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New Zealand

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New Zealand

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Quick Facts
Governmentparliamentary democracy
CurrencyNew Zealand dollar (NZD)
Areatotal: 268,680 sq km
note: includes offshore islands.
Population4,010,000 (July 2003 est.)
LanguageEnglish (official), Maori (official)
ReligionAnglican 24%, Presbyterian 18%, Roman Catholic 15%, Methodist 5%, Baptist 2%, other Protestant 3%, unspecified or none 33% (1986)

This article is in the early stages of being developed from a import from the CIA World Factbook 2002. Please plunge forward and edit it.

New Zealand was the last significant land mass to be inhabited by man, both in terms of indigenous settlement and European domination. This, combined with geological youth and geographical isolation, has led to the development of a young, vigourous nation with a well-travelled population and some spectacular scenery, flora and fauna.

The Polynesian Maoris reached New Zealand in about the 800 AD. The British proclaimed their sovereignty over the islands in 1840 and began settlement that same year. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both World Wars. New Zealand's full participation in number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances.


Map of New Zealand
Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia
Geographic coordinates 
41 00 S, 174 00 E
Map references 
total: 268,680 sq km
note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands
water: NA sq km
land: NA sq km
Area - comparative 
about the size of Colorado

15,134 km
Maritime claims 
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
temperate with sharp regional contrasts
predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains
Elevation extremes 
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Cook 3,764 m
Natural resources 
natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone
Land use 
arable land: 5.8%
permanent crops: 6.44%
other: 87.76% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
2,850 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards 
earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity
Environment - current issues 
deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by species introduced from outside
Environment - international agreements 
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic Seals, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note 
about 80% of the population lives in cities; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world


3,908,037 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: 22.2% (male 443,921; female 422,804)
15-64 years: 66.3% (male 1,299,973; female 1,290,097)
65 years and over: 11.5% (male 196,640; female 254,602) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 
1.12% (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
14.23 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
7.55 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate 
4.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
6.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 78.15 years
female: 81.27 years (2002 est.)
male: 75.17 years
Total fertility rate 
1.8 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
0.06% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
1,200 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths 
less than 100 (1999 est.)
noun: New Zealander(s)
adjective: New Zealand
Ethnic groups 
New Zealand European 74.5%, Maori 9.7%, other European 4.6%, Pacific Islander 3.8%, Asian and others 7.4%
Anglican 24%, Presbyterian 18%, Roman Catholic 15%, Methodist 5%, Baptist 2%, other Protestant 3%, unspecified or none 33% (1986)
English (official), Maori (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1980 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%


Country name 
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: New Zealand
abbreviation: NZ
Government type 
parliamentary democracy
Administrative divisions 
16 regions; Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Marlborough, Nelson, Northland, Otago, Southland, Taranaki, Tasman, Waikato, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, West Coast
Dependent areas 
Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau
26 September 1907 (from UK)
National holiday 
Waitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840).
Other Holidays 
All but essential shops and services are closed by law on Christmas Day (25th December), Good Friday, Easter Sunday and the morning of ANZAC Day (April 25th).

Other Bank Holidays (most retail businesses open) are January 1st, January 2nd, Queen's Birthday (Celebrated on the first Monday in June), Labour Day (Last Monday of October), Boxing Day (December 26th) plus the Anniversary day of each region.

consists of a series of legal documents, including certain acts of the UK and New Zealand Parliaments and The Constitution Act 1986 which is the principal formal charter
Legal system 
based on English law, with special land legislation and land courts for Maoris; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch 
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Dame Silvia CARTWRIGHT (since 4 April 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Helen CLARK (since 10 December 1999) and Deputy Prime Minister Michael CULLEN (since NA September 2002)
cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general
Legislative branch 
unicameral House of Representatives - commonly called Parliament (120 seats; members elected by popular vote in single-member constituencies to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 27 July 2002 (next to be held NA 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NZLP 52, NP 27, NZFP 13, ACT New Zealand 9, Green Party 9, UF 8, other 2
Judicial branch 
High Court; Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders 
ACT New Zealand [Richard PREBBLE]; Alliance (a coalition of the New Labor Party, Democratic Party, New Zealand Liberal Party, and Mana Motuhake) [James (Jim) ANDERTON]; Green Party [Jeanette FITZSIMONS and Rod DONALD]; National Party or NP [William (Bill) English]; New Zealand First Party or NZFP [Winston PETERS]; New Zealand Labor Party or NZLP [Helen CLARK]; United Future or UF [leader NA]; United New Zealand or UNZ [Peter DUNNE]
Political pressure groups and leaders 
International organization participation 
ABEDA, ANZUS (US suspended security obligations to NZ on 11 August 1986), APEC, ARF (dialogue partner), AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, C, CCC, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NSG, OECD, OPCW, PCA, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMOP, UNTAET, UNTSO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador L. John WOOD
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
FAX: [1] (202) 667-5227
telephone: [1] (202) 328-4800
chancery: 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Charles J. SWINDELLS
embassy: 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington
mailing address: P. O. Box 1190, Wellington; PSC 467, Box 1, FPO AP 96531-1001
telephone: [64] (4) 462-6000
FAX: [64] (4) 478-1701
consulate(s) general: Auckland
Flag description 
blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant with four red five-pointed stars edged in white centered in the outer half of the flag; the stars represent the Southern Cross constellation


