World Freedom Report 2009

January 14th, 2009 at 9:16 am by David Farrar

Freedom House has released its 2009 freedom report. Some extracts:

  • Only 46% of 193 countries are free, 32% are partly free and 22% not free
  • 2.28 billion people live in not free countries
  • 20 years ago 41% of countries were not free
  • In the Americas there is only one not free country (Cuba)
  • In Asia-Pacific 41% are free, 38% partly free and 21% not free
  • In central and eastern Europe, 46% free, 29% partly free and 25% not free
  • Middle East/North Africa has only 1 free country (Israel), 6 partly free countries and 11 not free countries
  • Sub-Sahara Africa is 21% free, 48% partly free and 31% not free
  • Western Europe has 24 free countries and a partly free country
  • There are 119 electoral democracies in the world, down from a high of 123

In recent years there has been a small decline in both free and not free countries, with a growth in partly free countries.

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51 Responses to “World Freedom Report 2009”

  1. Michael M Wilson (55 comments) says:

    This map simplifies things a bit (maybe too much). Worth printing out so you can sound smart around the office

    http://awesome.goodmagazine.com/transparency/014/014-politics-conflicts.html

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  2. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    New Zealand retains its top rating for both civil liberties and political rights in 2008? What? Doesn’t Freedom House know about Liarbour’s evil plot to undermine these values?? Why hasn’t removing the right to whack kids been reflected in a huge drop in our rankings??? Why hasn’t the passage of the EFA taken us down to the bottom of the unfree nations of the world????

    Clearly Freedom House are part of the WWSC (world wide socialist conspiracy). Or perhaps the repeated hyperventilation on these comment threads has been a bit, well, silly.

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  3. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    No wonder Minto and his sad collection of communist wannabe overlords hate Israel so much. The only stumbling block to regional despotism.

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  4. Dazzaman (1,134 comments) says:

    Funny how Israel is the only fully free country in the Middle East. What are they protesting about again?

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  5. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    How many countries allow their citizens the freedom to spend their own money as they please?

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  6. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    Or perhaps the repeated hyperventilation on these comment threads has been a bit, well, silly.

    or perhaps it takes a wee while longer than a few years to reap “the full benefit.” I can just imagine the outcry that criminalising homosexuality would bring from the left. But the world would keep turning, nothing would come crashing down. In fact, Stalin’s Russia didn’t stop the world spinning for Russians, either. People kept having children, making money, living, laughing…

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  7. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    There’s no necessary correlation between a nation’s internal freedom and its foreign policies … Israel is being criticised for how it treats the citizens of other places, not its own. France is a “free” nation, yet it carried out the only foreign terrorist operation in NZ. When Israeli spies tried to steal NZ passports, the defence “but it is a democracy!” didn’t carry much weight. Equally, when a nation engages in military operations that are reckless at best, the claim “but it is a democracy!” is beside the point.

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  8. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Funny how Israel is the only fully free country in the Middle East. What are they protesting about again?

    Sorry, your point is what, exactly?

    edit: well, what AG said.

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  9. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Doesn’t Freedom House know about Liarbour’s evil plot to undermine these values??”

    Maybe they should ask the Exclusive Brethren about that.

    The real point is of course that it is all relative, and as the creeping scourge of one party totalitarian socialism creeps ever so slowly across the globe, freedom simultaneously shrinks in most western democracies at a rate that is purposefully kept so low as to be unnoticeable. The left’s objective is to slowly change each country’s political culture until there is no existing ideological opposition. This is not legend or conspiracy theory. It is a goal that is clearly spelt out in any leftist political planning document that one would read. (Try the Socialist International website for example).

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  10. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    Yes Israel should just sit back and let the palo fire rockets at them with impunity.

    It makes perfect sense.

    If your’re a Jew hating socialist fuckwit who loves the terrorists.

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  11. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    One country in Western Europe is “partly free”…I was mildly surprised that it wasn’t the UK, perhaps I read Old Holborn too much?

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  12. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    No Murray.

