Why NZ Always Topped World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings


In the global landscape of economic competitiveness, the Ease of Doing Business Index stands as a powerful yardstick by which nations are measured. Currently the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings has been scrapped off and the Bank aims to bring out a new ranking system in two years. This index, developed by the World Bank, assesses the regulatory environment and ease of conducting various business activities within a country. Its significance lies not only in its capacity to attract foreign investments but also in its potential to drive domestic entrepreneurship, foster innovation, and ultimately contribute to a nation’s overall economic growth.

Defining the Ease of Doing Business Index:

The Ease of Doing Business Index is a comprehensive ranking system that evaluates the regulatory environment for starting, operating, and closing a business in a given country. First introduced in 2003, the index has since become a widely recognized tool for policymakers, economists, and investors alike.

The index is composed of a series of indicators that collectively reflect the entire lifecycle of a business, from its inception to its dissolution. These indicators cover various aspects of business operations, including starting a business, obtaining construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, obtaining credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

Pic credit: World Bank

Key Components and Their Implications:

1. Starting a Business: This indicator examines the number of procedures, time, and cost required to formally establish a new business entity. Streamlined registration processes can encourage entrepreneurship and attract investments by reducing administrative hurdles.

2. Dealing with Construction Permits: The ease of obtaining construction permits is crucial for infrastructure development and urban expansion. Efficient processes in this area can drive real estate growth and infrastructural improvements.

3. Getting Electricity: Efficient electricity connections are vital for business operations. Simplified procedures for obtaining electricity can enhance productivity and reduce operational costs.

4. Registering Property: A straightforward property registration process is essential for promoting property rights and land use. Well-defined property rights can boost investor confidence and stimulate real estate transactions.

5. Obtaining Credit: Access to credit is a cornerstone of business growth. Regulations that facilitate lending and borrowing contribute to a healthy financial ecosystem and enable businesses to expand.

6. Protecting Minority Investors: Strong investor protection regulations instill confidence in shareholders, encouraging both domestic and foreign investments. Fair treatment of minority investors can prevent corporate abuses and promote transparency.

7. Tax Systems: Efficient tax systems minimize the administrative burden on businesses, enabling them to focus on core activities. Simple and transparent tax procedures also deter tax evasion.

8. Trade Across Borders: Smooth cross-border trade processes reduce transaction costs and expand market access. Efficient trade regulations promote international business engagement.

9. Enforcing Business Contracts: Effective contract enforcement mechanisms are essential for a stable business environment. Reliable dispute resolution systems bolster trust in commercial interactions.

10. Resolving Insolvency: A well-structured insolvency framework provides businesses with a safety net and facilitates the restructuring or closure of non-viable entities. This supports economic dynamism by allowing resources to be reallocated efficiently.

Impact on Economic Growth:

Countries that perform well on the Ease of Doing Business Index tend to experience positive economic outcomes. A business-friendly environment attracts foreign direct investment, stimulates domestic entrepreneurship, and encourages innovation. When entrepreneurs face fewer barriers to entry, they are more likely to invest in new ventures, which, in turn, creates jobs and fosters economic growth. Moreover, streamlined regulations and efficient administrative processes enhance the overall competitiveness of a nation, making it an attractive destination for both investors and skilled workers.

Challenges and Criticisms:

While the Ease of Doing Business Index provides valuable insights, it has faced criticisms over the years. Some argue that the index’s focus on quantitative metrics might not capture the nuances of each country’s unique regulatory environment. Additionally, concerns have been raised that countries might prioritize improving their index rankings at the expense of broader social and environmental considerations.

The Secrets Behind New Zealand’s Top Ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index

In the global arena of economic competitiveness, New Zealand stands tall as a shining example of a nation that has mastered the art of fostering a business-friendly environment. Year after year, it consistently secures the top spot in the Ease of Doing Business Index, a prestigious ranking system developed by the World Bank. This accomplishment is no mere coincidence but the result of meticulous policy planning, proactive governance, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

The Kiwi Advantage:

New Zealand’s remarkable success in the Ease of Doing Business Index is driven by a combination of factors that collectively create an environment conducive to entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic growth. From streamlined regulatory processes to transparent governance, the Kiwi approach serves as a blueprint for nations aspiring to climb the ranks of this influential index.

Simplified Business Registration:

One of the cornerstones of New Zealand’s high ranking is its straightforward business registration process. Entrepreneurs can register a new business online within a matter of hours, thanks to the government’s commitment to cutting red tape and embracing technology. This approach not only encourages domestic entrepreneurs to start their ventures but also sends a positive signal to potential foreign investors.

Efficient Construction Permits:

Obtaining construction permits can be a major hurdle in many countries, but New Zealand has excelled in this area. The streamlined process of acquiring permits for construction projects contributes to a vibrant real estate sector and accelerates urban development. Clear guidelines, efficient communication, and digital platforms play a pivotal role in expediting this process.

Investor-Friendly Regulations:

New Zealand’s investor-friendly regulations and robust legal framework provide a secure environment for businesses and investors alike. The protection of minority investors is a critical aspect of the nation’s legal system, ensuring fair treatment and transparency. This instills confidence in both domestic and foreign investors, encouraging them to allocate capital in ventures within the country.

Transparent Tax System:

The Kiwi tax system is often hailed for its simplicity and transparency. The Inland Revenue Department’s focus on digital services, accessible information, and clear tax guidelines make it easier for businesses to comply with tax obligations. This not only minimizes administrative burdens but also fosters a culture of tax compliance, enhancing the overall economic environment.

Enabling Trade and Commerce:

New Zealand’s strategic geographic location and well-developed transportation infrastructure facilitate international trade. Efficient customs procedures, modern ports, and streamlined logistics contribute to reduced trade barriers, attracting businesses looking to access global markets. This openness to trade enhances economic dynamism and spurs growth.

Innovation and Collaboration:

Behind New Zealand’s high Ease of Doing Business ranking lies a culture of innovation and collaboration. The government actively supports research and development through grants and incentives, fostering an environment where businesses can thrive on the cutting edge of technology and creativity. This focus on innovation not only enhances the nation’s global competitiveness but also positions it as a hub for forward-thinking industries.

Digital Advancements:

New Zealand’s embrace of digital technology is a pivotal factor in its ease of doing business. Government services are largely available online, simplifying administrative processes and reducing bureaucracy. Online platforms provide access to essential information and services, enabling businesses to navigate regulatory requirements with ease.

Challenges and the Road Ahead:

While New Zealand’s top ranking is undoubtedly impressive, it’s not without its challenges. The nation must continue to adapt to evolving economic landscapes, address emerging issues such as sustainability and social responsibility, and remain vigilant against complacency. Maintaining the delicate balance between a business-friendly environment and broader societal goals is an ongoing task that requires constant dialogue and policy adjustment.


New Zealand’s consistent reign atop the Ease of Doing Business Index is a testament to the power of strategic governance, forward-looking policies, and a commitment to economic growth. By prioritizing simplicity, transparency, and innovation, the nation has created an environment where businesses can flourish, jobs can be created, and prosperity can be shared.

(Update: The Ease of Doing Business Rankings Report has been scrapped by The World Bank and a replacement is expected to emerge by 2025.)