Economy - overview 
Since 1984 the government has accomplished major economic restructuring, transforming New Zealand from an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access to a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally. This dynamic growth has boosted real incomes (but left behind many at the bottom of the ladder), broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector, and contained inflationary pressures. While per capita incomes have been rising, however, they remain below the level of the four largest EU economies, and there is some government concern that New Zealand is not closing the gap. New Zealand is heavily dependent on trade - particularly in agricultural products - to drive growth, and it has been affected by the global economic slowdown and the slump in commodity prices. Thus far the New Zealand economy has been relatively resilient, achieving about 3% growth in 2001, but the New Zealand business cycle tends to lag the US cycle by about six months, so the worst of the downturn may not hit until mid-2002.
purchasing power parity - $75.4 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
3.1% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $19,500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
agriculture: 8%
industry: 23%
services: 69% (1999)
Population below poverty line 
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: 0%
highest 10%: 30% (1991 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
2.6% (2001 est.)
Labor force 
1.92 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation 
services 65%, industry 25%, agriculture 10% (1995) (1995)
Unemployment rate 
5.5% (2001 est.)
revenues: $16.7 billion
expenditures: $16.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY00/01)
food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining
Industrial production growth rate 
3% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production 
35.823 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 27%
hydro: 66%
other: 7% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
33.315 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports 
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports 
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products 
wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef, dairy products; fish
$14.2 billion (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities 
dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, machinery
Exports - partners 
Australia 20.4%, US 14.5%, Japan 13.5%, UK 5.4%, South Korea, China (2000)
$12.5 billion (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities 
machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, plastics
Imports - partners 
Australia 22.5%, US 17.5%, Japan 11%, UK 4%, China, Germany (2000)
Debt - external 
$31.1 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - donor 
ODA, $99.7 million (FY00/01)
New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Currency code 
Exchange rates 
New Zealand dollars per US dollar - 2.3535 (January 2002), 2.3776 (2001), 2.1863 (2000), 1.8886 (1999), 1.8632 (1998), 1.5083 (1997)
Fiscal year 
1 July - 30 June


Telephones - main lines in use 
1.92 million (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
2.2 million (2000)
Telephone system 
general assessment: excellent domestic and international systems
domestic: NA
international: submarine cables to Australia and Fiji; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations 
AM 124, FM 290, shortwave 4 (1998)
3.75 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
41 (plus 52 medium-power repeaters and over 650 low-power repeaters) (1997)
1.926 million (1997)
Internet country code 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
36 (2000)
Internet users 
2.06 million (2002)


total: 3,908 km
narrow gauge: 3,908 km 1.067-m gauge (506 km electrified)

Auckland and Wellington have commuter rail services. Inter-city rail passenger services have become increasingly limited, and the focus is now on tourist trains, in particular:

  • The Tranzalpine - From Christchurch to Greymouth and return daily. Classed as one of the world's great train journeys, this trip crosses the South Island, passing through spectacular mountain scenery, some of which is inaccessible by road as well as the 12km Otira tunnel. Many visitors disembark at the Arthurs Pass National Park and spend four hours exploring the mountains before catching the return train.
  • The Coastal Pacific - From Christchurch to Picton and return daily. Travels along the rugged north-east coast of the South Island.
total: 92,200 km
paved: 53,568 km (including at least 144 km of expressways)
unpaved: 38,632 km (1996)
1,609 km
note: of little importance in satisfying total transportation requirements
petroleum products 160 km; natural gas 1,000 km; liquefied petroleum gas or LPG 150 km
Ports and harbors 
Auckland, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Lyttelton (Christchurch), Timaru, Port Chalmers (Dunedin).
Merchant marine 
total: 8 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 68,427 GRT/106,627 DWT
note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 1, container 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
106 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 46
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 28
under 914 m: 5 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 67
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 26
under 914 m: 39 (2002)
1 (2002)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
territorial claim in Antarctica (Ross Dependency)