We’re free!

January 10, 2013

New Zealand has topped the Human Freedom Index:

Until now, no global index measuring human freedom consistent with a classical liberal approach has existed. Today, as part of the Human Freedom project sponsored by Cato, the Fraser Institute, and the Liberales Institut, . . .

Using indicators consistent with the concept of negative liberty—the absence of coercive constraint—we have tried to capture the degree to which people are free to enjoy classic liberties in each country: freedom of speech, religion, individual economic choice, and association and assembly. The freedom index is composed of 76 distinct variables including measures of safety and security, freedom of movement, and relationship freedoms such as assembly or legal discrimination against gays.

In this preliminary index New Zealand ranks as the most free country in the world, followed by the Netherlands and then Hong Kong. Australia, Canada, and Ireland follow, with the United States ranking in 7th place. . . .

The index is a chapter in Towards a Worldwide Index of Human Freedom (.pdf) (published by Fraser and Liberales) which has the following table. It shows the rankings, the numbers are the ratings for personal freedom, economic freedom and the freedom index:

1 New Zealand 9.2 8.22 8.73
2 Netherlands 9.5 7.45 8.47
3 Hong Kong 7.8 9.02 8.39
4 Australia 8.8 7.83 8.33
5 Canada 8.7 7.92 8.33
6 Ireland 9.0 7.68 8.33
7 United States of America 8.7 7.93 8.30
8 Denmark 8.9 7.71 8.30
9 Japan 9.2 7.38 8.28
10 Estonia 8.9 7.65 8.28
11 Switzerland 8.6 7.96 8.26
12 Norway 9.2 7.34 8.26
13 Finland 8.8 7.54 8.16
14 Austria 8.7 7.59 8.13
15 Luxembourg 8.7 7.53 8.12
16 Chile 8.2 7.99 8.12
17 Iceland 9.0 7.16 8.10
18 United Kingdom 8.4 7.78 8.08
19 Slovakia 8.6 7.57 8.07
20 Costa Rica 8.8 7.35 8.05
21 El Salvador 8.5 7.58 8.04
22 Uruguay 9.4 6.67 8.03
23 Spain 8.8 7.19 8.00
24 Albania 8.6 7.38 7.98
25 Portugal 8.9 7.08 7.97
26 Bahamas 8.8 7.08 7.94
27 Malta 8.8 7.06 7.94
28 Panama 8.5 7.32 7.92
29 Sweden 8.6 7.26 7.91
30 Mauritius 8.1 7.61 7.88
31 Hungary 8.4 7.39 7.87
32 Belgium 8.5 7.14 7.83
33 France 8.4 7.20 7.78
34 Czech Republic 8.7 6.88 7.78
35 Germany 8.0 7.47 7.75
36 Guatemala 8.3 7.15 7.73
37 Poland 8.6 6.88 7.73
38 Peru 8.0 7.36 7.68
39 Singapore 6.6 8.75 7.67
40 Italy 8.5 6.75 7.62
41 Lithuania 8.2 7.03 7.61
42 Bulgaria 8.0 7.18 7.60

43 Slovenia 8.5 6.61 7.56
44 Korea, Republic of 7.7 7.33 7.53
45 Cyprus 7.6 7.50 7.53
46 Jamaica 8.0 6.97 7.48
47 Taiwan 7.4 7.56 7.48
48 Latvia 7.9 6.98 7.44
49 Papua New Guinea 7.8 6.94 7.39
50 Brazil 8.5 6.18 7.35
51 Haiti 8.0 6.68 7.34
52 Honduras 7.5 7.12 7.31
53 Nicaragua 7.8 6.85 7.30
54 Paraguay 7.9 6.62 7.27
55 Ghana 7.3 7.17 7.23
56 Argentina 8.4 6.01 7.22
57 Croatia 7.9 6.54 7.20
58 Thailand 7.3 7.06 7.17
59 Guyana  7.6 6.74 7.16
60 Trinidad and Tobago  7.5 6.78 7.13
61 Fiji  7.7 6.56 7.11
62 Namibia  7.6 6.61 7.10
63 Belize  7.5 6.72 7.09
64 Bolivia  8.0 6.15 7.07
65 Greece  7.1 6.92 7.03
66 Romania  7.6 6.43 7.03
67 Philippines  7.3 6.76 7.02
68 Mexico  7.1 6.88 7.00
69 South Africa  7.3 6.55 6.94
70 Madagascar  7.5 6.28 6.88
71 Botswana  6.8 6.89 6.85
72 Dominican Republic  7.5 6.22 6.84
73 Ecuador  7.6 6.04 6.80
74 Bahrain  6.3 7.23 6.74
75 Oman  6.0 7.50 6.74
76 Barbados  7.4 5.97 6.68
77 Mali  7.2 6.15 6.66
78 Zambia  6.1 7.27 6.66
79 Ukraine  7.5 5.46 6.49
80 Rwanda  6.3 6.61 6.44
81 Colombia  6.6 6.24 6.41
82 Jordan  5.6 7.18 6.38
83 Turkey  5.8 6.91 6.37
84 Indonesia  6.2 6.49 6.36
85 Kuwait  5.2 7.50 6.35
86 United Arab Emirates  5.2 7.45 6.31

