Lifting New Zealand’s game on productivity

OECD ECOSCOPE

by Andrew Barker, New Zealand Desk, OECD Economics Department

Productivity growth will be the main driver of global economic growth and prosperity over the coming decades. For New Zealand, this represents both a challenge and an opportunity, as NZ productivity is below that of leading OECD countries (Figure 1). This problem is not new, and previous OECD work has shown that distance from markets is a substantial part of the explanation. The key question, considered in the 2017 OECD Economic Survey of New Zealand, is what can be done to improve generally sound policy settings in New Zealand so as to boost productivity, in spite of the economic challenges posed by its remote location.

NZ prod 1

Overcoming distance barriers means that New Zealand needs to do everything possible to increase benefits from international connections. As a small country, it is reliant on foreign direct investment to provide access to global supply…

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