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New Zealand's global competitiveness rebounds

New Zealand's global competitiveness rebounds

New Zealand's global competitiveness is climbing again. It has improved five places in the past year to rank 20th in the world, according to the just released Swiss-based IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, a performance survey assessing 60 global economies based on 338 criteria (2/3 are statistical indicators, 1/3 is survey data).

New Zealand's ranking fell consistently from 15th place, recorded in 2009, to our lowest ever ranking of 25th recorded last year. Our highest ever ranking was 11th recorded in 1997. The IMD survey has been going for 26 years.

This year's leap further closed the gap between trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand and Australia. Australia slipped another notch from 16th to 17th place this year. Australia ranked behind New Zealand 17 years ago, but the tables turned over the intervening years and at one stage Australia passed New Zealand by a healthy 10 place margin.

“New Zealand seems to be climbing back into contention and pitching for a higher slot,” said New Zealand Institute of Management (NZIM) Chief Executive Mr Gary Sturgess when he announced the release of the results of the latest survey. NZIM is IMD's local survey partner.

“This year's result is pleasing and no doubt reflects New Zealand's generally improving economic performance,” said Mr Sturgess. “It's been a long, hard slog to get back on top of our competitiveness game but the signs, as revealed in this year's survey, are promising. If we're to compete successfully in our new and fast growing Asian marketplace, we'll have to perform better than we have in recent years.

“This year's results do, however, show that New Zealand still has some way to go to get back to competitiveness performance levels achieved in the past,” said Mr Sturgess. “For example, our overall economic performance still ranks at 34 compared with 30 back in 2009. And our business efficiency and infrastructure rankings at 23 and 24 respectively are still down on what they were five years ago.

“New Zealand has always ranked among the world’s highest when it comes to government efficiency. This year's survey confirms that we are still one of the world most business friendly economies. We're an open, tariff and subsidy-free economy. Bribery and corruption aren't prevalent and government is generally very transparent in its business and public transactions.

“But we still suffer from an acute shortage of international management skills. International (management) experience, entrepreneurship and employee training all rank lower than 50 among the 60 economies measured. Our shortage of skilled labour and low workplace productivity are competitiveness performance inhibitors according to the survey. Organisations must put more effort into developing the competencies needed to lift our overall management and leadership capability,” said Mr Sturgess.

The IMD and NZIM identified five challenges facing New Zealand in 2014, the first of which highlighted the need to solve the country's shortage of internationally competent and experienced senior managers.

The other four challenges included the need to:

• improve international market access and trade connections

• boost knowledge-based capital investment

• raise productivity and workplace skills levels

• close the gap between productivity and average per capita income levels.

The United States is still the world's most competitive economy, after slipping to second in 2012. Switzerland is second, Singapore third, Hong Kong fourth and Sweden the world fifth most competitive economy. Germany, Canada, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Denmark and Norway rounded out the first 10 places.

The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook ranks countries on their ability to create and sustain enterprise competitiveness. The overall ranking released today reflects more than 300 criteria, two-thirds of which are based on statistical indicators and one-third on an exclusive IMD survey of 4,300
international executives.


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