WELLINGTON, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's government Wednesday welcomed the country's return to the top of the global anti-corruption rankings.
New Zealand was first equal, along with Denmark, in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, scoring 90 points out of 100.
"While we've always done well in these rankings, it's encouraging to see New Zealand reclaim the top spot - a placing we've held in eight of the last 10 years," Justice Minister Amy Adams said in a statement.
Recent anti-corruption initiatives progressed by the government included new bribery offenses and increased penalties for bribery and corruption through the Organized Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Act, ratifying the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, and reviewing extradition and mutual legal assistance laws to ensure they were efficient and effective.
Compiled by Berlin-based Transparency International, the index is a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of corruption worldwide, arrived at by scoring and ranking the public sectors in 176 countries.
New Zealand held the top place on the index in 2012 and 2013, but slipped to second in 2014 and then to fourth in 2015.
A report with the index included areas where New Zealand could improve, including access to information, order and security, fundamental rights and civil justice, and regulatory enforcement.
"A larger number of public sector agencies have integrated corruption prevention activities into their regular routine, in line with the northern European countries," Transparency International New Zealand chair Suzanne Snively said in a statement.
"Most importantly, we have noticed a growing awareness that public sector leaders can inspire businesses and communities to also build on the value integrity contributes to creating a more prosperous society."