New Zealand Plunges in the ‘Best Place to be a Mom’ Index

State of the World's Mothers

NZ, not the best place to be a Mom.

Save the Children has been releasing an annual report every year since 2000, its about the best and worst countries for mothers.

Since then, New Zealand has been included in the top 10 best countries for moms just six times – the last time was 2012. What’s more, this decline is being reflected in demotions in other indexes too – e.g. the OECD Better Life Index, the Sovereign Wellbeing Index, and the Social Progress Index.

Overall, the impression is that New Zealand is on the slide and there’s no sign of it slowing. Not a great prospect if you’re just about to emigrate to the most remote country on earth.

But back to being a mom. In 2015  New Zealand failed to make it back into the top 10 countries in which to be a mother. Why? read on…

Norway is the best place in the world to be a mother, according to the annual scorecard released by Save the Children. Australia is the only non-European country to make the top ten in the survey of 179 countries.

Somalia is judged the worst place for mothers, just below the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The 16th annual Mothers’ Index is based on five indicators related to maternal health, education, income levels and the status of women…

Australia came in at number nine, behind Iceland (3), Denmark (4), Sweden (5), The Netherlands (6), Spain (7) and Germany (8). Belgium was ranked number 10. France and Britain take the 23rd and 24th spot, below Canada at number 20. The US dropped from number 31 on the list to 33, behind Japan, Poland and Croatia… read on

New Zealand’s position is made worse by the inevitable comparisons being made to its wealthier neighbour, Australia which has a healthcare model similar to New Zealand’s but appears to take better care of its mothers…

New Zealand didn’t even make the top 10, trailing eight places behind ninth-ranked Australia for maternal health.

The result was not good enough and New Zealand should be doing better as a country, commented Professor Stacie Geller, an international maternal morbidity and mortality expert from the University of Illinois.

“The best countries to have a baby are Norway, Finland and Iceland but their healthcare models are not fundamentally different than yours. You should be in the top 10,” she said…

Professor Geller participated in a  maternity research project, led by the University of Otago;s Women’s Health Research Centre…

She found some women faced barriers when trying to access good quality maternity services. This was particularly true for Maori and Pacific Island families…

“We see inequities in America all the time,” said Prof Geller. “Black women in the US are four to five times more likely to die during childbirth. That is because we know access to quality care is based on who you are and where you live. New Zealand may be facing similar problems with inequality among mothers, she said.

A University of Otago study co-authored by Prof Geller last year found as many as 40 per cent of cases where pregnant women were admitted to intensive care units due to severe illness could have been prevented. The preventable illnesses were most commonly blood loss and septicemia. These were often not identified properly due to a failure to recognise a woman’s high risk status, said lead researcher Dr Bev Lawton.

Delayed or inappropriate treatment was also a factor… read more

There’s that word again – inequality. Something that happens with countries that have a wide gap between the rich and poor. New Zealand’s poverty gap has been growing under the present right-wing National government, mostly due to under investment in its disadvantaged young.

New Zealand’s previous rankings

2009 – 6th

2010 – 6th

2012 – 4th

2013 – 17th

2014 – 16th

2015 – 17th

Related articles from E2NZ.org

Isolated and lonely, New Zealanders fare worst for Social Connectedness: Sovereign Wellbeing Index (May 2015)

The latest biennial Sovereign Wellbeing Index has been published, and it’s still not good news for New Zealand, with no improvement since the 2013 survey.

It appears the lack of a social life, and an almost negligible sense of community, is affecting people’s wellbeing in the most remote country on earth, something to consider if you’re from Europe and leaving friends and family to emigrate to New Zealand. Having a support network and somewhere positive to raise your kids is far more important than you’d realise… read on

International Mother’s Day, New Zealand plunges in ‘best place to be a mum’ rankings (May 2013)

…In 2009 (OECD Report Citical of NZ Child Welfare Spending) we wrote about how New Zealand was sixth in that year’s best mum table, despite other data showing that children in this country were more disadvantaged than many other key countries in the developed world. New Zealand’s under investment in its young is now beginning to be reflected in the very surveys it used to be so proud of… read on

OECD’s Better Life Index, New Zealand not so good, continues to fall (11th place) (May 2013)

…A list of 36 countries that can be ranked by their total Better Life scores.

