NZ No 1 for social progress in the world

April 3rd, 2014 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A Washington-based think-tank has found that New Zealand is the most socially advanced country in the world.

The Social Progress Imperative, whose advisory board is led by Harvard economist Professor Michael Porter, has put New Zealand first out of 130 countries based on 54 indicators of social progress.

The country tops the world on indicators of personal rights and freedoms, and comes in the top four for water and sanitation, access to schooling and tertiary education, and tolerance and inclusion of minority groups.

That’s excellent. We’re not No 1 in everything but when you take all 54 indicators together, we’re at the top.

The top 10 countries are:

  1. New Zealand 88.24
  2. Switzerland 88.19
  3. Iceland 88.07
  4. Netherlands 87.37
  5. Norway 87.12
  6. Sweden 87.08
  7. Canada 86.95
  8. Finland 86.91
  9. Denmark 86.55
  10. Australia 86.10

It scores a low 28th on nutrition and basic medical care partly because of a relatively high death rate for women in childbirth, 35th for health and wellbeing partly because of high obesity and suicide rates, and 32nd for ecosystem sustainability.

So definitely still more work to do in some areas.

Think-tank director Michael Green, a London-based economist and author ofPhilanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World, said New Zealand’s placing as the world’s most socially advanced nation contrasted with its 25th place in GDP per person.

“In terms of converting economic output into quality of life, New Zealand is doing really well,” he said.

It would be good to also lift the GDP.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said: “This report is great news and it backs up what we all know – that we live in a fantastic country.”

Labour social development spokeswoman Sue Moroney said New Zealand’s high scored reflected “Labour’s progressive agenda” in building up public health and education over many decades.

Interesting that Paula just says it reflects well on the country while Moroney tries to have her party claim credit for it!

In terms of the three major category groupings, NZ was:

  • Opportunity 1st
  • Foundations of Wellbeing 6th
  • Basic Human Needs 18th
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85 Responses to “NZ No 1 for social progress in the world”

  1. kowtow (8,464 comments) says:

    Switzerland in’t so “inclusive”.They recently voted to keep immigrants out.

    Thank goodness for genuine democracy.

    They don’t like minarets either.

    The progressive media don’t want us to know that times are changing.Real people are sick of ‘social progress”

    UKIP will do well next month in the UK. Geert Wilders very popular in Holland ,national Front doing well in France.etc etc

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  2. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Lucky it doesn’t appear that the equivalent sickos here will ever gain any political traction.

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  3. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    So just how in hell are the left going to continue to manufacture the necessary social crisis situations in NZ now?

    Won’t someone think of the children?

    These findings are clearly driven by big oil and neo con fundamentalists.

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  4. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I’m more concerned about those poor Kiwibloggers who think life sucks here…

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  5. ShawnLH (5,025 comments) says:

    What criteria are used to make these judgements?

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  6. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    They are metaphysical criteria Shawn, and they have demonstrated unequivocally that NZ is Godzone.

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  7. kowtow (8,464 comments) says:

    Who says life sucks here?

    And it’s not some magical “social inclusion” that makes it great.It is the Anglo Saxon capitalist democratic tradition that has brought us our wealth and well being.Long may that last.

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  8. ShawnLH (5,025 comments) says:

    I think NZ is generally a good place to live. But I’m skeptical about some of the assumptions in these reports.

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  9. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    If that was the case kowtow, one might expect countries that have more fully embraced that tradition to be further up the rankings than NZ.

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  10. cha (4,014 comments) says:

    What criteria are used to make these judgements?

    .

    Perhaps you could read the report and report back.
    /

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  11. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    Indeed, when the main injustices you hear people complaining about are that gay marriage weakens the something of their straight marriage and the ticketing powers granted to parking wardens, you know you must be living in a pretty good place. :-)

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  12. Bob R (1,374 comments) says:

    @ mikenmild,

    Far from being sicko’s, parties like some of the ones mentioned are helping to protect the culture and way of life of those countries. Do you think the Dalai Lama is a sicko for doing the same in Tibet*? What about Israel for its immigration laws?

    There seems to be a double standard in that it is acceptable to protect the interests of those societies and pathologising the same in European cultures.

    * “The Dalai Lama claimed yesterday that Beijing was planning the mass settlement of 1 million ethnic Chinese people in Tibet after the Olympics with the aim of diluting Tibetan culture and identity.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/may/24/tibet.china

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  13. lolitasbrother (691 comments) says:

    yes this is right, we are a progressive Country. I don’t like our deficit but I think we are doing well.

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  14. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    :lol:

    They will still all aspire for nz to be more like the great crony capitalist theocracy shining, lite of freedom, USA.

