15 September 2015

The anniversary of the 1940 turning point in the Battle of Britain  is coincidentally in the week when a measure of good government, an ideal presumably underpinning the Allied endeavours on the Second World War, has been published.

Good government flows from good information being publicly available about the actions of government. An informed public is able to influence government for the public good. Self evident indicators of government transparency are the availability of information on national revenue and expenditure, and the quality and independence of the agency auditing that information.

That’s what the Open Budget Index provides. Collated every two or three years, the OBI is a comparative measure of central government budget transparency. There are 102 countries evaluated in the fifth OBI that was published this week. Countries are rated on a 100 point scale against a 140 questions focusing on the accessibility and timeliness of budgetary information.

New Zealand ranks first in the 2015 Open Budget Index, as it did in 2012. It was the “runner up” in 2010. This year the five countries rated highest for the openness and quality of budgetary information are;

New Zealand


South Africa


United States

Interestingly, South Africa  consistently scores well on the OBI although is not well rated on the Corruption Perceptions Index (67th in 2014 with a rating of 44) compared with New Zealand ( 2nd  in 2014 with a rating of 91).

Australia is not included in the OBI.