NZ shines again in transparency poll

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 18:00 05/12/2012

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New Zealand's reputation for clean government continues to sparkle, as the country again comes out best in Transparency International's global corruption perceptions index.

It is the seventh year in a row that New Zealand, either on its own or tied with Nordic countries or Singapore, has topped the index for having the lowest perceived levels of public sector corruption.

In the 2012 report, released today, New Zealand is first-equal with Denmark and Finland.

The winners were helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of people in public positions, Transparency International said.

This year's index used an updated methodology that provided greater clarity on how it was constructed, making it easier to trace how data was rescaled for inclusion.

For the future, local chapter Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) recently launched a so-called national integrity system assessment to provide a more nuanced and detailed report on the country's vulnerability to corruption.

The assessment would provide the most detailed information yet about factors that caused New Zealand to consistently rank at the top, TINZ chairwoman Suzanne Snively said.

It would measure how well various state and non-state institutions contributed to preventing or mitigating corrupt activities, looking at institutions such as the media, parliament, political parties, the judiciary, the public service, and the private sector.

"The results will show where the integrity of New Zealand society and government is strongest and weakest," Snively said. 

"New Zealanders are recognising that not only is this ranking a source of pride, it represents a significant competitive advantage and economic benefits for New Zealand business."

Forbes magazine had ranked New Zealand first on its most recent list of the best countries for business thanks to a transparent and stable business climate.

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