Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Something to be proud of

New Zealand has once again topped Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index , ranking as the least corrupt country in the world. But while that's good news, its not as good as it sounds - our score actually dropped from last year, from 9.4 to 9.3. In other words, we're heading in the wrong direction. The reason seems primarily to be laziness and a non-awareness of the potential problem (something that's easy to understand given the absence of corruption in our society). For example

Only 44% of companies on the NZX50 have policies prohibiting bribery & corruption (this compares with 72% in the UK and 68% in the US) Only 14% of companies listed on the NZX 50 have sought to control the way in which facilitation payments are made by adding restrictions into their codes of conduct Only 10% prohibit facilitation payments altogether.

Mr Tan says “When we look at the study results for the NZX50 and then factor in the 2010 CPI results of some of our major trading partners, for example China is 78th with a composite score of 3.5, we believe there is a real risk that New Zealand organisations do not take the risks of bribery and corruption seriously when operating offshore.”

But its not just our business community which is lax - our government still hasn't ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption, despite having signed it back in 2003, and our anti-corruption law is weak by international standards. If we want to retain that top spot, clearly we need to do better.