The South Pacific nation of New Zealand, already renowned for it’s scenic beauty, has strengthened its idyllic image by being named the Most Peacful Nation on Earth.
The Global Peace Index, a report prepared annually by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace, ranks 144 nations on the basis of how peaceful they seem. The ranking takes into consideration 23 different factors such as political stability, risk of terrorism, murder rate, likelihood of violent demonstrations, respect for human rights, internal conflicts, arms imports and involvement in foreign wars.
New Zealand scored top marks for its low homicide rate, stable governement and low defense spending, helping it to outrank the always-strong Nordic countries.
“If you look at the top 20, they are all small nations based on strong welfare principles, all with good and relatively uncorrupt governance,” said a professor at Otago University in Dunedin.
The top ten most peaceful nations in 2008 were determined to be, in order, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Sweden, Japan, Canada Finland and Slovenia.
Iraq led the list of ten least peaceful countries in each of the three years since the report’s inception. In the latest list it was followed by Afghanistan, Somalia, Israel, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Pakistan, Russia and troubled Zimbabwe.
Author’s Note: I’m particularly proud of this story, as a true-blue Kiwi myself.