New Zealand Is Conspicuous by its Absence from the Economist’s Safe Cities Index. Updated after Riverhead Quarry and Katikati Holiday Park Attacks


The top 50 safest cities in the world by region

Zealand is often marketed to migrants, students and tourists as a “safe place”. However, the country has a problem with crime, poverty and digital security that is more comparable to what one would find in a developing country.

If you’re looking for a safe place in these turbulent times you may wish to look for somewhere other than New Zealand.

The Economist Safe Cities Index is a report that takes account of 40 qualitative and quantitative indicators under 4 main areas : Personal safety, Infrastructure Safety, Health Security, and Digital Security. It focuses on 50 countries selected for their regional representation and availability of data.

You probably won’t come across the Safe Cities Index in the New Zealand media. Not a single location in New Zealand made the cut.

Within Australasia, Sydney and Melbourne were placed 4th and 5th respectively (see the graphic at the top of this page).

Tokyo, despite its earthquake and tsunami hazards, is placed first within the Asia-Pacific, Singapore second. At the bottom of the region lie Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta.

Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington are nowhere to be seen.

These are the top 20 cities worldwide


Top 20 safest cities in the world

Here’s some take-home points from the report, you may find these useful in your decision making process. They also give a hint as to why New Zealand isn’t among the safest places to live and why you should look elsewhere.

Tokyo tops the overall ranking.
The world’s most populous city is also the safest in the Index. The Japanese capital performs most strongly in the digital security category, three points ahead of Singapore in second place.Tokyo also ranks in the top five for personal safety and infrastructure safety, despite suffering regular earthquakes and being home to the world’s largest urban population (38m, according to the UN). Meanwhile, Jakarta is at the bottom of the list of 50 cities in the Index. The Indonesian capital only rises out of the bottom five places in the health security category (44).

Safety is closely linked to wealth and economic development.
Unsurprisingly,a division emerges in the Index between cities in developed markets, which tend to fall into the top half of the overall list, and cities in developing markets, which appear in the bottom half. Significant gaps in safety exist along these lines within regions. Rich Asian cities (Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka) occupy the top three positions in the Index,while poorer neighbours (Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta) fill two of the bottom three positions.

Collaboration on safety is critical in a complex urban environment.
Now that a growing number of essential systems are interconnected, city experts stress the need to bring together representatives from government, business and the community before threats to safety and security strike.Some cities have appointed an official to co-ordinate this citywide resilience. With the evolution of online threats transcending geographical boundaries, such co-ordination will increasingly be called for between cities.


The top half of the Index is generally occupied by rich cities from Europe, East Asia and North America. Meanwhile, the likes of Bangkok (39) and Ho Chi Minh City (48) join Jakarta in the bottom half, alongside all of the main cities of the BRICS economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa):São Paulo (40), Moscow (43), Delhi(42), Beijing (37) and Johannesburg (47).

Being statistically safe is not the same as feeling safe.

Out of the 50 cities, only Zurich and Mexico City get the same rank in the overall index as they do in the indicator that measures the perception of safety among their citizens. Urban citizens in the US, for instance, tend to feel less safe than they should, based on their city’s position in the Index. The challenge for city leaders is to translate progress on safety into changing public perceptions. But cities also aspire to be attractive places to live in. So smart solutions, such as intelligent lighting, should be pursued over ubiquitous cameras or gated communities.

Small cities

Small cities (500k – 1 m) account for the majority of the world’s fastest-growing cities. 11% of the urban population live in small cities, eg Frankfurt (20).Some of the cities that appear in the top ten of the Safe Cities Index are relatively small. The population of Amsterdam, which is in position 5, is roughly 780,000. Zurich, at number 7 overall and first for health security), has an even smaller population of 380,000. However, some cities face the challenge of delivering a safe urban environment for a much larger number of residents.

Using other indexes at the city and country level Where is the best place to live? Toronto

Deciding where to live is a personal choice for many city residents. For some, safety will be paramount. Others will prioritise culture and creativity. Two neighbours may hold opposite views on democracy and the cost of living. But often a decision will be based on a mixture of reasons: an entrepreneur looking for the best city to start a business may also intend to start a family.

To provide a broad picture of how cities perform, the report tracked how the 50 cites in the Index perform across a range of other indexes created by The Economist Intelligence Unit. Three of these indexes are at the city level (Safe Cities, Liveability Rankings, Cost of Living) and three are at the country level (Business Environment Rankings, Democracy Index, Global Food Security Index). The average rankings for the 25 best-performing cities are set out here.Toronto (8) in Canada is a consistent performer across the five other indexes, putting it top overall.

You can read the full report here
You may also be interested in
Auckland’s K’Road party goers urged to be vigilant tonight as probe into horror attack rolls on:Auckland party goers are urged to watch out for themselves and each other near late night hotspot Karangahape Rd, as a police investigation into a horror bashing continues.Police are still sifting through CCTV footage from the area after a 23-year-old woman suffered a vicious assault last weekend.She was found 25km away, partially clothed at a West Auckland quarry, where she woke up to a man standing over her with a baseball bat. source
The woman woke to brutal sexual attack in Riverhead quarry near Auckland. Like an opening scene from the present series of Broadchurch except this was real Link:

A New Zealand Herald headline suggests the stabbing occurred at a holiday park

Another woman has been seriously injured in a stabbing at Katikati, Bay of Plenty. the woman was taken to hospital in a serious condition following a stabbing near the Bay of Plenty town of Katikati on  evening of 4 March 2017. Emergency services were called to an address on Hot Springs Rd just after 7pm.
According to a SunLive report

UPDATED 7AM: A man is in police custody after a woman was stabbed multiple times overnight. Police were notified at 7.05pm that a woman had been stabbed at the Sapphire Springs Holiday Park, Katikati, says a police spokesperson.

