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NZ first equal with lowest perceived corruption level

24 January 2020

New Zealand and Denmark are first equal in being ranked by Transparency International as being seen as having the least corrupt public sectors in the world.

The Corruptions Perception Index is compiled annually and ranks 180 countries by perceived levels of public sector corruption.

Over the past eight years New Zealand has vied for first ranked place with the least corrupt public sector with Denmark and Finland.

In 2018 New Zealand was second to Denmark, but the 2019 Index has both countries with a score of 87 out of 100, Denmark having dropped from 88 and New Zealand staying with the same score. New Zealand's 2019 score was down from 89 in 2017, when it was ranked first in the world.

The Chair of Transparency International New Zealand, 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 is that we have multiple ways of deterring and detecting public sector wrongdoing. With more resources to organisations like the SFO, FMA and local government to promote good conduct and to detect and prevent corruption, our score could improve."

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.

The key measures used for New Zealand in compiling the Index were:

  • Bertelsmann Foundation Sustainable Governance Indicators.
  • Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Ratings.
  • Global Insight Country Risk Ratings.
  • IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016.
  • Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide.
  • World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey.
  • World Justice Project Rule of Law Index.
  • Varieties of Democracy Project.

Transparency International says 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.

The ten countries perceived to have the least corrupt public sectors, 2019
ScoreCountryRank
87Denmark1
87New Zealand1
86Finland3
85Singapore4
85Sweden4
85Switzerland4
84Norway7
82Netherlands8
80Germany9
80Luxembourg9

Last updated on the 29th January 2020