The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier says New Zealand must be even more open and direct if it is to improve its ranking as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.
The just-released 2023 Transparency International Corruption Perception Indexshows New Zealand has slipped to 3 rd place on 85 points, after being ranked 2 nd equal with Finland on 87 points in 2022.
Denmark has taken out the top spot with 90 points and Finland is second on 87.
“The result for New Zealand is disappointing, but it is reassuring that we are still among the top-performers,” Mr Boshier says.
“It is a cautionary tale against complacency. But it also demonstrates how vital it is for our public service to prioritise and commit to the highest levels of transparency in decision-making, accountability and integrity.
“Confidence in New Zealand around the world depends on our transparency and governance arrangements. Last week, a Public Service Commission survey found only about half of respondents thought public servants were open and transparent with information.”
Mr Boshier says he has consistently highlighted the need for vigilance in this area, most recently in his report, Open For Business, which investigated the use of local council meetings and workshops.
“In that report, I called for increased transparency in decision-making. Transparency promotes trust which is at the core of the relationship between the public and its elected representatives.
“Now, more than ever, integrity agencies like the Ombudsman are a vital check in requiring clear accountability and excellence in decision-making. When we hold agencies to account, we help to uphold the perception of New Zealand as one of the most honest nations in the world.”