New Zealand has returned to the top spot of a global transparency ranking after it fell behind Scandinavian countries over the past three years.
The country tied with Denmark for first out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index. The list is based on the perceived level corruption in a country’s government. Those at the top are said to be the least corrupt.
All other countries in the top five are from Europe. Among Asia-Pacific states, New Zealand was followed by Singapore (7th) and Australia (13th).
New Zealand held first place in the list from 2006-2013. It stood at second in 2014 and fourth in 2015.
“A larger number of public sector agencies have integrated corruption prevention activities into their regular routine, in line with the northern European countries," said Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) Chair Suzanne Snively. “Significantly, they are moving from defensiveness and complacency, increasingly providing training and monitoring of bribery and corruption in order to stop it.”
Rankings were based on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). New Zealand scored 90, while the global average was just 43. Somalia placed last for the second year running with a score of 10.
Justice Minister Amy Adams enumerated Government initiatives that helped return New Zealand to the top spot. These include:
• introducing new bribery offences and increasing the penalties for bribery
• ratifying the United Nations Convention Against Corruption
• reviewing New Zealand’s extradition and mutual legal assistance laws to ensure they are efficient and effective
• fast-tracking the second phase of anti-money-laundering reforms
• contributing to global initiatives, such as the London Anti-Corruption Summit
“The Government takes corruption seriously and we’ll continue to work to protect New Zealand’s reputation as a fair and transparent nation to live in and do business with,” she said.
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