Published : 26 January 2022

New Zealand has again been ranked first equal, along with Denmark and Finland, as the country considered to be the least corrupt.

The recently released 2021 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index measures how corrupt a country’s public sector and judiciary is perceived to be. It is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide. New Zealand has consistently ranked first or second in the Index over the past decade.

“The integrity of the New Zealand Public Service and judiciary has again kept us at the top of the Corruption Perceptions Index. This is a formidable achievement,” said Transparency International New Zealand Chief Executive Julie Haggie.

“New Zealand has an enviable international reputation for its neutral, trusted Public Service,” said Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes.

“To be named among the best in the world is a huge vote of trust and confidence in our Public Service.”

The latest Te Kawa Mataaho Kiwis Count quarterly survey shows that New Zealanders’ trust and confidence in the Public Service also remains high.

Kiwis Count asks New Zealanders for their views and experiences on the public services they have received and their trust in the public and private sectors.

The survey found 81 percent of New Zealanders trust public services based on their personal experience, while trust in the Public Service brand sits at 62 percent – compared to 49 percent in the private sector.

These numbers are slightly down from the previous quarter, but there has been a long-term gradual upward trend in public trust over time. In 2012 the survey found 72 percent of New Zealanders trusted public services based on experience, while 41 percent trusted in the Public Service brand.

“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 COVID times, this is even more the case,” said Mr Hughes.

“Public servants work every day delivering vital services and work hard to earn the trust and confidence of New Zealanders.

“These results are a reflection of their hard work and integrity,” said Mr Hughes.

Te Taunaki, the inaugural 2021 Public Service Census, gave insights into the perceptions and motivations of public servants. It showed that most public servants (78 percent) have a high degree of trust in their colleagues to do what’s right – and that 84 percent of participants were motivated to stay working in the Public Service because their work contributes positively to society.

“The challenge now is to maintain our excellent reputation,” said Mr Hughes.

“We will continue to work hard to do that.”

Transparency International published its Corruption Perceptions Index on 25 January 2022.

The Kiwis Count Survey is conducted via an online panel. The latest survey was conducted in December 2021.

Te Taunaki represents the views and experiences of about 40,000 public servants. New Zealand’s first Public Service Census took place in May and June 2021, with results published on Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission’s website.

There is more information about trust and confidence in the Public Service on the website, including the OECD’s selection of New Zealand for a country study on the drivers of public trust, based on our response to the COVID pandemic and high levels of trust in public institutions.

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Media queries: Grahame Armstrong 021 940 457 or grahame.armstrong@publicservice.govt.nz

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