Starting a Business in New Zealand
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Why Start a Business in New Zealand?
New Zealand was the last land mass to be discovered, making it the youngest country in the world and home to a small population of around 4.1 million. It is small isolated island, about the size of Colorado, or slightly larger than the United Kingdom located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean southwest approximately 2,000 miles from Australia. It consists of two islands- the North Island and the South Island.
New Zealand is more alluring than ever before, with its majestic mountain ranges, sweeping plains, native forests, miles of golden beaches and pleasant climate. It makes a great escape for those looking for adventure and excitement and it also makes a great haven for those looking for a place to relax and unwind.
It is a country that recognises and celebrates its indigenous people; a world that is kinder, gentler and more respectful.
New Zealand is not only the perfect place to take a long break it is also great for those that are looking for a change in direction. It offers a more flexible working life with the majority of residents preferring to lead a balanced lifestyle with equal amounts of leisure time. However, sometimes this means working hard and working long hours.
It is a virtually self-sufficient country with a modern and sophisticated free market economy, with ample of good opportunities for growing businesses. In recent years there have been substantial new investments in areas such as wine, electronics, telecommunications and information technology.
The country has a tradition of developing its own new ideas and products and with an innovative approach it makes a good test market for businesses, researchers and investors.
What are the currency and the exchange rate?
The currency of New Zealand is NZ dollars.
What's the population?
The population of New Zealand is 4.56 million
What sort of opportunities are there in New Zealand?
New Zealand is now competing successfully overseas, and has a strong, growing economy. It is a stable country, without the conflicts that affect many other nations.
Small business is very popular in New Zealand. 96% of businesses employ fewer than 20 people (Statistics NZ).
The main industry is still agriculture, but New Zealand has grown a lot in the past forty years and is beginning to realise a veritable variation in its business. Some of the new and fast growing industries are:
- information technology
- education (overseas students)
- film making
- yacht design
And the list goes on.
What's the climate and weather like in New Zealand?
Been in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are completely opposite to countries north of the equator. Winter lasts from June until August and summer is between December and February.
The overall the temperate climate ranges from 20-30C (68-86F) in summer and from 5-15C (41-59F) in winter.
Where should I base myself?
Probably best answered by visiting the various parts of New Zealand and investigating which location seems right for your business. The climate, as well as the style of the city or town can vary remarkably. Much would also depend on the type of business you are considering. Obviously, in the larger centres, such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, there is more scope for larger businesses. Other popular options:
- Bay of Islands - A lot of tourism
- Hamilton - The garden city. A reasonable size city, with a lot of agriculture in the surrounding towns
- Rotorua - The geothermic centre. A lot of tourism
- Nelson - A medium sized city/town. A pleasant climate, surrounded by beautiful sounds (national parks) and vineyards
- Dunedin - The student town. A very popular university town.
- Queenstown - The adventure capital. A tourist hotspot, especially in the winter with many ski fields in the vicinity
- Christchurch - The cathedral city. The largest city in the South island, with some real English heritage
- Wellington - The windy city. New Zealand's capital city, and probably the city with the most cultural events, arts and theatre
- Auckland - The city of sails. The largest city in New Zealand, business centre, a culturally diverse population. A lot of people start here
What are the main industries in New Zealand?
The main industries in New Zealand are agriculture, horticulture, fishing and forestry, and tourism.
New Zealand is heavily reliant on trade. Exports account for about 24% of its output. New Zealand has openly encouraged free trade, and has almost no trade restrictions, and has also removed many barriers from foreign investment.
What other things should I consider?
If your product is original, then you should consider applying for a patent. This means you will be the only person/company allowed to produce/sell the product in New Zealand for 20 years. You will have to pay fees throughout this period to maintain your patent.
Another idea would be to register your trademark. This means that you sign/logo/design would be protected for 10 years within New Zealand - no one else can use it. After 10 years you can reapply to extend the trademark protection.
What is the employment situation in New Zealand?
Unemployment is quite low in New Zealand. New Zealand has a highly skilled workforce, and its immigration policies encourage immigrants who are qualified in a skill shortage area. If, however, you can't find suitable people within New Zealand you can apply to the Department of Immigration to become an accredited employer, so you can offer work to non-New Zealand citizens.
Employment in New Zealand is based around a document called the Employment Relations Act 2001. Every employee must have a written employment agreement. You can find examples and templates on the Department of Labour website: www.ers.dol.govt.nz
Holiday entitlement has very recently changed from 3 weeks to 4 weeks paid annual leave, after a year of employment.
Organisations that can assist with Starting a Business
Finding office space abroad poses one of the most difficult changes that many start-ups face. Location, costs, and transport all need to be considered. And, more crucially of all, what office will allow a new business to attract and retain the best staff?
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