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Clean and Green with Deepening Shadows? A Non-Complacent View of Corruption in New Zealand

Different Paths to Curbing Corruption

ISBN: 978-1-78190-730-6, eISBN: 978-1-78190-731-3

ISSN: 0732-1317

Publication date: 26 November 2013


New Zealand has long been regarded as a country with little or no governmental corruption. In recent times it has been ranked consistently as one of the five least corrupt countries in the world, on Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). In 2009 and 2011 it was ranked as the single most corruption-free country on the CPI, and in 2012 it shared first place with Denmark and Finland. This chapter examines the reasons why historically New Zealand has been largely free of governmental corruption, using widely accepted definitions of what constitutes corrupt behavior. It goes on to argue that, at least by its own normal standards, the country might now be more susceptible to corruption, for a variety of reasons, in both the public and private sectors, and that more political and administrative attention may need to be paid to this issue. This chapter discusses New Zealand’s surprising tardiness in ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption, an apparent reluctance that leaves the country sitting alongside other non-ratifying countries which have endemic levels of corruption in all its forms. In this context, this chapter also notes some international dissatisfaction with New Zealand’s anti-money laundering legislation, enacted in 2009.



The authors would like to thank their New Zealand colleagues, Peter Jones and John Martin, for their valuable contributions to our discussion in the historical section. The usual disclaimer applies.


Gregory, R. and Zirker, D. (2013), "Clean and Green with Deepening Shadows? A Non-Complacent View of Corruption in New Zealand", Different Paths to Curbing Corruption (Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 109-136.



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