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  15. Bob R (1,374 comments) says:

    ***If that was the case kowtow, one might expect countries that have more fully embraced that tradition to be further up the rankings than NZ.***

    @ mikenmild,

    Do you see many Islamic countries up the top of the list?

    Maybe, the parties that you describe as “sickos” in those European countries, have observed that if they change the demograhics and inevitably culture to that of Islamic countries, then they’ll get similar outcomes?

    You can see that in areas where demographics change – how much social progress is there in Tower Hamlets or Malmo?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8570506/Police-covered-up-violent-campaign-to-turn-London-area-Islamic.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/sweden/7278532/Jews-leave-Swedish-city-after-sharp-rise-in-anti-Semitic-hate-crimes.html

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  16. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Yes Bob, because the Dalai Lama being upset with China is exactly like anti-immigration hysteria in Europe.

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  17. cha (4,014 comments) says:

    * “The Dalai Lama claimed yesterday that Beijing was planning the mass settlement of 1 million ethnic Chinese people in Tibet after the Olympics with the aim of diluting Tibetan culture and identity.”

    Yeah, monasteries and monuments won’t build themselves.
    /

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  18. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Jeez, the world really is in a bad way isn’t it, if what is happening here is the best its got to offer on the social front.

    But what can you expect when you get an economist measuring social progress. Social progress and money are not necessarily compatible. There are countries that make a lot of money, but who have huge inequalities, causing much of the population to be exploited and so on. That is not social progress, that’s financial progress.

    I happen to believe New Zealand is the best country in the world, and what we’ve achieved historically on the world stage is fantastic. But most of those achievements were as leaders of social issues – the vote for women, banning nuclear ships, standing against apartheid and so on. We have a beautiful country that some are prepared to destroy, simply to have the latest TV set, or flashest car. That is not social progress, that’s financial progress.

    Socially this country is going backwards – the inequality has increased, the hatred towards certain groups in society has increased, you can no longer rely on your neighbour for support, you probably don’t even know their name. Community support groups struggle to meet needs that used to be supplied by families and friends.

    Social progress is when all in society are progressing at the same rate – not when some are, and others are standing still, and others moving backwards.

    Getting an economist to measure social progress, would be like getting Cunnliffe to measure National’s efficiency. There is no way you are going to get a balanced and informed perspective that relies on anything but their own specific interests.

    But then it was a Washington think tank – expecting anything other than a financially driven result would be too much to ask.

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  19. Albert_Ross (292 comments) says:

    Think-tank director Michael Green … said New Zealand’s placing as the world’s most socially advanced nation contrasted with its 25th place in GDP per person.

    Is there any sound basis for characterising the relationship between relatively low GDP per head and being socially advanced as a contrast? And if so, which way does it work – Is he saying that NZ is socially advanced /despite/ having a relatively low GDP/head, or is he saying that we have a low GDP/head /despite/ being socially advanced?

    Is it not possible either: that we are socially advanced /because/ we have a relatively low GDP/head; or, that we have a low GDP/head /because/ we are socially advanced?

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  20. Bob R (1,374 comments) says:

    ***Yes Bob, because the Dalai Lama being upset with China is exactly like anti-immigration hysteria in Europe.***

    @ mikenmild,

    Read what the Dalai Lama said. Now tell me how that differs from European countries that hold similar concerns about their culture and identity being changed by immigration from significantly different cultures?

    * “The Dalai Lama claimed yesterday that Beijing was planning the mass settlement of 1 million ethnic Chinese people in Tibet after the Olympics with the aim of diluting Tibetan culture and identity.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/may/24/tibet.china

    Note that what you describe as “hysteria”, is in fact the majority view in each of the country’s surveyed for the 47-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey – developing and developed. The difference is that the non-European countries aren’t being transformed in the same manner.

    http://www.pewglobal.org/2007/10/04/world-publics-welcome-global-trade-but-not-immigration/

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  21. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I think it should be seen positively Albert: although we are not the richest country, we do really well on these social measures. Not to say we couldn’t do better.

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  22. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Bob R
    The Chinese invaded Tibet and have systematically colonised it. Some European countries have relatively liberal immigration policies. Do you really think that’s the same thing?

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  23. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    @Albert_Ross

    I think he is saying that we are socially advanced in spite of our relatively low GDP per capita. Which makes sense when you consider that social development is usually associated with increased prosperity.

    I am pleased to hear that we are doing well as a country. Travelling around the world has helped me to appreciate just how good our society and lives are compared to other places in the world.

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  24. Bob R (1,374 comments) says:

    ***The Chinese invaded Tibet and have systematically colonised it. Some European countries have relatively liberal immigration policies. Do you really think that’s the same thing?***

    @ mikenmild,

    Again, the Dalai Lama’s concern, as it is with Israel’s position on immigration, is that their culture and identity will get transformed. That is the same concern held by those who support the “sicko” parties you referred to above.