New Zealand doesn’t do very well in comparison to its main competitors, some of whom are the source countries for many of its immigrants. It has also dropped two places in this year’s index compared to last year’s, a big drop from 2011’s index where it came 4th.

Britain and Australia come out higher than NZ for environment, jobs, safety. Australia also tops the table for civic engagement and scores higher for education than New Zealand, which is bound to create some controversy within New Zealand’s international student market sector….read on

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21 thoughts on “New Zealand Plunges in the ‘Best Place to be a Mom’ Index

  1. With what I have seen, with the willingness for “foreigners” wanting to “fit in”, the parents are as bad as home-grown kiwis. “Boys will be boys” attitude. Nothing will change. Another generation of “she’ll be right” drones.

  2. There’s an excellent opinion piece from Duncan Garner today about the death of Emma-Lita Bourne, that echoes many an expat’s views of New Zealand. He at least acknowledges that Unicef might actually be right when it claims New Zealand is among the worst in developed countries for child wellbeing.

    “Many of my friends have returned home from overseas in recent years because they say this is still the best place to raise children.

    They’re right. They’ve made good money, they have good jobs, they can afford a decent quality of life. We have some excellent schools and we live in relative peace and harmony. For them, there is no downside.

    But for many there is a dark side that’s been exposed by a grim coroner’s decision this week. For some struggling families, wealth (and even health) is a far-fetched dream and the so-called paradise on offer here has eluded them.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/columnists/69141668/duncan-garner-the-cold-hard-truth-about-a-little-girls-death-in-a-state-house.html

    As you can imagine the comments are littered with the typically cold-hearted Kiwi mantra that says harden up, or it’s okay because there are places worse than New Zealand.

    • Reading the comments there made me just about vomit. All those ignorant gits spouting about people shouldn’t have babies, shouldn’t be fat (!!), shouldn’t be “leaching” [sic] off the state. These people are despicable. I worked in that community, in that very street. I am very familiar with those disgusting Otara HNZ houses and the people in them. I would address these points on stuff, but it’s a little late, and it will doubtless fall on deaf ears. The population in that area is 95% Pacific. Contrary to the BS spouted on other sites by judgemental, ignorant pricks, they are NOT all on the benefit – far from it. Mostly both parents work, the majority 2 jobs each, in thankless, low-paid employment. They are not big drinkers. or smokers, or “bludgers”. Their servitude benefits the rich fat cats in NZ. Underpaid and overworked so the shareholders can buy another bottle of Chardonnay. These people are hard-working, honest and treated like so much shit on your shoe. Shame, shame and shame again on the nasty-minded, heartless lickspittles that see fit to make such odious comments about a beautiful little girl who died thanks to willfully ignorant butt cracks like them.

  3. “NZ-derived police reporting”. This has been widely used and is a specific strategy in order to “make people FEEL safer”. How stupid do they think people are? You see, hear about all sorts of stuff going on [so you know what is really going on], but some fudged numbers are going to make you FEEL safer? Failed policy that is making the government and by extension the police look silly.
    This is only good for making NZ “look” better in the stats.

    • Denial and the inability to recognise the truth are two traits at the core of New Zealand identity. Kiwis prefer to expend twice as much money, time, and energy concealing a problem rather than half as much trying to solve it.
      New Age cultists who believe that spinning everything in a positive is an effective method for coping with problems should visit New Zealand and witness the refutation of their silly ideas. The Kiwi government thinks that putting a positive spin on things means that the problem will go away.

    • The full text of the Gisborne report can be found at http://web.archive.org/web/20100809092551/http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/article/?id=18600 this is the rest of it.

      “While he agreed making the community “feel safe” was a big part of policing, Mr Muir said actually making it safer was far more important.

