NZ 4th safest country in world

June 17th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The 2016 Global Peace Index ranks countries by safety. The top 10:

  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. Austria
  4. New Zealand
  5. Portugal
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Switzerland
  8. Canada
  9. Japan
  10. Slovenia

We were one of only 69 countries not to have a terrorist incident. Deaths from terrorism in 2015 were up 80% from the year before.

NZ 4th in prosperity index

June 1st, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Legatum Institute has released the 2015 Prosperity Index. The top 10 are:

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

Our ratings for each section is:

  • Social Capital 1st
  • Governance 2nd
  • Personal Freedom 2nd
  • Education 6th
  • Safety & Security 11th
  • Economy 14th
  • Entrepreneurship & Opportunity 17th
  • Health 19th

NZ vs Norway

May 27th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

From a TED talk by Michael Green:

Gross Domestic Product has become the yardstick by which we measure a country’s success. But, says Michael Green, GDP isn’t the best way to measure a good society. His alternative? The Social Progress Index, which measures things like basic human needs and opportunity.

Analysts, reporters and big thinkers love to talk about Gross Domestic Product. Put simply, GDP, which tallies the value of all the goods and services produced by a country each year, has become the yardstick by which we measure a country’s success. But there’s a big, elephant-like problem with that: GDP only accounts for a country’s economic performance, not the happiness or well-being of its citizens. With GDP, if your richest 100 people get richer, your GDP rises … but most of your citizens are just as badly off as they were before.

That’s one of the reasons the team that I lead at the Social Progress Imperative launched the Social Progress Index in 2014. The Social Progress Index determines what it means to be a good society according to three dimensions: Basic Human Needs (food, water, shelter, safety); Foundations of Wellbeing (basic education, information, health and a sustainable environment); and Opportunity (do people have rights, freedom of choice, freedom from discrimination, and access to higher education?)

GDP is very important as it allows a country to do a lot of the other stuff, but it is not the only indicator that matters.

Chart 2: A telling comparison: New Zealand vs. Norway
Countries can experience similar levels of social progress at vastly different levels of GDP per capita. New Zealand achieves a Social Progress score of 87.08, which is almost as high as Norway’s 88.36, but at a GDP per capita that is half that of Norway: $32,808 versus $62,448.

The chart is:


Green comments:

If you look at New Zealand’s scorecard, it does a bit better than Norway on opportunity — on personal rights in particular — and a little worse on personal safety and ecosystem sustainability.

What exactly is driving this? You’d have to ask the New Zealanders. Indeed, that’s one of the things we hope to do next: identify role models for other countries and unpack how exactly they’re doing the things they do well.

I think one of the things we do well is focus hard of equality of opportunity. This is very very different from equality of outcome, but makes a big difference.

This year, we worked out a Social Progress score for the world. We’ve taken the population-weighted average of all the countries and summed it up together. This gave a level of social progress that is 61 out of 100, which means that the average human being lives at a level of social progress somewhere between Cuba and Kazakhstan.

Somewhat depressing but was worse in the past.

NZ 5th for press freedom

April 22nd, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Reporters without Borders has released its 2016 Press Freedom Report and NZ has moved up one place to 5th place.

A slightly inconvenient fact with some of the deranged who would have you believe the media in NZ cower in fear because John Key complained to the Police over being bugged and Cameron Slater complained to the Police over being hacked.

The top 10 are:

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

Some other countries are Canada 18th, Australia 25th, UK 38th, and US 41st.

The bottom countries are:

  1. Eritrea
  2. North Korea
  3. Turkemistan
  4. Syria
  5. China

Takes a lot to beat North Korea.

NZ does well with innovation

April 21st, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar


From the Economist, good to see NZ well placed.

OECD Misery Rates

March 15th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

oecd misery

The misery rate or index is the combination of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate. A country that has high inflation and high unemployment is in misery, while low unemployment and low inflation is the aim.

So of the 33 countries, only 9 have a misery index below 6%. NZ is 7th best at 5.1%.

We are better than Australia, US, UK and Canada at 5.4%.

The OECD average is 7.5%, EU average 9.2% and Euro zone average 10.6%.

