New Zealand has topped the Best Countries for Business list thanks to a transparent and stable business climate.
Compiled by American business magazine Forbes, Kiwis jumped up from No.2 last year to take the top spot, ranking first in four of the 11 metrics examined.
Labelled as a country which encourages entrepreneurship, New Zealand saw off challenges from Denmark, Hong Kong and Singapore, despite having the smallest economy in the Top Ten.
Forbes graded 141 nations on factors including: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.
New Zealand scored highest in personal freedom, investor protection, lack of red tape and corruption, as neighbours Australia finished 11th overall on the rankings.
"New Zealand’s economy is closely tied to Australia’s, and both held up better than most during the global financial crisis," Forbes said.
"The downside to the resilience of its economy is that the New Zealand dollar has appreciated, making the country’s agricultural exports more expensive.
"The higher prices have helped to push up unemployment to 7.3%—the highest level since 1999.
"New Zealand cut its corporate tax rate from 30% to 28% last year and eliminated certain deductions, making the cut fiscally neutral.
"Investors have prospered, with the country’s benchmark stock index, the NZX 50, up 24% over the past 12 months."
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