87 Benin  7.1 5.49 6.27
88 Malawi  6.6 5.95 6.27
89 Russia  5.9 6.57 6.25
90 Guinea-Bissau  7.4 4.93 6.15
91 Kenya  5.2 7.00 6.12
92 India  5.6 6.48 6.06
93 Morocco  5.8 6.29 6.04
94 Uganda  4.9 7.15 6.00
95 Tanzania  6.0 5.94 5.96
96 Egypt  5.0 6.82 5.93
97 Nepal  6.3 5.44 5.89
98 Senegal  6.2 5.56 5.88
99 Malaysia  5.0 6.71 5.84
100 China  5.1 6.44 5.76
101 Congo, Republic of  6.7 4.77 5.73
102 Niger  6.1 5.35 5.71
103 Sierra Leone  6.0 5.37 5.68
104 Nigeria  5.4 5.93 5.68
105 Israel  4.4 6.86 5.60
106 Togo  5.5 5.62 5.54
107 Gabon  5.4 5.64 5.54
108 Cote d’Ivoire  5.3 5.67 5.48
109 Venezuela  6.5 4.35 5.42
110 Tunisia  4.7 6.00 5.36
111 Bangladesh  4.7 5.95 5.31
112 Central African Republic  5.2 5.16 5.18
113 Chad  4.8 5.35 5.07
114 Cameroon  4.2 5.86 5.03
115 Burundi  5.2 4.65 4.93
116 Iran  3.6 6.08 4.83
117 Algeria  4.5 5.02 4.77
118 Congo, Democratic Republic of  4.7 4.84 4.76
119 Syria  4.3 5.07 4.67
120 Sri Lanka  3.4 5.89 4.64
121 Pakistan  3.1 5.80 4.47
122 Burma  4.0 3.49 3.72
123 Zimbabwe  3.2 3.57 3.38
Average  7.1 6.7 6.9
Median  7.5 6.9 7.1

Offsetting Behaviour has a post on the index and Kiwi Freedom.


Word of the day

January 10, 2013

Ululate – to howl, wail, or lament loudly; to utter howling sounds, as in shrill, wordless lamentation.


Rural round-up

January 10, 2013

SC man leader at global grain giant – Gerald Piddock:

Forging a career at a desk of the largest privately owned corporation in the United States instead of behind the farmgate is a choice Maurice Hurst has never lamented.

The South Canterbury-born Lincoln graduate oversees the North American grain and oil seed export division for Cargill Incorporated, a company that reported a $1.17 billion in earnings in the 2012 fiscal year ended May 31, 2012.

It is responsible for 25 per cent of all United States grain exports, employing 150,000 people in 66 countries. It has a presence in New Zealand through its Australian arm. . .

Scheme conserves landowner freedom – Richard Rennie:

Minutes from Tauranga, Te Puna farmer Colin Merrin not only farms on the city’s doorstep but also reclaims flora and fauna, aided by a farmer-friendly conservation scheme.

His 240ha property is perched on high hill country north of Tauranga. Rolling back towards the Kaimai Range, it has been identified as a link in a valuable natural corridor between the Bay of Plenty coast, across the range to the Waihou River catchment in Waikato.

