NZ goes from 9th to 6th for press freedom

February 13th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The 2015 World Press Freedom Index is out and NZ has gone from 9th place to 6th place, which is great. Few things are more important than a free press.

This is the highest ranking for NZ since the index began in 2002.

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NZ rated 2nd for climate change preparedness

February 1st, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The ND-Gain Index summarizes a country’s vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges in combination with its readiness to improve resilience.

NZ is ranked second overall, after Norway. We are the 5th least vulnerable country and the 4th most ready country.

We have a minuscule ability to affect the total level of emissions, but a considerable ability to affect how our country is prepared for global warming. It is good to see we are well placed.

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NZ remains 1st equal for freedom

January 30th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The World Freedom Index 2015 is out and nz remains first equal with top scores of 1 for political rights and civil liberties.

Globally a number of countries significantly declined in their freedom rating 2014 was not a good year.

The 12 worst countries with a 7 for each are:

  • Central African Republic
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • North Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Tibet
  • Western Sahara
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NZ 3rd for economic freedom

January 29th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The 2015 Index of Economic Freedom as NZ again in 3rd place, but with a slightly higher score. The top 10 are:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. NZ
  4. Australia
  5. Switzerland
  6. Canada
  7. Chile
  8. Estonia
  9. Ireland
  10. Mauritius

Read more about New Zealand Economy.
See more from the 2015 Index.

NZ does well in most areas. The bottom countries are:

  1. North Korea
  2. Cuba
  3. Venezuela
  4. Zimbabwe
  5. Eritrea

Our individual rankings are:

  • Rule of Law 1st
  • Government Size – spending 146th
  • Regulatory Efficiency – between 3rd and 7th
  • Trade Freedom – 42nd
  • Investment Freedom 23rd
  • Financial Freedom 3rd

So the biggest weakness is the large size of Government spending.

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NZ top for animal protection

December 16th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

World Poultry reports:

Just four countries – New Zealand, the UK, Switzerland and Austria – are deemed worthy of the highest ‘A’ rating in the Animal Protection Index issued by the UK-based World Animal Protection (WAP) organisation.

WAP’s overall rankings are based on a wide range of indicators relating not only to farm animals, but also to animals in captivity, pets and animals used in scientific research.

The Animal Protection Index findings are presented on an interactive website atwww.worldanimalprotection.orgwhich assesses standards, policies and legislation in some 50 countries around the world.

Animal protection rankings are made from A = highest, to G = lowest.

Australia is a C, US a D. Good to be one of just four countries with an A rating.

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NZ 2nd most competitive tax system in OECD

September 26th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Tax Foundation assesses the tax systems of OECD countries. They note:

Many countries have been working hard to improve their tax codes. New Zealand is a good example of one of those countries. In a 2010 presentation, the chief economist of the New Zealand Treasury stated, “Global trends in corporate and personal taxes are making New Zealand’s system less internationally competitive.”

In response to these global trends, New Zealand cut its top marginal income tax rate from 38 percent to 33 percent, shifted to a greater reliance on the goods and services tax, and cut their corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 30 percent. This followed a shift to a territorial tax system in 2009. New Zealand added these changes to a tax system that already had multiple competitive features, including no inheritance tax, no general capital gains tax, and no
payroll taxes.

In a world where businesses, people, and money can move with relative ease, having a competitive tax code has become even more important to economic success. The example set by New Zealand and other reformist countries shows the many ways countries can improve their uncompetitive tax codes.

In the digital age, capital and labour are highly mobile. Companies can choose which countries to base themselves in, to sell to the world from.

The top 10 countries are:

  1. Estonia 100
  2. NZ 88
  3. Switzerland 82
  4. Sweden 80
  5. Australia 78
  6. Luxembourg 77
  7. Netherlands 77
  8. Slovak Republic 74
  9. Turkey 70

They also note:

Under this measure, no country has a perfect VAT or sales tax base. New Zealand has the broadest base with a ratio of 0.99

We have the simplest and broadest GST in the world. We should resist exemptions that complicate it.

