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New Zealand has a small open economy which operates on free market principles. It has sizable manufacturing and service sectors complementing a highly efficient export-oriented agricultural sector. New Zealand is highly dependent on the primary sector with commodities accounting for around half of total goods exports. Exports of goods and services account for around one third of real expenditure GDP.

New Zealand's high proportion of winter sunshine hours and considerable rainfall provide an ideal resource base for pastoral agriculture, forestry, horticulture and hydro-electicity generation. New Zealand is also a popular overseas visitor destination and tourism is an important source of export income.

Over the past three decades, the New Zealand economy has changed from being one of the most regulated in the OECD to one of the least regulated. The minority National Party Government elected in November 2008, and re-elected in November 2011, aims to lift the long-term performance of the economy through five key policy drivers: building a stronger economy, investment in world-class infrastructure; better public services; rebuilding Christchurch; and by building a safer New Zealand.

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