CEO Guide to Doing Business in New Zealand

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CEO Guide to Doing Business in New Zealand

New Zealand continues to lead the rankings for the Ease of Doing Business and for Starting a Business respectively.

New Zealand has an open-market economy, a stable political system, and has been recognized as one of the world’s least-corrupt countries. This allows businesses to operate with confidence in New Zealand.

Exporters to New Zealand should be prepared to adapt their business model to suit the nation’s small population and geographic isolation.

New Zealand consists of several islands. The North Island and South Island, and a number of smaller islands with the capital and Government based in Wellington in the North Island. The resident population is approximately 4.4 million.

New Zealand has an efficient market driven economy capable of delivering benefits to investors including business stability, extensive free trade agreements and active government support for investment.

Investors can take advantage of a business environment consistently rated on many measures as one of the best in the world an environment where it is easy to commence business, where capital flows freely across borders and the quality of life is superb.

New Zealand is the first country in the world to complete a free trade agreement with China.
Ease of access to Australia, a market of 24 million people and New Zealand’s nearest neighbour, is guaranteed through open market agreements.

New Zealand has traditionally been a producer of primary products, however with a well educated population and good infrastructure it is becoming increasingly innovative in the things it sells to the world. The production of films, high-tech componentry and fine wines are recent high profile examples.

New Zealand’s head of State is the Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand. The
Governor-General is the Queen’s representative in New Zealand.

New Zealand is an independent state. The New Zealand parliamentary framework is based on
the Westminster system. New Zealand’s Parliament consists of the Sovereign and the House of Representatives. New Zealand’s Parliament has only one chamber, the House of Representatives.

Internal and external communications and transport are excellent. The telephone direct dialing system gives instantaneous international communication from both fixed and mobile units.

Maori and English are the official languages of New Zealand. English is predominantly spoken.

The currency used is dollars ($) and cents. One hundred cents = one New Zealand dollar.

The legal system is based on the British legal system and English common law. The highest Court is the Supreme Court of New Zealand, based in Wellington.

New Zealand’s major exports are dairy products, meat, petroleum products, wood, fruit and aluminium. Tourism is also a major earner of foreign currency.

Major imports are machinery, motor vehicles and petroleum products.

Foreign investment into New Zealand is encouraged; however sensitive assets are protected by the Overseas Investment Act 2005. Overseas Investment Office consent is required for the
acquisition of significant business assets (exceeding $100 million), sensitive land (non-urban land of more than 5 hectares, offshore islands, land adjacent to lakes and the foreshore, or land of conservational or historical significance) and fishing quotas.

Tariffs are imposed on certain goods imported to New Zealand. Government policy has been to reduce and simplify tariffs on most goods. GST (Goods and Services Tax) is levied on all
goods entering New Zealand and is collected by New Zealand Customs.

There are no foreign exchange controls. Financial institutions are obliged to report suspicious transactions; where there are reasonable grounds to suspect the transaction may be relevant to an investigation or prosecution of any person for a money laundering offence. In general, a suspicious transaction will be a transaction which is inconsistent with a customer’s known, legitimate business or personal activities, or the normal business for that type of customer.

New Zealand has four major trading banks, all of which are owned by major Australian banks. Smaller in size is Kiwibank, ultimately owned by the Crown.

There are also a number of finance companies that provide funding for the purchase of capital equipment, motor vehicles and consumer finance, in addition to real estate lending. Finance can also be raised through New Zealand’s capital markets. The New Zealand Stock Exchange and its members are the primary facilitators of capital raising through the capital markets. It is possible to raise capital directly from the public. All capital raising requires compliance with the Securities Act 1978.

There are no separate business registration requirements in New Zealand, apart from
Companies Office and Inland Revenue Department requirements.

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