22 February 2013

Last month, the New Zealand chapter of Transparency International was the first off the mark with an announcement of the outcome of the latest Open Budget Index. The index is compiled every two years from responses to 95 questions. (Murray Petrie who compiled the responses is a Deputy Chair of TINZ.) This year 100 countries were involved – another 20 apparently wanted to take part but unless their geography or economies have particular characteristics their involvement was not regarded by the organisers as enhancing the quality of the index.

New Zealand is now the world leader for budget transparency, moving from 2nd place in the 2010 index and switching with South Africa for the top place. Scoring 93 from a possible 100, aspects where New Zealand scores less well relate to public engagement – the extent to which the Executive, Legislature, and the Office of the Auditor General facilitate public participation in budget processes, and public debate on and scrutiny of the pre budget statement. The index compilers however say that “the state of budget transparency around the world is dismal: only a minority of governments publishes significant budget information.”

As in the last index, Australia ( and Japan ) do not feature. Today’s post on the Open and Shut blog seeks to explain why Australian interests have not ensured their national participation. The blogger’s suggestion is that Australia would be near the 100 mark.

Open Budget Index 2013

Rank Country
1 New Zealand
2 South Africa
3 United Kingdom
4 Sweden
5 Norway
6 France
7 United States
8 South Korea
9 Czech Republic
10= Russia
10= Slovenia