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A global survey has revealed an "alarming" level of corruption in New Zealand, with 4% of respondents admitting to paying a bribe in the past year.
Transparency International's (TI) 2010 survey also showed that 73% New Zealanders thought corruption had increased over the past three years.
The level of bribery uncovered in the survey was significantly worse than countries we usually compare well against, with 2% of Australian respondents admitting to paying a bribe in the past year and 1% percent of Britons.
No respondents in Denmark admitted to paying a bribe.
The results of the Global Corruption Barometer were in stark contrast with TI's Corruption Perceptions Index, released in October, in which New Zealand retained the top spot for having the lowest perceived level of corruption in the public sector.
TI's New Zealand director, Alex Tan, said the results of the survey, which included New Zealand for the first time, were "alarming" and showed we needed to be vigilant in the fight against corruption.
"This is truly an alarming result but, in some ways, not surprising. We have traditionally tended to rest on our laurels and think we are above corruption and bribery practices which are commonplace in the rest of the world," Mr Tan said.
Other results of the survey include that respondents thought political parties, followed by Parliament, were the most corrupt institutions.
The military was seen as the least corrupt.
When it came to fighting corruption, 54% thought the Government was doing a good job and 93% said they would report an incident of corruption.
TI's global corruption survey was carried out in 86 countries and there were 1291 respondents in New Zealand survey. - NZPA