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flag New-Zealand New-Zealand: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline


Economic Indicators

New Zealand's GDP dropped due to the global economy slowdown between 2007 and 2010. The country had shown a negative growth during 18 months before its GDP became stable and restarted its growth again in 2010 and 2011 with 0,9% and 0,5% respectively. This improvement was notably due to the establishment of an efficient monetary policy (a reduction of the key rate from 8.25% to 2.5%), an attractive fiscal policy, a strong increase of the migratory balance which stimulated the domestic demand, a small revival in the sectors of real estate and services for companies, as well as a stimulus plan aiming in particular at employment, education, tourism, telecommunications, building and infrastructures. The positive economic benefits from the Rugby World's Cup, the greatest sporting event that New Zealand has ever hosted, which took place in September and October 2011, has allowed the country to reach a growth rate of 3.2% in 2012. This trend was confirmed in 2013 with 2.4% and the forcast for 2014 is 3%

This activity was highly influenced by the dynamism of the primary sector, in particular by the fishing, forestry and mining industries. Traditionally, New Zealand's economic growth factors are domestic demand and exports. Its GDP per capita is in the process of catching up with the main western European economies (over USD 31 000 USD in 2013). However, unemployment started to increase again due to the economic crisis (6.2% in 2013 against 6.8% in 2012).

The country was struck by two strong earthquakes in December 2010 and in February 2011and the cost of the reconstruction was estimated to be more than NZD 2 billion. But the reconstruction effort was instrumental in the country's growth. The inflation rate remained low in 2013 with 1.3% and the trade balance remained positive.

Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 162.67170.37181.57e201.03e211.37
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 36,87738,3764044,29446,204
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -3.7-0.9-0.3-0.4-0.2
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 37.037.536.134.934.5
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)
Current Account (billions USD) -4.70-7.01-6.13-8.54-12.63
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.9-4.1-3.4e-4.2-6.0

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

New Zealand is one of the smallest economies of the OECD and it is still heavily dependent on agricultural products. Agriculture (5% of the GPD in 2013) represents New Zealand's main source of exports. The country produces 2% of the world production of dairy products. The other main agricultural export products are meats, wood, fruits and fishing products. New Zealand also has a thriving wine industry. The country is rich in many natural resources, in particular, gas, oil and coal.

The industrial sector represents one-fourth of the GDP (25.5%) and employs more than 20% of the workforce. Food processing, textiles and transportation equipment are among the main industries of the country.

The services sector accounts for more than two-thirds of the GDP (69.5%) and of the workforce. Tourism, which has been growing rapidly in recent years, is one of the country's most important sources of foreign-exchange revenues. The sectors of retail and wholesale trade, restaurants and hotels are major components of the economy of New Zealand, accounting for more than 25% of the services sector. The quality of the transport infrastructures plays an essential role in the country's economic growth.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 6.6 20.9 72.5
Value Added (in % of GDP) 7.2 23.8 69.1
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.0 4.4 1.9

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
New Zealand Dollar (NZD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 1.601.391.271.231.22

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.


Learn more about Market Analyses about New-Zealand on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Foreign Trade in Figures

Foreign trade is an essential element in New Zealand's economy, which is currently, one of the most open economies in the world. The share of foreign trade in its GDP has represented again in 2013 more than 50%. The country's economy is very trade-oriented, with exports of goods and services accounting for more than a third of the total output.

The main trade partners of New Zealand (both for imports and exports) are Australia (most of the merchandise circulates freely between the two countries and this country represented in 2013 over 23% of the exportation and 18% of the importation of New Zealand), China (12% and 16%) and the United States (8% and 14%). The European Union represented 11% of New Zealand exportation and 16% of its importation.

The main exports of the country are dairy products, meats, wool, machinery, fruits and peanuts. The main commodities imported are vehicles, machinery, mineral fuels and oil, electric and electronic equipment and plastics. The trade balance first attained a surplus in 2009 due to the increase in milk exports and the drop in prices and volume of imports. New Zealand recorded a trade surplus of 400 Million NZD in December of 2013.

Export to Asia has been in the increase for more than 25 years.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 25,56630,61737,10538,25439,644
Exports of Goods (million USD) 24,93331,39637,66937,30539,472
Imports of Services (million USD) 7,8259,20810,80312,03112,140
Exports of Services (million USD) 7,7608,9019,97711,26711,249
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 26.928.629.628.927.8
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 29.330.931.429.629.7
Trade Balance (million USD) 9562,0032,214541,055
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 2,4423,3223,3027931,972
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 56.259.561.058.557.5

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
China 20.7%
Australia 19.0%
United States 8.5%
Japan 5.9%
South Korea 3.4%
See More Countries 42.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 17.1%
Australia 13.3%
United States 9.4%
Japan 6.4%
Germany 4.6%
See More Countries 49.2%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data


Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added...Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter 18.1%
Meat of sheep or goats, fresh, chilled or frozenMeat of sheep or goats, fresh, chilled or frozen 5.7%
Wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark...Wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark or sapwood, or roughly squared (excl. rough-cut wood for walking sticks, umbrellas, tool shafts and the like; wood in the form of railway sleepers; wood cut into boards or beams, etc.) 4.9%
Butter, incl. dehydrated butter and ghee, and...Butter, incl. dehydrated butter and ghee, and other fats and oils derived from milk; dairy spreads 4.6%
Meat of bovine animals, frozenMeat of bovine animals, frozen 3.8%
See More Products 62.9%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 11.1%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 7.7%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 5.5%
Automatic data processing machines and units...Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.9%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 2.1%
See More Products 70.6%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)

Main Services

- bn USD of services exported in 2012
- bn USD of services imported in 2012

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministry of Economic Development
Statistical Office
The New Zealand Statistics
Central Bank
Reserve Bank of New Zealand
Stock Exchange
New Zealand Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Yahoo! New Zealand
Acess NZ
New Zealand Search
NZ Explorer
Economic Portals

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Political Outline

Executive Power
The head of state is the British sovereign represented by a Governor General. The head of government is the prime minister, who is responsible to the legislature and appointed by the governor-general acting upon its advice. Cabinet is the most senior policy-making body and is led by the Prime Minister, who is also, by convention, the Parliamentary leader of the governing party or coalition. The Prime Minister holds the executive powers which include implementation of the law and running the day-to-day affairs of the country.
Legislative Power
Legislative authority is vested in a unicameral 120-member House of Representatives. 69 members elected by popular vote in single-member constituencies including seven Maori seats, and 51 proportional seats chosen from party lists. All members serve three-year terms. The people of New Zealand have considerable political rights.
Main Political Parties
New Zealand has a multi-party system. The main political parties are the New Zealand Labor Party (centre-left) and the National Party (centre-right, conservative), usually forming centre-left or centre-right coalitions. The other major political parties are:
- The New Zealand First Party (populist nationalist)
- ACT New Zealand (free market liberal party)
- Green Party (left-wing environmentalist party)
- Maori Party (Maori ethnic party)
- United Future (Christian Democrats)
- The Alliance (left-wing).
Current Political Leaders
Queen of New Zealand: ELIZABETH II (since February 1952) – hereditary
Governor-General: Lt Gen Sir Jerry MATEPARAE (since 31 August 2011)  – appointed by Queen
Prime Minister: John Key (since 19 November 2008)
Deputy Prime Minister: Bill English (since 19 November 2008)
Next Election Dates
Parliamentary: November 2014

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
1 place down compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Political Freedom:

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House


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Last Updates: October 2014