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Media release

Chief Ombudsman applauds No.1 global ranking in Transparency International index

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Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier says New Zealand should feel proud that it has once again topped a global index of perceptions of anti-corruption levels in the public sector and judiciary.

According to the Transparency International 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), New Zealand shares the top spot with Denmark and Finland with a score of 88 out of 100.

New Zealand and Denmark were first-equal in 2020, also with scores of 88.

“New Zealand has been in either first or second spot of the CPI since 2004, something we should be immensely proud of,” Peter Boshier says.

“Because of the way the index is done – on how corrupt a country is perceived to be by business leaders and experts, and with so many indicators considered – there is potential for countries to easily slip down the rankings.

“It is a mark of maturity as a nation that New Zealand has retained a steady ranking for close to two decades.

“We are living in difficult times, where conspiracy theories and mistrust seem so easily spread. That New Zealand is seen as being very close to corruption-free means our democracy is getting it about right,” Mr Boshier says.

But he cautioned that there are still areas where New Zealand could do better.

“It is now more than ever that we need information to flow freely between the New Zealand public and its government.

“My office is always busy with complaints about organisations including government and council agencies, about general conduct and decisions on information requests.

“Agencies need to ensure that they are following the laws in good faith so that our citizens have confidence in our system,” Mr Boshier says.

“This year we celebrate 40 years of the Official Information Act. This legislation is the corner stone of our democracy – cementing the rights of the New Zealand public to access official information.

“During these challenging times – when the Government is making decisions in response to COVID-19 that can have a profound impact on people’s lives and livelihoods – my Office will continue to play a critical oversight role by investigating and reporting on its activities and providing advice and guidance on good decision-making processes and practices.

“Transparency promotes accountability and trust and confidence in the Government’s decisions. It ensures people are being treated fairly and is one of our country’s strongest antidotes to conspiracy and corruption.”

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