New report shows Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore are the least corrupt places to live

by Ray Clancy on October 29, 2010

Singapore one of the least corrupt countries in the world

Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore are the best places in the world to live in terms of transparency, accountability and lack of corruption, a new study reveals.

The worst countries are Somalia, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index.

With governments though committing huge sums to tackle the world’s most pressing problems, from the instability of financial markets to climate change and poverty, corruption remains an obstacle to achieving much needed progress, the report from Transparency International says.

The Berlin based group defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. This definition encompasses corrupt practices in both the public and private sectors. It examined 178 countries giving them scores on a scale of 0 for highly corrupt and 10 for highly clean. The top three all scores 9.3 and the bottom, Somalia, just 1.1. But nearly three quarter of the countries scored below five.

The United States and the UK come 22 and 20 respectively, in the index while Australia and Switzerland are joint eighth. Canada is in sixth place, Finland and Sweden joint fourth, the Netherlands seventh and Hong Kong is in thirteenth place.

The reports says that to address these challenges governments need to integrate anti-corruption measures in all areas and all nations need to boost their good governance mechanisms. ‘The message is clear: across the globe, transparency and accountability are critical to restoring trust and turning back the tide of corruption. Without them, global policy solutions to many global crises are at risk,’ it says.

It draws on different assessments and business opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable institutions. It captures information about the administrative and political aspects of corruption. Broadly speaking, the surveys and assessments used to compile the index include questions relating to bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts.

‘Perceptions are used because corruption, whether frequency or amount, is to a great extent a hidden activity that is difficult to measure. Over time, perceptions have proved to be a reliable estimate of corruption,’ the report explains.

‘Measuring scandals, investigations or prosecutions, while offering non-perception data, reflect less on the prevalence of corruption in a country and more on other factors, such as freedom of the press or the efficiency of the judicial system.

Transparency International considers it of critical importance to measure both corruption and integrity, and to do so in the public and private sectors at global, national and local levels,’ it adds.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kiwi whacked November 2, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Many aspects of life in New Zealand have little corruption, but NZ academe is not one of them. Academic turf battles are endemic in NZ, at least at Massey University, and academics regularly resort to two-faced behaviour and struggle viciously and unscrupulously in order to achieve their ends. NZ supervisors such as Pro Vice-Chancellors often pretend to be supportive while actually maliciously injecting poison into a letter of reference and blowing the job searcher out of the water. Think twice before accepting an academic appointment at a New Zealand university, many areas of which are grossly underfunded, which makes the behaviour even more vicious and petty.


Tony reid November 15, 2010 at 10:34 pm

This is hardly science "Based on perception" what a waste of time and energy why boither unless you can actually measure it against standard benchmarks !!


Eyes rolling November 16, 2010 at 10:38 am

"maliciously injecting poison into a letter of reference and blowing the job searcher out of the water."

Sounds like a personal experience rather than something commonly experienced.


PeeGee December 23, 2010 at 2:06 am

I would agree about ' Based on Perception ' ,Singapore has a reputation for little corruption , which is mainly PAP government hype . Corruption does exist in SIngapore at all levels , and even more frightening is incompetence.
How can a country be classed as corruption free , when it is an authoritarian government which is very opaque , and has in fact very little to do with a real democratic system .


rotsne April 3, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I work with various officials in the towns.

How do you think that minors end in a specific group home when the department of social services has to place a child in foster care? They for sure down go out and try to find where they can get the best possible service for the lowest price as they do with so many other things. Even small cities have to deal with millions of DKK in this area.

It kind of resembles the Pennsylvania Kids-for-cash scandal except for the difference that the department of social services shall not prove child neglect. As the law is now, the parents have to prove that it isn’t. I fear that the tax-payers pay too much for placement of minors which end up in the wrong pockets. It is certainly not for the best of the children.

Denmark puts 25 percent more kids into foster care than Norway and Sweden and it costs 20 percent more for each child. This area needs a lot of investigation because something is terrible wrong.


Pilgrim May 24, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Corruption in New Zealand does exist, no doubt for that. The only difference is, the management to hide corruption works perfect. It is easy to understand that if you realise the real number of the real New Zealander is quite small and they watch each other back. The most profitable areas of activiy are in "kiwi" hands. The rest of population is just a market, able or not to sustain NZ economy.
But I am happy this situation will not last for ever, indians are already in New Zealand, is just a matter of time until they will buy everything. Unfortunatelly, once the indians will take over, we cannot talk any longer about a level of Corruption, we will only can talk about India and indians way to live.
Fortunatelly for australians, they have already understand that real threat is comming from indians and they started their measures, even a little too late.


Brent December 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm

There is actually a lot of corruption in New Zealand. But if asked (especially by a foreign study) if their country is corrupt, nearly all kiwis would say "not at all". That is kiwis being very patriotic. Other than that it is just marketing and has nothing to do with reality.
As this country is very small, nepotism and favoritism are big problems. And no, there is no transparency. Most people would be surprised by the degree of bureaucratism we have here, too. Especially for the size it must be the worst in the world.
National and international perceptions of New Zealand are far better than reality. But saying that we are free of corruption or the cleanest and greenest place there is, does not make it true.
Kiwis are leaving in droves, voting with their feet. Luckily, so many people want to come to NZ. We should let more people in and lower restrictions on western immigrants (let's face it, most come from countries with a higher standard of living). We need big numbers of enthusiastic immigrants to turn the ship around! If just INZ and the government wouldn't be so unfair and outright stupid if it comes to the treatment of immigrants that bring so much money to NZ.


carltan1974 March 10, 2012 at 12:32 am

This is good news for expats who are looking for jobs in Singapore. They will be rest assured that the taxes will be put to good use.


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