“A 42-year-old man was taken into custody in relation to the incident.

Last month, Lisa Anderton from Katikati’s Sapphire Springs Holiday Park complained to the media that they had a problem during kiwifruit season with non-campers who paid to use the pools and private spas and washed themselves with non-biodegradable soaps and shampoos – upsetting the park’s bio-cycle. source.  The park is “under new management” and is run by Karl & Rachel Butterworth, Gareth & Lisa Anderton, Keith & Denize Anderton. source
In March 2013 a blogger wrote about how she thought Sapphire Springs holiday park was a “bit dodgy” and uncared for.
But there’s much worse. In 2007 David Alexander Richards, 43, an orchard worker and former church minister was caught downloading child porn at an internet cafe, he had a previous conviction for indecently assaulting a 10 year old boy at the Sapphire Springs site. source
Selwyn rape and an armed robbery in Christchurch

A few days later on 4th of March a woman was raped as she walked through the suburb of Selwyn. She walked from Meijer Drive onto North Belt at around 6.30 pm, it was still daylight at the time of the attack. source

A short time later a Christchurch dairy was been robbed for the second time in three days and for the eighth time in seven months. Two people entered the Woolston Night ‘n Day just before 2am today but it is not yet clear what was stolen. It comes after three people threatened staff with a pistol at the same dairy on Sunday, before making off with cash and cigarettes. source

New Zealand Continues its Fall in the Human Development Index, 9th is the New 1st



NZ 5th most violent country in the world


11 thoughts on “New Zealand Is Conspicuous by its Absence from the Economist’s Safe Cities Index. Updated after Riverhead Quarry and Katikati Holiday Park Attacks

  1. I can only go on personal experience here. In 15 years in Auckland my wife was verbally threatened and followed, we’ve also both been nearly attacked by a dog owner after commenting on how big his dog was, plus I’ve been followed by a maniac driver for calling him a litter lout after he threw trash from his car window, and many more driver related gestures. Kiwi’s are mentally unstable people who fly into a rage at the slightest ‘perceived provocation’ 25 years in the UK before this, nothing. The police in NZ are not pro active and don’t have the funds to invest in 1st world technology to prevent or solve crime. I feel safer in the UK now to be honest. Sad, but true.

  2. I laugh hysterically, when people try to tell me that NZ is a safe country. Almost everyone I know has been mugged at least once, and about half of them have been burgled as well.

    My own experience of getting mugged was of a drug crazed lunatic that ran across the road when I was cycling home from a friends place and beat the crap out of me for no reason whatsoever. I was 16 at the time. The “friends” that I had made a joke out of it, but the incident put me in hospital! I learned from the incident, but many of the people I know have regarded the place as safe, until they are either mugged, raped or defrauded.

    • I commented back in the day about being assaulted in N.Z ,you learn not to leave your house after dark ,the social scene her reflects this,apparently American people are maniacs however thousands of Us .Used to ride our bicycles to the Santa Monica pier once a week for live music and I never once felt or saw an episode of violence I miss civilisation so much.

      • The major problem that I see is the the Kiwis keep giving the false impression that the country is safe, when it isn’t. This makes people easy targets, until they become a victim of the violence (or other types of crime). The culture is one that actively SUPPORTS perpetrators and creates an environment that makes things easier for them. In essence, NZ is a criminal’s paradise.

  3. I have seen on TV before that some cities in the world have police control rooms and you can see by CCTV suspicious activity and patrol cars are sent to investigate etc. I think I recall this idea being suggested in NZ and there was protest around invasion of privacy and human rights so I am not sure if it was ever brought in.

  4. Perception of safety is an interesting thing,that’s what gets so many tourists into trouble here in N.Z,with the exception of a few locations I feel much much safer in both L.A and San Francisco than Auckland ,random senseless violence happens to people minding their own business in Auckland .

  5. Interesting.
    But isn’t it possible that the failure to include any of NZ’s cities on the index is just an oversight? It’s hard to believe NZ cities would rate below Jakarta in terms of safety for example. Isn’t it likely that NZ is so insignificsnt on a global scale that the country wasn’t even considered?

    • Hard to believe? You better believe it! There’s no “oversight” Brian. I bet you a million bucks you haven’t been to Jakarta. I have; and I can tell you one thing: I would never be assaulted in Jakarta, never, but here in New Zealand, I was. New Zealand is the most violent pathetic little country on Earth I’ve ever seen and I’ve travelled the world over. NZ is an outlaw Wild West full of inbred dumbass hicks and violence is the normative masculinist credo crap that’s up there w/ rugby, beer and being ignorant brutes. Probably because the education system is down the tubes; I also taught in NZ. Jakarta is much safer than any NZ city, hands down! I’ll feel much safer w/ Indonesian-folk than w/ Kiwi-folk 🙂 It’s hilarious how Kiwis like Brian bury their head in the sand. Oh yes! you’re right about one thing: “NZ is so insignificant” 🙂

      • I have friends in Indonesia. I have found them to the some of the warmest and most genuine people I’ve come across. Genuinely helpful and very nice. Their friendliness is real. By contrast, New Zealand friendliness is superficial. Kiwis won’t hesitate to stab you in the back at a moment’s notice, or rip you off, EVEN IF YOU ARE A FRIEND. Their friendliness is more along the lines of the superficial charm you would expect from a psychopath.

Comments are closed.