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  25. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    The Measured !!

    Nuitrition and Basic Medicine
    Water & Sanitation
    Shelter
    Personal Safety
    Access to basic knowledge
    Access to Information and Communications
    Health and Wellness
    Ecosystems Sustainability
    Personal Rights
    Personal Freedom and Choice
    Tolerance and Inclusion
    Access to Advanced Education

    What a friggin joke. If New Zealand is the best, by god I dread to think of what the worst is like.

    Tolerance? They obviously didn’t read the blogs for that measure.
    Access to advanced Education ? where did they get their measure from, Remuera?
    Personal freedom and choice and personal rights? GCSB ring any bells
    Ecosystems sustainbility? Mining on Conservation areas anyone?
    Health and Wellness? Yeah, if you can find a doctor accepting patients
    Access to information and communications – yeah, slow internet for all, access is there if you have the time to wait!
    Access to basic knowledge – define basic knowledge ?
    Personal safety? Best to ask the two tourists that were attacked last week about that one
    Shelter – okay, I concede the government, like the previous one has made good in roads on the damp housing issue
    Water and sanitation – noticed our rivers lately? Obvious they didn’t.
    Nutrition and basic medicine – increased prescription charges, long waits for surgery, huge waits in A&E departments, and so on. Doctors not staying in the country … NOT to mention prices of healthy food.

    Did they blindfold the old guy when he visited here, or did we provide him with the information to measure?

    Like I said, we are doing okay, but if we are the best, I really feel for the worst.

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  26. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    Judith, do you ever stop whinging? I get so sick of people who whinge about everything even when the story is positive.

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  27. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Cunningham (740 comments) says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    And I get sick of people who complain about my posts but aren’t clever enough not to keep reading them, if they piss them off.

    It’s an intelligence thing – if you don’t like something, don’t keep exposing yourself to it. Not a hard concept to understand.

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  28. Zapper (1,021 comments) says:

    Judith, really?

    Tell me who doesn’t have access to advanced education via the generous student loans and allowance schemes.

    Tell me which of your personal freedoms you have lost by having an agency that has the tools to identify criminals.

    Tolerance on blogs? You’re allowed to post aren’t you?

    Health and wellness? If you can’t find a doctor, you’re not using your access to internet and communications properly. Oh your internet isn’t as fast as you like? But you can still access the information. That’s rough.

    Water and Sanitation – can you not drink out of your taps? Not dispose of your waste in a functional toilet?

    Judith, you are Cunliffe in disguise. Maybe you need to travel and see people with real problems relating to these issues.

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  29. Zapper (1,021 comments) says:

    “And I get sick of people who complain about my posts but aren’t clever enough not to keep reading them, if they piss them off.

    It’s an intelligence thing – if you don’t like something, don’t keep exposing yourself to it. Not a hard concept to understand.”

    Seriously, that is what you call an intelligent response? You make a post that is not a friend of facts, and then complain when called on it? Straight after complaining about tolerance on blogs.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re a piece of work.

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  30. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    Zapper, well said!

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  31. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (888 comments) says:

    Labour social development spokeswoman Sue Moroney said New Zealand’s high scored reflected “Labour’s progressive agenda” in building up public health and education over many decades.

    When Sue Moron speaks, the world listens. The truth has been said….

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  32. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    People like Judith represent everything that is still wrong with NZ.

    They can’t be happy with progress, because, well, things have gotten better despite the rabid agenda that people like her carry.

    It’s not enough that NZ is a great place to live, these people must still pursue their blind adherence to leftist ‘progressive’ ideology until the unconverted are saved from themselves.

    You gotta ask yourself what their real agenda really is, nothing is ever good enough, nothing is worth celebrating, we should all stay bitter until Judith says it’s ok not to be anymore.

    Judith, why don’t you just go suck lemons in a quiet spot on your own?

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  33. Ryan Sproull (7,144 comments) says:

    Some hippie professor (RHYMES WITH “PROGRESSIVE”) notices that New Zealand is giving a bunch of people shit for free. Clearly, we’ve gone wrong somewhere.

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  34. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (888 comments) says:

    Judith – if you don’t like it here, you are more than welcome to take a plane out of here and don’t bother coming back. Country will be better off with such a petty minded people leaving.

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  35. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Same old story, can’t stand the opposition. Can’t stand the thought that people don’t agree with you, or share the same opinion.

    So what do you want, a blog where you come in, pat each others egos, confirm how you all think the same. What a pack of weak willed wimps.

    Progress depends solely on your definition of it. What I consider progress, is different to yours. And, as much as we know National supporters cannot stand the fact that people are entitled to think differently to them, the sad fact is that they are allowed to. The rules of this site permit it.

