New Zealand ‘16th most competitive’ nation

New Zealand ‘16th most competitive’ nation

New Zealand is the 16th most competitive country in the world, according to this year’s Global Competitiveness Index*. 

The Index ranks countries according to their performance on factors such as innovation, market size, market efficiency, infrastructure, business sophistication and others.

New Zealand has steadily climbed the competitiveness rankings, from 17th place last year and 18th the year before, and from placings between 20th and 24th in previous years.

New Zealand’s GDP per capita (currently US$40,000) has also climbed steadily over the same period.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says this year’s results highlight the outstanding strength and integrity of New Zealand’s institutions and economic fundamentals, while pointing to the need for improvement in areas such as innovation, business sophistication and infrastructure.

“In our progress towards becoming a more value-added, sophisticated exporter of goods and services, New Zealand performed ‘okay but could do better’ on factors such as collaboration for innovation, government purchasing fostering innovation, investment in R&D and training, availability of in-demand skills, availability of engineers and scientists, availability of finance for innovative start-ups, appetite for entrepreneurial risk, development of unique products and processes, companies’ control of international distribution of their products, and participation in value chains and clusters,” Mr O’Reilly said.

“In New Zealand’s environment for business, areas for improvement include the compliance burden on business, restrictive regulations on hiring and firing, restrictive foreign investment rules, restrictions on hiring foreign labour, lack of ‘pay for productivity’ practices, and tax and benefit policies reducing incentives to work and invest.

“The Competitiveness Report found that New Zealand’s road and rail infrastructure were of a middling ranking but could be improved.

“Good scores were achieved for strategies for and use of ICT and for companies growing online sales.

“And the excellent performance of New Zealand’s institutions and economic settings continues to support and grow our creditable, improving overall competitiveness scores,” Mr O’Reilly said.

The top ten places this year were similar to previous years’ rankings – in order: Switzerland, Singapore, US, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, Sweden and UK, while Australia came 21st in the rankings.

*The Global Competitiveness Index is a compilation of economic data and surveys of businesses in 148 countries, coordinated in New Zealand by BusinessNZ.

Full survey results for 2015 can be seen at http://www.weforum.org/issues/global-competitiveness

Contact: Phil O’Reilly 04 4966552 or Kathryn Asare 021 555 744

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1 Oct, 2015

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