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Issues paper

Improving Economic Resilience


As a small, open, and geographically distant economy, functioning supply chains that underpin specialisation and trade are important for the prosperity and wellbeing of New Zealand.  Unfortunately, supply chain disruptions are here to stay, and the new normal is potentially both more volatile and uncertain.

In the aftermath of recent shocks, including the Covid-19 pandemic and impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle, examining the resilience of New Zealand’s economy has become increasingly important. In this inquiry, economic resilience is defined as the capacity of industries and associated communities to anticipate, prepare, absorb, recover and learn from supply chain disruptions – focusing on the interdependence of industries and communities in Aotearoa, the importance of proactively investing in resilience, and how the unique features of New Zealand’s economy shape those investments in resilience-enhancing policy.

The Productivity Commission has released an Issues Paper for public consultation. The Issues Paper outlines the Commission’s current thinking on supply chains and economic resilience in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas, and poses questions aimed at guiding stakeholder engagement.

Read the Issues Paper

See Online Glossary for a description of the terms

See Data pack for the underlying data used for the Figures and Tables.


  • Terms of Reference
    October 2022
  • Issues paper
    February 2023
  • Submissions welcome on issues paper until 17 April 2023
  • Draft report
    October 2023
  • Public submissions on draft report
  • Final report
    February 2024

Complementary analysis

The Commission has worked closely with economists Brian Easton and David Skilling in the development of the Issues Paper, and the findings of their research have been published in parallel.

All complementary analysis, key documents and useful links can be found on the inquiry top page.

A New Zealand history of shocks, Brian Easton (2023)

This paper examines how New Zealand governments and industries have responded to major persistent shocks and perceived risks and trends in the last century.

This provides the Commission with valuable insights into the economic resilience of New Zealand industries and communities, highlighting the difficulty of distinguishing temporary supply chain disruptions from persistent ones and underscoring the importance of macroeconomic stability, fiscal capacity and a diversified economy to New Zealand’s resilience to economic disruptions.

Read A New Zealand history of shocks

Supply chains to the last bus stop on the planet, David Skilling (2022)

This paper looks at the events and trends currently taking shape outside New Zealand, to identify the external shocks New Zealand politicians and industries may need to respond to in the future.

This research provides important context for the inquiry by outlining the global dynamics that present New Zealand industries, communities, and policymakers with challenges in the future, and highlighting areas for possible policy responses.

Read Supply chains to the last bus top on the planet 

Trade data analysis version 1.1

The Issues Paper includes findings from the Commission's preliminary analysis of publicly available trade data. The Commission has prepared a separate paper which summarises the analysis and findings in greater detail and provides links to the data and R code so the analysis can be reproduced. The exact numbers in version 1.1 differ slightly from those in the issues paper (which were based on version 1.0) as they reflect more developed analysis. Further versions of this paper will be available as the Inquiry progresses. 

Read Trade Data Analysis - version 1.1

We would like to hear from you

The Commission needs your perspectives to help identify areas of focus, inform our findings and recommendations to the Government, and contribute to enhancing the economic resilience of industries and communities throughout Aotearoa.

Responses can be submitted on our website, via SurveyMonkey, or emailed to by 17 April 2023.

All feedback received through this process will be published on the Commission’s website.

The Commission welcomes in-person or online meetings but will need to prioritise given the limited time available to complete the inquiry. Please contact us via the website or email, if you would like to meet.

You will have further opportunities to engage in the inquiry as we progress toward delivering the final report in February 2024.