    (1) It is Hamas that is firing rockets, not the “palos”. If you conflate the two, you end up justifying collective punishment, which is morally abhorrent.

    (2) The right to self defence at international law requires proportionality … and an effort to minimise civilian casualties.

    (3) I dated a jewish woman for nearly 2 years. So fuck you, charlie.

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  13. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Murray, according to one of those “Jew hating socialist fuckwit”s on this blog, Hamas are not even firing rockets, and are just “desperate people struggling for their very existence”

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/01/tvnz_reporting_from_gaza.html#comment-524617

    unfuckinbelievable

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  14. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    (2) The right to self defense at international law requires proportionality

    And as you should know International law is subject to a nations Sovereignty not master of it.

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  15. radar (319 comments) says:

    “In the Americas there is only one not free country (Cuba)”

    I thought the Right portray Venezuela as some sort of giant Stalinist gulag?

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  16. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    I thought the Right portray Venezuela as some sort of giant Stalinist gulag?

    You’ll note that the trend is downwards in Venzuela. Chavez has stuffed his country and is making an effort to become a tyrant, but as is often the case with blogs, most references to ‘Stalinism’ are a bit off the mark in this case. If Chavez got another term we might be in business though…

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  17. unaha-closp (1,155 comments) says:

    I thought the Right portray Venezuela as some sort of giant Stalinist gulag?

    Latest news – Venezuela has decided to maintain currency peg to the US dollar, but will restrict sales to only those people with government approval. Ordinary people are expected welcome to use the blackmarket which charges approximately 60% more for a buck.

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  18. emmess (1,418 comments) says:

    What is the partly free country in Western Europe?
    That must be a typo surely

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  19. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Its all in the eyes of the beholder. For me NZ isnt as free as I would want it by a long stretch.

    In my NZ personal responsibility would be top of the list of the requirements of all citizens. Truely free societies can only function under this condition.

    In return the gumint would provide such services as the MAJORITY were prepared to pay for from their incomes.

    The gumint would set minimum laws and regulations in line with the ethical and moral standards of the MAJORITY.

    the gumint would butt of my life and the lives of all other citizens who followed the MAJORITYS ethical and moral code of conduct and who obeyed the law.

    Those citizens who freely chose to do otherwise would have the gumint and its agencies in their faces 24/7 until they complied.

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  20. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    Hamas is the goverment of “palestine”, therefore what they do is reopresentative of “palestine”.

    Go back to school sonny.

    “Proportional” is a crock of shit, “moderation in war is imbicility”. Your rules seem to claim that Israel is required to limit itself to tit for tat killiong thus given the portional populations its inevitable destruction.

    The placing of military assets in civilian areas is a violation of the Geneva Convention, its associated treatys and Rules of Land Warfare and international humanitarian law. Such violations are “war crimes” and those commiting them are both legally and morally responsible for resultant casualties.

    You have said NOTHING for the last few years while Hamas, as the goverment of palestine threw high explosives AT civilians on a daily basis so fuck YOU charile. You are clearly quite comfortable with children dying as long as they are Jewish children regardless of where your hormones lead your dick in past times.

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  21. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    And this analysis leaves our respect for the United Nations as the ideal embodiment of “representation” of all humanity, er, somewhat illusory? If the U.N. were to conduct a vote on whether all humanity should be free, the result to be binding on all its members, what would happen?

    Sorry. The U.N. is strictly “lowest common denominator” stuff.

    And I must agree with Redbaiter and GD. The trend in the free world, is for that freedom to be eroded by creeping “big government” socialism. The logical conclusion will be the loss of more freedom than we ever thought possible. The trouble is, freedom is incompatible with the well-meaning notions of “security” for all; the idea that “human rights” include the “right” to actual goods and services, such as, say, health care; rather than principles like the PURSUIT of life, liberty and happiness.

    It would be absurd to attempt to impose such far-reaching “rights” in nations that simply cannot afford it, and it ultimately destroys the whole process by which such things can be afforded, in nations that became able to afford them, at least temporarily, as a result of the PRINCIPLES of freedom that once were the main thing.

