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New Zealand


The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about A.D. 800. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact with Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. In that same year, the British began the first organized colonial settlement. 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 a number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years, the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances.
Geography 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
Land boundaries:
0 km
15,134 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
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: Aoraki-Mount Cook 3,754 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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic Seals, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
about 80% of the population lives in cities; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world
People New Zealand
3,993,817 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.7% (male 443,211; female 422,507)
15-64 years: 66.7% (male 1,337,383; female 1,325,683)
65 years and over: 11.6% (male 203,084; female 261,949) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 33.4 years
male: 32.6 years
female: 34.1 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.05% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
14.04 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
7.54 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
4.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 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: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.96 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.05 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 6.83 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.49 years
male: 75.5 years
female: 81.61 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.79 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
1,200 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (2001 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%
Government New Zealand
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: New Zealand
abbreviation: NZ
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Administrative divisions:
13 regions; Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Gisborne-Hawke's Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui, Nelson-Marlborough, Northland, Otago, Southland, Taranaki, Waikato, 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)
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 the Maori; 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 July 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; 69 members elected by popular vote in single-member constituencies including 7 Maori constituencies, and 51 proportional seats chosen from party lists, all 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]; Green Party [Jeanette FITZSIMONS and Rod DONALD]; National Party or NP [Don BRASH]; New Zealand First Party or NZFP [Winston PETERS]; New Zealand Labor Party or NZLP [Helen CLARK]; Progressive Coalition [James (Jim) ANDERTON]; United Future or UF [Peter DUNNE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
ANZUS (US suspended security obligations to NZ on 11 August 1986), APEC, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CP, EBRD, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NSG, OECD, OPCW, PCA, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISET, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, 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, APO AP 96531-1034
telephone: [64] (4) 462-6000
FAX: [64] (4) 472-3478
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 New Zealand
Economy - overview:
Over the past 20 years the government has transformed 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. Per capita income has been rising and is now 80% of the level of the four largest EU economies. 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 economy has been resilient, and growth should continue at the same level in 2004. Expenditures on health, education, and pensions will increase proportionately.
purchasing power parity - $85.26 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.4% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $21,600 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 25%
services: 67% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.3%
highest 10%: 29.8% (1991 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.8% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
1.92 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
services 65%, industry 25%, agriculture 10% (1995)
Unemployment rate:
5.1% (2003 est.)
revenues: $29.2 billion
expenditures: $31.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002)
food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining
Industrial production growth rate:
3% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
37.51 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 31.6%
hydro: 57.8%
other: 10.7% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
34.88 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
42,160 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
132,700 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
30,220 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
119,700 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
89.62 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
6.504 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
6.504 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
58.94 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef, dairy products; fish
$15.86 billion (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, machinery
Exports - partners:
Australia 20.3%, US 15.6%, Japan 11.5%, UK 4.8%, China 4.6%, South Korea 4.4% (2002)
$16.06 billion (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, plastics
Imports - partners:
Australia 22.1%, US 13.7%, Japan 12%, China 8%, Germany 5.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$38.1 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $99.7 million
New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
New Zealand dollars per US dollar - 1.72 (2003), 2.16 (2002), 2.38 (2001), 2.2 (2000), 1.89 (1999)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications New Zealand
Telephones - main lines in use:
1.765 million (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.449 million (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent domestic and international systems
domestic: NA
international: country code - 64; 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 hosts:
432,957 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
36 (2000)
Internet users:
1.908 million (2002)
Transportation New Zealand
total: 3,898 km
narrow gauge: 3,898 km 1.067-m gauge (506 km electrified) (2002)
total: 92,053 km
paved: 57,809 km (including at least 190 km of expressways)
unpaved: 34,244 km (2000)
1,609 km
note: of little importance in satisfying total transportation requirements
gas 2,213 km; liquid petroleum gas 79 km; oil 160 km; refined products 304 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Tauranga, Wellington
Merchant marine:
total: 10 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 77,523 GRT/108,352 DWT
registered in other countries: 8 (2003 est.)
foreign-owned: Australia 1, Isle of Man 1
by type: bulk 3, cargo 2, container 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 2
113 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 46
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 27
under 914 m: 5 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 67
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 28
under 914 m: 37 (2003 est.)
Military New Zealand
Military branches:
New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force
Military manpower - military age:
20 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,033,464 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 868,984 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 27,157 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1.147 billion (FY03/04)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1% (FY02)
Transnational Issues New Zealand
Disputes - international:
territorial claim in Antarctica (Ross Dependency)