Noted for its friendliness to outside investment, New Zealand perhaps doesn’t get the attention it deserves as a hub for world business. However, the island nation already leads the world in some areas. For instance, it’s easy to set up a new business in the country and there are no restrictions on foreign ownership.
As the younger workforce matures though, New Zealand’s businesses have also taken a leap towards planning for the global future.
Environmental sustainability may be something that we all have to worry about one day but, for now, it’s sometimes viewed as a distinctly millennial pursuit.
Among business leaders in New Zealand, this isn’t an untrue assessment. Comparing the under-40s to the over-50s reveals that a singular pursuit of profit is important to 40% of older executives compared to just 15% of younger ones. These figures come from a study conducted by BMW New Zealand, entitled the Next Generation Leadership report.
There is a feeling among analysts that the structure and even type of business in New Zealand could be about to change.
Currently, the domain of ‘traditional’ companies like Fletcher Building (construction), Fonterra, and a2 Milk Co Ltd (both agriculture), New Zealand has recently become the babe of high-tech start-ups. Areas like data management, cybersecurity, and AI have attracted millions of $NZD in investment and government grants.
Gaming and Online Industries
Gaming companies are also enjoying their time in the sun. Based out of Auckland, Geo AR Games makes experiences that combine augmented reality with geospatial information while Eight360 is creating motion simulator platforms that complement VR devices.
Online, the jackpotcity casino is now one of the biggest gaming operators in New Zealand. This Microgaming-powered website was set up in 1998. It attracts players with a raft of introductory bonuses, such as 80 spins on slots for $1.
Retailer Amazon announced plans to set up a distribution center in New Zealand in April 2021, earning praise from economic minister Stuart Nash as the “most innovative company” in the world. The government offered owner Jeff Bezos a distinctly Kiwi deal for doing so – tax breaks if the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series was filmed in New Zealand.
The worry for New Zealand’s more traditional industries is that the need for sustainability will likely win out over a pure profit approach in the future, simply because the government wills it.
Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party hopes to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century, enshrining the Zero Carbon Act in law back in 2019. Returning to BMW’s report, 70% of older business leaders have indicated that this will be a difficult thing to do, compared to 31% of younger ones.
New Zealand is therefore as much an opportunity for new business as it is a possible thorn in the side of the less flexible ones.
While the important agriculture and construction industries are likely to continue to exist throughout New Zealand’s sustainability drive, the former, in particular, has a mountain to climb to become more environmentally friendly.