Transparency International considers New Zealand the least corrupt country in the world. Yet ranking systems can flatter to deceive. This article takes a critical stance towards their global classification, which is a perceptions-based measure that ignores the private sector. In so doing, it heeds David Beetham’s (2015) call for a broader definition of corruption, one that acknowledges the subjugation of the public sphere to secure private advantage. Jane Kelsey has noted that New Zealand is ‘at the pure end of the neoliberal spectrum’, being ‘first to liberalise, last to regulate’. These points are examined with particular reference to corruption, the construction industry and the country’s numerous housing problems. The opening section of How Corrupt is Britain?, in which Beetham’s work appears, is titled ‘Neoliberalism and Corruption’. This article questions the need for the conjunction.