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NZ 6th for education efficiency

September 15th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A report assessing 30 OECD countries for their educational efficiency (results vs money spent) has New Zealand as 6th best. The top 10 are:

  1. Finland 87.8%
  2. Korea 86.7%
  3. Czech Republic 84.4%
  4. Hungary 84.1%
  5. Japan 83.9%
  6. New Zealand 83.3%
  7. Slovenia 83.3%
  8. Australia 81.2%
  9. Sweden 80.6%
  10. Iceland 79.4%

Of interest the two most efficient systems have relatively large class sizes. Finland averages 1:16.5 and NZ 1:13.5.  Greece by the way has a 1:9.7 ratio!

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NZ 1st in the world for social and environmental progress

August 13th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Social Progressive Imperative publishes an annual Social Progress Index.

Labour and the Greens would have you believe that NZ is appalling on social issues. Their rhetroic for years has been doom and gloom. So where was NZ placed on this index? 100th? 50th? 25th? 10th? 5th?

Nope, 1st.

The top 10 are:

  1. New Zealand
  2. Switzerland
  3. Iceland
  4. Netherlands
  5. Norway
  6. Sweden
  7. Canada
  8. Finland
  9. Denmark
  10. Australia

On some of ths sub-indices, our rankings include:

  • Water & Sanitation 1st
  • Access to Basic Knowledge 2nd
  • Access to Information and Comms 7th
  • Personal Rights 1st
  • Personal Freedom & Choice 1st
  • Tolerance and Inclusion 4th
  • Access to Advanced Education 4th
  • Opportunity 1st
  • Undernourishment 1st
  • Deaths from infectious diseases 3rd
  • Access to piped water 1st
  • Homicide rate 1st
  • Indoor air pollution (lack of deaths) 1st
  • Gender parity in education 1st
  • Press freedom 1st
  • Greenhouse gas emissions 2nd (best)
  • Private property rights 1st
  • Freedom of religion 1st
  • Corruption (lack of) 1st
  • Religious tolerance 1st
  • Community safety net 2nd
  • Tolerance for immigrants 2nd

We are far from perfect, but New Zealand overall is ranked higher than every other country. Think about that, as you consider the Green billboards of gloom and doom.

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NZ 7th in HDI

July 28th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The UN’s Human Development Index is out and New Zealand is the 7th highest in the world. The top 10 are:

  1. Norway .944
  2. Australia .933
  3. Switzerland .917
  4. Netherlands .915
  5. US .914
  6. Germany .911
  7. New Zealand .910
  8. Canada .902
  9. Singapore .901
  10. Denmark .900

Damn Germans beat us by .001  :-)

The bottom country is Niger at .337 and 18th place.

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Kiwis most satisfied with freedoms

July 11th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Gallup reports:

 Fewer Americans are satisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives compared with seven years ago — dropping 12 percentage points from 91% in 2006 to 79% in 2013. In that same period, the percentage of Americans dissatisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives more than doubled, from 9% to 21%.

The rise of big Government.

And how about other countries:

Gallup asks people in more than 120 countries each year whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives. In 2006, the U.S. ranked among the highest in the world for people reporting satisfaction with their level of freedom. After seven years and a 12-point decline, the U.S. no longer makes the top quartile worldwide.

So who is top:


That’s a good table to top.

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For those claiming NZ doesn’t do enough for the environment

July 3rd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Some pressure groups would have you believe NZ was near the bottom of the world when it comes to the environment and climate change. They seem to regard anything less than abolishing carbon from New Zealand as treason. But the planet and climate section of the Good Country Index has NZ as 7th best out of 125. That’s not something you’ll hear from the Greens.

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NZ 5th for contributing most good to the world

July 2nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Business Insider reports:

The Good Country Index ranks 125 nations based on how much they do for others globally in seven areas: science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, planet and climate, prosperity and equality, and health and well being.

The ranking was created with the merging of 35 data sets produced by organisations like the UN, WHO, and UNESCO over a period of nearly 3-years.

