The people who do the corruption rankings must be corrupt

Because New Zealand only fell one spot, to number two.

Colin Hamilton writes:

New Zealand has fallen from its top spot as the world’s least corrupt country being pushed out by Scandinavian nation Denmark.

In the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index released today New Zealand was ranked the second least corrupt out of 174 countries.

The index which compiled by Transparency International, ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.

A country’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

New Zealand’s score of 91 was second only to Denmark on 92.

Last year the two nations were tied on 91 and in 2012 they were tied on 90.

New Zealand was the only non-Scandinavian nation in the top five while Australia slipped out of the top 10 to eleventh place with a score of 80 points.

Now, depending on your political proclivities, you’d expect New Zealand to have plummeted.  Either because of the National Party and me, or because of Kim Dotcom, Hone Harawira, Laila Harre, Matt McCarten, David Cunliffe, Lyn Prentice, Martyn (Martin) Bradbury, and Russel Norman.

But either way, how did NZ only slip one rating point?

Bryce Edwards continues:

There is certainly something of a paradox in which New Zealand has a reputation as a politically clean country, but many of us experience something different. It could simply be that the international reports and investigations – which could be seen to have something of an elite-bias – do not capture the public experience. And in some respects they are blunt measures that cannot detect the more detailed dynamics of corruption and integrity in public life.

Perhaps for these reasons Transparency International also commissions other investigations and studies to provide complementary information on corruption. For example, last year’s Global Corruption Barometre showed a very different picture of public life in New Zealand. Based on surveys of public opinion, it showed that there is a crisis of confidence in many public institutions.

The results for this country show that political parties in particular are perceived as being corrupt, along with institutions such as Parliament and the media. For example, according to the survey, 75% of New Zealanders believe that political parties are affected by corruption. 12% believe the parties are ‘extremely corrupt’.

And what Bryce forgot to add was that we also have a problem with academics presenting themselves as neutral when there is sufficient prima facie evidence to prove otherwise.

Either way, I don’t think many of us would disagree that New Zealand still deserves to be at the top.  But it would be unfair to say that we haven’t noticed a general decline over the last 20 years where, how to put this tactfully, we lowered our own expectations as to what is acceptable and what is not.


– NZ Herald, Stuff


Footnote from Bryce
Disclosure: Bryce Edwards is on the Board of Directors of Transparency International New Zealand. However these comments are made in his personal capacity and should not in any way be seen as the view of Transparency International New Zealand.

That’s damned fascinating.  So people can wear different hats?  Like be a Prime Minister one minute, and a National Party leader the next?


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  • That’s interesting. New Zealand was as non-corrupt in 2014 as it was in 2013, and slightly less corrupt than it was in 2012. Personally, I’d say that is something to be hugely proud of; it certainly doesn’t suggest Transparency International believes the New Zealand Government indulges in Dirty Politics!

    • symgardiner

      That’s the key point… it was more Denmark got better rather than NZ getting worse.
      I don’t think the Kimmy “let me buy your country’s govt” scheme showed corruption. This is because the system worked and Kimmy, Hone and little nasty grey woman got their marching orders. In fact given Hone’s blatant abuse of the MP travel system, arguably his purging has been helpful to our overall score.

      • Euan Ross-Taylor

        I think those things will affect next years ranking. It seems they as they say Hagers book would have been too late to affect this years ranking.

        • DavidW

          It is a good bet that Bryce will ensure from the inside that it does not get overlooked in next year’s review at which point he can then write an independant commentary telling us how they have proven that his earlier views have been vindicated. Is that corruption?

      • mike

        KDC showed intent to corrupt the system… which was noticed by the population (well most of it) and rejected.

        We are not a corrupt country, there may be some rotten apples sitting around in some Government departments (or in the House itself) but overall the majority are not corrupt… maybe a bit self absorbed and perhaps a bit lazy, but not corrupt.

  • Euan Ross-Taylor

    Interesting that we did not slip ie go down, but Denmark got better so good on them! we remained as uncorrupt on 91 as we were the year before, but watch the opposition spin this as a decline!

    • symgardiner

      Stuff already did. The real opposition is the MSM.

      • Spiker

        Its also a hint of where the real corruption is.

  • phronesis

    There is one area of NZ public affairs that could do with a very strong light shed on it. Where does all the treaty settlement money / taniwha appeasement money actually go? I suspect Transparency International is blind to the colour brown. “It’s not corruption, it’s nepotism, I mean whanau, etc etc.”

