Corruption undermines democracy and the rule of law and threatens domestic and international security. Corruption may also have adverse social and economic consequences for a country. The Corruption Perceptions Index is a good proxy indicator of the values and norms that underpin public institutions.
The Corruption Perceptions Index is a subjective measure that should be seen as a snapshot view of key decision-makers. There is no hard empirical data on levels of corruption. The only method of gathering comparative data is to build on the experience and perceptions of those who are most directly confronted with corruption.
Current Level And Trends
Since the Index was first developed in 1995, New Zealand has demonstrated consistently low levels of perceived corruption. New Zealand's worst score was in 1997 with a score of 9.23.
In 2003, Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index ranked New Zealand as the third least corrupt nation in the OECD, with a score of 9.5 out of 10.66 This was very high compared to the OECD median of 7.55. New Zealand is consistently ranked in the top four countries of the OECD, with first place in 1995 and 1996. In 2003, Finland was ranked the least corrupt nation in the OECD with a score of 9.7.
New Zealand has very low levels of perceived corruption compared to Australia (eighth place, 8.8), Canada (11th equal, 8.7), the United Kingdom (11th equal, 8.7), and the United States (18th place, 7.5).
Figure CP4.1 Absence of corruption in OECD countries, 2003
Source: Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 1995-2003