New Zealand has gone to the top of the annual Corruption Perception Index published by Transparency International and is now rated as the country with the least public corruption in the world. Australia comes in eighth on this year’s list, one place better than last year although the rating is marginally lower at 8.6 compared to NZ’s 9.4.
Transparency International says the vast majority of the 180 countries included in the 2009 index score below five on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (perceived to have low levels of corruption). The CPI measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in a given country and is a composite index, drawing on 13 different expert and business surveys. The 2009 edition scores 180 countries, the same number as the 2008 CPI.
Fragile, unstable states that are scarred by war and ongoing conflict linger at the bottom of the index. These are: Somalia, with a score of 1.1, Afghanistan at 1.3, Myanmar at 1.4 and Sudan tied with Iraq at 1.5. These results demonstrate that countries that are perceived as the most corrupt are also those plagued by long-standing conflicts, which have torn apart their governance infrastructure.