Labour, the Green party and their fellow travellers would have us believe that New Zealand is in a parlous state.
The Social Progress report shows otherwise – New Zealand is first in the world for social and environmental progress:
. . . The 2014 Social Progress Index reveals striking differences across countries in their social performance and highlights the very different strengths and weaknesses of individual countries.
The results provide concrete priorities for national policy agendas and identify other countries to learn from.
The top three countries in the world in terms of social progress are New Zealand, Switzerland, and Iceland. These three countries, closely grouped in terms of score, are relatively small in terms of populations. They score strongly across all social progress dimensions.
The remainder of the top ten includes a group of Northern European nations (Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark), Canada, and Australia. Together with the top three, these countries round out a distinct “top tier” of countries in terms of social progress scores. . .
* 91.74 out of 100 for basic human needs, which rated nutrition and basic medical care. the only relative weakness was in this area – for maternal mortality.
* 84.97 for foundations of wellbeing which rated access to basic knowledge, access to information and communications, health and wellness and environmental sustainability.
* 88.01 for opportunity which rated personal rights, personal freedom and choice, tolerance and inclusion and access to advanced education.
This doesn’t mean New Zealand is perfect. There is room for improvement.
But we are doing relatively well in social and environmental measures which are the ones many say matter far more than economic ones.
However, let us not forget that the sustainability of those depend on a strong economy.
It is no coincidence that countries which rate well in social and environmental areas also do well economically and the countries at the bottom don’t.
GDP alone doesn’t guarantee social progress but it provides a strong foundation for it.