A major international study has ranked New Zealand sixth out of 99 countries when it comes to the quality of its legislative system.
The research and survey carried out by the World Justice Project, entitled the WJP Rule of Law Index 2014
, takes into account issues such as corruption (including government officials, judges and police officers), open government, constraints of government powers, regulatory enforcement and civil justice, among others.
New Zealand’s ranking places it below, in order from first to fifth: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands, but above Australia (7th
), Canada (11th
) and the United Kingdom (13th
However, while New Zealand performed very well in most other areas, concerns emerged surrounding corruption at a local government level (12% of respondents believe it exists, while 11% believe corrupt activity takes place among officers working in the national government), as well as a perceived lack of efficiency in the court system.
Many respondents expressed frustration with delays in the criminal court system, with the average score in this area sitting at 4.8 out of 10 (1 being a non-issue and 10 being a major issue). Similarly, a perceived shortage of judges and insufficient number of pro-bono lawyers for poor criminal defendants were also cited as issues effecting the quality of the New Zealand legal system.