“What I mean by a ‘good country’ is a country that contributes to the greater good,” Simon Anholt, an independent policy advisor who made the index, told Business Insider. “We’ve given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.”

The top 10 are:

  1. Ireland
  2. Finland
  3. Switzerland
  4. Netherlands
  5. New Zealand
  6. Sweden
  7. UK
  8. Norway
  9. Denmark
  10. Belgium

5th isn’t at all bad.


Economist Rankings

June 13th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

A couple of new rankings out by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Their Business Environment Rankings (ease to do business in) has NZ in 8th place, up three from 11th last time.

And for global food security, we are ranked 13th. The US is 1 and Austria 2. We have improved 0.3 from last time.

And I can’t find a link, but the Dom Post reported we are 5th again on their Democracy Index.


Air quality up

May 19th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stats NZ and the Ministry for the Environment released a report on Friday showing air quality has improved in New Zealand. You would have thought that the so called environmental party, the Greens, would have quickly rushed out a press release welcoming this. But it seems they were too busy.

Stats NZ says:

Air quality in New Zealand continues to improve, according to a new report released today by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, showing lower levels of airborne particles that are associated with health problems.

The 2014 Air domain report focuses on three national air quality indicators – PM10 particulates, (particulate matter 10 micrometres or less in diameter), health impacts from PM10, and vehicle emissions.

“The report not only covers the state of the environment but also what has contributed to the state being the way it is and how the state impacts on New Zealand and New Zealanders,” Secretary for the Environment Paul Reynolds said.

The indicators are showing the state of air quality is improving, and the measurable pressures and impacts reducing.

At a national level, annual PM10 concentrations declined between 2006 and 2012. A number of locations breached PM10health guidelines, particularly in winter due to wood and coal burners.

A range of other pollutants are covered in the report, such as carbon monoxide, lead, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. These mostly met short- and long-term health guidelines, though occasional breaches of guidelines occurred at some sites close to roads or major industry.

The improvement in the state of air quality is reflected by declines in the key pressures on PM10 concentrations. The number of homes using wood and coal has declined since 1996, and on-road transport emissions have declined since 2001 even though vehicle usage has increased. The key pollutants from vehicles have each decreased between 25 and 50 percent brought about by improvements in New Zealand’s vehicle fleet and cleaner fuels.

With the state of New Zealand’s air quality improving, associated health impacts from exposure to PM10 have also declined from 2006 to 2012.

Some data from the report:

  • PM10 concentration down from 16.9 in 2008 to 15.6 in 2012.
  • Our average concentration is the 7th lowest in the OECD
  • Every city measured, except Tauranga is lower in 2012 than 2008
  • Biggest drops are Lower Hutt with 26% and Dunedin with 24%. Also Penrose 18% down.

We take lean air for granted. But you only have to travel overseas to see how fortunate we are.

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NZ military most gay friendly in the world

May 18th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar


The Economist reports:

THE armed forces and homosexuality do not make natural bedfellows. Though tales from ancient Greece vaunt the heroism of gay soldiers, modern armies are mostly squeamish on the subject. So when New Zealand’s brass let its soldiers participate in a gay-pride parade, it helped put the country first on a new index that ranks 103 of the world’s armed forces by how open they are to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Countries at the bottom of the list—compiled by The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, based on 21 indicators across five categories—are mostly those where homosexuality is a crime or considered an illness. Yet surprises abound. America’s relatively low ranking at 40th is largely because it bans transgender personnel, though it has gay-friendly policies. In Israel, where military issues are ever-present, the army seems more progressive than society. Only 40% of the population accept homosexuality, whereas the armed forces completely opened up to LGBT people in 1993, almost a decade before Britain (which is tied for second).

Anyone who thinks gays or lesbians shouldn’t be soldiers should go try saying that to an Israeli combat unit!

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NZ life expectancy

May 17th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Children born in New Zealand in 2012 are likely to live into their 80s – almost at the top of the 194 countries covered in a recent World Health Organisation report.

