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Defense Integrity Index Media Release

The combined defence sector in New Zealand is ranked the most transparent and least corrupt in the world in the just released Government Defence Integrity Index (GDI).

Out of 86 countries in the latest index New Zealand’s defence sector sits alone in the "A" Band, recognising its strong integrity systems across risk areas of personnel, procurement, operations, political, and finance.

This sits in stark contrast to its allies, many of whom - such as Australia, UK and Canada - have slumped. .

According to the 2021 report “New Zealand’s extremely robust defence governance standards ... help to minimise corruption risk throughout the sector. External oversight of defence is effective, while transparency is strong throughout, including with regards to financial management.”

The GDI is undertaken by Transparency International (Defence and Security) based in the UK. The index is the world’s leading assessment of corruption risks in defence establishments.

Transparency International - Defence and Security's team of experts include in-country and external assessors and reviewers consider 77 areas within the broad risks areas, with the aim of producing a detailed assessment of the integrity of national defence institutions.

In areas where New Zealand can stand to improve, the report indicated that the general poor level of regulation around political lobbying reduces resilience against corruption in the defence area. Other areas for improvement are military doctrine (including improving a culture of speaking up about wrongdoing), active monitoring against corruption in operations, and controls in contracting.

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“The Band A ranking for New Zealand is evidence of the work that has gone on to strengthen integrity frameworks across defence services”, says Julie Haggie, CEO of Transparency International New Zealand. “We welcome the opportunity to talk with defence agencies about the implications of the country profile, and areas for further improvement. The need for greater transparency in lobbying and influence practices is not confined to the defence sector. We will continue our advocacy on that point.”

Produced by Transparency International Defence & Security, the GDI recognises that corruption within the defence and security sector limits a country’s ability to defend itself and weakens public institutions.

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