The worst off is Greece at 23.9%, Spain 20.2% and Turkey 20.0%.

France is also very badly off at 10.2%.

NZ pretty good for working women

March 9th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand could add more than $16 billion to the economy by lifting its female employment rate to match that of Sweden.

New Zealand has been ranked fourth in PwC’s Women in Work Index, coming in behind Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The report, based on data from 2014, highlights the potential gains for businesses and economies by employing more women and shrinking the gender pay gap.

If New Zealand raised its female employment rate to match Sweden’s – the country with the highest female employment rate in the OECD – it stands to grow GDP by almost 7 per cent, or US$11 billion ($16 billion), the report says.

It is a relatively easy way to lift GDP. Countries like Japan with a low level of women in the workforce have real challenges with their economy. It’s not good to have half your adult working age population not in work.

New Zealand’s ranking remains unchanged from 2013; however, it has risen four places in the past 14 years.

Meanwhile, Australia continues to fall in the index rankings, dropping from 17th to 20th.


According to the report, New Zealand’s gender pay gap is not as large as those of some of the OECD’s worst-performers.

Kiwi men’s median wages were found to be 6 per cent higher than those of their female counterparts, compared to a gender pay gap of 17 per cent in the US and 18 per cent in the UK.

Not as large as some? That is an under-statement.


According to the OECD, we have the smallest pay gap in the developed world, which probably means the world.

NZ 10th most gender equal

February 18th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

New Zealand has moved up three places to just make the top 10 list of the most gender equal countries in the world.

The list, compiled by the World Economic Forum, has New Zealand in the tenth spot.

New Zealand came in behind Slovenia and Switzerland, numbers nine and eight respectively, and ahead of Germany at No 11.

Iceland took the top spot, with Norway and Finland coming in at second and third. Yemen was dead last.

The top 10 are:

  1. Iceland
  2. Norway
  3. Finland
  4. Sweden
  5. Ireland
  6. Rwanda
  7. Philippines
  8. Switzerland
  9. Slovenia
  10. NZ

NZ 2nd for charity giving

February 16th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand is placed second in a list of the most charitable countries around the globe, with the United States taking the top spot.

A report released on Sunday from the Charities Aid Foundation showed that individual Kiwis giving to charity made up 0.79 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In comparison, the United States ranked in first with 1.44 per cent, and Canada wasn’t far behind New Zealand in third place with 0.77 per cent.

The top 10 are:

  1. US 1.44%
  2. NZ 0.79%
  3. Canada 0.77%
  4. UK 0.54%
  5. South Korea 0.50%
  6. Singapore 0.39%
  7. India 0.37%
  8. Russia 0.34%
  9. Italy 0.30%
  10. Netherlands 0.30%

Good to see us so generous.

NZ 4th in 2015 Legatum Prosperity Index

November 4th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The 2015 Legatum Prosperity Index is here.

The top 10 countries are:

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

In the different categories, NZ’s ranks are:

  • Economy 14/142
  • Entrepreneurship 17/142
  • Governance 2/142
  • Education 6/142
  • Health 19/142
  • Safety 11/142
  • Freedom 2/142
  • Social Capital 1/142

NZ has second highest wealth per capita

November 2nd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Credit Suisse has its annual report on wealth and wealth per capita.

The opposition would have you think NZ is a hellhole. But seems it isn’t too bad. Here’s the countries with wealth per capita of over US$100,000:

  1. Switzerland $567,122
  2. New Zealand $400,811
  3. Australia $364,896
  4. US $352,996
  5. Iceland $351,037
  6. Norway $321,352
  7. UK $320,368
  8. Sweden $311,353
  9. Luxembourg $303,695
  10. Singapore $296,408
  11. France $262,070
  12. Belgium $259,406
  13. Denmark $251,634
  14. Canada $248,276
  15. Italy $203,577
  16. Austria $196,092
  17. Taiwan $194,701
  18. Ireland $194,650
  19. Japan $190,230
  20. Netherlands $182,782
  21. Germany $177,984
  22. Hong Kong $173,685
  23. Qatar $156,986
  24. Israel $155,982
  25. Finland $149,917
  26. UAE $144,377
  27. Kuwait $113,419
  28. Spain $111,643
  29. Malta $110,998

UPDATE: The data is disputed and we may only be US$252,000 which would 13th place (which is still very good).

