We're on top of the world (or close to it): various global rankings to warm New Zealanders' cockles

Wade Wu
The classic Kiwi combo of immense pride and crushing self-doubt makes for an interesting cultural paradox and it’s often manifested in the most common question directed at tourists: ‘are you enjoying your stay? I hope you’re enjoying you’re stay. You are enjoying your stay! That’s great. I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay (‘are you enjoying your stay?’ should really be a slogan that’s added to the new flag). Most of us know we've got it pretty good here, but it's always nice to get some independent validation, so get ready to swell with patriotism, because three new comparative surveys show New Zealand is still right up there in a range of different categories.

The classic Kiwi combo of immense pride and crushing self-doubt makes for an interesting cultural paradox and it’s often manifested in the most common question directed at tourists: ‘are you enjoying your stay? I hope you’re enjoying you’re stay. You are enjoying your stay! That’s great. I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay (‘are you enjoying your stay?’ should really be a slogan that’s added to the new flag). Most of us know we've got it pretty good here, but it's always nice to get some independent validation, so get ready to swell with patriotism, because three new comparative surveys show New Zealand is still right up there in a range of different categories. 

For over 35 years, the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report series has "shed light on the key factors and their interrelations that determine economic growth and a country’s level of present and future prosperity". And since 2004 it has released the Global Competitiveness Index to coincide with the arrival of the private jets in Davos. 

“Each country’s relative economic strength is determined by analysing twelve pillars—including capacity to innovate, infrastructure, and health factors—that produce 114 unique indicators.”

And in the overall stakes, New Zealand comes in 16th, up one place from the previous year and up from 23rd in 2012.

On top was Switzerland, followed by Singapore, US and Germany.

  • Check out the full report here, the interactive element on Quartz here and the specific info on New Zealand here

Another study, this one by WPP, the Wharton Business School and US News, factored in things like adventure, cultural influence, power and quality of life for its Best Countries report. And New Zealand was ranked 11th overall. 

The survey showed New Zealand ranks highly for adventure (although, worryingly, we don't have much sexy adventure) but we we're lacking a bit of culture. 

In the entrepreneurship category, New Zealand was ranked 16th, although, within that category, we weren't rated highly for innovation or technological expertise.

And, as many other surveys have shown, we are near the top when it comes to ease of doing business, with very little corruption and a lot of transparency.

New Zealand also ranked highly for separate rankings like best country to retire, best country to travel alone, best country for raising kids, best country for women and best country for green living. 

Rounding out the rankings, the Martin Prosperity Institute's 'Global Creativity Index 2015' places us third in the world in this regard, just behind Australia and the United States respectively, and followed by Canada, Denmark and Finland. New Zealand moved up from sixth to third place this year. 

The study bases its results on the “3Ts” – talent (research and development investment, and patents per capita), technology (share of adults with higher education and workforce in the creative class) and tolerance (treatment of immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians) — and ranks 139 nations on each of these pillars, as well as their overall measure.

The study says that in the knowledge economy, where consumption and production are based on intellectual capital, the 3Ts and overall creativity are linked closely to economic and social development.

Good to see New Zealand is still ‘punching above its weight’ (another slogan that could be put on the new flag), although, one has to wonder, how much does New Zealand actually weigh? Surely those mountains and glaciers add some heft.