The report ranks New Zealand males as having the fourth-highest life expectancy and females seventh.

The figures were for a baby born in 2012, and showed an increased life expectancy around the world, which does not surprise a local demographer. In poor countries it was because fewer children were dying before their fifth birthday and in wealthier countries it was because fewer people were dying of heart disease and strokes before their 60th birthday, the WHO said.

New Zealand men were expected to live to, on average, 80.2 years of age – the same as Singaporean, Israeli and Italian men. Women should live to 84, the same as Portuguese women.

The highest life expectancy overall is Japan at 84 years. The lowest is Sierra Leone at 46 years.

For women, the highest is Japan at 87 tears and lowest Sierra Leone at 46 years.

For men the highest is San Marino at 82 years and lowest Sierra Leone at 45 years.

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How NZ is ranking

April 7th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Have had a quick look through the global country rankings that have come out in the last year or two, to see how NZ is placed. Have to say pretty good overall. Here’s what I’ve got, remembering there are around 200 countries:

  • Rule of Law 6th
  • Economic Freedom 5th
  • Best to do business in 2nd
  • Least Corrupt 1st
  • Open Data 4th
  • Prosperous 5th
  • Best to be a woman 7th
  • Competitiveness 18th
  • Peaceful 3rd
  • Democratic 5th
  • Human Development 6th
  • Best for working women 1st
  • Freedom 1st
  • Open Budget 2nd
  • Best to be a mother 4th
  • Humanitarian responses 3rd
  • Smallest gender gap 5th
  • Generous 1st
  • Least failed 7th
  • Trade competitiveness 4th
  • Social progress 1st

You have to say overall New Zealand is a pretty awesome place!

You also wonder at those who claim the neo-liberal reforms have made New Zealand such an awful place that we need to over-throw them.


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

NZ 4th for trade competitiveness

April 3rd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand is well ahead of Australia in trade competitiveness, according to a new international report.

The Geneva-based World Economic Forum’s enabling trade index for 2014 ranks New Zealand fourth out of 138 countries, up from fifth when the index was last released in 2012.

4th isn’t bad.

It assessed countries in four areas – market access, border administration, infrastructure, and the operating environment.

New Zealand performed well in most categories, getting an overall score of 5.2 out of seven.

However, it rated poorly in foreign-market access, coming in 65th at just 2.6 out of seven.

A big part of this was due to high cost or delays caused by international transportation, which the report found to be the most problematic factor for both importers and exporters.

Almost one in five respondents (18.7 per cent) picked it as the biggest problem for exporting, narrowly ahead of tariff barriers abroad (18.4 per cent).

Still a lot of work to be done, but things are looking good for exporters and importers.


NZ 6th for rule of law

March 7th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand has been ranked sixth overall in a global index measuring the rule of law.

The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index surveyed 99 countries on eight categories including government accountability, crime, corruption, fundamental rights, access to justice and order and security.

New Zealand came sixth after Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.

That’s not bad.

New Zealand also came second in the index’s open government category – beaten only by Norway – and third in the absence of corruption category.

Even better.

The country reports are here. NZ’s sub-rankings are:

  1. Open Government 2nd
  2. Absence of Corruption 3rd
  3. Constraints on Government Powers 4th
  4. Regulatory Environment 5th
  5. Fundamental Rights 7th
  6. Civil Justice 9th
  7. Order and Security 11th
  8. Criminal Justice 12th

NZ 5th for economic freedom

January 16th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Heritage Foundation has released the 2014 economic freedom index. The top 10 are:

  1. Hong Kong 90.1 (+0.8)
  2. Singapore 78.4 (+1.4)
  3. Australia 82.0 (-0.6)
  4. Switzerland 81.6 (+0.6)
  5. New Zealand 81.2 (-0.2)
  6. Canada 80.2 (+0.8)
  7. Chile 78.7 (-0.3)
  8. Mauritius 76.5 (-0.4)
  9. Ireland 76.2 (+0.5)
  10. Denmark 76.1 (nc)

Only six countries are ranked free (above 80), 27 are mainly free (70 – 80), 56 moderately free (60 to 70), 61 mostly unfree (50 to 60) and 27 repressed (under 50).

