Australia vs New Zealand - on and off the cricket field

This weekend the ICC cricket World Cup comes to a head with the battle of the Tasman tigers. Let's see how Australia and New Zealand size up off the field...

It’s a rivalry as old as the Tasman sea itself, but clashes between Australia and New Zealand don’t just stay on the sporting field. While many in the northern hemisphere assume the two countries are one and the same - the rumour that New Zealand will become the seventh state of Australia circulates every few years to much furore in the north and south islands - there is indeed a world of difference between these two great lands down under, both on and off the field.

There’s also two worlds complementing each other in every way…

As we gear up for this year’s cricket World Cup final in Melbourne on Sunday (29 March), and yet another mighty clash of these two great nations, let us pause for a moment to remind the rest of the world that while Australia and New Zealand are indeed independent entities with their own business environments and opportunities, there’s no need to discount one for the other.

The scorecard

Looking at things purely on World Bank rankings, New Zealand takes the trophy - but in the last over, on the last ball. The land of the long white cloud was the easiest place in the world to start a business according to the 2014 Doing Business ranking of economies, while Australia was a No 7. As far as ease of doing business in the two countries go, New Zealand is at No 2 to Australia’s No 10 - and that middle order between the two is nothing to sneeze at; Hong Kong, the US, UK and Denmark all rank in the top 10 ahead of Australia.

That said, our Australian experts advise that it only takes half a day to set up a company in the wide brown land too once there is consent to act. It goes to show that having local partners can truly streamline processes!

Starting a business

AUS NZ OECD
Number of procedures
3.0 1.0 4.8
Time taken in days
2.5 0.5 9.2
Cost (% of income per capita) 0.7 0.3 3.4

Depth of talent

With a population of more than 23 million - and growing at a rate of knots - Australia’s talent pool is rich and diversified. The Gross National Income per capita is US$65,520. Conversely, while also in a high income category for the OECD, NZ has a population of just under 5 million, with a GNI of US$40,481. Both have well-educated and flexible workforces to draw upon, and both traditional and innovative sectors are present.

While Australia has more land mass, most of it is arid desert, while New Zealand is blessed with plenty fertile land. Just don’t get these two into a face-off over who has the best opportunities in agriculture and natural resources; Australia will likely win purely on size of the prize alone. Oh - did we mention the tourism industry that is vital to both sides?

Teamwork

Remember that idea that to many in the northern hemisphere, Australia and New Zealand are the same place? The governments recognise that. Not only is there reciprocal visa rights between citizens of the two countries, but there is a strong working relationship between the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and the New Zealand Inland Revenue (NZIRD) to share information and streamline processes. Both are also signatories to the Trans Pacific Partnership - aiming to set up free trade between Asia and the US - and are members of APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation).

Then there’s the much-appreciated cooperation between the NZ Companies Office and ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission). It removes the need to file the same information in both countries, easing the burden of the back office when working in both countries. Some companies are setting up in NZ thanks to its advantageous Trust structure legislation, while others are coming to Australia first as the AUD has fallen against the USD. Either way, setting up in one country lets you take advantage of the opportunities in the other.

Who bowls the maiden over?

Whether it’s in the fields of business or the MCG, this one’s too tough to call. Australia and New Zealand both have attractive opportunities for the right punters. The question is: can we call this one a draw?

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