Technology set to boost NZ ranking

MARIA SLADE
Last updated 05:00 23/01/2013

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New Zealand's "exceptionally strong" performance in technology is set to propel it up the globalisation rankings, a new report from Ernst & Young says.

The international accountancy firm has released its 2012 globalisation survey, measuring the world's 60 largest economies according to their openness to trade, capital flows, exchange of technology and ideas, labour movements, and cultural integration.

New Zealand is ranked 21st, ahead of Australia at 24th and the United States at 25th. Hong Kong is ranked first, and the United Kingdom comes in at No 10. The lowest-ranked country is Iran.

New Zealand's position remains the same as the previous year despite achieving a slightly higher score this time around.

But New Zealand is already outperforming in the technology category, with its broadband penetration key to an improved ranking in the index, the report said. "We expect New Zealand to climb up into 12th position by 2016, helped by an exceptionally strong performance in technology, where it will top the ranking on broadband penetration."

The percentage of the population with access to broadband has improved from 25.7 per cent to 30 per cent, it said.

New Zealand Ernst & Young technology specialist Paul Mahan said he agreed with the report's findings "to a point".

While the Government was pushing the rollout of broadband across the country, links out of the country had not progressed. "We've got one link, basically."

This posed challenges in terms of potential failures and the competitive pricing of data, he said.

However, IDC research analyst Glen Saunders said this had been the case for some time, and the Southern Cross Cable had served New Zealand's needs so far. With New Zealanders using more and more data and much of it coming from abroad, it was getting to the point where a second connection would become cost-effective.

New Zealand's broadband penetration was up to about 64 per cent of households - a measure IDC preferred because average numbers of people in households varied from country to country.

"We can say our broadband penetration, for our country's size and real GDP, we're doing quite well."

The E&Y globalisation report also said investment opportunities in New Zealand should improve in coming years with the Government's plan to partly privatise some state-owned enterprises. Household debt would act as a drag on consumer spending, it said.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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