Australia has pipped New Zealand at the post in the ranking of the best countries in the world in a global snapshot of living standards, income and health.
The Human Development Index, an annual global analysis by the United Nations, ranks countries by living standards and three indicators of development, gross income per capita, life expectancy and education.
Australia was ranked second, behind Norway, and New Zealand was jointly ranked alongside Canada as the ninth best.
8. United States
9. New Zealand
Australia was ranked higher than New Zealand in terms of gender inequality – Australia was ranked 19th and New Zealand 32nd out of 155 countries.
Australians can expect to live on average to about 82-and-a-half-years-old, have a mean 13 years of schooling and the gross national income per person is $US41,752.
Life expectancy for Kiwis is is 81.8 years, they expect to spend about 19 years in education and the gross income per person is $US32,689.
In Norway life expectancy was 81.6 years and the mean years of schooling were 12.6 but citizens enjoy a much bigger slice of the national pie with the gross national income per person of $US64,992.
New Zealand loses points in several areas including for its domestic violence rates against women and the amount of time each gender spends on paid work (254 minutes per day for men, 143 minutes for women).
United Nations’ development programme administrator and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, in her speech, said the report highlighted how work meant more than jobs.
“This report puts people rather than economies or economic growth at its centre, by focusing on all kinds of paid and unpaid work from running a home to running a business.
“Work helps people escape from poverty.
“Even though people are healthier and better educated, and a much smaller proportion are living in extreme poverty than ever before, major inequities and challenges continue to prevent some groups of people from entering the work force.
“Today more than 1.5 billion people in developing countries are working in jobs which offer few rights and inadequate protection should they lose their livelihoods.”