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  22. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    Murray

    “Hamas is the goverment of “palestine”, therefore what they do is reopresentative of “palestine”.
    Go back to school sonny.”

    Learn to spell before telling me where to go, you little creep. Your reasoning is exactly that of Al-Qaeda … if you don’t like a particular government’s acts, then all civilians in that nation are fair game. So congratulations, you think like a terrorist. But that’s hardly surprising – all extremists are alike.

    Banana Llama

    “And as you should know International law is subject to a nations Sovereignty not master of it.”

    That makes no sense whatsoever – unless you are saying that International Law is a giant sham. Which is a defensible position, but also means the claim to a “right” to self defence is empty.

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  23. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    I still can’t find that one “partly free” Western Europe country. All I can see is that Italy has dropped a little, but is still considered “free”.

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  24. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    unless you are saying that International Law is a giant sham. Which is a defensible position, but also means the claim to a “right” to self defense is empty.

    That’s basically what i am meaning.

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  25. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    I’m not little I’m really fucking big and I suffer from dyslexia, the spelling does not change the message you terroist enabler.

    Good to see you did not adress one single point but uoi did compare me to the terrorist.

    Fuck you commies would be funny if what you supoported wasn’t so damned repulsive.

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  26. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    Don’t use your disability as a shield, little man.

    Yes, I compared you to a terrorist, ’cause you argue and think like one. If that upsets you, change your world view.

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  27. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    A shield? I was explaining it to you dickless. Fuck you’re a sad sad tosser. And I repeat, NOT little, Jesus you have no retention skills at all do you.

    Go support the baby killers fuckwit I’m done with you.

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  28. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Fuck you commies would be funny if what you supoported wasn’t so damned repulsive.”

    Damn right.

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  29. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    “Go support the baby killers fuckwit I’m done with you.”

    You seem confused, little Muzz. I oppose Israel’s actions in Gaza.

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  30. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Gumints are all about command and control Think Russia under the Commmunists Think Iraq under Saddam and Iran under the current regime.

    They either use religion or terror or both to control their citizens.

    Thats why we freedom fighters never sleep no matter how ‘free” NZ may appear to be. Real freedom fighers view the current gumint and civil service as only one step away from those regimes we fear

    So are we ever vilgilant and speak up and speak out to ensure they gain no more control or and worst limit their steps towards total control.

    A citizenry dulled into a false sense of security is a citizenry just waiting to be surprised.

    Even thou we have the gumint I voted for thats no excuse or reason to relax from continually questioning and testing them

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  31. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    AG – the freedom to have a few more toys is very important, to people with no significant problems or dangers facing them, who take completely for granted their safe comfortable society where there is limitless autonomy and plenty of time to go on the web and convince yourself Auntie Helen is ruining your life by putting traffic cops on the road or something like she’s the second coming of Joe Stalin or she’s Bob Mugabe’s evil cousin.

    (Property rights are also very dear to those who get little arse save for the inflatable dolls they PURCHASE, and I’d wager we bear the brunt of that kind of thinking a bit on here as well ;-) )

    I suspect Freedom House is more concerned with SIGNIFICANT freedoms, or the lack of them suffered by people who have got REAL problems to worry about…

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  32. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    “Thats why we freedom fighters never sleep no matter how ‘free” NZ may appear to be. Real freedom fighers view the current gumint and civil service as only one step away from those regimes we fear”

    The problem with this is that little boys who constantly cry “wolf” get ignored when real vulpines show their muzzles.

    “Even thou we have the gumint I voted for thats no excuse or reason to relax from continually questioning and testing them”

    As evidenced how, precisely?

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  33. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    The murdering totalitarian Mugabe was once feted by the left/ liberals politicians of the western world and their fawning media acolytes at the same time as he was making statements like-

    “if Zimbabweans do not like Marxism, then we will have to re-educate them.”

    This is the same policy socialists/ Marxists use all over the western world, and the underdeveloped minds of uninformed half educated idiots like Ratbiter and AG are evidence enough of the results of this strategy and how it is being applied right here in NZ.

