New Zealand firms: reaching for the frontier


New Zealand is facing the prospect of a significant economic shock from the spread of COVID-19. Helping more Kiwi firms reach the productivity frontier would be a valuable step towards the economy reaching its full potential once the immediate effects of COVID-19 have passed.

This inquiry will investigate New Zealand’s most productive firms and how their economic performance can be maximised. The Commission has released an issues paper with questions on the information we seek and submissions are invited until 1 September 2020.

New Zealand firms: reaching for the frontier

Frontier firms webinar

Thanks to all of those who joined our webinar on 22 July. Learn about the team's approach to the inquiry, by downloading the presentation slides here or watching a recording of the webinar here.


Call for submissions

Call for submissions

We encourage anybody with an interest to read through the issues paper, think about the questions and participate by making a submission. Your feedback will help us to better understand specific issues and be able to provide relevant and credible policy recommendations in our report to the Government.

For a snapshot of the key information, read our call for submissions brochure.

Submissions are welcomed by 1 September 2020, or earlier, to give the Commission time to consider the ideas and information it receives and incorporate them in its analysis.

New Zealand’s top 200 firms and top 10 Māori businesses

To support the issues paper, the Commission contracted Deloitte to provide analysis and insights on the characteristics of New Zealand’s largest firms. Using the Deloitte Top 200 data set and the Top 10 Māori Business Index, they reported on spatial distribution, industry distribution, ownership, revenue, assets, equity and profit of firms over 2000 to 2019. The report also includes a case study of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. Read the Deloitte report here.

Why does this inquiry matter?

New Zealand has a longstanding problem with poor productivity, as productivity levels are well below the average of high-income OECD economies.

Despite the expectation that lower-productivity countries will absorb known technologies from leader countries, and narrow the gap with them via faster productivity growth, this has not happened in New Zealand. A sizeable productivity gap remains.

The Commission will identify policies that could deliver a sustained lift in productivity outcomes. Read our brief from the Minister of Finance here.

What's next?

Following the issues paper, a report with the Commission’s draft findings and recommendations will be released in November 2020. Submissions on the draft report will then be invited. A final report will be presented to Government in March 2021 and made published on this website.