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

The best passports to have

April 24th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Traveller reports:

Australian passports are the ninth most powerful in the world, according to a new online passport index that allows you to sort passports of the world by a ‘passport power rank’.

Created by financial advisory firm Arton Capital, the index determines the ranking of a country by calculating how many countries passport holders can visit without an advance visa, or by purchasing visa on arrival. …

Best countries to have a passport from

1. USA, UK (147)

2. France, South Korea, Germany (145)

3. Italy, Sweden (144)

4. Denmark, Singapore, Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands (143)

5. Switzerland (142)

6. Spain, Norway, Ireland, Belgium, Portugal (141)

7. Canada, Greece, Austria, Malaysia (140)

8. New Zealand (139)

9. Australia, Czech Republic, Hungary (138)

10. Poland, Slovakia (137)

So not too bad for NZ. Only eight fewer countries than the top passport.

NZ has lowest gender wage gap in the OECD

April 16th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Once again, NZ is one of the better places in the world for women, or men, to live.

Social progress Index 2015

April 13th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Social Progress Index for 2015 is out. It is a comprehensive assessment of a country’s social progress.

NZ has a score of 87.08 out of 100, which is 5th highest in the world. This is a small increase from 86.93 which NZ got in 2014 based on the 2015 criteria. The original 2014 index had NZ in 1st place, but they have changed their methodology and we would have been 5th last year on the revised methodology.

The top 10 are:

  1. Nowway 88.36
  2. Sweden 88.06
  3. Switzerland 87.97
  4. Iceland 87.62
  5. New Zealand 87.08
  6. Canada 86.89
  7. Finland 86.75
  8. Denmark 86.63
  9. Netherlands 86.50
  10. Australia 86.42

You can see the scores above. They also compare our relative strengths and weaknesses with 15 other countries with a similar GDP per capita (Belgium, Finland, France, Japan, Korea, Spain, UK). The relative strengths are:

  • Press freedom
  • Freedom of speech
  • Private property rights
  • Freedom over life choices
  • Low corruption
  • Tolerance for immigrants
  • Tolerance for homosexuals
  • Community safety net

The relative weaknesses are:

  • Child mortality rate
  • Obesity rate
  • Suicide rate
  • Water withdrawals
  • Early marriage

The Herald reports:

But the think-tank’s director Michael Green said New Zealand still outperformed all other developed countries in its social progress relative to its economic performance. New Zealand’s economic ranking was only 23rd, with a gross domestic product of US$32,808 or barely half of Norway’s US$62,448, yet its level of social progress (87.08 on the index) was almost as high as Norway’s (88.36).

“Only Sweden, of the OECD countries, is another outperformer, and New Zealand is a much bigger outperformer than Sweden. New Zealand is a world leader in social progress outperforming,” Mr Green said.

Worth remembering this when some people try to paint NZ as a backwards hellhole, which doesn’t invest enough in supporting people.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.