New Zealand in 2017: Still Punching Above Its Weight

Kerridge & Partners are delighted to be the New Zealand research partner for this year’s IMD World Competitiveness Study. Since 1989, the IMD World Competitiveness Centre has published rankings to reveal the relative competitiveness of a range of economies. The results are informed by a number of factors, including a country’s economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

2017 sees New Zealand ranking 16 out of 63 economies studied at length by the IMD Business School based in Switzerland. Among the top 20 include Hong Kong (1), Switzerland (2) and Singapore (3). USA came in at 4th place and China Mainland at 18th place. From the data, it is clear that the driving force of New Zealand’s economic prosperity is the quality of our Government. More specifically, the efficiency, transparency, strength of business legislation and various equalities all contribute to New Zealand’s public sector being ranked a high 5th, well above some of the most powerful economies in the developed world.

Overall NZ Ranking 2017

In a recent panel discussion event, facilitated by Kerridge & Partners and led by Professor Arturo Bris (Director, IMD World Competitiveness Centre) and Dr. Christos Cabolis (Chief Economist, IMD World Competitiveness Centre), it became clear New Zealand still has some distance to travel in order to retain its height on the rankings list.

Business agility, for one, needs to be upped in New Zealand should our private sector wish to remain competitive compared with the rest of the world. Agility in this sense is informed by the culture of failure, speed of business transformation and attitude towards complacency and change. In increasing business agility, our Switzerland-based experts implore the need for New Zealand businesses to ‘not settle’ – that is, to embrace and apply new technologies as well as harnessing the power of big data. Of particular interest to Kerridge & Partners and our work in transforming the leadership landscape is the concept that the culture of business agility must be set and driven top down from management and Boards.

Competitiveness Trends Overall NZ.png

Income, for another, needs to be at a level that will attract in and retain talent in professions critical to economic prosperity in the modern world, such as technology. Despite its highly sought after lifestyle and plethora of advantages, New Zealand has income levels below OECD averages, creating a barrier in bringing into the country talent that can help shape a more prosperous nation. Adjusting the migration policy, making it easier for highly skilled foreign students to gain employment and lowering corporate tax rates are all solutions that can go towards building a more robust workforce with valuable skillsets and greater productivity. In line with this thinking, Kerridge & Partners remain committed to identifying and bringing into New Zealand accomplished executives with skills that will not only benefit our client organisations, but the economy as a whole.

Kerridge & Partners would like to thank Professor Arturo Bris and Dr. Christos Cabolis from the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, David Rae (former Head of Investment Analytics at NZ Super Fund and current Board Member of Longroad Energy Holdings), Bruce Aitken (former CEO and current Director at Methanex) and Cheewei Kwan (Partner and panel discussion facilitator) for their expertise and insightful contributions to this event.


Christine Deacon


Kerridge & Partners

New Zealand in 2017: Still Punching Above Its Weight