The Forest and Bird Kaimai Connection programme aims to integrate this corridor’s biodiversity protection and enhancement alongside private landowners committed to preserving native bush and wildlife in the area. . .

Sentencing should warn of Gisborne rustlers: 

After Police and farmers worked together to bust a major East Coast stock rustling ring last year, Federated Farmers is warning rustlers to find a different line of work in 2013.

“Late last year, two people were convicted of rustling 160 sheep but realistically, that was possibly the tip of an iceberg,” says Hamish Cave, spokesperson for Federated Farmers Gisborne-Wairoa.

“This ring was busted because farmers saw suspicious activity, took down details and called the Police. . .

Farmers asked to fund wool promotion – Tim Fulton:

Members of the global Campaign for Wool are prodding New Zealand to firm up its contribution, just as talk surfaces again of farmers being asked to directly fund wool promotion. Tim Fulton reports.

New Zealand’s representative for the Campaign for Wool, Stephen Fookes, says some of the partners feel this country isn’t getting the best value from its involvement.

While NZ is doing its bit to create awareness of wool, particularly strong fibre, it is not actually showcasing what it produces, he says. . .

New man heads Ravensdown – Ali Tocker:

Fertiliser company Ravensdown has a new chief executive, former Ngai Tahu Holdings head Greg Campbell.

Chairman of the Australasian farmer-owned co-operative, Bill McLeod, said Campbell brought significant international experience as a chief executive, and company director experience including with PGG Wrightson.

Campbell, who was chief executive at Ngai Tahu, replaces long-serving Ravensdown chief executive Rodney Green. . .

RECORDS TUMBLE IN 2013 DAIRY AWARDS:

The 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will be the biggest and best yet, with a record 566 entries received, up from the previous best of 525.

“We are just so rapt with the response and at the level of competition that will take place to determine the winners,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

A total of 144 entries were received in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition, 171 entrants will compete for the New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year title and 251 entries were received in the New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year contest. . .


Thursday’s quiz

January 10, 2013

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said:  “New Zealand is an irredeemably pluvial country.”?

2. Propsero and his daughter Miranda are characters in which Shakespeare play?

3. It’s pluie in French, pioggia in Italian, lluiva in Spanish and ua in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Which New Zealand band had a hit with Always Take the Weather With You?

5. Have you ever taken the weather with you?


Question of the day

January 10, 2013
Why does mineral water that “has trickled through mountains for centuries”, have a ‘use by’ date?

Hat tip: Medical Humour


Moon man missed storms

January 10, 2013

Ken Ring gets a lot of publicity for his weather forecasts, most of it used to be positive.

But he went a step too far in declaring he could forecast earthquakes last year and now the media is quite rightly taking a more rigorous approach to his predictions:

Self-proclaimed weather guru Ken Ring is wildly astray in his January predictions for the South Island hydro lakes region, in his 2013 weather almanac.

His summary for January, based on lunar patterns, says “the driest regions for the South Island for January may be the hydro lakes”.

But Environment Canterbury flood controller Tony Henderson said the 500mm of rain in the Waitaki and Rangitata river catchments over four days was “probably the most we’ve had over the summer in several decades”.  . .

When I drove down the Waitaki Valley on Monday, the spillways of Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki dams were spilling spectacular amounts of water which only happens when there’s been a lot of rain filling the lakes further up the catchment.

Strong nor west winds at home yesterday almost always mean rain further west, at or above the hydro lakes.

We had the longest, loudest thunder claps I’ve ever heard last night and about 9 mls of rain.

Mount Cook had 160mm of rain yesterday, following 440mm over a couple of days last week – the first time since 1994 two storms had arrived so close together.

You can never tell whether predictions which aren’t based on proven scientific methods are right or just lucky. But you can say when they’re wrong.

The Moon Man got this month’s forecast for the hydro lakes wrong and it’s good to see that the media aren’t letting him get away with it.


Loud voices

January 10, 2013

“Are there times you just want to shout at people?” he asked.

“Oh yes,” she replied. But I try to do it when they’re not around and I always finish with a whisper because my mother told me that loud voices don’t usually solve problems.”


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