New Zealand may be the easiest place in the world to start a business

Not just a pretty place, but it is quite pretty.
Not just a pretty place, but it is quite pretty.
Image: Reuters/David Gray
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There are only a handful of things in which New Zealand can truly lay claim to being a world-beater. Rugby is one of them – the nation’s iconic All Blacks aren’t just world champions in the sport, many think they’re the best team in the world at anything.

But New Zealand also tops in another category. According to recent data from the World Bank, it takes just a single day to file the necessary paperwork to open a business in New Zealand. That’s the least amount of time among any of the countries in the study, which specifically measures “the number of calendar days needed to complete the procedures to legally operate a business.”

Image: World Bank

One day in New Zealand compares to three days for its trans-Tasman neighbor, Australia, or Singapore (which was recently named by the World Bank as the easiest place to do business, overall).  Among OECD countries, it takes 5 days to open a business in the US and Canada, 7 days in France, 23 days in Spain, and 30 in Poland. The full list, including emerging economies, is here. Suriname has the dubious honor of being the place where it takes longest to open a business – 208 days.

New Zealand’s business friendly culture is a legacy of sweeping economic reforms that began in the 1980s. The OECD recently delivered a fairly upbeat assessment on the Kiwi economy. Despite this, the country hasn’t really given birth to any huge companies, though dairy giant Fonterra is fairly sizable. Unlike Finland, Norway or Denmark, three Scandinavian nations with similar populations, it doesn’t have a single entry in the Fortune Global 500. Although it should be noted that none of those countries are anywhere near as isolated as New Zealand.