World Bank ranks New Zealand best place to do business

New Zealand has been ranked first among 190 countries for ease of doing business.

The annual ranking put New Zealand at the top again after making it cheaper to set up a company, which Finance Minister Grant Robertson says underlines the country's economic and business fundamentals. 

The World Bank's Doing Business 2019 report looked at 314 regulatory reforms between June 2, 2017 and May 1, 2018. It found that 128 countries introduced "substantial regulatory improvements" making it "easier to do business in all areas measured". 

New Zealand stood out among the 10 measures used to determine the overall score. The report showed improved sub-scores this year for starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity and registering a property. 

"It's important that our regulatory settings are right. It's also important for Governments to support businesses to grow," said Mr Robertson. 

Singapore and Denmark once again rounded out the top three slots in the report. They were followed by Hong Kong, South Korea, Georgia, Norway, the US, the UK and Macedonia. Somalia was again ranked last on this list. 

What makes New Zealand so great? 

Georgia and New Zealand have the lowest number of procedures required to start a business, the report found. New Zealand also holds the shortest time to start a business (0.5 days), while Slovenia has the lowest cost (0.0). 

But while New Zealand ranks number one for starting a business, it ranks 21 for enforcing contracts. By contrast, Rwanda, a low-income economy, ranks number two for registering property and three for getting credit, but 88 for trading across borders and 51 for starting a business.

China meanwhile is ranked number six for enforcing contracts but 28 for starting a business, while Morocco - classified as a lower-middle-income economy - ranks 25 for paying taxes but 112 for getting credit. 

New Zealand was praised for improving the simplification of preregistration and registration formalities, including inspection and other requirements. Other countries to improve in this area were Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam, among others. 

New Zealand was also lauded for having all relevant legislation for building regulations found on an official government website. 

While the World Bank's report is encouraging for New Zealand, Infometrics' latest forecast says there could be disappointing economic growth in New Zealand in the next two years, despite the latest GDP figures showing the fastest rise in two years.

The world's easiest places to do business:

  1. New Zealand
  2. Singapore
  3. Hong Kong
  4. South Korea
  5. Georgia
  6. Norway
  7. United States
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Macedonia