New Zealand [Country Flag of New Zealand]


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Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia

Geographic coordinates: 41 00 S, 174 00 E

total: 268,680 sq km
land: 268,670 sq km
water: 10 sq km
note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands

Coastline: 15,134 km

Climate: temperate with sharp regional contrasts

Terrain: 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: 9%
permanent crops: 5%
permanent pastures: 50%
forests and woodland: 28%
other: 8% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 2,850 sq km (1993 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 Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation

Geography—note: about 80% of the population lives in cities


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Population: 3,662,265 (July 1999 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 23% (male 430,105; female 409,302)
15-64 years: 65% (male 1,202,762; female 1,195,006)
65 years and over: 12% (male 184,048; female 241,042) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.99% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 14.42 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 7.53 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: 3.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 6.22 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.82 years
male: 74.55 years
female: 81.27 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.85 children born/woman (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%

Religions: Anglican 24%, Presbyterian 18%, Roman Catholic 15%, Methodist 5%, Baptist 2%, other Protestant 3%, unspecified or none 33% (1986)

Languages: English (official), Maori

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1980 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%


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Country name:
conventional short form: New Zealand
abbreviation: NZ

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Wellington

Administrative divisions: 93 counties, 9 districts*, and 3 town districts**; Akaroa, Amuri, Ashburton, Bay of Islands, Bruce, Buller, Chatham Islands, Cheviot, Clifton, Clutha, Cook, Dannevirke, Egmont, Eketahuna, Ellesmere, Eltham, Eyre, Featherston, Franklin, Golden Bay, Great Barrier Island, Grey, Hauraki Plains, Hawera*, Hawke's Bay, Heathcote, Hikurangi**, Hobson, Hokianga, Horowhenua, Hurunui, Hutt, Inangahua, Inglewood, Kaikoura, Kairanga, Kiwitea, Lake, Mackenzie, Malvern, Manaia**, Manawatu, Mangonui, Maniototo, Marlborough, Masterton, Matamata, Mount Herbert, Ohinemuri, Opotiki, Oroua, Otamatea, Otorohanga*, Oxford, Pahiatua, Paparua, Patea, Piako, Pohangina, Raglan, Rangiora*, Rangitikei, Rodney, Rotorua*, Runanga, Saint Kilda, Silverpeaks, Southland, Stewart Island, Stratford, Strathallan, Taranaki, Taumarunui, Taupo, Tauranga, Thames-Coromandel*, Tuapeka, Vincent, Waiapu, Waiheke, Waihemo, Waikato, Waikohu, Waimairi, Waimarino, Waimate, Waimate West, Waimea, Waipa, Waipawa*, Waipukurau*, Wairarapa South, Wairewa, Wairoa, Waitaki, Waitomo*, Waitotara, Wallace, Wanganui, Waverley**, Westland, Whakatane*, Whangarei, Whangaroa, Woodville
note: there may be a new administrative structure of 16 regions (Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Marlborough, Nelson, Northland, Otago, Southland, Taranaki, Tasman, Waikato, Wanganui-Manawatu, Wellington, West Coast) that are subdivided into 57 districts and 16 cities* (Ashburton, Auckland*, Banks Peninsula, Buller, Carterton, Central Hawke's Bay, Central Otago, Christchurch*, Clutha, Dunedin*, Far North, Franklin, Gisborne, Gore, Grey, Hamilton*, Hastings, Hauraki, Horowhenua, Hurunui, Hutt*, Invercargill*, Kaikoura, Kaipara, Kapiti Coast, Kawerau, Mackenzie, Manawatu, Manukau*, Marlborough, Masterton, Matamata Piako, Napier*, Nelson*, New Plymouth, North Shore*, Opotiki, Otorohanga, Palmerston North*, Papakura*, Porirua*, Queenstown Lakes, Rangitikei, Rodney, Rotorua, Ruapehu, Selwyn, Southland, South Taranaki, South Waikato, South Wairarapa, Stratford, Tararua, Tasman, Taupo, Tauranga, Thames Coromandel, Timaru, Upper Hutt*, Waikato, Waimakariri, Waimate, Waipa, Wairoa, Waitakere*, Waitaki, Waitomo, Wanganui, Wellington*, Western Bay of Plenty, Westland, Whakatane, Whangarei)

Dependent areas: Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau

Independence: 26 September 1907 (from UK)

National holiday: Waitangi Day, 6 February (1840) (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty)

Constitution: no formal, written constitution; consists of various documents, including certain acts of the UK and New Zealand Parliaments; Constitution Act 1986 was to have come into force 1 January 1987, but has not been enacted

Legal system: based on English law, with special land legislation and land courts for Maoris; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Michael HARDIE BOYS (since 21 March 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister Jenny SHIPLEY (since 8 December 1997) and Deputy Prime Minister Wyatt CREECH (since NA August 1998); note—the coalition government of the National Party and the New Zealand First Party was dissolved on 18 August 1998
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 for a three-year term; 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 12 October 1996 (next must be called by October 1999)
election results: percent of vote by party—NP 34.1%, NZLP 28.3%, NZFP 13.1%, Alliance 10.1%, ACT 6.17%, UNZ 0.91%; seats by party—NP 44, NZLP 37, NZFP 17, Alliance 13, ACT 8, UNZ 1