NZ 2nd for ease of doing business

November 1st, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The World Bank has released its latest annual report rating countries for the ease of doing business. NZ remains 2nd top.

The top 10 are:

  1. Singapore 87.34
  2. New Zealand 86.79
  3. Denmark 84.40
  4. Korea 83.88
  5. Hong Kong 83.67
  6. UK 82.46
  7. US 82.15
  8. Sweden 81.72
  9. Norway 81.61
  10. Finland 81.05

Bottom is Eritrea in 189th place on 27.61!

NZ a stand out for digital evolution

October 27th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Trajectory Chart 2013 1280x930

Tufts University has looked at how different countries have done with digital evolution. NZ is in the right quadrant, of the stand outs.

Also pleasing is we have been moving up the rankings since 2008.

NZ top for Budget transparency

September 30th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand has retained top marks on a global index of Budget transparency, but lags when it comes to enabling public participation. 

The Open Budget Survey ranks more than 100 countries on its transparency and accountability when it comes to Government finances, measuring across four “pillars of accountability”.

New Zealand retained the top position it’s held since 2012 in terms of public availability of Budget information, and scored highly when it came to audit oversight. 

Overall, it outranked Sweden, South Africa, Norway and the United States in the top five. 

Great to be top.

The auditors of the index criticised New Zealand for its “citizens budget”, and limited reporting of Government tax expenditures. 

“Parliamentary oversight is assessed as ‘limited’ during for Budget planning and ‘weak’ for budget implementation, with a composite score for legislative oversight of just 45 out of 100.

“Formal mechanisms for public engagement across stages of the Budget cycle are also assessed as “limited”, scoring 65 out of 100, with particular concern about lack of opportunities for public participation in processes involving Parliament and the Office of Auditor General,” the index report said.

In particular, the Government made extensive Budget information available, but it was not necessarily “user friendly”. 

Fair criticism. We may be top, but always more can be done.

NZ one of few countries with no legal restrictions against women

September 11th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The World Bank reports:

Women, Business and the Law measures legal restrictions on women’s employment and entrepreneurship by identifying gender-based legal differences. The dataset has captured 21 differences in policies for unmarried women and 26 for married women that affect women’s economic opportunities, for a total of 47 differences across five indicators (box 1.1). Of the 173 economies covered by Women, Business and the Law, 155 maintain at least one barrier for women seeking opportunities that does not exist for men; on this simple measure (figure 1.1), the majority of economies have at least one legal gender difference.

The 30 economies with ten or more legal differences are in the Middle East and North Africa (18), Sub-Saharan Africa (8), East Asia and the Pacific (2) and South Asia (2).

The 18 economies with no legal differences between women and men in the areas measured are Armenia; Canada; the Dominican Republic; Estonia; Hungary; Kosovo; Malta; Mexico; Namibia; the Netherlands; New Zealand; Peru; Puerto Rico, territory of the United States; Serbia; the Slovak Republic; South Africa; Spain and Taiwan, China

So we’re one of only 18 countries with no legal barriers for women in employment.

Some of the restrictions are:

  • Need permission to get a passport – 32 countries
  • Can not be head of a household – 30 countries
  • Can not choose where to live – 30 countries
  • Need permission to get a job – 18 countries

Others include the French law that women may not carry loads of greater than 25 kgs!


The top 10 most liveable cities

August 23rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Economist has done its list of the 10 best cities in the world to live. This year they are:

  1. Melbourne 97.5
  2. Vienna 97.4
  3. Vancouver 97.3
  4. Toronto 97.2
  5. Calgary 96.6
  6. Adelaide 96.6
  7. Sydney 96.1
  8. Perth 95.9
  9. Auckland 95.7
  10. Helsinki 95.6
    Zurich 95.6

The cities are ranked on 39 criteria such as safety, education, hygiene, health care, culture, environment, recreation, stability and transport.

NZ still has lowest gender pay gap in OECD

August 4th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar


This was tweeted by Conrad Hackett of Pew Research.

I’d previously blogged a similar graph with 2012 data, but this includes 2013 data.

