New Zealand has ranked number one on Forbes' latest list of Best Countries for Business, up one place from last year.
Forbes cited a transparent and stable business climate, lack of red tape and corruption, personal freedom and investor protection as boosting New Zealand's business image.
However, it noted a downside was the New Zealand dollar had appreciated, making exports more expensive.
New Zealand ranks first on our list of the Best Countries for Business, up from No. 2 last year, thanks to a transparent and stable business climate that encourages entrepreneurship. New Zealand is the smallest economy in our top 10 at $162 billion, but it ranks first in four of the 11 metrics we examined, including personal freedom and investor protection, as well as a lack of red tape and corruption.
New Zealand’s economy is closely tied to Australia’s, and both held up better than most during the global financial crisis. The downside to the resilience of its economy is that the New Zealand dollar has appreciated, making the country’s agricultural exports more expensive. The higher prices have helped to push up unemployment to 7.3%—the highest level since 1999.
New Zealand cut its corporate tax rate from 30% to 28% last year and eliminated certain deductions, making the cut fiscally neutral. Investors have prospered, with the country’s benchmark stock index, the NZX 50, up 24% over the past 12 months.
We determined the Best Countries for Business by grading 141 nations on 11 different factors: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.
Forbes leaned on research and published reports from the following organizations: the Central Intelligence Agency, Freedom House, Heritage Foundation, Property Rights Alliance, Transparency International, World Bank and World Economic Forum.