Judicial branch: High Court; Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders: National Party or NP [Jenny SHIPLEY]; New Zealand First Party or NZFP [Winston PETERS]; New Zealand Labor Party or NZLP (opposition) [Helen CLARK]; Alliance (a coalition of five small parties—New Labor Party [Jim ANDERTON], Democratic Party [John WRIGHT], New Zealand Liberal Party [Frank GROVER], Green Party [coleaders Jeanette FITZSIMONS and Rod DONALD], and Mana Motuhake [Sandra LEE]); United New Zealand or UNZ [Peter DUNNE]; Conservative Party (formerly Right of Centre Party) [Trevor ROGERS]; ACT, New Zealand [Richard PREBBLE]; Christian Coalition (a coalition of the Christian Democrats and Christian Heritage Party) [Rev. Graham CAPILL]; Mauri Pacific Party (composed of members who broke away from the NZFP) [Tau HENARE]

International organization participation: ANZUS (US suspended security obligations to NZ on 11 August 1986), APEC, AsDB, Australia Group, C, CCC, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MONUA, MTCR, NAM (guest), NSG, OECD, OPCW, PCA, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMOP, UNOMSIL, UNPREDEP, UNTSO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James Brendan BOLGER
chancery: 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-4800
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Josiah Horton BEEMAN
embassy: 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington
mailing address: P. O. Box 1190, Wellington; PSC 467, Box 1, FPO AP 96531-1001
telephone: [64] (4) 472-2068
FAX: [64] (4) 471-2380
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


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Economy—overview: Since 1984 the government has accomplished major economic restructuring, moving an agrarian economy dependent on a concessionary British market access toward a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally. This dynamic growth has boosted real incomes, broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector, and contained inflationary pressures. Inflation remains among the lowest in the industrial world. Per capita GDP has been moving up toward the levels of the big West European economies. New Zealand's heavy dependence on trade leaves its growth prospects vulnerable to economic performance in Asia, Europe, and the US. The slump in demand in Asian markets largely explains the slight drop in GDP in 1998.

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.1% (1998)

Labor force: 1.86 million (1998)

Labor force—by occupation: services 65.1%, industry 25.1%, agriculture 9.8% (1995)

Unemployment rate: 7.6% (1998)

revenues: $24.9 billion
expenditures: $23.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY97/98 est.)

Industries: food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining

Electricity—production: 35.534 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—production by source:
fossil fuel: 18.72%
hydro: 75.67%
nuclear: 0%
other: 5.61% (1996)

Electricity—consumption: 35.534 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef, dairy products; fish

Exports: $12.9 billion (1998 est.)

Exports—commodities: wool, lamb, mutton, beef, fish, cheese, chemicals, forestry products, fruits and vegetables, manufactures, dairy products, wood

Exports—partners: Australia 20%, Japan 15%, US 10%, UK 6% (1997)

Imports: $13 billion (1998 est.)

Imports—commodities: machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, consumer goods, plastics

Imports—partners: Australia 27%, US 19%, Japan 12%, UK 6% (1997)

Debt—external: $53.2 billion (March 1998)

Economic aid—donor: ODA, $123 million (1995)

Currency: 1 New Zealand dollar (NZ$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: New Zealand dollars (NZ$) per US$1—1.85 (February 1999), 1.8629 (1998), 1.5083 (1997), 1.4543 (1996), 1.5235 (1995), 1.6844 (1994)

Fiscal year: 1 July—30 June


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Telephones: 1.7 million (1986 est.)

Telephone system: excellent international and domestic systems
domestic: NA
international: submarine cables to Australia and Fiji; satellite earth stations—2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 64, FM 2, shortwave 0

Radios: 3.215 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 41 (in addition, there are 52 medium-power repeaters and over 650 low-power repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 1.53 million (1992 est.)


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total: 3,973 km
narrow gauge: 3,973 km 1.067-m gauge (519 km electrified)

total: 92,200 km
paved: 53,568 km (including at least 144 km of expressways)
unpaved: 38,632 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 1,609 km; of little importance to transportation

Pipelines: 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: 14 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 138,687 GRT/183,372 DWT
ships by type: bulk 4, cargo 1, liquefied gas tanker 1, oil tanker 3, railcar carrier 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 4 (1998 est.)

Airports: 111 (1998 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 44
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 3 (1998 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 67
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 23
under 914 m: 43 (1998 est.)


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Military branches: New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force

Military manpower—military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 943,624 (1999 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 793,814 (1999 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 26,046 (1999 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $562 million (FY97/98)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 1.05% (FY97/98)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: territorial claim in Antarctica (Ross Dependency)