New Zealand's score slips in latest Corruption Perceptions Index

Aotearoa is now ranked in third place, behind Denmark and Finland.
Aotearoa is now ranked in third place, behind Denmark and Finland. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Aotearoa has fallen to third in the latest global corruption rankings, according to Transparency International's newest report.

New Zealand fell two places in the 2023 Corruptions Perceptions Index (CPI) published on Tuesday, behind Denmark and Finland.

We haven't been placed third since 2012.

The CPI gathers data from people in 180 countries and territories on how people perceive corruption in their country's public service. 

New Zealand scored 85 out of 100 in the CPI. Higher scores mean lower perceived corruption.

'Complacency is not an option'

Anne Tolley, chair of Transparency International NZ and a former National MP, said despite our low levels of corruption, "complacency is not an option".

"Maintaining low levels of corruption is essential for our economy and for our values of fairness and accountability."

The drop in ranking was attributed to one part of the CPI, called the Executive Opinion Survey.

Respondents were asked how common it is for businesses to make undocumented payments or bribes to do with trade, taxes, public services, or government contracts.

It also asked how common it was for public funds to be funnelled to other individuals or groups.

'High-profile prosecutions'

Julie Haggie, CEO of Transparency International NZ, said there is more to learn about why Aotearoa fell in the corruption rankings.

"There were a number of high-profile prosecutions during the last year in areas such as fraud, tax evasion and COVID subsidy-related fraud prosecutions."

Haggie also said scammers were a growing problem for Kiwis, and that more transparency is needed for government spending.

"When times are tough people are keener to know where revenue is spent, and whether everyone is paying their fair share and having the same opportunities."

Running since 1995, the CPI uses data from the World Bank, the World Economic Forum (WEF), private actuarial and consulting companies, plus think tanks and other sources.