The countries ties to the British Empire have both aided and hindered the island nation. Trade with Britain was profitable as the area had many valuable products and materials not native to the British. In the 1890s, refrigerated shipping allowed New Zealand to base its entire economy on the export of meat and dairy products to Britain.
However, when the world economy suffered during the Great Depression of the 1930s, so did New Zealand. This led to the creation of the first Labour government which established a comprehensive welfare state and a protectionist economy. The inclusion of Britain into the European Economic Community further deteriorated the dependence of New Zealand upon it's motherland.
Auckland serves as the economic capital of the nation (Wellington is the capital city). Most major international corporations hold an office within the city. Lower Queen Street and the Viaduct Basin in the Auckland CBD hold some of the biggest corporations. The technical and trades workforce are located a bit outside the city in the industrial zones of South Auckland.
New Zealand has been able to quickly evolve into a sophisticated, unrestrictive business environment that is globally competitive. This is vital as it joins the native agriculture-based economy with international trade. This has led to a decrease in unemployment, a strengthening New Zealand dollar, soaring stock values and business confidence at an all-time high.
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