International rankings and our own research show that trust and confidence of New Zealanders in our Public Service is important to effectively operate in our communities.

In order to operate effectively in our communities and make a difference, the Public Service needs to have the trust and confidence of New Zealanders. To maintain this trust and confidence, we need to be able to show we are trustworthy, that we act in the interests of New Zealand and its people.

OECD evidence shows that public service values, such as integrity, fairness, and openness are strong predictors of public trust. Integrity is the single largest driver of public trust. In addition, the competence of the public service is critical. We must be responsive and reliable, as well as anticipating new needs.

Te Kawa Mataaho has explored the drivers of public trust in New Zealand. We found that experiencing services that met needs, being treated fairly, experiencing reliable services, and having public servants admit responsibility when mistakes are made were key drivers of trust.

More on our work supporting integrity and conduct

Information about the Open Government Partnership, an international initiative to make government more open, accountable and responsive to citizens.

Latest measure of trust in the Public Service

Headline Measures as at April 2021:

  • 79% of New Zealanders trust public services based on their personal service experience.
  • Trust in the public sector brand is 63%, down from its latest high of 69%.
  • Trust in the private sector brand is 50%, up from 48% and a new high.

See our Kiwis Count survey page for more information.

International rankings

Across a range of international indexes, New Zealand ranks as a world-leader in trust and confidence in government. Globally, trust in government was declining in many countries even before the pandemic, and only 45% of OECD citizens trusted their national government in 2019. Most OECD countries experienced a decline in public trust between 2007 and 2019, while New Zealand had the opposite. In Kiwis Count, the Te Kawa Mataaho survey of public trust and confidence, there has been a long-term gradual upward trend in public trust since 2007.

New Zealand was already a leader in trust across a range of international studies even before Covid, for example InCiSE and Transparency International.​ Our all-of-government response to Covid has continued to win recognition internationally, such as in the Bloomberg ranking and World Economic Form 2020 report.​

New Zealand performance in international rankings related to trust in the Public Service

Tied 1st

Transparency International 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index

2nd Place

The International Civil Service Effectiveness (InCiSE) Index 2019

Tied 2nd Place

Strong Institutions in Chandler Good Government Index 2021 ability of multiple government agencies to act coherently and collaboratively, as well as capability and performance of the Public Service

99/100

Freedom in the World 2021 Report including 40/40 for political rights and 59/60 for civil liberties

4th Place

The Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index 2020

New Zealand performance in international rankings related to Covid response and recovery

2nd Place

Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking as at 26 April 2021

2nd Place

Lowy Institute Covid Performance Index as at 13 March

3rd Place

World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness ranking 2020

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