      “We strongly believe that our careful reporting on crime straight after it happens helps our community know what is going on and allows people to play a role in solving crimes.”

      Mr Muir asks Gisborne police to provide the research they say backs up this major policy change.

      “The only study they have cited to us is a Rotorua council survey that says very little about the effect of crime reporting on public perceptions. ‘Media profile of crime’ is bunched in with eight reasons in the ‘other’ category.

      “We have a long history of trust with the Gisborne police. We respect their wishes when they ask for some things not to be reported for various reasons.

      “Instead of being asked to recalibrate this relationship, we have been presented with a fait accompli that sounds a lot like they want us to be a propaganda mouthpiece.

      “We are sure this policy change will go down badly in the community. We have a small-enough population in Gisborne and on the Coast that people know each other and really care about those around them.

      “They are used to knowing what is going on and we believe they will see this new policy as patronising. It will also cut off avenues for solving crime.”

      District commander Sam Hoyle was not available for comment and Police National Headquarters did not respond on whether the changes here would become national policy.

      Police Minister Judith Collins also failed to respond, despite numerous messages left with her press secretary yesterday and this morning.

      New Zealand Police this month introduced a monthly reporting system, designed to give a “snapshot” of police activity.

      Currently, official crime statistics are published every six months, and a summary of police activities is published in an annual report.

      The monthly indicators would complement the reporting systems, providing a “snapshot” of crime and preventive activities by police, Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls said.

      “Reporting statistical indicators monthly will allow us to more regularly provide information on topical crimes,” he said.

      Mr Aberahama said police were not trying to withhold information or “paint a prettier picture”.

  4. Admin,

    It’s a remarkable decline overall, 40 years ago NZ was one of the world’s ‘model nations’, with a higher per capita GDP than Australia. I wonder if Kiwis realise that they could slide out of the club of developed nations, unless they discover a huge oil field somewhere.

    • I think that New Zealand’s decline is also foreboding for Australia at the risk of breaching the other countries problems rules. Much of New Zealand’s declined after losing its preferred trading partner, the UK, in the 1970s. The Kiwis foolishly thought that they could simply ship primary goods to the UK in perpetuity and continue to command high prices for primary goods at the bottom of the Value Added Chain.

      It is a similar relationship between Australia and China now that Australia seems to be nearing the end of the mining boom. Even if mineral prices remain high, the production phase of the mining boom brings far less residual benefits to Australia in the forms of jobs and income than the construction phase. Australia also seems to have very little that is competitively globally aside from extracting minerals and shipping them.

      At least Australia improved its population through immigration after World War II. The Kiwis are going to have a major dairy bust in the next few years. A Dutch friend of mine that speaks Chinese told me that Chinese language newspapers in China report that China wants to use countries such as Holland and Germany for its dairy needs due to quality problems with “clean and green” New Zealand supplies. Let us see what New Zealand can sell to the world once the cows stop commanding a high price.

      • I generally agree with your comments, however the difference between the two nations is that Australia has the human capital to change course and restructure, hopefully there won’t be any mining booms in the near future. I’ve sometimes wondered if NZ was always living on borrowed time, particularly after the UK abandoned the Commonwealth, rather like those Latin American countries that had brief periods of prosperity then they returned to theThird World.

        • I am not convinced that the Australian human capital is top notch either, but it is certainly better than New Zealand. Australia also has an easier time recruiting qualified immigrants to offset skills shortages.
          However, I cannot think of a niche where Australia excels aside from mining. Now that the construction phase of the mining boom is over, most of the money earned from mining will go to the shareholder class offshore. Australia has a consumption/debt based model that is unsustainable. Australia’s GDP growth rates are better because of the growing population, but not necessarily because of gains in productivity. Australia is a challenging place to do business and the way to make money seems to be to flip houses. I do not want to breach the rules and make this a discussion about Australia.
          I think Australia could learn from failed countries such as Argentina or New Zealand that exported resources and produced little higher up the value added chain. The biggest beneficiaries of the New Zealand dairy boom have been the Australian banks. Many farmers in New Zealand carry millions in debt and earn NZ $40-50 thousand per year after servicing their debt. New Zealand will have a major bust when the dairy price regresses to its long-term mean.

