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New Zealand Retains Top Ranking In Annual Corruption Perceptions Index

New Zealand is once again ranked least corrupt in the world by Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index. This year New Zealand’s score of 88 out of 100 is unchanged resulting in it being first equal with Denmark and Finland.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is the leading global indicator of public sector corruption. The index scores 180 countries and territories based on expert perceptions of public sector and judicial corruption. This year’s index shows that corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide, with 86 percent of countries making little to no progress in the last 10 years.

For New Zealand this is recognition of the efforts of public sector leaders, as well as the expectations placed on them by citizens - for transparency, integrity and accountability.

“International recognition for low levels of corruption is essential to New Zealand’s trade dependent economy,” says Anne Tolley, Chair of Transparency International New Zealand. “Solid credit ratings and lower costs of contracting and compliance allow us to remain competitive internationally. Maintaining active vigilance against corruption has significant financial value to the country”

Human Rights and Corruption

The 2021 CPI Transparency International found countries that violate civil liberties consistently score lower on the CPI. Complacency in fighting corruption exacerbates human rights abuses and undermines democracy, setting off a vicious spiral. As these rights and freedoms erode and democracy declines, authoritarianism takes its place, contributing to even higher levels of corruption.

“New Zealand scores well on many indicators, but we can’t afford to be complacent and we still have work to do.” says Julie Haggie, Chief Executive of Transparency International New Zealand. “We need to make sure that we restrict the flow of non-transparent money in and out of New Zealand. We need more transparent public procurement, more protection for whistleblowers and more transparency of political party funding.”

“We expect complaints from people who believe that curtailing our rights under red light restrictions are evidence of corruption” says Haggie. “We don’t agree with that - the restrictions are necessary to protect public health. New Zealanders are more likely to accept restrictions if they know that they are timebound, rolled back as soon as possible, and if there is transparency around the decision-making processes,” adds Haggie.

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