    If you can’t cope with people who don’t share your opinion, why come on a blog that allows it?
    If you are here solely to have your ego stroked by like minded people, then you are in serious need of help.

    Your whinging is just another attempt to stop any opposition – how weak and pathetic you lot are!

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  36. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Sir Cullen’s Sidekick (487 comments) says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    oh but I do like it here. I like being able to share my opinions. Unlike yourself, I don’t feel the need for approval, or are intimidated by people that have a different opinion. I enjoy diversity. I enjoy being able to say how my perspective is different. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it – which makes me wonder why, if you don’t like reading my posts, why you keep doing it?

    And as far as NZ is concerned, well you simply didn’t read my post did you!

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  37. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Zapper (833 comments) says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Tell me who doesn’t have access to advanced education via the generous student loans and allowance schemes.

    Under various conditions – Postgraduate students. 55+ aged students, and students with limited number of papers to complete their degrees for starters.

    Defining student allowance as generous is pathetic – it is virtually impossible for students to live on, without having to also work, which impedes in some circumstances, on their ability to study.

    Tell me which of your personal freedoms you have lost by having an agency that has the tools to identify criminals.

    The government has proven that it cannot be trusted to use the agency according to the rules and regulations, therefore how can anyone be secure in the thought that even if they are not breaking the law, they will be targeted by an agency who has such a poor record of getting it right?

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  38. radvad (765 comments) says:

    ” I enjoy being able to say how my perspective is different.”

    But you get very defensive when others challenge your “perspective” and point out your whinging about good news.

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  39. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Judith
    I don’t think anyone here is claiming that New Zealand is perfect, or that social conditions here could not be improved. What this topic is about is a judgement that NZ is better off in these respects than any other country.

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  40. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Judith

    You’re always here campaigning for leftist clap trap social engineering that’s always failed, always created more inequality than it set out to remove, always ended in recession. And you claim to be intelligent and reasonable. FFS you can’t even notice what happened the last 2 times the Labour govt ran this country let alone notice the same thing happens pretty much everywhere in the world unionist redistribution policies of envy are implemented.

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  41. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Judith

    Make no mistake, I think the intentions of socialism at the grass roots is awesome. The ideology is actually pretty much reflecting the values a community ( a village ) should have. That’s all great and well meaning and actually good stuff. But seriously, have you never noticed that whenever government takes over what should he provided by community, it always over eggs it and builds empires of bureaucrats rather than delivers effective and efficient services.

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  42. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Tolerance on blogs? You’re allowed to post aren’t you?

    In a social setting, which the research was all about, there is increasing intolerance towards minorities in New Zealand. That intolerance is evident on blogs such as this one. I am not in a minority, I am a member of the largest gender group and the largest ethnic group in New Zealand.

    Re Doctors. I have a friend that lives in Lower Hutt, there waiting lists for General Practitioners in the area and she has been told it will take between 6 to 18 months to find a place, and she will have no choice, but to go with who is available, regardless of whether she feels comfortable with them or not. That is not quality medical service.

    Re: Internet. Yes you can access information slowly – but when that is compared to the rest of the world, as the study was, our service can hardly be considered the best.

    Re: Water and sanitation. Yes, in urban areas it is not too bad, although I would argue its judgement as the top standard in the world. However some areas of NZ do not have such good services, and many are still on septic tanks and other inferior services. I would highlight the recent shellfish bacteria in the Whangateau Harbour that was attributed to septic flows into the harbour from local residences. If we are the best in the world, then as I said, the worst must be in a shocking state.

    How is seeing other people in other countries going to change what I said? Which was, if we are the best in the world, then the rest, and the worst in particular must be in a sorry state.

    I am fully aware there are other countries who social conditions are revolting – but I argue that New Zealand’s social conditions are anything to brag about – we could do better, much much better. We live in the most fantastic place in the world, we shouldn’t have the social problems we have.

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  43. radvad (765 comments) says:

    Judith

    “Under various conditions – Postgraduate students. 55+ aged students, and students with limited number of papers to complete their degrees for starters.”

    Are you saying that a truck driver from south Auckland with 4 children, or anyone else for that matter, should pay for 55+ aged students to study art history or whatever?

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  44. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Again Judith, is it your argument that because things in NZ could be improved we cannot rank above other countries on this kind of index?

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  45. Manolo (13,767 comments) says:

    Please do not tell Labour or the Luddites.

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  46. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ radvad (613 comments) says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    At 55 years of age, given the life expectancy rates, those people have (at an estimate) of at least 12 – 20 years of working and income earning years ahead of them. More than sufficient time to repay the loans, pay taxes and return the debt to the community. Many of them able to work well beyond retirement and continue to contribute to society for many more years..