          • Thanks for the clarification, it’s difficult to discuss NZ without using international comparisons.
            I initially accepted the ‘New Zealand as a model nation’ propaganda line, not any more.

      • Frankly the ultimate completion of Silk Road 2.0 should be of major concern to NZ. Why settle with powdered milk when you can have fresh milk from Eurasia!!!.

        • I think the Russian government recently awarded a contract to build a high-speed rail line between Moscow and Beijing. It will eventually be possible to travel from St Petersburg to Guangzhou by high-speed train. The Kiwis will suffer once the Chinese and Asians find new sources for dairy.
          BTW, I recently visited the Netherlands and noticed that the milk price is half what it is in New Zealand. Why can the Kiwis not manage to sell their national export at similar prices to what dairy exporting nations such as the Netherlands and Germany sell it for?

          • “Why can the Kiwis not manage to sell their national export at similar prices to what dairy exporting nations such as the Netherlands and Germany sell it for?”

            The answer is here–

            http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-14/malcolm-turnbull-correct-on-farmers-subsidies/5252596

            Heavily subsidised European and other international competitors, Australia and New Zealand farmers are the least subsidised in the world and are far more economically efficient than Europeans, in a genuine free trade situation they would probably force most European farmers out of business. That simple fact is given as one of the reasons that the French vetoed any access for Australian and NZ farmers to the European market.

          • Thanks for the link. I was not aware of the lower subsidies for Australian farmers although I was aware for New Zealand. Agriculture subsidies usually result in overproduction that leads to lower global prices or they provide small farmers with supplemental income that they could otherwise not get from such a small operation. The subsidies would not really reduce the cost of production.
            The high price of milk in New Zealand is at the wholesale and retail distribution end. According to a dairy farmer I knew in New Zealand, only about one-third of the price of milk goes to the farmer.
            I am a capitalist and I tend to oppose subsidies. However, agricultural subsides seem to benefit the multinational factory farms the most. New Zealand farms are increasingly growing in size just as is the case in the rest of the world and it is becoming increasingly difficult for individual farmers.

          • “..agricultural subsides seem to benefit the multinational factory farms the most.”

            Yes, I’d agree, but unfortunately for Australian and NZ farmers they’re the enterprises that compete internationally and of course there are the protectionist “cultural and food security” policies that prevail in Europe and Asia. It’s an uphill battle. On the positive side, the increasingly affluent Asian market is developing a taste for liquid dairy products, I used to work for an Australian dairy co-op in the 1980s and the only product in high demand from Asia was skim-milk powder.

        • “… the ultimate completion of Silk Road 2.0”

          Given the corrupt Russian and Central Asian kleptocracies, I’d be inclined to treat prospects for a new “Silk Road” with considerable scepticism, unless of course, the Chinese finance and operate it themselves. Also the Chinese are not free traders, but mercantilists, like the Japanese, they have a history of encouraging (1) over-supply by commodity suppliers and (2) import replacement policies. So I’d advise European dairy farmers to wait before they buy more EU-subsidised cows.

  5. The referenced data re-presented here over the last few weeks have been the most useful reviews of information I have seen recently in regard to NZ (vs. the New Zealand govt rhetoric/cool aid). It has definitely confirmed my personal opinion on a number of the social issues that I have experienced.

    A significant decline in standards and biased, NZ-derived police reporting is also clear to me. The OECD report a relatively moderate ‘reported’ general crime rate with good perceived levels of safety… but a 4 x NZ homicide rate vs. the UK !? Bullshit. The OECD have to report the data they are given, and you can’t fudge the murder rate.

    I feel sorry for the poor real kiwi, older-generational buggers who have been here working hard all their life with high standards in mind. They can now see it unfolding from a social perspective, and they are just as likely to cop the fruits of the decline along with their kids and grand kids.

    Please keep publishing links to independently authored documents Much appreciated. Thanks.

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