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Cooperative Business New Zealand


While there is only a small number of cooperatives in New Zealand and most fly under the radar, the contribution they make to the economy is huge. Today, the co-ops in New Zealand are predominantly producer co-ops, with approximately half of the members of the New Zealand Cooperatives Association being agriculturally based.

New Zealand's single largest business, Fonterra Cooperative Group, is a cooperative. Other large co-operatives in New Zealand include: Foodstuffs, The Co-operative Bank and Plumbing World. Although there are many consumer cooperatives around the world, there are currently only a few consumer cooperatives in New Zealand. In 2011, the combined revenue of cooperatives and mutuals in New Zealand was over NZ$39 billion, they produced 3 percent of the country’s GDP.


So what is a cooperative? A coop is an organisation owned by, and democratically operated for, those using its services. Or to put it differently: a user owned and controlled business from which benefits are derived and distributed equitably on the basis of use. The member-owners share equally in the control of their cooperative, meeting at regular intervals to review reports and elect directors from among themselves. The directors in turn employ people to manage the day-to-day affairs of the Co-op in a way that serves the members’ interests. Co-ops are generally formed in response to a need that is either not being met or only being offered at too high a cost.


Cooperative Business New Zealand was founded in March 1984 as the New Zealand Agricultural Cooperatives Association. Their name was changed to the New Zealand Cooperatives Association in 1997, and then to Cooperative Business New Zealand at the Annual General Meeting in December 2012.


"The Authority on Co-operative Business"


Their mission is to bring together New Zealand's co-operative and mutual businesses to promote, encourage and support the co-operative and mutual business model, act as the advocate for those engaged in co-operatives and mutuals and raise the profile of - and awareness around - cooperative and mutual enterprises.


Their work includes:

  • promoting the co-operative and mutual business model
  • encouraging and supporting New Zealand co-operative and mutual enterprise
  • acting as a representative society for those engaged as co-operatives and mutuals
  • promoting discussion and cooperation with decision-makers at all levels of government designed to further the interests of co-operatives and mutuals
  • facilitating and coordinating services, expertise and research in support of the co-operative and mutual business model
  • collecting, verifying and publishing relevant and useful information relating to co-operative and mutual enterprise
  • providing ongoing training and education programs with specific co-operative-focussed content
  • maintaining a close watch on issues under consideration by the government which could have an affect on the running of coops and mutuals.


Cooperative Business New Zealand can show you how to start a cooperation and how to benefit from the activities of the enterprise, not just from primarily investments. Furthermore, they can give you insight into what kind of co-op would suit your ideas best.


At each year’s Annual General Meeting, members elect a Council of ten representatives from the different cooperative sectors. This Council in turn elects five of their number to be the Board which provides governance for the Society, and the Board elects a Chairperson who gives direction to the Executive Director.


Cooperative Business New Zealand is a member of the: International Cooperative Alliance..


Cooperative Business New Zealand asks individuals and groups wanting to form a cooperative to become a provisional member of their organization, for which the fee is $300.


Sources: Harbour Coop, Closer Together, Cooperative Business New Zealand, Wikipedia


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Type of initiative Knowledge/advice organization, Information/network organization
Field of work Services, other, Knowledge and information, Other (non-profit)
Date of commencement 1984
Legal form Non-profit organization
Continent Australia
Country New Zealand
City Auckland
One or several keywords that describe your initiative Cooperative, member-owned, democratically operated, user-owned, promotion of cooperative values.
Publications Informative publications
More information Twitter

Contact person(s)

Jonathan Lee


Contact information

Name Cooperative Business New Zealand
Address Level 3 25 Teed Street
Zip/postal code 1149
Place Newmarket Auckland
Country New Zealand
Phone +64 9 539 5482
E-mail or via contact page on website



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