New Zealand - Country Commercial Guide
Market Challenges

Learn about barriers to market entry and local requirements, i.e., things to be aware of when entering the market for this country.

Last published date: 2022-07-31

Strict regulations are in place to protect New Zealand from biosecurity risks across a wide range of products and commodities, including plant and plant products, animal products, biological products and organisms and food imports.  U.S. exporters are advised to work closely with their New Zealand partners in advance of shipping to ensure their products are compliant with local import regulations and standards.

New Zealand’s distance from other markets including its nearest neighbor Australia means shipping orders from the United States are often small compared with other economies.  (Traditionally 99% of cargo arrives in New Zealand by sea.  However, due to the pandemic, issues with supply chains has created an increase in air freight.)   U.S. exporters are advised to monitor exchange rates and shipping rates which can be relatively high.  Reshipping through Australia is an option for very small orders.    As a result of global shipping disruptions, this country’s largest ports based in Auckland and Tauranga are experiencing shipping delays.   Labor costs are expensive in New Zealand.  The adult minimum wage in New Zealand is NZ$21.20 (approximately US$14.00) an hour before tax.  Many organizations are introducing a Living Wage.  The New Zealand Living Wage hourly rate for 2022/23 is NZ$23.65 (approximately US$15).

The decline of New Zealand’s dollar against the U.S. dollar means imports are more expensive to purchase locally.  This can cause some U.S. products to be less competitive for similar products against domestic and/or other foreign suppliers.