New Zealand has been named the most peaceful country on earth in the annual Global Peace Index. The index is based on the ranking of 144 nations on the basis of how peaceful they are.
The Kiwi nation’s relatively low rate of violence, decrease in military spending, and the election of a conservative coalition government last year are being credited for winning it the top position in the index.
"The centre-right National Party has a strong popular mandate and a robust parliamentary majority by New Zealand''s standards, putting the new Prime Minister, John Key, in a good position to push through his agenda," news.com.au quoted the report as stating.
New Zealand also topped the list because of its homicide rate and the level of respect for human rights.
It has replaced Iceland, where incidences of violence and violent demonstrations have increased following the collapse of banking in the country.
Denmark, Norway and Iceland came second, third and fourth, respectively, followed by Austria and Sweden.
New Zealand''s National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies has pronounced the index a pretty good reflection of countries in which people want to live.
"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 Professor Kevin Clements, the director of the centre.
Australia was 19th, sandwiched between Switzerland at 18th and Chile at 20th, and an eight-spot improvement on last year.
Iraq was at the bottom of the list, sitting below Afghanistan, Somalia and Israel, followed by Sudan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Pakistan, Russia and Zimbabwe.
Britain made 35th place, a slight improvement on last year, while the US came in 83rd, six places up the ladder from 2008.