    Limiting them, restricting their ability to change vocation, especially when they are made redundant and unable to get employment in the same areas of their previous experience, is not social progress. It is limiting a productive part of the community and preventing their positive contribution. Many people at that age need to change vocation, preventing them from doing that cannot be regarded as social progress.

    You are also failing to take the previous financial contribution of these people.

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  47. wikiriwhis business (3,998 comments) says:

    Social progress

    somehow Kiwibloggers will turn this term into socialism gone mad

    Progression on steroids.

    And somehow they’ll be losing out .

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  48. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ mikenmild (8,319 comments) says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    No, that is not what I said. I said if this economist judged us the best, even with our social problems, then the worst must be in a sorry state.

    I find it incredible that despite humanity’s advanced technological skills, their immense knowledge base, their greater understanding of our environment, physiology and behaviours etc, that New Zealand is an example of the very best all that can do in a social context.

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  49. edhunter (546 comments) says:

    We live in the most fantastic place in the world, we shouldn’t have the social problems we have.
    Oh Bollocks Judith, tomorrow we could divvy up all the wealth & land in NZ equally amongst everyone & before the end of the week there’d be people complaining that their neighbours plot was greener than theirs. By the end of the month some will have lost all of their money & will be blaming anyone but themselves that they’re broke & shouting from the rafters that they must be looked after.
    And yes it is pretty bloody good here & in Australia otherwise why would “refugees” cross multiple boarders including countries with which they share the common bonds of language, religion, history etc to reach our shores?

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  50. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    So definitely still more work to do in some areas.

    When you’re number one why try harder?

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  51. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ edhunter (424 comments) says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Again you are not reading what I said – which was, if this is the best, then the worst must be pretty bad, because we still have social problems and our social progress is not all that hot. IT may very well be the best in the world, but it is still nothing to be proud of. Doing better than someone else, doesn’t mean you’re doing your best.

    We have social problems that we shouldn’t have – some of them have got worse rather than better. I don’t really care how the rest of the world is doing compared to us – we are better than this, and the fact we are getting worse, is not enviable.

    This report will do nothing but make people think they can work even less to fix the things wrong with this country. It is of no value to any kiwi unless they are in some sort of ‘do you know who I am’ cock fight.

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  52. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    OECD

    from ’99-’08 Clark promised to lift Nu Zayland into the top half of the OECD ladder, she never managed it under Labour Party policies. Yeah we had surpluses created by excessive taxation. We paid off a fair bit of the nations debt while personal debt went through the roof and economic productivity through the floor.

    The likes of Judith seem determined to try just one more time to prove their policies will work, they just ignore all the previous failures. So they want to make it better. Just the muppets think that rather than continuing on the track we are on, we should give the one that always fails one more try!

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  53. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    When you’re number one why try harder?

    Because we are kiwis – the best people in the world, and as long as there is one person suffering in our country that doesn’t need to, doesn’t deserve to, wants help and can be helped, then we have not done our best, and there is still work to be done.

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  54. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ burt (7,065 comments) says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Where have I advocated that Labour’s policies worked, and will work?

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  55. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Judith

    I assumed you to be a union loving, higher taxation, more government provision type of person. Sort of Muldoon style nationalising everything but good this time because it’s being done by a party with a red logo rather than a blue one.

    Have I got you way wrong on this ?

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  56. edhunter (546 comments) says:

    Actually Judith I did read what you said, but maybe I wasn’t clear enough in mine. In this world there are winners & losers even in an Utopia where everyone started off equal within a generation or two there would again be a class divide of the haves and have nots, those that are prepared to work to increase their lot & those that are happy to piss everything up against the wall and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it.

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  57. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    edhunter

    I think you were very clean and correct. The left seem to have this vision where people don’t need to work to get ahead. Don’t need to scrimp and save to buy property because they state will provide. Then they seem shocked and go into denial when more and more people stop being productive and start relaxing on the government handouts. They blame National, stick their heads up their asses and insist they’ll get it right next time – their followers seem to be genuinely dumb enough to not notice what happened last time and they vote for more state intervention and handouts again.

    That’s one thing I guess, you can’t blame the voters for being a product of their glorious state is good indoctrination. But the indoctrinators, they should be ashamed of themselves, pedalling a failed ideology that they have probably seen fail multiple times in their own lifetime.

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  58. Anthony (796 comments) says:

    You have to think that if people like Judith and Tom Jackson put half the energy they put into posting here into something productive, everyone would be a lot better off! Really, are they going to change anyone’s mind – nope, they just like to expend time and energy complaining about all and sundry!

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  59. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ burt (7,066 comments) says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I believe unions have their place, and that is to represent the workers when there is an issue of concern regarding employment problems. Not all employers have a halo so there is always a place for a watchdog.

