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New Zealand ranks third in the Economic Freedom of the World, 2008 survey.
New Zealand's ranking for the 2008 year was unchanged from the previous survey and up from 22 in 1980.
Hong Kong retained the highest rating for economic freedom of 9.05 out of 10 and Singapore was second on 8.70. New Zealand scored 8.27.
The survey is prepared by the Fraser Institute and the New Zealand Business Roundtable is a member of a network of organisations supporting it.
Its authors said the average rating for the world as a whole fell for the first time in a quarter of a century in the survey.
Between 2005 and 2008, the largest improvements occurred in Ghana, Mauritius, Malawi, Turkey, and Rwanda, and the biggest declines were in Algeria, Iceland, Chad, Syria, and Ireland.
The bottom 10 nations were Zimbabwe (3.57), Myanmar (3.81), Angola (3.89), Venezuela (4.33), Congo, Republic of (4.75), Congo, Democratic Republic (4.93), Central African Republic (4.77), Guinea-Bissau (4.82), Burundi (4.91), and Algeria (5).
New Zealand fell to 23rd from 20th in the recent Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum. Switzerland topped that survey.