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Auckland Doing Business

Auckland Business Profile

While New Zealands economy has always had an agricultural base - wool, milk and meat exports - Auckland today is a city with more of a business and services-oriented economy. The business directory shows familiar corporate names, such as IBM, 3M, Microsoft, Cisco, Merrill Lynch, KPMG, Citibank and Price Waterhouse. The citys mainstays are business and financial services, manufacturing, transport and communications, and the trade and hospitality industries. These last two reflect the importance of tourism to the country as a whole, and to its biggest city. Auckland also contains the countrys biggest port, handling 50% of container traffic.

Tourism is New Zealands single biggest revenue earner, currently estimated to be worth roughly four billion New Zealand Dollars to the country. This is on a steady increase, with Auckland reaping many of the benefits, thanks to

The citys GDP is almost 17 million New Zealand Dollars per annum, and thanks to current low interest and exchange rates, it is estimated that this will increase at a steady rate of about 4% per annum for the next three years. This is 1% higher than the growth anticipated for the country as a whole, which reflects the constant population drift towards Auckland. This drift does, however, contribute to the citys unemployment rate of 6.9%, which is high compared to 6.1% nationwide. The city contains 10% of New Zealands population, and that population on average is younger, more highly paid and better educated than the population generally. The last major census in 1996 showed, for example, that 19% of Aucklands residents had a university degree, exactly twice the national average.

Asian visitors have traditionally accounted for almost one-fifth of New Zealands tourists, so the 30% drop in visitor numbers at the start of 1999 was attributed to the Asian financial crisis. Economic recovery, following the impact of this crisis, has naturally been welcomed - tourism arrivals at Auckland airport rose by 8.7% over 1999, and retail spending rose by 4.2% for the year ending 30 September 1999.

Business Etiquette

Conducting business in Auckland is no different from that in any other major Western city. There are no cultural pitfalls to watch out for, and the only noticeable difference lies with the nature of the New Zealand people. They are notably friendlier, more informal and more relaxed. Although ties and jackets are worn, jackets may soon be discarded and shirt-sleeves rolled up. A more informal dress code also exists in restaurants and bars, although the smartest restaurants may still expect a jacket and tie to be worn.

Punctuality is appreciated, but no-one will be offended if the visitor is a little late, especially at times when the traffic is busy. Invitations to dine out or to visit someones home, are far more readily issued than in many countries, and are issued genuinely, not merely as a gesture. The native host will expect to pay for a meal or a round of drinks, but guests can step in and pay their turn without creating arguments or offence. Friendliness not formality is the Auckland watchword.

Auckland, as one of the worlds great trading ports and centres of knowledge, is among the exciting possibilities of a lifetime. The worlds classic cities - London, Paris, Milan, Shanghai - have been evolving for over a thousand years. Aucklanders have the good luck to live in a city- region still in its infancy - a peerless natural environment and a cosmopolitan city which is being forged from a mix of cultures. What could be more exciting for Aucklanders than to be part of a successful world city in the making? And we can have some effect on shaping it. But first we need to know what our curren