Ease of Doing Business Rank: 1
New Zealand is a sovereign island country consisting of the North and South Islands and approximately 600 smaller islands.
The country lies east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and south of the islands of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.
The official language of New Zealand is English. Samoan is the most widely spoken non-official language followed by Hindi, Mandarin, and French.
The 2019 population estimate for New Zealand is approximately 4.9 million. Over three-quarters of its citizens live on the North Island and the largest city is Auckland, followed by Wellington, the capital city.
Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island. New Zealand’s smaller inhabited islands include Waiheke, Chatham, Pitt, and Stewart Island.
The top ten industries in New Zealand are agriculture, forestry, & fishing, mining, manufacturing, electricity, gas, water, & waste services, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, accommodation & food services, transport, postal, & warehousing, and information media & telecommunications.
The World University Rankings lists six of New Zealand’s universities in the top 500. The University of Auckland is New Zealand’s highest-ranked university, followed by the University of Otago, and Auckland University of Technology.
New Zealand ranks 7th globally for primary, secondary, and tertiary education and their system emulates the British education model closely.
The most common business entities in New Zealand are Registered Limited Liability Company, Partnership, Individual Proprietorship, Other Entities, Trusts & Estates, and Societies & Associations.
World Bank ranked New Zealand 1st out of 190 countries in their Doing Business Report in both 2017 and 2018. New Zealand has an open and business-friendly economy, low levels of corruption, good protection of property rights, and an advantageous tax policy. They’re also engaged in numerous free trade agreements and the government provides active support for investment.
Incentives include foreign tax credits and inbound investment incentives to encourage the flow of investment funds into the country. Companies enjoy free movement of capital and in some cases non-residents are exempt from income tax on the sale of shares.
New Zealand also offers a simple tax system for Foreign Direct Investment, including 100% tax deductibility for research and development companies. With one of lowest customs tariff rates in the world and New Zealand’s proximity to Asian markets makes it an excellent choice for business expansion.
The largest Central Business Districts in New Zealand lie in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, and Christchurch. The earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 seriously impacted the business area of Christchurch. However, current revitalization plans offer many new growth opportunities.
Auckland is the leading center for business and economic development. It focuses on financial, business, and information and communications technology services and it is a major sea port.
Wellington is a major digital technology hub in New Zealand. It is also a leader in manufacturing, business process outsourcing, and professional and financial services. Hamilton is New Zealand’s growth hub for Ag-Biotech business including science, technology, and research.
With two major and many minor islands New Zealand offers countless historical sites, architectural wonders, and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The North Island features the amazing Waitomo Caves lined with stalagmites, stalactites, and glowworms. The Bay of Islands teems with dolphins, whales, marlins, and penguins. Rotorua’s volcanic landscape, geothermal pools, and spectacular geysers offer a prehistoric landscape. Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Coast features majestic rock formations, including an iconic limestone arch.
Manmade attractions include the Hobbiton Movie Set featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The grand colonial houses of Auckland, the wooden Government Buildings in Wellington, and the outstanding Art Deco architecture of Napier offer unrivalled architectural marvels. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds explores Maori and European history and the roots of the nation.
The South Island also offers many heritage sites that explore the pioneer and gold rush days of New Zealand, as well as the glamour of high society including New Zealand’s only castle.
Polynesians settled in New Zealand between 1250 and 1300 AD. The first Europeans made contact in 1642 AD when a Dutch navigator discovered the island group.
The islands remained relatively unnoticed until British Captain James Cook traveled through the area in the late 18th century. His detailed accounts led to missionaries, traders, and whalers in the region.
In 1840, Britain formally annexed the islands and established a permanent settlement at Wellington as part of the colony of New South Wales. The Maori signed the Treaty of Waitangi recognizing British sovereignty in exchange for guaranteed possession of their land.
However, territorial conflicts continued between European settlers and the Maori. By 1870, the British had confiscated much of the Maori land and decimated the population.
New Zealand became a separate Crown colony in 1841 and established the capital in Wellington due to its central location and harbor. By 1907, New Zealand had declared itself a Dominion within the British Empire. Continuing their strong British ties, New Zealand became a Commonwealth country in 1947.
Today, New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. Government administration, education, and culture are largely dependent on British models; however, the country has a strong sense of identity.
With an independent trading and foreign policy, financial and political stability, and a government supporting foreign investment the country offers the ideal location for business expansion.
New Zealanders claim many religious affiliations including Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Maori Christianity, Islam, Spiritualist, Judaism, and Sikhism. Almost half the population practice Christianity, followed by Hinduism, and Buddhism.
New Zealand is also ethnically diverse. The largest portion of the population is of European descent, followed by Maori, Asian, and Pacific peoples. The country also includes small populations of Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African ethnicities.
According to Forbes’ 2019 Best Countries for Business, New Zealand ranks 5th globally due to the countries continual efforts to expand and firm up international trade agreements, including upgrading their FTA with China.
The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates New Zealand number 3 globally, because the country is a “A global leader in economic freedom… and has generally followed a long-term market-oriented policy framework that fosters economic resilience and growth.”