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Flag of New Zealand
Map of New Zealand
Introduction New Zealand
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.
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:
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
People New Zealand
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%
Government New Zealand
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)
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 New Zealand
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
Communications New Zealand
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)
Transportation New Zealand
total: 3,908 km
narrow gauge: 3,908 km 1.067-m gauge (506 km electrified) (2001)
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, Christchurch, Dunedin, Tauranga, Wellington
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)
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 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,010,316 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 850,185 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 26,480 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$515.6 million (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.2% (FY2001/02)
Transnational Issues New Zealand
Disputes - international:
territorial claim in Antarctica (Ross Dependency)

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003