We hear an awful lot from the Right about how much New Zealand sucks: ‘crime is up’ they cry (when it’s down), ‘taxes are too high’ (when they’re down), ‘too many dole bludgers’ (when benefit numbers are way, way down), ‘everyone’s leaving for Australia’ (when fewer than 0.7% of people went last year), ‘labour costs are too high’ (you mean wages are up? No wonder Key “would love to see wages drop“). So, it’s nice to take a break from National’s ‘New Zealand Sucks’ campaign and be reminded of what a great little country we live in.
Save the Children has released its “State of the World’s Mothers” report. New Zealand was ranked the 4th best place in the world to be a mother, the 2nd best to be a woman, and the twentieth best for children. In each of those metrics, we are well ahead of Australia.
New Zealand ranked highly because it scored well in each of the areas that Save the Children looked at: Lifetime risk of maternal mortality, Percent of women using modern contraception, Female life expectancy at birth, Expected number of years of formal female schooling, Maternity leave benefits, Ratio of estimated female to male earned income, Participation of women in national government, Under-5 mortality rate, Gross pre-primary enrollment ratio, and Gross secondary enrollment ratio.
New Zealand doesn’t perform well in these areas by accident; the results arise from government policy. See how these following policies match with the measures Save the Children looked for: more money for health, subsidised GP visits, free morning-after pill, 20Free childhood education, interest-free student loans, Schools Plus, paid paternal leave, higher minimum wage, lower unemployment, Working for Families, modern apprenticeships, skills training, and gender balance in Labour’s List.
New Zealand is such a good place to be a mother and raise kids because the Government has made a concerted effort to make it so.