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Cooperative businesses in New Zealand are thriving and coping well with the impact of Covid, says Ms. Roz Henry, CEO, Cooperative Business NZ on the launch of the eNew Zealand Cooperative Economy Report.


The report provides insight into New Zealand’s position as one of the most cooperative economies in the world with a high proportion of member-owned businesses, including household names such as Fonterra, Farmlands, Mitre 10, Zespri, Foodstuffs and Southern Cross Health Society.


The report, completed by PwC, shows New Zealand's top 30 cooperatives contributing 13% of New Zealand’s GDP by revenue, earning nearly $42 billion revenue in 2020. It reveals that NZ cooperatives have a staggering 1.5 million members, with the top 30 enabling job opportunities to a significant portion of the workforce with 41,000 employees.


Around 72% of NZ cooperatives are in the agri-food sector and have achieved increased revenues of around 10% since 2015. "These agri-food cooperatives have been performing well with strong growth in revenue and assets, indicating a resistance and strong response to the economic impacts of Covid-19," Ms Henry said. Cooperatives in the insurance, banking and finance sector have also performed strongly with revenue growth of over 40% since 2015.


Ms. henry notes that ‘the past 18 months have shone the light even brighter on how essential these businesses are in keeping New Zealand moving forward. The vast spread of sectors outlined in this report shows how versatile the model is. Not only that, it brings to the forefront that some of New Zealand's most enduring businesses are cooperatives. They are multi-generational, sustainable and community-focussed ensuring profits, and their businesses’ positive social and environmental impacts continue to be circled back into New Zealanders' lives.”


The researchers have highlighted the key challenges facing the cooperative sector including raising capital, labour shortages, and reducing emissions to comply with the Climate Change Response Act 2002. Further, the report recognises the opportunity for future businesses to be

established using the cooperative model and highlights the role of Cooperative Business NZ in implementing this with various partners.


The full report can be read here.