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  34. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “Don’t use your disability as a shield, little man”

    well actually he didn’t. You were using his disability to attack him

    yep, it’s one of the problems with the pro terrorist Hamas supporters, they haven’t worked out the difference between defense and attack

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  35. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    “Don’t use your disability as a shield, little man”
    well actually he didn’t. You were using his disability to attack him

    Yeah – fair call. I regret that outburst. Apologies.

    But FYI – I don’t support Hamas. I think Israel is acting wrongly, which isn’t the same thing.

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  36. reddeath26 (97 comments) says:

    I still find it rather ironic that people protest so much about the defense for reasonable force being taking away from Child abuse, yet I do not recall any complaints over the fact that you are not allowed to use reasonable force as a defense for force against pets. Perhaps people value the rights of their pets higher than those of children? I mean how dare Labour try and impose that childrens rights should be equal to pets rights. It is not as if it is up to the police discretion as to whether they lay charges or not.

    As for the situation with Gaza which has also been raised here. The very concept that there could be two sides to this story seems rather alien to them. The recent strikes by Israel against Gaza are in fact a crime against humanity and a good example of terrorism. The very same applies to the constant rocket fire which these strikes are in response to. Just like the continued occupation of Gaza by controlling their borders, airspace and sea space is. Both sides can often point back to something the other side did, to try and “justify” why their actions are somehow more humane. On this note I am quite pleased that we have a government who is looking at a more neutral stance. Both sides need to make concessions before any peace is possible.

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  37. Brian Smaller (4,037 comments) says:

    I keep hearing from people here that Israel is acting wrongly. Please explain what they are supposed to do in the face of threats of genocide and actual, daily attacks throughout years of “ceasefire” on their civilian population? I suspect the answer would be to do a masada mass suicide because that is all that it seems is left to them if they cannot defend themselves.

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  38. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “The recent strikes by Israel against Gaza are in fact a crime against humanity”

    If this is indeed the fact you claim, then maybe you can reference the following points:

    1) the identity of the defendants,

    2) the arrests,

    3) The charges/ crimes,

    4) The court

    5) The trial,

    6) The verdict.

    Or are you, as I suspect, just spouting the usual baseless propaganda and lies of the extreme left?

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  39. peterwn (3,238 comments) says:

    Scientific American magazine published a similar thing some years back. That was on a three point scale. Interestingly, Northern Ireland was separated out from UK and given a ‘partly free’ type rating. However no attempt was made to separate out any states of USA. If there was a five point scale, I woud be tempted to put England, Wales, France, USA, Northern Territory and Western Australia in the ‘not quite free’ category.

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  40. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    AG Remember the EFA Well I am others protested both formally to the Select Committee and informally by taking part in public rallies against this attack on my freedoms

    Guess what We won.

    In other times in other places that the deniers of truth object to us raising people stayed silent in the face of gumint actions until it was too late IMHO if they had sopken up and spoken out the subsquent actions would not have occurred.

    If everyone stays silent in the face of gumint oppression then everyone deserves the fate that will befall them

    Never say never, Never underestimate the power of a united citizenry Even the most corrupt gumints know this and so seek to divide and rule.

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  41. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    I keep hearing from people here that Israel is acting wrongly. Please explain what they are supposed to do in the face of threats of genocide and actual, daily attacks throughout years of “ceasefire” on their civilian population?

    They are suppose to submit to the rules of international law, the same laws that numerous country’s violate on a daily basis including Israel itself.

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  42. reddeath26 (97 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter-
    Lovely how you took what I assume came from my comment and completely neglected to mention the fact that I am accusing both sides of committing crimes against humanity. Not getting a charge does not make the incident less of a crime. If I was to kill someone, regardless of whether I am found guilty or not it does not change the fact I killed them. Propaganda from the left? My point is to stress that BOTH sides have dirty hands in this. Concessions need to be made by BOTH of them. On one hand it is rather difficult to negotiate a treaty with such assaults as the current in their memories and the occupation which the people of Gaza are often victim to. On the other the constant rocket fire and policies which strive for the eradication of Israel are very serious. If one continues to put all the blame on one side, it increasingly makes peace slip further out of our reach.

