By Gurbir Singh (Hamilton,New Zealand) 23 Feb.,2018:
New Zealand has been ranked the least corrupt country in the world for the third year in a row.
New Zealand surged ahead of 179 countries, narrowly beating Denmark with whom it shared the top spot last year in the Corruption Perceptions Index released by the Berlin-based Transparency International on Thursday.
Denmark dropped to the second least corrupt country with a rating of 88 while Finland, Norway, Switzerland shared the third rank. Canada and the UK ranked eighth equal.
According to the Index, most countries were making little or no progress towards ending corruption, with two-thirds of the 180 countries scored below 50.
India has slipped down to 81st place from 79th in 2016.
Transparency International said, “The Philippines, India and the Maldives are among the worst regional offenders …These countries score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist deaths,” it added.
Australia ranked 13, while the US ranked at 21st, with a score of 75 and China with a score of 41 was ranked 77th.
This Index rates countries on their "perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people" and is compiled annually.
The index uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. New Zealand scored 89 out of 100 in non-government organisation taking the top ranking but down from 90 in 2016, and 91 in the previous three years.
Somalia was the most corrupt country, listed at 180.
New Zealand’s Open Government Minister, Clare Curran said she was pleased to see New Zealand's public service maintain its high standards,but more needs to be done.
Gurbir Singh is a Hamilton-based Freelance Feature Writer & Journalist. He can be contacted at: email@example.com