3 December 2013

Another year gone. Another year when New Zealand has been rated as having the world’s least corrupt public administration.  This year Denmark is up there with us. Last year Finland was there also. In each of the last six years New Zealand has ranked among the least corrupt.  Since the survey began in 1995 our public sector has always ranked among the five least corrupt.  Perhaps that is why most of us are not particularly moved by the occasion.

At the Institute of Public Administration (IPANZ) end of year function this evening (at which David Farrar, Mark Unsworth and  Linda Clark shared their entertaining assessments on the year in politics)  four people commented to me on the absence of blog posts recently ( and one person who I thought would comment said nothing)  but only one person commented on the publication today of the results of the 2013  Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.  The CPI is the validation of good government. It is an assessment of perception, but the perception of the experts making the assessment is close to reality.  New Zealand’s public administration can be proud of the fact that by international standards, it continues to be seen as largely corruption-free. Good government is based on public trust and confidence. The CPI confirms that New Zealanders can be confident that their public officials are trustworthy and (with remarkably few exceptions) are imbued with the spirit of service as required by the State Sector Act.

It is interesting to see how countries move in and out of the least corrupt rankings. Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Singapore have also been positioned at times alongside New Zealand. It is interesting to characterise these highest ranking countries. They are small,  developed, democratic, largely egalitarian economies, with a strong focus on the rule of law. New Zealand however is a much less homogenous society than the Scandinavian countries that are similarly well ranked (and Singapore, which is the best of class in Asia).

This year’s placings are not dissimilar to previous years – although Iceland continues to slide.

2013 2012
New Zealand 1 1
Denmark 1 1
Finland 3 1
Sweden 4 4
Norway 5 7
Singapore 5 5
Switzerland 7 6
Netherlands 8 9
Australia 9 7
Canada 9 9

( And the reason for the hiatus in postings is that my laptop has packed up on me!)