Kiwis happy despite lack of wealth - OECD
10:18AM Tuesday May 05, 2009

New Zealanders are satisfied with their lives even though they are not especially rich, figures released by the OECD have revealed.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's latest Society at a Glance report shows Kiwis rank sixth out of 30 in terms of overall satisfaction with life but are in the bottom third in terms of income per capita.

New Zealanders also spend less time watching television than people in other industrialised countries, the report shows.

Just 25 per cent of New Zealanders' leisure time is spent in front of the TV - the lowest percentage of the 18 OECD countries whose leisure statistics were studied.

At the other end of the scale Mexicans absorb 48 per cent of their leisure time as couch potatoes.

But the statistics belie perceptions of New Zealand as a sports mad nation.

New Zealanders join Belgians, Americans and Mexicans in using only five per cent of their leisure time in sports activities.

Spaniards devote more of their leisure time - 12 per cent - than anyone else to playing sport.

The French spend the most time eating and drinking (more than two hours a day), with New Zealanders runners-up in those stakes.

Americans spend just one and a quarter hours per day eating but have the highest obesity rates in the OECD, with 34 per cent of the population having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30.

The lowest obesity rates are found in Korea, followed by Japan, with less than 4 percent of the population with a BMI over 30.

The French spend the most time sleeping - nine hours a day on average - closely followed by Americans, who spend an average of 8.5 hours a day in bed.

Only the Japanese, French and Mexicans spend less time per day than New Zealanders in leisure activities. Norwegians come up as the most leisurely lot.

Crime is high with New Zealand, second only to Ireland in internationally comparable data on vehicle, theft and "contact" crimes.

Twenty-two per cent of New Zealand experienced such a crime in a 12-month period, compared with an OECD average of 16 per cent.

While most OECD countries have higher suicide rates for older people, New Zealand and Norway were unusual in having higher suicide rates for young adults than for the old.

- NZPA, AP

From here.