Exporting to New Zealand

The UK exported £1.5 billion in goods and services to New Zealand in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2019. This was a 1.9% rise from the same period the previous year (ONS, 2019).

Strong foundations for business

New Zealand has stable institutions and good governance. The World Bank rates it number 1 out of 190 countries for ease of doing business (World Bank, 2019). Pro-competition regulation, an efficient tax regime, an open political system and investment in innovation have all contributed to an efficient and competitive economy.

Similarities to the UK

The UK and New Zealand share a common language and culture, as well as business and legal practices such as intellectual property (IP) protection and the rule of law. This makes it a relatively easy place for British companies to do business.

Ideal test market

New Zealand is a highly educated, wealthy and tech-savvy market with a population of almost 5 million people, including over 250,000 people who were born in the UK (Stats NZ, 2013 Census). It’s the ideal place to test and develop new products or services. Around half of the total population live in New Zealand’s 3 major cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (Stats NZ, 2018). This makes it easy to prioritise where to do market research of your product or service.

Ease of doing business


out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)


New Zealand dollar

Business language


GDP per capita


UK is $42,560 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth


(IMF, 2019)

Time zone

GMT +12

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in New Zealand have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Doing business in New Zealand

Preparing to export


Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a tax on most goods and services in New Zealand. The current GST rate is 15%. Learn more about GST on the New Zealand government website.

Import duties

All goods imported into New Zealand for business or commercial purposes are liable for customs duty, GST and other applicable fees. Indicative rates can be found in the Working Tariff Document of New Zealand. The Customs NZ website explains how the charges are calculated.

Standards and technical regulations

All products sold in New Zealand must be safe. There are two key laws that deal with product safety:

  • The Consumer Guarantees Act, which gives minimum standards of quality for goods and services
  • The Fair Trading Act, which promotes product safety

Importers must ensure products meet the minimum standards for the products to be allowed to enter the country. You can check the required standards at Standards New Zealand.

Labelling requirements

Packaging must meet New Zealand consumer health and environmental legislation. There are specific labelling requirements for:

  • chemical products
  • cosmetics
  • electronic goods
  • foodstuffs
  • most therapeutic products

All labelling must use the metric system. You can read guidance on food labelling from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Payment terms

Payment terms and method should be set out in your contract and must be factored into prices. For business-to-business transactions these can range from immediate payments on receipt of goods (often with a negotiated small discount) to a negotiated 60-day payment.

Intellectual property

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) is the government agency responsible for granting and registering intellectual property.

Copyright protection automatically applies in New Zealand from the date of creation. Patents and trademarks only provide protection within New Zealand.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with New Zealand.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in New Zealand

Business culture

In general, business etiquette is very similar to the UK. Face-to-face meetings can be very important to develop business relationships and prompt replies to enquires are recommended. Visits should be planned in advance – ideally at least 4 weeks.

Punctuality is very important. New Zealanders tend to be informal in their business interactions. First-name terms tend to be the norm in most business situations. Directness and plain speaking are valued.

New Zealanders often take holidays during school holiday periods, especially over the New Zealand summer holiday period, which is January. As a result, visits during these times may not be productive.

Logistical challenges

New Zealand’s distance from the UK means you may face challenges in:

  • travelling (at least 24 hours from the UK by plane)
  • the time and money needed to ship or send goods
  • the time difference (12 to 13 hours ahead of the UK)

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.