New Zealand Country Performance, Brand Image and Reputation

New Zealand: how does this “clean and green” country perform in global rankings that measure talent attraction potential, public diplomacy and soft power strength, environmental sustainability and economic development? Why does the remote island nation have the fame of being a good place for doing business? Answers in this summary of global reports, studies and rankings on country performance, brand image and reputation.

Learn about:

  • Doing business in New Zealand;
  • Economic competitiveness of New Zealand;
  • New Zealand’s soft power;
  • New Zealand’s performance in sustainability indices;
  • Life quality in New Zealand and its contribution to global well-being;
  • New Zealand nation brand performance.

Doing business in New Zealand

Is New Zealand an attractive place for new businesses and entrepreneurs?

For the second consecutive year, New Zealand leads the ranking of World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. In 2018, the country holds the first position in various dimensions of the study, including starting a business, getting credit and registering property. According to the index, minority investor rights are also very well protected (2nd) in New Zealand, and dealing with construction permits is much easier (3rd) than in the rest of the 190 countries evaluated by the World Bank in this study.

New Zealand only shows weaker performance (29th) in the dimension of trading across borders, due to its remote location. The country has been in the very top of this ranking for a decade already, and is thus an important competitor to whichever national economy when it comes to attracting businesses.

WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index ranks New Zealand 13th in its 2017-18 study. Confirming the results of the Ease of Doing Business index, this study also gives New Zealand the leading position for the development of its financial market. Another important pillar for facilitating business – the efficacy of institutions — also ranks very high (3rd). High scores are also given to the efficiency of its labour market (5th), health and primary education (6th) and higher education and training (7th).

The country scores lowest for the size of its market (64th), while the rest of the indicators all feature in the top 25.  New Zealand’s performance in this index has improved notably during the last decade, up from 24th in 2008 to the current 13th position.


Talent in New Zealand

Is New Zealand attractive for talent?

New Zealand’s overall ranking in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2018 is 12th. This is two positions up from its 2017 result and four positions better than half a decade ago, showing that the country is constantly improving the conditions for its talent.

New Zealand is among the top 10 in the enable (4th), attract (6th), and global knowledge skills (7th) pillars. The country performs consistently well in the enable sub-pillars: particularly the regulatory landscape (2nd) and the business and labour landscape (6th).

Once again, New Zealand is ranked 1st for ease of doing business. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement in other variables related to the market landscape, such as cluster development (45th) and R&D expenditure (33rd).


New Zealand’s soft power

How much soft power does New Zealand have globally?

Contrary to the tendency of improvement shown in the above studies, New Zealand’s ranking in the Soft Power index has declined slightly compared to the previous edition. It ranks 18th in the 2017 study, which is two positions down from 2016. This score positions New Zealand between Finland and Ireland and leaves it ten positions behind its neighbour, Australia. Its influence is strongest in the field of government and enterprising, where it features in the top 10 of the 30 most influential countries for their soft power.


New Zealand’s digital presence

Is New Zealand a popular enquiry in online searches?

New Zealand’s ranking in Bloom Consulting‘s Digital Country index is similar to its position in the Soft Power index – 16th in the 2017 study. There has been a significant improvement in the country’s digital performance compared to 2015, when it ranked three positions lower. Its performance is strongest in searches linked to talent (8th) and prominence (9th), while exports (34th), investment (29th) and tourism (21st) score lower in this study, which focuses on online searches performed around the world.


Sustainability and New Zealand

Is New Zealand a sustainable country?

New Zealand is the regional leader in terms of environmental sustainability, according to the 2018 Environmental Performance Index. Its global position is 17th, which is six positions down compared to the 2016 study.

WEF’s 2017 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index ranks New Zealand 19th in the dimension of environmental sustainability. The country scores very high for the low concentration of particulate matter in the air (2nd), as well as for the sustainability of the development of its travel and tourism industry (2nd).

What brings New Zealand’s environmental performance down considerably is the number of threatened species found in the country. Here, New Zealand occupies second-to-last position among the 136 countries evaluated by WEF. The good news is that the country’s performance in this area has improved considerably during the last five years, now up seven positions compared to 2013 results.

New Zealand ranks 38th among the 140 countries analyzed in the 2017 Happy Planet Index. Its strongest assets are life expectancy with an average of 81.4 years, and social equality, both positioned 12th. New Zealand also scores high in the dimension of general well-being (13th).

Nevertheless, the ecological footprint of the country tears down its ‘happiness’ performance, ranking New Zealand 119th due to the high consumption of resources and waste generated by its residents.

Contrary to New Zealand’s strong image as a haven of sustainable tourism, there are important issues of environmental sustainability that the country needs to pay attention to, in order to keep its reputation as a high quality, green destination.


Life quality in New Zealand

How satisfied are New Zealanders with their life quality?

OECD’s Better Life index brings out that New Zealand is enjoying strong economic growth which is driven by booming tourism, high net immigration, solid construction activity and supportive monetary policies. The fiscal position is sound, with low public debt and a balanced budget. All this contributes to the country’s solid performance in the Better Life Index.

New Zealand ranks at the top in health status and above average in many areas, such as civic engagement, housing and social connections. Its performance is below average in income and wealth, work-life balance, and personal security. New Zealanders’ general life satisfaction (7.3/10) is higher than the OECD average of 6.5.


New Zealand a Good Country?

What is New Zealand’s contribution to global well-being?

The Good Country index by Simon Anholt and Robert Govers ranks New Zealand 17th in the latest edition of this study that analyses countries’ contribution to global well-being. It scores highest for the efforts of improving global science and technology (12th), and health and well-being (17th). New Zealand’s contribution to world order is also relatively strong (19th). In terms of prosperity, however, the country could be taking bigger steps to improve global economic equity.


New Zealand nation brand performance

How strong is New Zealand’s nation brand and reputation?

New Zealand’s performance in the 2017 Nation Brands Index is commendable. Despite being the 46th nation brand in terms of its value (199 USDbn), it ranks as the 7th strongest country brand in the world, with a rating of triple A. The value of the brand showed an important 15% increase last year, which is a lot, compared to the global leader USA’s 2% growth – although not as impressive as China’s 44% increase in brand value.

Country RepTrak ranked New Zealand as the 5th most reputable country in 2017, which is two positions up from the previous year. This year, New Zealand’s reputation was strongest in the fields of appealing environment (3rd) and effective government (9th). According to this study, the country’s reputation has been very stable and strong throughout the last five years, showing very little variations in its ranking.


Analysis by Maria Lindmäe. Last updated April 2018.


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