and corruption offences
- formally joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP) which is a multilateral initiative aimed at promoting open and transparent government and fighting corruption
- enacting the Companies Amendment Act 2014 and the Limited Partnerships Amendment Act 2014 to prevent overseas criminals from using New Zealand’s companies registration systems to create shell companies
- implementing an information sharing agreement between Inland Revenue and the New Zealand Police
- reviewing New Zealand’s extradition and mutual legal assistance laws
- the Serious Fraud Office’s collaboration with Transparency International NZ and BusinessNZ to create a free online anti-corruption training course
- introducing the Crimes (Match-fixing) Amendment Bill to combat match-fixing risks during the Cricket World Cup and the FIFA Under 20 (football) World Cup.
Transparency International says corruption is threatening economic growth.
Poorly equipped schools, counterfeit medicine and elections decided by money are just some of the consequences of public sector corruption. Bribes and backroom deals don’t just steal resources from the most vulnerable – they undermine justice and economic development, and destroy public trust in government and leaders.
Based on expert opinion from around the world, the Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide, and it paints an alarming picture. Not one single country gets a perfect score and more than two-thirds score below 50, on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Corruption is a problem for all countries. A poor score is likely a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs. Countries at the top of the index also need to act. Leading financial centres in the EU and US need to join with fast-growing economies to stop the corrupt from getting away with it. The G20 needs to prove its global leadership role and prevent money laundering and stop secret companies from masking corruption.
New Zealand has topped the index for several years.
Our second place is due to Denmark’s improvement not a reduction in our own performance but it is not something about which we can be complacent.