Is globalization bypassing New Zealand?

Bryce Wilkinson and Khyaati Acharya write:

A report in 2012 by The New Zealand Initiative drew attention to New Zealand’s seventh position among 57 countries for having the most restrictive FDI regulatory regime. This was largely due to New Zealand’s economy-wide screening regime and the broad definition of ‘sensitive’ land. Treasury has confirmed that there is credible anecdotal evidence that New Zealand’s regime is having a chilling effect on inwards FDI investment, but the materiality of this effect is an open question. It is doubtful that the damaging Crafar farms case would have triggered regulatory barriers in other Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions or comparable Asian countries.

New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Act further detracts from the country’s ‘open for business’ image by starkly asserting that it is a privilege for foreigners to be allowed to own or control sensitive New Zealand assets. This is in stark contrast to the explicitly welcoming approach widely taken elsewhere.

Statistics show that New Zealand has largely missed out on the expansion of global FDI since the mid-1990s. Both inwards and outwards stocks of FDI peaked as a percentage of GDP more than a decade ago in New Zealand, while world stocks continued their upwards climb. Between 2000 and 2011, New Zealand’s rank on UNCTAD’s FDI attraction index slumped from 73rd in the world to 146th. Hong Kong and Singapore have been in the top five throughout this period.

The longer study (pdf) covers many other points.  And here are further writings by Bryce Wilkinson on New Zealand.


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