New Zealand - Country Commercial Guide
Investment Climate Statement
Last published date:

The U.S. Department of State’s Investment Climate Statements provide information on the business climates of more than 170 economies and are prepared by economic officers stationed in embassies and posts around the world. They analyze a variety of economies that are or could be markets for U.S. businesses.  The Investment Climate Statements are also references for working with partner governments to create enabling business environments that are not only economically sound, but address issues of labor, human rights, responsible business conduct, and steps taken to combat corruption.  The reports cover topics including Openness to Investment, Legal and Regulatory Systems, Protection of Real and Intellectual Property Rights, Financial Sector, State-Owned Enterprises, Responsible Business Conduct, and Corruption.

To access the ICS, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statements website.

Executive Summary

The New Zealand economy has bounced back strongly following the Covid pandemic. Loosened mobility restrictions in April 2022 saw a surge of economic activity and cross-border movements. Positive economic indicators followed. Unemployment hit a multi-decade low of 3.4 percent while GDP expanded by 3.4 percent. However, hints that the economy had begun to overheat became more pronounced with inflation soaring to 7.3 percent in the year to December 2022, well outside the Reserve Bank’s target band of 1-3 percent, resulting in a steady tightening of interest rates that are meant to achieve an engineered recession.

New Zealand has an international reputation for an open and transparent economy where businesses and investor can make commercial transactions with ease. As a small country that relies on trade and the rule of international law, major political parties are committed to facilitating investments that are productive, sustainable, and inclusive. While a broad range of investments in various sectors are welcomed, the New Zealand government is prioritizing investments that target opportunities in decarbonization, particularly in the public transport sector, as well as waste and plastics.

In February 2023, New Zealand was granted excepted foreign state investor status from the United States, following the United States granting New Zealand provisional status in January 2022. The formal excepted status will deepen trade ties and make it easier for New Zealand investors to invest in the United States.

In August 2022, the government announced the Research and Development Tax Incentive, which supports businesses that undertake research and development activity in excess of $650 million in New Zealand. Businesses undertaking eligible activities that aim to advance an innovative and sustainable economy will be provided a 15 percent tax credit.

With minimal direct trade exposure to Russia and Ukraine, New Zealand has felt the impact of Russia’s war of aggression through derivative means. Higher energy prices have weighed on real incomes, and exporters anticipate reduced demand from major trading partners that have larger trade exposures. The disruption of commodities key to production in New Zealand, such as fertilizer and wheat (along with crude oil and natural gas) have contributed to supply disruptions and inflation.