Is New Zealand Less Corrupt Than New South Wales?

I am a fan of the Independent Commission against Corruption. Reading through their investigations is a clear indication that New South Wales have really gone after dodgy buggers. When you then look at Sydney Morning Herald archives or AFR archives with certain “names” you can see a clear trend towards stamping out corruption.

New Zealand doesn’t take the Australian approach to stamping out corruption. I know Cam Slater is an advocate of an ICAC in New Zealand, but is that really possible? Does any Kiwi politician have the gumption to front a campaign for an agency with teeth?

We are the nation of the wet bus ticket. When it comes to answering the question “Is New Zealand less corrupt than New South Wales?” I think the answer is NO.

New Zealand’s “low corruption” claim to fame is based on perception of corruption surveys that have very low sample sizes. They are as meaningless as “freedom indexes” or “ease of doing business surveys”. Fodder for the likes of publications that are the shells of their former selves like The Economist or Forbes Magazine.

The creation of an ICAC for New Zealand is a solid policy idea. It’s not like the Commerce Commission, Serious Fraud Office, OFCANZ, NZ Police or Financial Markets Authority have any tendency to aggressively hunt down corruption.

We need to bring back the Latin phrases like “cui bono?” (who benefits?). An ICAC could ask the questions and get some real answers. It would either confirm that New Zealand is an amazing country with no corruption at all, or, like the NSW ICAC has shown time and time again, that there is a rotten core at the top of New Zealand society.

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