The G20 meeting in Brisbane is underway as leaders of the world's 20 largest economies try to agree on a blueprint to lift world economic growth.
But Finance Minister Bill English was not optimistic the leaders would be able to make the changes necessary to lift growth rates.
Business leaders from G20 countries have been urging their leaders to do more to free up their economies and remove barriers to trade.
They believe that will boost growth and create hundreds of millions of jobs.
Mr English said many of the world's largest economies were reluctant to adopt that plan.
"Now it's a discussion we've had in New Zealand for the last 30 years. It's nothing new for us," he said.
"New Zealand is, I think, more resilient, more open to change, more willing to make the adjustments than the voters that a lot of these leaders are dealing with."
Mr English will attend a meeting of G20 finance ministers and Prime Minister John Key will be at the leaders' summit all weekend after Australia invited New Zealand to take part.
Meanwhile, the so-called C20, which represents civil society groups, has called on the G20 to do more to reduce inequality.
It said more growth was no good if only multi-national companies and the super rich benefit.
Obama arrives in Brisbane
United States President, Barack Obama arrived at the summit this afternoon and Russian President, Vladimir Putin was expected to face a hostile reception from some Western leaders concerned about his increasing military assertiveness, when he arrived.
European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, said Ukraine would also be high on the agenda when EU leaders meet with Mr Obama and the need to avoid full scale conflict, the BBC reported.
Large protests were expected in the city today and tomorrow as groups opposed to the G20's agenda attempt to have their voices heard.
Police had been given wide-ranging powers to deal with any trouble.