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Productivity Commission releases Business by the numbers

The New Zealand Productivity Commission | Te Kōmihana Whai Hua o Aotearoa has released Business by the numbers, a report looking at the performance of businesses that make up the economy.

Businesses lie at the heart of the economy. They are the places where people come together to provide things that others want enough to part with their hard-earned cash.

However, much of the debate about the economy is based on little evidence on what businesses in Aotearoa New Zealand actually do. Business by the numbers, is a companion report to the Commission’s Productivity by the numbers report which was published in June 2023.

Productivity by the numbers provides a ‘top down’ perspective of the New Zealand economy, looking at New Zealand’s productivity performance and its underlying causes. Business by the numbers aims to provide an understanding of the nature and characteristics of the businesses in our communities.

Productivity Commission Chair, Dr Ganesh Nana says, “business is at the centre of any economic system – it is where people gather and see opportunities to be grasped, risks to be tackled, dreams to be nurtured, tested, and fulfilled.

“It is a place where people and communities can together foster expectations and innovations, and aspirations of better futures can be pursued.”

The report looks at the inputs that businesses use – labour, capital, technology – to produce goods and services, the activities that they engage in, and the environment in which they operate. It is designed as a resource for policy makers, commentators, businesspeople, and anyone else with an interest in understanding and improving businesses in New Zealand.

Using data from the Business Operations Survey (BOS), an annual three- (sometimes four) part modular survey, which began in 2005, Business by the numbers unlocks rich data for all to use, making links to New Zealand or international literature to provide readers with references to broaden their understanding.

The information used in the report comes from respondents within firms, providing a unique insight into the activities and motivations of New Zealand businesses.

Dr Nana noted that the report looks at the experiences and practices of New Zealand businesses. Understanding them, what makes them successful, and the hurdles they face, is fundamental to driving New Zealand’s prosperity and wellbeing.

“Perhaps the biggest conclusion one can draw from Business by the numbers is that there is no such thing as a typical business – the figures in the report describe the experience of over forty thousand of them.

“We hope that in this report, we have opened a window to what goes on in New Zealand businesses and highlighted an important resource to help build understanding.

“We may not know where our future is going to take us, but we can be sure that the tens of thousands of businesses in New Zealand, and the many more yet to be born, will be where ideas are formed and turned into goods and services. This will shape our prosperity and wellbeing for all New Zealanders, current and future generations to come,” says Dr Nana.


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