If you’re going to dedicate time and resources to an offshore investment, you need confidence that your commitment is going to be secure.
In a turbulent world, New Zealand stands out as a reassuringly sturdy beacon of stability, openness and fair dealing. That’s noted in report after report:
- We top Forbes' 2012 Best Countries for Business list, which labels New Zealand as a free market economy that can compete globally
- We’re ranked as the least corrupt country in the world, equal with Denmark and Finland, on Transparency International’s 2012 Global Corruption Index. New Zealand is consistently at or very near the top of this Index
- We’re ranked No. 1 in the world for protecting investors by the World Bank in its 2012 Doing Business report.
- Also in 2012, credit-reporting company Dun & Bradstreet named us Asia Pacific’s fourth safest country ahead of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. They described New Zealand as “a low-risk environment for business investment.”
These ratings simply reflect our wider society. In business as in personal relationships, Kiwis are programmed with high expectations of ‘fair play’, integrity, honesty and trust. There are cases of corruption, but they make headlines because of their relative rarity.
You can be just as reassured in regard to physical security. For example, on the 2013 Global Peace Index which compares 158 countries for the risk of personal violence, we’re the world’s third safest country, just after Iceland and Denmark. You and your family can feel free to come and go in safety, making it easy to enjoy all the sights, adventures and experiences New Zealand has to offer.
New Zealand’s political system is based on the British model and is stable. There is a single house of Parliament, and the role of head of state is held by Queen Elizabeth II, as Queen of New Zealand. Democratic engagement is strong. Typically between 75-80% of New Zealanders turn out to vote in general elections.
New Zealand was the first country in the world to grant women the unconditional right to vote (1893). Kiwis have always been open-minded about ensuring everyone gets a ‘fair go’.
Governments run their term and are often re-elected. It all contributes to an environment where you can do business today and have confidence in tomorrow.
Our legal system is based on English law. The judicial system is independent and robust. Private property rights are strongly protected, contracts are secure and intellectual property rights are enforced.
The sound legal framework is supported by a free and independent media, ensuring high levels of transparency in Government and corporate decision-making.
A long term drive for diversification means that New Zealand’s economy, although still powered mainly by agriculture, now also benefits from a flourishing manufacturing sector, a thriving tourism industry, and a strong renewable energy resource base.
New Zealand’s commitment to economic freedom has resulted in a policy framework that has shown impressive economic resilience. Openness to global trade and investment are firmly institutionalised, and the economy rebounded quickly from the global recession. The severe earthquakes in Christchurch caused only a transitory dip in economic growth and the rebuild will contribute significantly to South Island economic growth in the coming decade.
The budget balance has registered small deficits in recent years, but according to IMF figures, net public debt remains well under control at 26.5% of GDP (2012). In comparison, the United Kingdom’s public debt stood at 82.7% at the same time, and the USA’s at 87.8%.
For more information, see economic overview.