Now only do we have the lowest pay gap in the OECD, but it is massively smaller than countries such as Australia, UK, US and Canada.

NZ has third highest material living standard

July 28th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand families have the third-highest material living standard in the world, a local study has found.

Researchers at public policy research institute Motu used data from 800,000 households across 40 countries to create the new measure for wellbeing, which took into account homes that included a 15-year-old.

The measure is based on ownership of possessions such as books, internet connections, whiteware and cars, as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in a house.

These are measures that actually matter to families – far more than whether the guy down the road has an even better car.

The top 10 are:

  1. USA
  2. Canada
  3. NZ
  4. Australia
  5. Liechenstein
  6. Luxembourg
  7. Ireland
  8. Norway
  9. Sweden
  10. Italy

They did look at inequality also. NZ was in 20th out of 40 countries.

Motu senior fellow Dr Arthur Grimes said the results should call into question the widespread negative impression of living standards in New Zealand compared with other developed countries.

“Our results show New Zealand is still a great place to bring up children, at least in material terms.

“Not only do we have wonderful natural amenities, but contrary to what GDP statistics tell us, most Kiwi families have a high standard of material wellbeing relative to our international peers.”

A great place to live in, NZ is.


NZ 7th best reputation

July 26th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand has increased its ranking to seventh in a list assessing the reputations of 55 countries. Last year it was eighth.

Canada has beaten last year’s leader Switzerland to top the 2015 “RepTrak” rankings, issued by the Reputation Institute, which has offices in many countries.

Since the survey began in 2010, Canada has ranked first all but two years and has not been placed lower than second.

The institute gathered information online for its rankings from more than 48,000 people in G8 countries. It says this enables it to “measure the public’s perception of 55 countries based on three dimensions: effective government, appealing environment, and advanced economy.

“Countries with strong reputations are perceived positively in all three dimensions.”

The top 10 are:

  1. Canada 78.1
  2. Norway 77.1
  3. Sweden 76.6
  4. Switzerland 76.4
  5. Australia 76.3
  6. Finland 75.1
  7. New Zealand 75.0
  8. Denmark 74.5
  9. Netherlands 73.7
  10. Belgium 72.3

The bottom five countries are Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Nigeria.

NZ 17th for global competitiveness

July 18th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

NZ is ranked 17th with a score of 5.2 out of 7. We’ve improved every year since 2011/12.

The top 10 are:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. US
  4. Finland
  5. Germany
  6. Japan
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Netherlands
  9. UK
  10. Sweden

More interesting than the overall ranking, are the rankings on each component for New Zealand.

Our ranks for the 12 pillars are:

  1. Institutions 1st
  2. Infrastructure 29th
  3. Macroeconomic environment 25th
  4. Health and primary education 4th
  5. Higher education and training 9th
  6. Goods market efficiency 6th
  7. Labour market efficiency 6th
  8. Financial market development 3rd
  9. Technological readiness 23rd
  10. Market Size 62nd
  11. Business sophistication 24th
  12. Innovation 23rd

And some of the individual areas where we were ranked first (or 1st equal) in the world:

  • (non) diversion of public funds
  • Irregular payments and bribes
  • Judicial Independence
  • Ethical behaviour of firms
  • Efficacy of corporate boards
  • Strength of investor protection
  • Inflation
  • HIV prevalence
  • No procedures to start a business
  • No days to start a business
  • Agricultural policy costs
  • Redundancy costs
  • Reliance on professional management
  • Legal Rights Index

NZ 6th for rule of law

June 16th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Law Society reports:

New Zealand is ranked sixth in the world in the latest Rule of Law Index published by the World Justice Project.

The World Justice Project was founded in 2006 as a presidential initiative of the American Bar Association and says it became an independent non-profit association in 2009. It has offices in Washington DC and Seattle in the United States.

The World Justice Project says its Rule of Law Index is compiled from a large number of surveys to measure how the rule of law is experienced in practical, everyday situations by ordinary people around the world.

Performance is assessed using 44 indicators across eight categories, each of which is scored and ranked globally and against regional and income peers. 

