Corruption Perceptions Index

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys."


On 3 December 2013, The Transparency International Secretariat in Berlin released its annual Global Corruption Perceptions Index. The Index, which ranks the public sector of 177 countries across the world, has consistently shown New Zealand as a country with a strong reputation for clean government. For 2013 Denmark and New Zealand tie for first place in the index due to perceptions that their public sectors have the lowest levels of corruption.

While welcoming this recognition for New Zealand, the local chapter of Transparency International is promising that its soon to be released assessment of New Zealand's integrity, Integrity Plus New Zealand 2013 National Integrity System Assessment, will provide a much more detailed report on the country's vulnerability to corruption.

Chair of Transparency International New Zealand, and Co-Chair of the National Integrity System assessment, Suzanne Snively said, "The annual perceptions index ranks New Zealand highly. Our collective role now is to ensure the reality and the perception match.

"The ambitious National Integrity System assessment to be released on 9 December gives the most comprehensive answer yet to the question, 'What factors cause New Zealand to rank consistently at the top and in which areas are we weak?"

The National Integrity Assessment will provide a measure on how well various state and other institutions contribute to preventing or mitigating corrupt activities. Transparency International’s is running a ruler over institutions such as Parliament, political parties, the judiciary, the public service, the watchdog organisations, media and the private business sector to assess where the integrity of New Zealand society and government is both strongest and weakest.

Ms Snively said "New Zealanders are recognizing that not only is this perception ranking of our integrity a source of pride, it represents a significant competitive advantage and economic benefits for New Zealand business.

"The extent to which our income producing sectors can leverage the potential offered from this enhanced reputation will however be determined by how we actively protect and treasure our reputation.

"Valuing our countries integrity based on perceptions of others is one thing; however having our integrity valued by our actions and deeds is a completely different matter. It is up to us all to ensure we promote good governance and ethical practices in our region".


About the Corruption Perceptions Index

Produced annually by Transparency International the CPI ranks countries on a scale from 100 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt) based on external surveys and assessments from 13 reputable international organizations.  The CPI measures perception of corruption due to the difficulty of measuring absolute levels of corruption.

First released in 1995, it is the best known of TI’s tools. It has been widely credited with putting TI and the issue of corruption on the international policy agenda.

New Zealand CPI

The Index has consistently shown New Zealand as a country with low levels of corruption in its public sector. Since its inception, the country has always scored in the 98th percentile, with a score of 90 in 2012, and ranks either at the top or within the top three countries in the world.

The CPI focus is on corruption of public officials and government entities. 

What Factors Cause New Zealand to Rank Consistently at the Top of the CPI?

The TINZ 2013 Integrity Plus National Integrity System Assessment provides insight into the strengths of New Zealand's institutions and their contribution to our corruption intolerant society. 

Factors that contribute to New Zealand's strength include:

  • Historic leadership in human rights such as universal suffrage since 1893
  • Merit-based public service originating with the Public Service Act 1912.
  • The strong role played by the Ombudsman and Auditor General
  • Strong and enforceable code of law
  • A well educated population

Risks to New Zealand's Historic Strong CPI

There are a number of factors that could lead to increased levels of corruption in New Zealand and a lower international perception.

  • Complacency and lack of awareness
  • Changing trading patterns
  • Lack of controls in the massive Christchurch recovery effort

Note:  There is a highly significant correlation between real gross domestic product per capita and CPI ranking; New Zealand is an exception with a markedly lower GDP/Capita. 

Benefits of Low Corruption

  • Low corruption leads to a higher quality of life by ensuring proper use of resources.
  • Economic benefits accrue because:
    • High trust reduces business contracting costs
    • Project cost risk is reduced because bribe and facilitation payments are unlikely
    • Surveys indicate that individuals and businesses will pay premium prices to trade with ethical partners

Previous Articles and Reports

2012 Corruption Perceptions Index The 2012 CPI places Denmark, Finland and New Zealand in a tie for first place helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions. 5 Dec, 2012


Recent Activity

NZ Rugby Union Makes Strong Stand Against Corruption in Sport New Zealand Rugby announced yesterday it was prohibiting everyone involved in professional, semi-professional, or any Rugby where players are paid, from betting on all forms of rugby anywhere in the world. 2 Apr, 2014

Policy Implications of Transparency International New Zealand Integrity Plus 2013 National Integrity System Assessment On 14 March 2014 key leaders of the Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment presented a recap of its findings and discussed implementation during a presentation at the Department of Treasury 14 Mar, 2014

Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 For 2013 Denmark and New Zealand tie for first place in Transparency International's annual Global Corruption Perceptions Index due to perceptions that their public sectors have the lowest levels of corruption. 3 Dec, 2013

New Zealand To Ratify UNCAC 10 Years after signing the United Nations Convention against Corruption, New Zealand appears ready to ratify it. 8 Nov, 2013

New Zealand Joins The Open Government Partnership Media Release Transparency International New Zealand Welcomes Prime Minister's News: NZ to join Open Government Partnership. 19 Sep, 2013