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We don't know how lucky we are - worldwide corruption isn't improving

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

We don't know how lucky we are. It's a familiar saying to many of us and it hit home to me this week. Three new New Zealanders in our local government workshops commented, without prompting, that we didn't know how lucky we were to live with so little corruption.


Central and local government for them, in their home countries, was very different. Yes, they understood Aotearoa's problems with water, RMA reform etc. But they weren't systemic parts of government dysfunction they were used to.

I commented that we're always near the very top of Transparency International's perceived public sector corruption index. So, I checked the latest figures: the 2022 survey results of worldwide perceived corruption. We're equal second with Finland. The Scandinavians, and us, are always in the top bracket. Here's a reminder of the 2022 top rankings:

1. Denmark

2. Finland

2. New Zealand

4. Norway


Who's at the bottom? The three S's - all overrun by protracted conflicts.

178. South Sudan

178. Syria

180. Somalia


But we shouldn't get too complacent. 95% of countries have made little or no progress to combat corruption since 2017. Governments with high corruption levels tend to not protect their populations and people then turn their discontent into violence.


We'll be looking out for the 2023 index, to be released in January. Here's hoping we keep our near top spot.


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