A junk index

One thing I look out for is indexes that measure how countries do on various criteria. They can be economic freedom or women’s equality or environmental etc.

The Human Rights Commission tweeted about one I had not heard of before – the Human Rights Measurement Initiative. NZ tends to do well in human rights indexes. We are No 1 in world in the human freedom index by Cato, No 10 in press freedom index, No 4 on democracy index etc.

So I expected HRMI to have us pretty well off. But instead I found NZ was a hellhole:

  • Freedom from arbitrary arrest only 6.1/10
  • Freedom from disappearance only 8.4/10
  • Freedom from extrajudicial execution only 7.1/10
  • Freedom from torture only 6.0/10

So it seems we live in fear of government agents arresting us without charge, making us disappear and killing us.

According to this index we are at higher risk of extrajudicial executions than Jordan!

The data seems nuts. I couldn’t understand it. Then I read their methodology.

This so called measurement of human rights is nothing more than the opinions of self-selecting human rights activists in each country. As far as I can tell there is no objective data at all, it is all subjective.

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