Fast Facts

New Zealand becoming more competitive

New Zealand is becoming more competitive.

A global survey shows New Zealand moving up the competitiveness rankings – from 24th to 13th – during the last decade.

The Global Competitiveness Index is a ranking of economic competitiveness, based on economic data and surveys of large businesses in 137 countries.

In 2017 the Index shows New Zealand ranking highly for financial market development, lack of corruption, labour market efficiency, health and primary education, higher education and training, and goods market efficiency.

But New Zealand’s competitiveness is reduced by inadequate infrastructure, inefficient government bureaucracy, insufficient capacity to innovate, inadequately educated workforce and restrictive labour regulations.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope said the rankings confirmed many of the efficiencies in the New Zealand economy and also pointed to areas where more work was needed, including achieving more infrastructure investment and less labour and overall regulation.

He said the results indicated a seeming paradox in that New Zealand ranks highly for education, yet ranks poorly for an educated workforce and ability to innovate.

“It shows there is a mismatch between the skills required by business and the skills that are being taught in the education system, and points to the fact that we need to equip more New Zealanders with higher-level technical, trades, science, and maths education.”

The top ten countries in the Global Competitiveness Index in 2017 are Switzerland, US, Singapore, Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong, Sweden, UK, Japan and Finland, while Australia ranks 21st.

New Zealand’s changes in competitiveness rankings

Year NZ ranking

2007 24
2008 24
2009 20
2010 23
2011 25
2012 23
2013 18
2014 17
2015 16
2016 13
2017 13

Source: BusinessNZ

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