Skip to Content »

3.6% of Kiwis have paid a bribe in the last year?

  • December 11th, 2010

The headline is the outcome of Transparency International's Global  Corruption Barometer Survey. 1300 locals were interviewed by Colmar Brunton for that result in the headline. So over 40 of them say they have paid a bribe recently or know that someone in their family has.

More importantly, if it is true, some of our most important institutions are regularly taking bribes.

TI's website is hard to navigate but I've made my way through the report.

The Police, the State Services Commission, the Ministers of Police, Justice and the Attorney-General should have an action plan now, starting with asking Colmar Brunton (with their client's consent) for enough explanation to understand the results reported on 9 December. 

If the result is robust, there should be an emergency plan to run stings, to change systems, and to put up some tents to house the people who should shortly be in prison.

I do not believe the report.

In all my career in the law, and in Parliament I've never been offered, or been asked for a bribe. I've only heard about such conduct at second or third hand, and then it was extraordinary.

But I may be living in a bubble. With the Maori Party likely to hold the balance of power, and the likelihood that National will allow Winston Peters back in Parliament next year there could be a major shift in official priorities. A Peters party and the Maori party are and will be tolerant of corruption (they excuse it and defend corrupt people).

We should be strengthening all the systems now, to do what we can to retain both the reality and the reputation of being a corruption free country.

What do you think of the key questions?

Have you or anyone in your household had contact with any of the following 9 institutions.

Education system


Medical services


Registry & permit services (civil registry for birth, marriage, licenses, permits)

Utilities (telephone, electricity, water, etc.)

Tax revenue

Land services (buying, selling, inheriting, renting)



The next question was

Have you or anyone in your household paid a bribe in the last 12 months.

 Followed by:

   If you paid a bribe in the past 12 months, which of the following applied to the LAST bribe paid: (Single answer)

The bribe was paid to speed things up

The bribe was paid to avoid a problem with the authorities

The bribe was paid to receive a service entitled to

Did not pay a bribe in the past 12 months

Cannot remember

Don’t know   

I must ask David Farrar for his assessment of the survey.



 God's sake Stephen, get out of the Office, you believe surveys and polls by politically alligned graduates?.  New Zealanders don't  offer bribes. And asking Farra what he thinks is like asking John Key if Winston peters will sort him out next election, and the answer there is yes.


[…] 3.6% of Kiwis have paid a bribe in the last year – Stephen Franks takes a serious look at Transparency International’s GLobal Corruption Barometer Survey. […]


I find it hard to believe but I also found the EFA hard to believe, and the ultimate consequences of the smacking law hard to believe.

Yet here we are.


I was paid a bribe (called tax cuts) to accept an increase in GST.  I didn't ask for it though, and legally, I don't think I can refuse it (and have GST stay the same)
Although, perhaps that doesn't count as a bribe, especially as the tax cuts will ultimately be reversed, and GST stay the same.

  • piopio
  • December 16th, 2010
  • 1:05 pm

I understand your former employers at Chapman Tripp hosted a forum with various public service bosses to discuss the results of the survey.
Were you present? If so, I would welcome a summary of the discussion. My impression is that many of those present were shocked, and also somewhat sceptical of the results.

  • Stephen
  • December 22nd, 2010
  • 7:50 am

I had not heard of that. I must ask

  • Thas
  • December 22nd, 2010
  • 10:53 am

I've paid many bribes over the years  It's the only way I could get them to do their homework.


Surely, this fiction that we own private property is tied into corrupt behaviour of councils?  For example, the recent story of a homeowner who had to pay $13,000 in application fees to get consent to chop down a tree on their property they genuinely think is in danger of falling on their house and potentially killing them.  This permission is still conditional on other people losing the challenge on this action.  Note that those "other people" haven't paid for the property, they are not responsible for maintenance costs, do not need to contribute to the consent fees, and have no personal risk or consequences assigned to them should the tree actually fall.
That is outrageously corrupt, and laws that sanction such corruption are equally corrupt.  Saying something is legal doesn't make it right or just, it just highlights the depth of state corruption.

  • Ayrdale
  • January 9th, 2011
  • 1:05 pm

Off topic Stephen. Delete if you like…but I see no recent mention of ACT and its woes. (Haven't looked far.)
As a one time member may I say that I would be back within the ranks like a shot if you declared your interest in leading it.

  • OTGO
  • January 10th, 2011
  • 1:58 pm

Me too Ayrdale

Leave your comments:

* Required fields. Your e-mail address will not be published on this site

You can use the following HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>