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NZ climbs to 17th on Global Competitiveness Index

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

05 September 2014

MEDIA RELEASE

NZ climbs to 17th on Global Competitiveness Index

Wellington (September 5, 2014): New Zealand has improved its rank on the Global Competitiveness Index and extended the lead over Australia, according to an annual survey compiled by the World Economic Forum.

The country is now ranked 17th on the Global Competitiveness Index, up one place from last year when it broke into the top 20 for the first time. This is New Zealand’s highest position to date, and represents an overall improvement of eight places since 2012.

In contrast, Australia’s highly restrictive labour markets continued to drag on the country’s competitiveness ranking, which slipped one place to 22 - well short of the 15th position it occupied in 2009.

Dr Oliver Hartwich, Executive Director of the New Zealand Initiative – which helped compile the survey data – said the continued improvement reflected the strength of the country’s institutions and regulatory settings, particularly in the education, health and labour sectors.

“The investments that this country has made over time into things like the rule of law, property rights and flexible labour markets are paying dividends now, and the results can be seen in our high rate of GDP growth,” he said.

Hartwich said the report emphasised the need to continue investing in the factors that contributed most to business competitiveness, and not to take the complacent attitude to economic reform seen in Australia over the past few years.

“This country has huge economic opportunities sitting right on our doorstep with the emergence of Asian economies such as China, Indonesia and Malaysia onto the world stage,” he said.

“If we want to grasp these opportunities and improve the lives of everyday New Zealanders, we need to not only double down on the areas where we are strong, but also focus on where we are weakest, such as the quality of our business networks and infrastructure investment.”

Hartwich said a number of other factors could also boost the country’s competitiveness, such as unpicking the restrictions of foreign direct investment, freeing up capital for investment by tackling the housing affordability crisis, and reducing bureaucratic red tape.

The annual Global Competitiveness Report is compiled from 111 indicators, categorised into 12 pillars of competitiveness in four main sub-indices: basic requirements, efficiency enhancers, and innovation and sophistication factors.

The next most competitive countries were Switzerland, Singapore, United States, Finland, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Sweden.

Full report: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2014-15.pdf

Initiative non-executive director and ANZ Chairman, John Judge, is available for media commentary on this release. To arrange an interview, please call The New Zealand Initiative on 04 499 0790.

About the New Zealand Initiative

The New Zealand Initiative is an evidence-based think tank and research institute, which is supported by a membership organisation that counts some of the country’s leading visionaries, business leaders and political thinkers among its ranks.

Our members are committed to developing policies to make New Zealand a better country for all its citizens. We believe all New Zealanders deserve a world-class education system, affordable housing, a healthy environment, sound public finances and a stable currency.

The New Zealand Initiative pursues this goal by producing well-researched reports and hosting high level conferences and events. For more information visit www.nzinitiative.org.nz

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