New Zealand’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been the best in the world and is the country that gives business leaders the most confidence for future investment, according to a Bloomberg Media survey.
New Zealand ranked strongly for political stability, the economic recovery, virus control and social resilience in Bloomberg’s market crisis management index, published on Thursday.
The index scores New Zealand at 238, above second-placed Japan at 204 and Taiwan in third on 198. Australia was sixth with 151, while the UK and US – despite their high case numbers and fatalities from Covid-19 – were ninth and 10th.
In a boost for Jacinda Ardern’s chances of winning a second term in the election on 17 October, New Zealand scored the highest ranking in each of the categories.
Its political stability ranking was its best score and was also the most preferred holiday destination for executives once it was safe to travel.
As Auckland enjoyed its first day free of restrictions since a second wave hit, New Zealand’s finance minister, Grant Robertson, said the government’s plan to go “hard and early” against the virus had been a success.
“We have one of the most open economies in the world because we set out a plan and stuck to it. We have eliminated our second wave, as others are still grappling to get this virus under control.
“Our clear plan to deal with Covid-19 is being noticed, particularly by global businesses. Our strong and steady Covid response means we’re opening up investment opportunities to support the recovery and rebuild.”
More than half of the business leaders surveyed said they were still highly concerned by the Covid-19 pandemic, but more so in markets such as Japan, Malaysia and Thailand, and markedly more in the younger segment of executives. Bloomberg questioned around 700 people by telephone, mostly senior executives in a range of industries, with 53% from large corporations and 47% from small and medium sized enterprises.
The survey showed that businesses main concerns in the pandemic were the number of unknown problems that could arise, along with issues about supply chain, international business travel, the lack of local government support, and data security.
Their biggest focus coming out of the crisis was strengthening crisis management, business continuity planning, and digital transformation. There was also growing emphasis on managing staff optimism, heightening human resources and healthcare planning as well as cybersecurity measures.