New Zealand Business Environment
New Zealand is made up of two main islands (the North and South Islands), Stewart Island (at the bottom of the South Island), and some smaller outlying islands. The combined area of these islands is 268,000 square kilometres (similar to the size of Japan, Great Britain, or Colorado).
New Zealand is a culturally diverse nation, with a population of approximately 4.8 million. English is the everyday language. Maori is the other official language, but is not spoken widely. We have no official religion. We have a culture of innovation and adaptability, and New Zealanders are famous for their “can-do” attitude. Although geographically isolated, travel is deeply embedded in the New Zealand psyche. Many New Zealanders work overseas at some stage in their lives, and many return home inspired by what they have seen.
The New Zealand dollar is the unit of currency. The dollar is freely floated against all major currencies.
The capital city and seat of government is Wellington (at the bottom of the North Island). The largest city is Auckland (at the top of the North Island). New Zealand governments are generally centrist, leaning either slightly left or slightly right. New Zealand is proud of its reputation as one of the least corrupt nations for conducting business. New Zealand has a largely temperate climate. The warmest summer months are typically January to March. New Zealand’s traditional summer holiday period is over Christmas and the New Year. Many businesses close for two weeks over that period.
Public holidays are:
- New Year: 1 and 2 January
- Waitangi Day: 6 February
- Easter: Friday and Monday of Easter weekend (dates vary)
- Anzac Day: 25 April
- Queen’s Birthday: First Monday in June
- Labour Day: Last Monday in October
- Christmas Day: 25 December
- Boxing Day: 26 December
- Anniversary Day: Each province observes an anniversary day (dates vary)
Flying direct, it takes about 23 hours to fly from Auckland to London, 12 hours to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Beijing or Hong Kong, 10 hours to Singapore or Tokyo, and three hours to Sydney or Melbourne.
The scenery in New Zealand is superb, varied, and not obscured by pollution. Much of the country is sparsely populated, and we generally enjoy an exceptional quality of life.