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  43. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” I am accusing both sides of committing crimes against humanity. ”

    Bullshit. You said that what Israel had done was a crime against humanity:

    Quote-

    The recent strikes by Israel against Gaza are in fact a crime against humanity and a good example of terrorism.

    Unquote-

    So I asked you to prove that “fact”. You can’t of course, because it is not a fact. It is just typical left wing lies and propaganda and false allegations. All you ever have. The traditional and historical recourse of the left.

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  44. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    Red,

    You’re mistaking a value judgment for a factual claim. Read some Hume.

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  45. reddeath26 (97 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter-
    It is quite a low tactic to take quotes out of context. It is amazing how different that line you quoted looks when you include the very next sentence after it. I would challenge your ability to comprehend such a situation, if you are so clearly lacking in reading comprehension.

    “The recent strikes by Israel against Gaza are in fact a crime against humanity and a good example of terrorism. The very same applies to the constant rocket fire which these strikes are in response to.”

    Amazing how different it looks when quoted more correctly. You could of however stung me on the fact in that comment I did not address certain policies which call for the eradication of Israel. Which I acknowledge is a rather major thing for me to not mention. This was not deliberate but rather a mistake on my part. I consider that to play a huge role in the situation as well.

    I would also remind you it has not been common for States to be tried for Crimes against humanity. I do not recall ever hearing Chairman Mao getting tried. Yet I doubt there are many here who would disagree that he committed crimes against humanity. The same can be said about Stalin and many other leaders who put their citizens through Socialist States.

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  46. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    You said it was a “fact” that this was a “crime against humanity”. It is not a crime. It is not a fact. This is a common leftist smear, a basless propaganda phrase and you were caught out being a leftist propagandist. Live with it and stop your piteous whining for God’s sake. In future, don’t try to pass off opinion as fact.

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  47. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Propaganda?
    Or maybe he just *thinks it’s not right*…?

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  48. Seán (397 comments) says:

    jarbury: “I still can’t find that one “partly free” Western Europe country. All I can see is that Italy has dropped a little, but is still considered “free”.”

    I wonder if it is the Vatican, however it is not listed at all. I thought maybe it was one of those small principalities where perhaps the crown still had some powers but they all checked out as “free” (looked at Lichtenstein, San Marino, Andorra, Luxembourg, Monaco).

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  49. Mo (1 comment) says:

    The partly free country in Western Europe is Turkey. Discovered in Freedom House’s “Press Freedom in 2007: A Year of Global Decline”. I assume it is the same for 2008.

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  50. Jim (407 comments) says:

    The way this report uses the “free” and “not free” labels is misleading. It leads the reader to infer that they might be “freer” is they move to a country with a better score. Not necessarily so.

    This is only looking at two metrics: politics and civil liberties. If you’re apolitical, heterosexual, able-bodied, and not a criminal then you might find that some of the “free” countries have other aspects that are more oppressive to you than some of the not-so-free countries.

    The report might be largely correct – but I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from it.

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  51. winston smith (45 comments) says:

    Turkey’s part of Western Europe? But it’s on the other side! Strange…

    Jim: the section describing how they compiled the report does have a question on economics (“Do citizens have the right to own property and establish private businesses? Is private business activity unduly influenced by government officials, the security forces, political parties/organizations, or organized crime?”) so it’s not too one-sided…

    I find the idea that NZ is not a free nation a bit ludicrious. Even on measures of economic freedom and property rights we seem to do pretty well.

    For example – we’re 3rd & 6th in the world for economic freedom, according to two NGO’s.
    The World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’ put us second, behind Singapore in their 2008 report.
    And we’re the 6th best, according to the International Property Rights Index. (Look at Wikipedia for all of this. Or is Wikipedia part of the international socialist conspiracy too?)

    Sure, we’re not world leaders, but if this is the result of Helengrad, then I hope John Key follows her lead.

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