  • cmm

    A couple of points:

    1) The actual ranking means nothing. There is no statistical difference between 90 and 95. It is only meaningful to rank countries with big differences (eg. USA scoring 81 and NZ scoring 91).

    2) This is a measure of perception of the country as a whole. Reliable systems can be constructed out of unreliable parts (or we would not have computers). We can have small cells of corruption without the whole country being corrupt.

  • wanarunna

    It is interesting how the various newspapers portray this. The ODT line is that NZ has been toppled as the least corrupt country. Not strictly correct when the country that ‘toppled’ us was also previously the least corrupt country. Bryce Edwards article also confuses ranking with rating. We may have changed from first equal to second, but our rating remains unchanged. We haven’t slipped, Denmark has just better.

    The news media will however spin this to suit their narrative. They always will.

  • sheppy

    Its a pity in many ways that they don’t have a reward for honest media reporting, we’d be a long way down on that measure courtesy of the Herald / Stuff / TV3 / the rest of them

  • caochladh

    The only people that take any notice of the Edwards Muppet are the card carrying, dyed in the wool left leaning drones whom Edwards continually whips into a frenzy with his slanted dribble.

  • 12% believe the parties are ‘extremely corrupt’.

    Isn’t 12% about the total number of people who voted for MegaMana and the Greens? All the tinfoil hat-wearers and conspiracy nutters…

  • Neutral academic, now there’s a contradiction in terms.

  • BJ

    Bryce is transparent alright. One can see right through him.

  • Huia

    Shows you what all that negative garbage being published can achieve.
    Kick your own country as hard and as loud as you can causing it to drop in a world survey. I wish these barrow pushers could see further than their own agenda and concentrate on ways to better the country and the people. Negatively damaging to moral, business and a whole raft of things.
    Academic’s know everything apparently (yeah right), a lot of puffery from people who could never exist and survive out of the shadow of their safe little offices in a University/teaching environment.

  • Benoni

    Our most festering sore of corruption is the MSM. They should be acting as an antibiotic on the sore of corruption on the body politic instead they are an ongoing source of infection and corruption themselves. Without whaleoil, kiwiblog , Hosking NZ media would be totally corrupt.

  • Alexander K

    Working in the UK for a number of years showed me that us Kiwis are much less willing to accept less than that which we believe to be honest, right and proper in all matters. I was stunned by the general lack of ethics displayed by large corporations, politicians and civil servants alike there. The level of vote-rigging, electoral fraud and general rippiing-off of Joe and Josephine Public which is accepted at every level of society in the UK is revealed from time to time by a few excellent investigative journalists but hardly creates a ripple.
    Sadly, our MSM is almost Leftard to a man, but a few shining exceptions give us hope!

  • William Felt

    Hang on wasn’t it Transparency International NZ that had that Lawyer CV fraudster as a Director? Maybe they disqualified NZ from the top spot so as not to have to explain away this.

  • 1951

    There is a certain leader of a supercity whose behavior alone would make me place at the top of the suspect list. Had he been included in this article, maybe we should have dropped further.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    What a crack up. Edwards is becoming increasingly irrelevant and he inevitably randomly selects what others say which is aligned to his thinking.
    The Green/Red machine is constantly making claims of “corruption” and one wonders if they understand the term when it directed at “who paid for lunch”. They really don’t really seem to have any real comprehension.
    It is no surprise that NZ sits at No2 and will likely flit between the top spot and there for a long time.
    Honesty and integrity are part of our DNA as is DIY but too many who have not had a chance to travel beyond the limits of Kiwi Rail miss the chance to get a glimpse if the big picture. Trading in a foreign country where as well as a language challenge, where corruption is rampant introducing an element of mutual trust can be very interesting. After the language barrier has been hurdled the easiest way in is through their sense of pride and dignity valued well above corruption. Job done.
    Kiwi’s sense of fair play is the cornerstone of our existence and is some consolation to many done wrong by other who know that the truth will prevail and some form retribution will come in some form.
    It was amusing also to read the comments elsewhere that current or pending new trade arrangements might be cause for concern in maintaining or ranking. It seemed to imply our representatives may be tainted by the actions of the trading partner. Yeah right. The footnote above seemed to nullify that speculation.