The top 10 are:

  1. Denmark 0.87
  2. Norway 0.87
  3. Sweden 0.85
  4. Finland 0.85
  5. Netherlands 0.83
  6. New Zealand 0.83
  7. Austria 0.82
  8. Germany 0.81
  9. Singapore 0.81
  10. Australia 0.80

The bottom country is Venezuela.

Some specific rankings in categories are:

  • Open Government 2nd
  • Regulatory Enforcement 5th
  • Absence of Corruption 6th

Australia slips behind NZ for competitiveness

June 6th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The AFR reports:

Australia’s global competitiveness has slumped to the worst ranking in at least 18 years, slipping behind New Zealand, as business criticised the Abbott government’s failure to kick-start a fresh wave of infrastructure spending.

In a damning report done for the Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, the nation’s ranking slipped to 18 from 17 a year ago. The deterioration continues a six-year slide that started in 2009, when Australia was ranked five.

For the first time in 18 years, New Zealand has jumped ahead of Australia, moving to 17 from 20, the IMD report shows.

17th isn’t bad, but not high enough. However the good thing is we are improving, while sadly Australia is not. You see what six years of Labor did to their competitiveness.

The findings are a major blow for Tony Abbott, who vowed upon being elected in 2013 to become the “infrastructure prime minister”. They also highlight ongoing dismay within the business community at the lack of movement on major new projects.

With the government using this month’s budget to borrow more to pay for a short-term boost through the $20,000 instant asset writeoff for small business, concerns continue to grow at the lack of longer-term economic investment to replace the resources boom.

“For Christ’s sake, something has to happen – the economy is not ticking over, interest rates and budget deficits are not at they level they are because things are doing well,” said CEDA chief executive Stephen Martin.

The Abbott Government seems to also lack direction and a clear plan.

OECD homicide rates

May 16th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

One-in-five murder victims around the world is Brazilian, Colombian or Venezuelan, a study has shown, despite the three countries containing less than four per cent of the world’s total population.

Click here to see the interactive map

The Homicide Monitor data project compiled by the Brazil-based Instituto Igarape reveals the high rates of homicide around Latin America and the Caribbean, where a third of all of the world’s homicides occur.

The region contains only eight per cent of the world’s total population.

Honduras (85.5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants), Venezuela (53.7) and the US Virgin Islands (46.9) have the highest murder rates per population in the world.

By contrast, New Zealand’s homicide rate is 0.9 per 100,000 population (as of 2012), while Australia’s is 1.1.


But owing to Brazil and Colombia’s largest overall population, these two countries – along with Venezeula – are responsible for one-in-five of all murders in the world each year.

Wow. That is huge.

So how does NZ compare with other (non-micro) OECD countries. The rates per 100,000 from lowest to highest is:

  1. Luxembourg 0.2
  2. Denmark 0.3
  3. Iceland 0.3
  4. UK 0.3
  5. Japan 0.3
  6. Austria 0.4
  7. Slovenia 0.4
  8. Germany 0.5
  9. Australia 0.8
  10. Switzerland 0.5
  11. France 0.6
  12. Norway 0.6
  13. Spain 0.6
  14. Italy 0.7
  15. Sweden 0.7
  16. Ireland 0.8
  17. Czech Republic 0.8
  18. New Zealand 0.9
  19. Poland 0.9
  20. Netherlands 0.9
  21. South Korea 1.1
  22. Portugal 1.1
  23. Belgium 1.1
  24. Slovak Republic 1.2
  25. Hungary 1.3
  26. Finland 1.4
  27. Canada 1.5
  28. Greece 1.6
  29. Israel 2.3
  30. Chile 4.4
  31. Estonia 4.8
  32. USA 5.2
  33. Mexico 23.4

So NZ is around middle of the pack. We had 41 murders last year. To match the best OECD countries, that needs to reduce to 15 or so.

NZ 4th for energy security risk

April 28th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

NZ has the 4th lowest energy security risk in the developed world. The top 10 are:

  1. Norway
  2. Mexico
  3. Denmark
  4. NZ
  5. UK
  6. US
  7. Canada
  8. France
  9. Germany
  10. Australia

Useful having so much renewable energy.

World Happiness Report 2015

April 27th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The 2015 World Happiness Report is out and again NZ ranks near the top.

The top 10 are:

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