Corruption in New Zealand

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This article discusses the responsibilities of the various agencies involved in combating corruption in New Zealand. New Zealand is regarded as having one of the lowest levels of corruption in the world.[1]


Serious Fraud Office[edit]

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is the lead law enforcement agency for investigating and prosecuting serious financial crime, including bribery[2] and corruption. In 2020, the SFO reported that it had seen a 40 percent increase in cases involving public officials, central and local government, in the past five years.[3]

Electoral Commission[edit]

The Electoral Commission is responsible for the administration of parliamentary elections and promoting compliance with electoral laws, including those around the size and transparency of donations. If they believe the law is being broken, they refer the matter to the Police or Serious Fraud Office.[4][5]

Independent Police Conduct Authority[edit]

The Independent Police Conduct Authority is an independent body that considers complaints against New Zealand Police and oversees their conduct.[6] Under section 12 of the Independent Police Conduct Authority Act 1988, "the Authority's functions are to: receive complaints alleging misconduct or neglect of duty by any member of Police or concerning any Police practice, policy or procedure affecting a complainant; and to investigate incidents in which a member of Police (acting in the execution of his or her duty) causes or appears to have caused death or serious bodily harm."[7]


The Ombudsman's role is to ensure citizens receive 'fair play' in their dealings with government entities, and they investigate where required.[8] Over the years the powers of the Office have been extended to include education and hospital boards (from 1968), local government agencies (1975), requests under the Official Information Act (2003) and in 2005, all crown entities.[9]


New Zealand has ratified several important international anti-corruption conventions such as the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions[10] and the United Nations Convention against Corruption.[11]

International ranking[edit]

New Zealand is regarded as having one of the lowest levels of corruption in the world.[1] Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index scores 180 countries according to the perceived corruption of the public sector and then ranks those countries by their score. A high score earns a low ranking, and signals a perception of an honest public sector.[12] In the 2021 Index, New Zealand earned the highest score of the 180 countries (88 out of 100 possible) and ranked first; for comparison, the worst score was 11 (ranked 180).[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gregory, Robert. "Assessing 'Good Governance' and Corruption in New Zealand: 'Scientific' Measurement, Political Discourse, and Historical Narrative" (PDF). Institute for Governance and policy Studies. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  2. ^ Owen, Catrin (26 February 2020). "Auckland businessman, council official admit corruption and bribery charges". Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  3. ^ Devlin, Collette. "The Serious Fraud Office takes months on big political decisions. Here's why". Stuff. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  4. ^ Cooke, Henry (20 November 2019). "Explainer: How New Zealand's convoluted electoral law works". Stuff. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  5. ^ Cooke, Henry (12 March 2019). "Complaint about political donations referred to Serious Fraud Office". Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  6. ^ It's our job to keep watch over Police IPCA website
  7. ^ Role and powers IPCA website
  8. ^ "Ombudsman looks into Auckland Transport road maintenance case". The New Zealand Herald. 12 December 2016.
  9. ^ History of the Ombudsman
  10. ^ "Ratification Status as of May 2017" (PDF). OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Signature and Ratification Status". United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  12. ^ "The ABCs of the CPI: How the Corruption Perceptions Index is calculated". Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Corruption Perceptions Index 2021: New Zealand". Retrieved 10 July 2022.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]