21 Oct 2011

NZ easy country to do business in

7:01 am on 21 October 2011

New Zealand has retained its third place in a survey of the easiest countries to do business in.

The World Bank's 2012 business report ranks 183 economies on the overall ease of doing business, based on 10 areas of business regulation.

They include: starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; getting credit; protecting investors; paying taxes; trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

Singapore held the top spot for the sixth successive year, followed by Hong Kong, with the United States in fourth place and Denmark fifth.

Australia dropped five places to 15th, while the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Chad were the lowest ranked countries.

A senior investment policy officer at the World Bank's International Finance Corporation arm says New Zealand has an excellent reputation for the quality of its business regulation, but there's always room for improvement.

Jonathan Kirby says New Zealand is an excellent place for registering a business and getting a business up and operating, it has a very good ranking in terms of construction permits and its companies law is very good at protecting minority shareholders.

Mr Kirby says the top reformers have a regular process reviewing all their regulations in all areas of business because it's not good enough to do a one-off reform every now and then.

The ease of starting a business has also worked against New Zealand, with proposed new laws to tighten up registration and restore the country's battered reputation after firms had been set up to conduct criminal behaviour overseas.

The World Bank report says reforms also lifted the country's performance in paying taxes to 36th.