According to Mark Thomas, a 2016 Auckland mayoral candidate, New Zealand needs to be smarter, not luckier.
New Zealand has some solid international rankings, including 26th on the international innovation index and 7th on the OECD’s better life survey. However, there is room for improvement on other counts. The country’s income equality ranks 54th and its top university comes in at 82nd. Furthermore, the nation’s GDP per capita has been steadily declining since 1970, moving from 9th to 31st.
Thomas believes New Zealand should place greater priority on growth, which would help to address important livability issues. “Are we happy to continue to count our luck, or do we want to count more growth? Are we prepared to trade “liveability” to be actually more liveable?” He believes that prioritising growth is imperative and requires a more global outlook in terms of issues like increasing skilled migration, improving education and fast-tracking new technology.
The country is off to a good start in terms of technology. New Zealand was recently classified as one of the world’s top digital economies in the Fletcher School’s 2017 Digital Evolution Index, which included countries with high levels of digital development and a fast rate of digital evolution. Government policy was a leading factor in the results. The report said that “While some may believe true innovation happens when government ‘gets out of the way,’ the stand out countries of the Digital Evolution Index suggest that there is, in fact, a significant role for the state to play in facilitating and fostering the digital economy.”
The New Zealand government believes that if more firms were digitally engaged, the contribution of digital to the economy could triple. Peter Dunne, Minister of Internal Affairs stated that “We must continue to innovate and harness the power of digital solutions to build on our gains and deliver even better services to New Zealanders.” To encourage innovation, tax incentives are available to companies who are undertaking research and development projects. If you are unsure about whether you qualify, our friendly experts at Swanson Reed R&D Tax Advisors will be able to advise you.