NZ third-easiest in world to do business
New Zealand has ranked first as the world's easiest place to start a business and third out of 183 countries for ease of doing business in a report from the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank.
Released today, the annual report assesses regulations affecting firms in each economy and ranks them in 10 areas such as starting a business, resolving insolvency, and trading across borders.
Singapore led the overall ease of doing business followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the US and Denmark. Korea entered the top 10 for the first time.
And while New Zealand led as the world's easiest place to start a business, the flip side to that is whether that's undermined by overseas interests using New Zealand-registered shell companies to undertake criminal activity.
One of four bills outgoing Commerce Minister Simon Power introduced to Parliament last week included the Companies and Limited Partnerships Amendment Bill which was aimed at ''stamping out that sort of behaviour'', Power said.
Among the changes included in the Bill is that each New Zealand-registered company will have to have a resident agent if no director lives in this country and these agents will be responsible for the accuracy of company information filed to the Registrar of Companies.
It also gives new powers to the Registrar to remove non-complying companies and to ''flag'' companies under investigation.
And the bill introduces criminal offences for directors who seriously breach their good faith duties, with fines of up to $200,000 and up to five years in jail.
In the ease of doing business report, the indicators were expanded this year to include how quickly you can get an electrical connection - the most efficient was Iceland, followed by Taiwan and China.
Those economies showing the most improvement overall was Morocco, Moldova, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Latvia, all low to lower income economies.
''At a time when persistent unemployment and the need for job creation are in the headlines, governments around the world continue to seek ways to improve the regulatory climate for domestic business. Small and medium businesses that benefit most from these improvements are the key engines for job creation in many parts of the world,'' says Augusto Lopez-Claros, director for the World Bank.
Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, more countries strengthened their insolvency regimes in 2010/20011 than any previous year. Some 29 economies implemented insolvency reforms, up from 16 the year before and 18 the year before that. Most were in Eastern Europe and central Asia or high income OECD countries.
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