The bottom five are:

  1. North Korea 1.0
  2. Cuba 28.7
  3. Zimbabwe 35.5
  4. Venezuela 36.3
  5. Eritrea 38.5

NZ’s rankings are below

Read more about New Zealand Economy.
See more from the 2014 Index.

The level of government spending is the only area in which we score really badly. They state:

The overall tax burden equals 31.7 percent of gross domestic income. Government spending equates to about 47.5 percent of GDP, and public debt is steady at 38 percent of GDP.

All need to drop down.

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NZ 2nd place country to do business in

December 8th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand has been named the world’s second best country to do business in, behind only resurgent Ireland in the annual list compiled by Forbes’ magazine.

The survey found New Zealand had the best scores among all countries for personal freedom and investor protection, as well as lack of red tape and corruption. …

Despite being the smallest economy to make the top 10, with an annual Gross Domestic Product of US$170 billion, New Zealand was one of the fastest growing last year with GDP jumping by 2.5 per cent.

Unless we vote for tax hikes, more debt and spending, and nationalisation.

The index is based on 11 factors, and the ranking for NZ for each is:

  1. property rights – 2nd
  2. innovation – 25th
  3. taxes – 21st
  4. technology – 24th
  5. corruption – 1st
  6. personal freedom – 1st
  7. trade freedom – 10th
  8. monetary freedom – 9th
  9. red tape – 1st
  10. investor protection – 1st
  11. stock market performance – 36th

So the areas for improvement are innovation, technology and reducing the tax burden – plus improving the stock market performance.



NZ remains least corrupt country

December 6th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Transparency International has found the NZ public sector remains the least corrupt in the world. The top 10 countries are (100 means perfect):

  • New Zealand 91/100 (+1)
  • Denmark 91 (+1)
  • Finland 89 (-1)
  • Sweden 89(+1)
  • Norway 86 (+1)
  • Singapore 86 (-1)
  • Switzerland 85 (-1)
  • Netherlands 83 (-1)
  • Australia 81 (-4)
  • Canada 81 (-3)

At the bottom is Afghanistan, Somalia and North Korea on 8.

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No room for complacency

December 4th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Kiwi students are falling behind the rest of the world in reading, maths and science, a global education report has revealed.

New Zealand’s education ranking has fallen from seventh to 18th in science, from 12th to 23rd in maths, and from seventh to 13th in reading, according to a report released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last night.

Just over 4000 15-year-old Kiwi students took part in the assessment, which is done every three years.

Opposition MPs say students are falling behind because teachers are too busy filling in government forms to concentrate on teaching.

But Education Minister Hekia Parata pointed the finger at issues to which the study group has been exposed, including the bedding-in of a new curriculum, under-investment in teachers, and a poor culture of behaviour in some schools.

“This Government is addressing all of these long-standing issues,” she said.

The students measured by the report were in the education system from 2001 to 2012, which meant they had never been caught by the national standards system, Parata said.

This should be a wake up call for those who resist change in the education system. Stagnation and decline is not acceptable. If you talk to secondary teachers, you’ll know that it is too late for them to do much with a student if they get to secondary school with inadequate literacy and numeracy schools.

We’ve had the bigotry of low expectations for too long, where the 15% tail are allowed to fail. Not everyone will be able to get good qualifications, but everyone must leave school with functional literacy and numeracy.

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NZ imprisonment rates

November 25th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Most of us have probably heard at some stage a stat that NZ has the second highest imprisonment rate in the world. Well it seems that stat is massively wrong.

Stats Chat blogs that in fact NZ has only the 8th highest in the OECD and the 74th highest in the world.

Would still be nice for them to be lower – but than comes about if we have fewer serious or repeat criminals – and the recent trend is for both the violent crime rate and the imprisonment rate to be dropping.

Not sure how the myth started of NZ having the second highest rate. Maybe it once was true – but clearly isn’t today.

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