'Alarming' amount of bribery in NZ

An “alarming” 4% of New Zealanders admit to having paid a bribe in New Zealand in the last 12 months, according to Transparency International's 2010 Global Corruption Barometer.Transparency International New Zealand director Alex Tan described it as a “truly alarming” result, but “in some ways not surprising.”He said, “We have traditionally tended to rest on our laurels and think we are above corruption and bribery practices which are common place in the rest of the world.

An “alarming” 4% of New Zealanders admit to having paid a bribe in New Zealand in the last 12 months, according to Transparency International’s 2010 Global Corruption Barometer.

Transparency International New Zealand director Alex Tan described it as a “truly alarming” result, but “in some ways not surprising.”

He said, “We have traditionally tended to rest on our laurels and think we are above corruption and bribery practices which are common place in the rest of the world.

“In fact, this can be a naïve assumption and we need to stay on our game and be vigilant about these matters.”

The New Zealand figure was higher than our traditional benchmarks Australia (2%) and the UK (1%), and looked particularly bad next to Denmark’s 0% result.

Mr Tan said this was the first time the survey had included New Zealand so it was impossible to tell whether the bribery figure had increased or not.

There was also no way of knowing exactly where people were paying bribes.

“The questions are relatively simple- what it means is in their mind they have had to pay something extra to a public official to get something done,” he told the National Business Review

“The message is, actually we may still be a very corruption free society but there is corruption going on that we don’t want to admit.”

Nearly three-quarters of New Zealanders (73%) felt corruption had increased in this country in the last three years and political parties were rated the most corrupt group, followed by Parliament and the private sector.

Referring to new UK anti-bribery legislation (see NBR, October 15), Mr Tan said it is illegal for New Zealand companies to pay overseas but there has never been a single prosecution for it. 

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