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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exporting-to-new-zealand/exporting-to-new-zealand
1. New Zealand export overview
New Zealand has a population of over 4.6 million and a global ranking of 23 for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita at current exchange rates. Its economy was worth about £140 billion in 2016.
Contact a Department for International Trade (DIT) New Zealand export adviser for a free consultation if you are interested in exporting to New Zealand.
For many years earnings were mainly from farm products, such as wool and dairy goods. Today these are combined with new developments like tourism, film production, and winemaking.
New Zealand depends heavily on international trade, especially with Australia, China, the United States and Japan. Economic free-market reforms from the 1980s have removed many barriers to foreign investment.
Strong cultural ties with the UK have created a shared trust – a great platform to start doing business.
Benefits for UK businesses exporting to New Zealand include:
- similar legal and financial systems to the UK
- excellent test market for niche and high-value products and services
- English speaking
- low corruption levels
- stable political system
- ranks first of 189 economies for ease of doing business
Strengths of the New Zealand market include:
- geographic position allows for easy access to Pacific Island market
- opposite time zones allow for 24 hour working
- small but developed market
- strong intellectual property (IP) and regulatory systems
2. Challenges doing business in New Zealand
Doing business in New Zealand is very similar to doing business in the UK. If your product or service is successful in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful in New Zealand. At present there are no major challenges to UK companies.
3. Growth potential
3.1 Economic growth
New Zealand has a strong, stable economy that operates on free market principles and has close economic relations with Australia. GDP registered 3.6% growth in the June 2015 to 2016 period. This is one of the strongest growth rates in the developed world.
At October 2016, unemployment was at 4.9%.
Services are the biggest sector of the economy and account for two thirds of total GDP. The other contributors are:
- rental, hiring, and real estate services – 18%
- retail and wholesale trade – 18%
- professional, scientific, technical, administrative and support – 15%
New Zealand’s priority sectors for economic development include:
- infrastructure and housing affordability
- digital economy
3.2 Trade agreements
New Zealand has unilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with:
- South Korea
New Zealand is also a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
4. UK and New Zealand trade
The UK is New Zealand’s fifth largest 2-way trading partner. It is the fifth largest market for total exports from New Zealand and the ninth largest source market. Imports of goods and services from the UK were worth over £1.1 billion in 2015.
New Zealand’s top 5 imports from the UK are:
- machinery and mechanical parts
- electrical machinery and goods
- print products, such as books
- pharmaceutical products
5. Opportunities for UK businesses in New Zealand
The UK’s reputation for making high-quality goods is important, where it can compete with lower priced goods sourced from other countries. New Zealand’s small open market also makes it a sound choice for UK small and medium enterprise (SME) companies new to exporting.
Department for International Trade (DIT) provides free international export sales leads from its worldwide network. Search for export opportunities.
5.1 Construction and infrastructure
The construction sector is one of the largest sectors in New Zealand, generating around £17 billion of gross revenue per year.
The most significant opportunities for UK firms are around Auckland’s ambitious infrastructure plans (a rail loop, new waterfront, and multiple large-scale housing developments).
New Zealand has a capable but overstretched construction industry. There are opportunities for UK expertise for:
- consulting engineers
- building materials suppliers
Opportunities for UK companies include:
- housing and infrastructure projects in Auckland
- rail and road projects
Contact Andy.Watmore@mobile.trade.gov.uk for more information on construction and infrastructure opportunities.
Despite weakening commodity prices, agriculture dominates exports from New Zealand. New Zealand’s has a world-renowned reputation for producing high quality dairy and meat products.
The government wants to increase investment in R&D in this sector which will also involve the food technology sector.
There are opportunities for UK companies in:
- Research and Development (R&D)
- farm machinery
Contact Deirdre.Bonis@mobile.trade.gov.uk for more information on agri-technology opportunities.
New Zealand has one of the best funded public health sectors in the world. The market has a turnover of approximately £7.9 billion.
New Zealand has a growing aged population which will result in increased demand for healthcare and medical devices.
Opportunities for UK companies include:
- medical devices
- educational resources
- safety devices
- health technology
Contact Deirdre.Bonis@mobile.trade.gov.uk for more information on opportunities in the health sector.
5.4 Education and training
Development of New Zealand’s ICT infrastructure in education continues to be a priority for the government. The sector is seeing a noticeable shift in procurement from physical to digital/online resources.
Teachers of religious studies and special needs report a lack of engaging resources.
Opportunities for UK companies include:
- engaging resources
- early childhood resources to support curriculum
Contact Deirdre.Bonis@mobile.trade.gov.uk for more information on education and training opportunities.
6. Start-up considerations
New Zealand’s business-friendly taxation system supports:
- capital development
- research and development
- international investment
There are three commonly used business structures in New Zealand:
- sole trader
- limited liability company (LLC)
You must register with the Companies Office. Overseas companies can operate in New Zealand as a subsidiary, branch or become a New Zealand company. It takes just one day to incorporate a business in New Zealand.
The New Zealand government’s business website contains information on starting, managing and growing your business.
7. Legal considerations
All legislation relating to the conduct of business and the operation of companies is enacted by New Zealand’s parliament and administered by government agencies. You can see all legislation on the Parliamentary Counsel Office website.
For advice on legal issues, the New Zealand Law Society provides details of local lawyers.
7.1 Standards and technical regulations
All products sold in New Zealand must be safe. There are two key laws that deal with product safety:
- the Consumer Guarantees Act, which gives minimum standards of quality for goods and services
- the Fair Trading Act, which promotes product safety
Importers must ensure products meet the minimum standards for the products to be allowed to enter the country.
You can check the required standards at Standards New Zealand.
7.2 Intellectual property (IP)
The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) is the government agency responsible for granting and registering intellectual property.
Copyright protection automatically applies in New Zealand from the date of creation. Patents and trademarks only provide protection within New Zealand.
8. Tax and custom considerations
8.1 Goods and services tax
Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a tax on most goods and services in New Zealand. The current GST rate is 15%.
8.2 Company tax
The company tax rate is 28%. For more information visit Inland Revenue.
8.3 Individual income tax
Different types of individual income can include:
- salary or wages
- rental income
- interest received
If you are not a New Zealand resident you will need to work out your tax residency status so you can find out your individual income tax rate.
All goods imported into New Zealand for business or commercial purposes are liable for Customs duty, GST and other applicable fees. Indicative rates can be found in the Working Tariff Document of New Zealand. The Customs NZ website explains how the charges are calculated.
You can find more about import tariffs in the Market Access Database.
9. Entry requirements
You must have a valid passport to enter New Zealand. You can enter New Zealand as a visitor for up to six months on arrival without a visa.
Anyone wishing to work in New Zealand requires a work visa.
Check with Immigration New Zealand for up to date information on visas.
9.1 Travel advice
If you’re travelling to New Zealand for business, check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice page first.
Contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) team in New Zealand for more information and advice on opportunities for doing business in New Zealand.