NZ scores fifth place in world prosperity stakes
By Michael Dickison
5:30 AM Thursday Oct 28, 2010

Think-tank rates New Zealand top in education, but says Kiwis lack faith in their economic potential. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand has been ranked the world's fifth-most-prosperous country, with the highest level of education and civil liberties, by an international think-tank.

But Kiwis' belief in their economy and society appears to lag well behind.

The Legatum Institute, part of a Dubai investment group, issued its annual prosperity index yesterday.

The group was founded by secretive Kiwi billionaire Christopher Chandler, who has bankrolled unique projects for the developing world, including a business school that nurtures original ideas to alleviate poverty.

Mr Chandler, who grew up in the Waikato, has featured on the Forbes rich list with an anonymous silhouette - no public photo was apparently available.

The ranking of 110 countries combines economic factors and measures of happiness and quality of life, including surveys about personal trust and safety.

Overall, New Zealand came fifth, just after Australia and five places ahead of the United States. Norway took the top spot while Britain was 13th.

In a breakdown of New Zealand's scores, the institute judged the country's education system the best in the world, with particular recognition for gender equality and the number of teachers, which inspired "high levels of public confidence".

The institute also held New Zealand's "highly democratic" government in high esteem, saying it was "extremely effective in implementing policies".

More here.