    I think they have a place where there are cases of actual exploitation (such as illegal immigrants being made to work for less than the minimum wage and other such things). Like everyone else, they can have an opinion, but their input should be considered only part of the bigger picture. I do not believe that any group, whether it be unions, employers, business, banks or other groups, should be able to hold society to task on issues that are not for the greater good of all new zealanders.

    Regarding higher taxation. If I had my way (and I’m no economist, so I am not sure of the practicalities of such things, I would abolish income tax, and raise GST. I’m aware of some of the issue involved with that, but I think it is a fairer system (happy to be proved wrong by the facts of such a system). My over all philosophy is that hard work should return equal remuneration.

    As far as government provision. The government has an obligation to care for all of its citizens, and like it or not, there will always be some that for various reasons are unable to care for themselves. I believe that in our current situation the government should be encouraging people to take a more responsible role in their families – including the young and the old. It is not the governments role to do this, but good basic humanity traits of caring should … sadly years of welfare dependency have eroded these values, and many people have quite literally forgotten their basic responsibilities. We have to find a way to reteach them, re-enforce them, without letting innocents suffer. We have to undo the welfare trap we have allowed to develop. We can only do that by acknowledging it exists.

    But I also stress the fact that humans by nature can be greedy, and that simply cutting support, after creating an environment that has allowed people to be dependent on it, is not fair, and it will not work. Eventually those doing that will be thrown out, and a some jigsaw puzzle government will get in and make a bad situation, even worse.

    I do not believe government should provide everything, BUT on the flip side, our younger generation is our greatest asset, and I do think the government should play an active role in assuring they meet their full potential. That is be able to achieve self sufficiency in the best way they can – for some it will be only doing menial tasks, for other it will be performing brain surgery.

    I do not know if it is the governments responsibility, but whose ever it is, something needs to be done to unite kiwis in a common cause of taking on the world from the bottom up – we used to be innovators, which isn’t surprising, none of us got here without our ancestors making huge voyages across the sea – our roots are grounded by bravery, and I think that makes us strong – we just seem to have lost the way – and yes, I blame welfare dependency for much of that (but are caring enough to not want people to suffer by simply cutting it without teaching them of the alternatives)

    Kiwis being the best they can be, is my motto.

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  60. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (786 comments) says:

    Come on people, just do what Judith says and do not engage with her. Maybe she will go away. She lacks basic reasoning and you will just get nowhere fast.

    as to the story..great news! hopefully that quiets down the bullshitting about NZ and poverty.

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  61. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Judith

    That’s a fair way from my impression of you after reading your comments over time. I apologise for calling you a Labour supporter when by and large you probably fit better between National & Act.

    I’m not an economist either, but on cutting income tax and moving to consumption taxes; the regressive nature of GST would need to fe countered to some extent with something like a universal benefit of some kind. Something that nullifies the regressive nature if GST for people who spend all they earn just getting by. Unfortunately we, New Zealanders, are also a reasonably gun sky lot when it comes to such structural changes in our taxation systems. It’s no surprise really when taxation is the number one political football followed by health, education and law and order. The popularity contest demands we flip flop these things every change of government when they should be broadly cross partisan directions such that government de-jour can focus on improving social progress through well thought out policy rather than continual restructuring to deliver on a ‘ point of difference’ electoral promise.

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  62. Crusader (314 comments) says:

    Judith (5,516 comments) says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    But most of those achievements were as leaders of social issues – the vote for women, banning nuclear ships, standing against apartheid and so on.

    Votes for women. Agreed.
    Banning nuclear ships – an achievement? Come on, it was an irrelevancy, and remains so.
    And “standing against apartheid”? Sure there are some sad souls of the baby boom generation for whom waving a placard and kicking the shins of a policeman was the highlight of their life, but they are delusional if they think it made a jot of difference in the grand scheme of things.

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  63. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ burt

    If Rodney was back with Act, I would be tempted to vote for them. I don’t like Banksie, I think he is ‘tricky’.
    No matter what happens, I will not be voting Labour. But, I will also not be voting national because a personal experience with JK let me form the opinion that he is not a man of his word, PLUS I think that too many people are putting their faith in only one person, making him a kind of cult hero, and whilst that can be good in a social setting, it is not good for an entire country – if he falls, are his team sufficiently strong without him?

    I like Gerry, have a tremendous amount of respect for him but detest Collins. I have some issues with Paula Bennett, but do think she is improving, and give her credit for that. I think Key is wrong having faith in his Education minister, she may be capable but she has to go, simply because her name is linked to negative issues, and this will continue to impede progress – a new face needed in this role – preferably male – perhaps even Bridges.

