Wednesday, July 10, 2013

More corrupt than we think

Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer has some bad news for New Zealand: 3% of us paid a bribe for public services in the last year:

The New Zealand component of the survey involved 1000 New Zealanders and was undertaken by Colmar Brunton in January and February this year and found:
• 3% of New Zealanders surveyed reported paying a bribe
• Of those who reported paying a bribe their reasons for doing so were because:
o It was the only way to obtain a service (35%)
o To get a cheaper service (29%)
o To speed things up (21%)
o As a gift/gratitude (15%)
• 65% of those surveyed thought the level of corruption in New Zealand has increased over the past two years

This is absolutely appalling, and an indictment on our society and our public institutions. We are supposed to be a corruption-free country, where public servants do their jobs because it is their job, not to steal from the public on the side. But clearly some of them are breaking the rules (and some people are willing to take advantage of that, rather than immediately reporting them to their managers). The lesson is that if we want to stay corruption-free, we need to actually do something about it. Those who demand bribes, and those who offer them to corruptly gain an advantage, need to be rooted out and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.