9 July 2013

The Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer published today indicates a frequency of bribe paying in New Zealand that will be regarded with disbelief by most.

Of the 114,000 people in 107 countries who were asked earlier this year whether they had paid a bribe “when interacting with key public institutions and services”, 27% indicated that they had.

Of the 1,000 New Zealanders taking part in the survey, 3% responded that they had paid such a bribe in the last 12 months.  They said they had done so –

  • To obtain a service           (35%)
  • To get a cheaper service  (29%)
  • To speed things up           (15%)
  • To show gratitude            (15%)

New Zealand respondents considered that

  • Government actions to fight corruption are ineffective    (44%)
  •  Corruption levels are increasing                                               (65%)

There seems to be an inexplicable disconnect between this survey and similar measures of interactions with public services.

When instances of an agency employee receiving a personal benefit occasionally come to light there is almost universal surprise within the State Services.  Survey responses indicating that payments are regularly paid for service delivery or to accelerate service delivery would seem incredible were it not that the previous survey produced a similar measure.

Frequency of Respondents saying they have paid a bribe in last 12 months

Judiciary                               3%

Police                                     3%

Utilities                                 3%

Land services                       3%

Permit services                    3%

Tax services                          2%

Health services                    2%

(Respondents in Denmark and Finland report between 0 -2% for these factors)

Perceived corruption of New Zealand public services or institutions

Political parties                      46%

Media                                       43%

Business                                  36%

Religious bodies                    35%

Parliament                              33%

Public officials                       25%

Police                                       24%

Judiciary                                20%

NGOs                                      19%

Health services                     17%

Education services               16%

Military                                   11%