    Bridges? Well, he just makes me smile – I baby sat him when he was little – its hard to think of him as anything but a little boy – and a cheeky one at that.

    Some of the national team come across as arrogant, but then so do many politicians.
    In general, I think we have a poor lot of representation in the house – I think the egos play off each other, and its like everyone has their own agenda and no one is actually thinking of the country. I’d happily sack the lot.

    Thanks for the explanation of taxation – I really don’t know enough about it to have a fixed opinion on what would be best.

    You shouldn’t put too much in what I say at times – I often make comment ‘tongue in cheek’ to make people think about something they have blindly accepted. Happy to call black – white, if it makes someone think a little more about the situation.

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  64. Lindsay (148 comments) says:

    Judith said, “If Rodney was back with Act, I would be tempted to vote for them. I don’t like Banksie, I think he is ‘tricky’.”

    I have encountered this misapprehension more than once. Banks isn’t standing again. ACT now has Jamie Whyte as leader and David Seymour standing in Epsom. And whoever else they pick up as candidates.

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  65. Lindsay (148 comments) says:

    The following is an extract from the report in which we win number one in the world for social progress:

    “New Zealand also faces some significant perennial challenges, on which there seems to be little progress. Persistent disadvantage is experienced by Maori in terms of social and economic development. Maori represented 50.6% of the prison population in 2013, despite making up only 15.4% of the population. Further, while gaps in academic achievement between Maori and non-Maori are narrowing, they remain stubbornly wide. The place of children in New Zealand is also of concern with suggestions that the lives of up to 20% of New Zealand children are neither as safe nor nurturing as they should be. The ranking of 31st in child mortality demonstrates that insufficient
    attention is being paid to childhood injury, and at the far end of the spectrum, is partly evidenced by a 68% increase in recorded violent offences against children between 2008 and 2013.”

    I have often inwardly reflected, if the poor Maori statistics were removed from many indicators, NZ looks pretty good. But I think to actually give expression to this indicates a disregard for Maori and particularly Maori children. Swept under the carpet no less. Just like we used to do in the “good old days”.

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  66. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    I wonder how ‘women treated with respect’ was defined in this study?

    http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/data/spi/components/com11#data_table/countries/idr45/idr45

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  67. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Just think what a paradise it would be if we had a proper social democratic government that got rid of poverty. As usual, conservatives are holding us back.

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  68. alloytoo (542 comments) says:

    @Tom

    “Proper Social Democratic governments” are rarely social and definitely not democratic, especially when other people’s money runs out.

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  69. ShawnLH (5,025 comments) says:

    “Just think what a paradise it would be if we had a proper social democratic government that got rid of poverty.”

    No government on earth can just get rid of poverty. And “proper” social democratic governments never do, they just create more equality by making more people poor.

    Social Democracy is just socialism. There is nothing genuinely democratic about it.

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  70. wreck1080 (3,912 comments) says:

    we’ll never win the gdp race tending the farm.

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  71. Keeping Stock (10,339 comments) says:

    Judith said

    Progress depends solely on your definition of it. What I consider progress, is different to yours. And, as much as we know National supporters cannot stand the fact that people are entitled to think differently to them, the sad fact is that they are allowed to. The rules of this site permit it.

    If you can’t cope with people who don’t share your opinion, why come on a blog that allows it?

    I agree with you up to a point Judith. DPF allows a wide range of views here. That’s in stark contrast to The Standard, where if you don’t tow the party line, the World’s Greatest Sys-Op abuses then bans you, or the Daily Blog, where comments simply don’t appear at all. The Left goes on and on about free speech and all that, but DPF leaves Bradbury and Prentice for dead. Isn’t that ironic?

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  72. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    I’m not a Communust by any means, but I do recognise China’s historical civilisation and its re-emergence as a world power. The Dalai Lama is a superstition-driven idiot and I can’t for the life of me understand why the world takes him seriously, frankly.

    For two thousand years huge swathes of Tibet were basically part of China and the people are better off now than they would be under a primstivist feudal regime that believes in elves and fairies.

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  73. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    Now Winston is flying high in the latest Opinion Poll he can claim to be behind the social progress New Zealand has made.

    And as Deputy Prime Minister to anybody he will perpetuate himself as the real Great Leader, as Wussel will have to take a backward step as so called Prime Minister Without Support.

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  74. johnbc (15 comments) says:

    The irony is beautiful KS. There is far less freedom to express a contrary view on The Standard or The Daily Blog than here or any right leaning blog. The worlds greatest Sys-op was boasting recently about setting a new record for comment numbers on TS. I commented on how much higher they would be if deleted or banned comments were allowed. Needless to say it was deleted. Priceless! LPrent is a seriously odious moderator. No wonder the left are struggling to win public hearts.

