Stability & security

If you’re going to dedicate time and resources to an offshore investment, you need confidence that your commitment is going to be secure.

Wellington Stock Exchange

Financial resilience

New Zealand has a strong banking sector. Prudent regulation ensured it weathered the global economic crisis well.

The parents of our four largest banks are Australian-owned and are all in the Top 20 of the Global Finance World's Safest Banks Index for 2014.

Global Finance

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:

  • In 2015, the World Bank ranked New Zealand second (behind Singapore) on its 189-nation Doing Business rankings comparing how conducive the regulatory environment is to starting and operating a local firm.
  • We're ranked the least corrupt country in the world on Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index. New Zealand is consistently at or very near the top of this index.
  • The Tax Foundation's 2014 International Tax Competitiveness Index (ITCI) ranked New Zealand second in the developed world for providing a supportive tax environment for investing and also for starting and growing a business. 
  • We came in third in Forbes' Best Country for Business report of December 2014, just behind Denmark and Hong Kong. 

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 2015 Global Peace Index which compares 158 countries for the risk of personal violence, we’re the world’s fourth safest country just after Iceland, Denmark and Austria. 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.

Stable democracy

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.

Strong institutions

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.

Economic underpinnings

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 gross public debt remains well under control at around 35.3% of GDP in 2014. (The net figure is lower - 25.6%.) In comparison, the United Kingdom’s gross public debt to GDP ratio was around 86% at the same time, and the USA’s at 71%.

New Zealand’s government is committed to budget surpluses from 2016 on

For more information, see economic overview.

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Page last updated: 03/02/2017

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