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Our brief

New Zealand firms: Reaching for the frontier


The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into New Zealand’s “frontier firms”. These are the most productive firms in our economy.

The Government wants to know how the economic contribution of these firms can be maximised, through their own performance and the way they diffuse new technologies and business practices to other domestic firms.


  • Our brief
    December 2019
  • Issues paper
    April 2020
  • Submissions closed 1 September 2020
  • Draft report
    December 2020
  • Submissions closed 5 February 2021
  • Final report
    April 2021
  • Evaluation
    July 2021
  • Follow-on review
    September 2022

The inquiry

Research in 2016 showed that New Zealand’s most productive firms were, on average, about one-third less productive than international firms in the same industry.

This inquiry is about unlocking the potential of New Zealand's frontier firms versus their international counterparts, identifying opportunities to build comparative advantage and improve macro-productivity growth. 

The Commission will also investigate how innovations of knowledge and technology can diffuse more effectively from frontier firms to other firms in New Zealand.

Find out more - read our brief from the Minister of Finance here.

What's next?

The Commission will release an issues paper in April asking the public and stakeholders specific questions on this inquiry. Opinions, evidence, ideas and information will be sought via submissions to help ensure the inquiry is well-informed and relevant.

In the meantime, we welcome information and comment on any issues that participants consider relevant to the inquiry’s terms of reference. Make a submission here.

Interested in keeping up to date with this inquiry? Subscribe for updates here.