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  75. OneTrack (3,092 comments) says:

    “The Left goes on and on about free speech and all that, but DPF leaves Bradbury and Prentice for dead. Isn’t that ironic?”

    No, not really. When the left say they support “free speech”, what their newspeak really means is free to repeat the approved progressive opinions. Bradbury and Prentice, et al, are just a bit more open about the agenda than anybody else.

    As an example, we have seen recently some people are already proposing fines and jail for AGW “deniers”. If the Greens get in this year, do you really think that sort of thing won’t happen here. Yesterday, there was a post on Kiwiblog about a group calling for someone to be sacked because he made some sort of remark deemed not pro-gay enough in 2008.

    So, make the most of Kiwiblog and WhaleOil, etc., while you have them.

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  76. Floyd60 (92 comments) says:

    “Interesting that Paula just says it reflects well on the country while Moroney tries to have her party claim credit for it!”

    Interesting that David refers to Paula Bennett as ‘Paula’ (nice warm fuzzy for her) and then to Sue Moroney as ‘Moroney’. I guess he knows that Paula’s brand still needs rehabilitation.

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  77. prosper (164 comments) says:

    Ah! First world problems.

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  78. HC (154 comments) says:

    So, so, the so-called ‘Social Progress Imperative’ knows it all now, I hear? I do not give that much credit to this report, same as I have much scepticism about the report by Transparency International (relying on data from Transparency International NZ, which is made up of government and other agencies, business and sundry members with vested interests), that New Zealand is supposedly the least corrupt country in the world.

    The difference between what goes in in New Zealand and many comparable countries is, it is a tight knit society with close knit business and other networks, where scratching each other’s backs is simply not called “corruption”, while in other countries it would be. The same applies to much government involvement, and state agencies and state funded offices supposed to keep an eye on each other. We know how that works with the Health and Disability Commissioner, receiving over 1,600 complaints last year, investigating only just over 60, and finding only just over 40 of those investigated cases show established breaches of the code they are supposed to enforce and monitor.

    It is a joke, to put it mildly, also looking at the many cases of fraud and questionable business deals that go on here.

    Now we are the socially most advanced nation on the planet? Yeah, maybe in some respects, but clearly not in many others. Apart from some liberal social attitudes, like now legalised same sex marriages, the increasing income gaps between population sections, the very high costs for housing, poor insulation of the bulk of older housing stock, the lack of development when compared with other OECD countries in Europe and North America, and how this affects living quality for too many here, the statistics are not so great.

    They have simply set different criteria to other reporting projects and come up with different results.

    Yes, child poverty and illness, same as some other lamentable conditions, are not as bad in the most parts of the world, and comparatively minor problems, but for a developed nation it does not look good to have kids here get so-called “third world diseases”.

    New Zealand media and governments just love to jump at the reports that are “useful” for them, and that they can “sell” to make the public feel a bit better. Yet many reports are more sombre.

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  79. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    Listened to Morning Report on the way to work this morning – had to listen to Professor of Public Policy Marilyn Waring being interviewed about the SPI report. Wow, she has become a cynical, bitter and dismissive old woman; according to her having a world ranking at all is “infantile”. It’s hard to believe she was ever a National MP.

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  80. Lindsay (148 comments) says:

    Karl du Fresne thought so too:

    http://karldufresne.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/professor-misery-guts.html

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  81. deadrightkev (468 comments) says:

    I agree that NZ is the most socialist country in the world. After 80 odd years of Labour and National governments it is what you get.

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  82. big bruv (13,887 comments) says:

    “No government on earth can just get rid of poverty”

    That may be the case, however there is one thing that every government could do that would go further than anything else to rid the world of real poverty (Real poverty as apposed to the NZ version).

    All that the worlds governments need to do is give every female control over her own reproductive system.

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  83. ShawnLH (5,025 comments) says:

    “I agree that NZ is the most socialist country in the world.”

    Er….no.

    I could reasonably be said to be on the radical free market right, but this statement strikes me as over the top. France would be far more socialist than NZ, as would a quite a few other countries.

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  84. ShawnLH (5,025 comments) says:

    “All that the worlds governments need to do is give every female control over her own reproductive system.”

    That wouldn’t work. One of the reasons women in extremely poor regions have large families is because of the likelihood that one or more children are going to die of poverty related diseases. So in order to ensure any continuation of the family, and ensure more working hands, they have to have large families. Moreover in some places, such as the horn of Africa, poverty has more to do with geography than family size. If you live in such a place that limits people to subsistence farming then there is little that can be done.

    There is no one simple answer to extreme poverty.

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  85. ShawnLH (5,025 comments) says:

    “As usual, conservatives are holding us back.”

    Most centre right parties in the West are not conservative.

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