NZ loses squeaky clean corruption-free reputation

A second consecutive drop in a global transparency index busts the notion that New Zealand would remain corruption-free, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“New Zealand has long enjoyed a reputation as being the least corrupt country in the world. That’s no longer the case, with Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index ranking us behind Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

“It is an indictment on the Government that we are now lagging behind several other countries.

“Just three years ago then Justice Minister Judith Collins was congratulating the Government - to cheers from her National Party colleagues - on New Zealand retaining its title as the least corrupt country in the world.

“However since then National has been dogged by scandal after scandal involving dodgy deals and inappropriate conduct.

“The Oravida controversy, involving Ms Collins, Chinese border officials and a company her husband is a director of, along with the dirty politics scandal involving John Key’s office, show how little regard the Government has for a reputation of fair dealing and transparency.

“When people hear the word corruption, they hear bribe and they hear backroom dealing.

“Today’s report is unlikely to have captured all of the fall-out from the Saudi sheep scandal where the National Government paid off a disaffected Saudi businessman, so we should expect another drop next year.

“Transparency International’s annual report is a widely-accepted barometer of trust in governments.

“New Zealand’s highly-regarded international reputation for fair dealing has been eroded. It is shameful that the standards of transparency under John Key’s leadership have slipped so far,” Andrew Little says.