NZ No 1 for social progress in the world

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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