[Country map of New Zealand]

New Zealand


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

Map references: Oceania

total area: 268,680 sq km
land area: 268,670 sq km
comparative area: about the size of Colorado
note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 15,134 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: territorial claim in Antarctica (Ross Dependency)

Climate: temperate with sharp regional contrasts

Terrain: predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains

Natural resources: natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 53%
forest and woodland: 38%
other: 7%

Irrigated land: 2,800 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by species introduced from outside
natural hazards: earthquakes are common, though usually not severe
international agreements: party to - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation

Note: about 80% of the population lives in cities


Population: 3,407,277 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 23% (female 381,027; male 401,285)
15-64 years: 65% (female 1,109,402; male 1,111,079)
65 years and over: 12% (female 234,339; male 170,145) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.52% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 15.14 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 8.03 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.87 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 8.6 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.65 years
male: 73.08 years
female: 80.42 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.99 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: New Zealander(s)
adjective: New Zealand

Ethnic divisions: European 88%, Maori 8.9%, Pacific Islander 2.9%, other 0.2%

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

Languages: English (official), Maori

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1980 est.)
total population: 99%

Labor force: 1,603,500 (June 1991)
by occupation: services 66.6%, industry 22.6%, agriculture 10.8% (1992)


conventional long form: none
conventional short form: New Zealand

Abbreviation: NZ

Digraph: NZ

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 Dame Catherine TIZARD (since 12 December 1990)
head of government: Prime Minister James BOLGER (since 29 October 1990); Deputy Prime Minister Donald McKINNON (since 2 November 1990)
cabinet: Executive Council; appointed by the governor general on recommendation of the prime minister

Legislative branch: unicameral
House of Representatives: (commonly called Parliament) elections last held 6 November 1993 (next to be held NA November 1996); results - NP 35.2%, NZLP 34.7%, Alliance 18.3%, New Zealand First 8.3%; seats - (99 total) NP 50, NZLP 45, Alliance 2, New Zealand First Party 2

Judicial branch: High Court, Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders: National Party (NP, government), James BOLGER; New Zealand Labor Party (NZLP, opposition), Helen CLARK; Alliance, Sandra LEE; Democratic Party, Dick RYAN; New Zealand Liberal Party, Hanmish MACINTYRE and Gilbert MYLES; Green Party, no official leader; Mana Motuhake, Martin RATA; Socialist Unity Party (SUP, pro-Soviet), Kenneth DOUGLAS; New Zealand First, Winston PETERS
note: the New Labor, Democratic, and Mana Motuhake parties formed a coalition called the Alliance Party, Sandra LEE, president, in September 1991; the Green Party joined the coalition in May 1992


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Lionel John WOOD
chancery: 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-4800
consulate(s) general: Apia (Western Samoa), Los Angeles

US diplomatic representation:
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) 472-3537
consulate(s) general: Auckland

Flag: 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


Overview: Since 1984 the government has been reorienting an agrarian economy dependent on a guaranteed British market to a more industrialized, open free market economy that can compete on the global scene. The government has hoped that dynamic growth would boost real incomes, broaden and deepen the technological capabilities of the industrial sector, reduce inflationary pressures, and permit the expansion of welfare benefits. The initial results were mixed: inflation is down from double-digit levels, but growth was sluggish in 1988-91. In 1992-93, growth picked up to 3% annually, a sign that the new economic approach was beginning to pay off. Business confidence strengthened in 1994, and export demand picked up in the Asia-Pacific region, resulting in 6.2% growth. Inflation remains among the lowest in the industrial world.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $56.4 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 6.2% (1994)

National product per capita: $16,640 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.6% (FY93/94)

Unemployment rate: 7.5% (December 1994)

revenues: $18.94 billion
expenditures: $18.82 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY94/95)
note: surplus $120 million (FY94/95)

Exports: $11.2 billion (1994)
commodities: wool, lamb, mutton, beef, fish, cheese, chemicals, forestry products, fruits and vegetables, manufactures
partners: Australia 20%, Japan 15%, US 12%, UK 6%

Imports: $10.4 billion (1994)
commodities: machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, consumer goods
partners: Australia 21%, US 18%, Japan 16%, UK 6%

External debt: $38.5 billion (September 1994)

Industrial production: growth rate 1.9% (1990); accounts for about 20% of GDP

capacity: 7,520,000 kW
production: 30.5 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 8,401 kWh (1993)

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

Agriculture: accounts for about 9% of GDP and about 11% of the work force; livestock predominates - wool, meat, dairy products all export earners; crops - wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; surplus producer of farm products; fish catch reached a record 503,000 metric tons in 1988

Economic aid:
donor: ODA and OOF commitments (1970-89), $526 million

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

Exchange rates: New Zealand dollars (NZ$) per US$1 - 1.5601 (January 1995), 1.6844 (1994), 1.8495 (1993), 1.8584 (1992), 1.7265 (1991), 1.6750 (1990)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


total: 4,716 km
narrow gauge: 4,716 km 1.067-m gauge (113 km electrified; 274 km double track)

total: 92,648 km
paved: 49,547 km
unpaved: gravel, crushed stone 43,101 km

Inland waterways: 1,609 km; of little importance to transportation

Pipelines: petroleum products 160 km; natural gas 1,000 km; condensate (liquified petroleum gas - LPG) 150 km

Ports: Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Tauranga, Wellington

Merchant marine:
total: 18 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 165,504 GRT/218,699 DWT
ships by type: bulk 6, cargo 2, liquefied gas tanker 1, oil tanker 3, railcar carrier 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 5

total: 102
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 2
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 28
with paved runways under 914 m: 41
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 2
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 21


Telephone system: 2,110,000 telephones; excellent international and domestic systems
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: submarine cables extend to Australia and Fiji; 2 INTELSAT (Pacific Ocean) earth stations

broadcast stations: AM 64, FM 2, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 14
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 883,668; males fit for military service 742,871; males reach military age (20) annually 27,162 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $792 million, 2% of GDP (FY90/91)