Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal New Zealand
Flag of New Zealand
Map of New Zealand
Introduction 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
land: 268,021 sq km
water: NA
note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands
Area - comparative:
about the size of Colorado
Land boundaries:
0 km
15,134 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
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: 5.54%
permanent crops: 6.92%
other: 87.54% (2005)
Irrigated land:
2,850 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by invasive species
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
4,076,140 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.1% (male 439,752/female 419,174)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 1,374,850/female 1,361,570)
65 years and over: 11.8% (male 210,365/female 270,429) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 33.9 years
male: 33.2 years
female: 34.7 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.99% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
13.76 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
7.53 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
3.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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 (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.76 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.59 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.81 years
male: 75.82 years
female: 81.93 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.79 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
1,400 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 200 (2003 est.)
noun: New Zealander(s)
adjective: New Zealand
Ethnic groups:
European 69.8%, Maori 7.9%, Asian 5.7%, Pacific islander 4.4%, other 0.5%, mixed 7.8%, unspecified 3.8% (2001 census)
Anglican 14.9%, Roman Catholic 12.4%, Presbyterian 10.9%, Methodist 2.9%, Pentecostal 1.7%, Baptist 1.3%, other Christian 9.4%, other 3.3%, unspecified 17.2%, none 26% (2001 census)
English (official), Maori (official), Sign Language (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
Government New Zealand
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: New Zealand
abbreviation: NZ
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
name: Wellington
geographic coordinates: 41 28 S, 174 51 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in October; ends third Sunday in March
note: New Zealand is divided into two time zones, including Chatham Island
Administrative divisions:
16 regions and 1 territory*; Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Chatham Islands*, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui, Marlborough, Nelson, Northland, Otago, Southland, Taranaki, Tasman, 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); ANZAC Day (commemorated as the anniversary of the 1915 landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April
consists of a series of legal documents, including certain acts of the UK and New Zealand Parliaments, as well as The Constitution Act 1986, which is the principal formal charter; adopted 1 January 1987, effective 1 January 1987
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 Anand SATYANAND (since 23 August 2006)
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 seven Maori constituencies, and 51 proportional seats chosen from party lists, all to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 17 September 2005 (next to be held not later than 15 November 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - NZLP 41.1%, NP 39.1%, NZFP 5.72%, Green Party 5.3%, Maori 2.12%, UF 2.67%, ACT New Zealand 1.51%, Progressive 1.16%; seats by party - NZLP 50, NP 48, NZFP 7, Green Party 6, Maori 4, UF 3, ACT New Zealand 2, Progressive 1
note: results of 2005 election saw the total number of seats increase to 121 because the Maori Party won one more electorate seat than its entitlement under the party vote
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; High Court; note - Judges appointed by the Governor-General
Political parties and leaders:
ACT New Zealand [Rodney HIDE]; Green Party [Jeanette FITZSIMONS]; Maori Party [Whatarangi WINIATA]; National Party or NP [John KEY]; New Zealand First Party or NZFP [Winston PETERS]; New Zealand Labor Party or NZLP [Helen CLARK]; Progressive Party [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, EAS, EBRD, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC, NAM (guest), NSG, OECD, OPCW, PCA, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Roy N. FERGUSON
chancery: 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-4800
FAX: [1] (202) 667-5227
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador William P. McCORMICK
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) 499-0490
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
Government - note:
while not an official symbol, the Kiwi, a small native flightless bird, represents New Zealand
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 risen for eight consecutive years and was more than $25,500 in 2006 in purchasing power parity terms. Consumer and government spending have driven growth in recent years, and exports picked up in 2006 after struggling for several years. Exports are equal to about 28% of GDP, down from 33 percent of GDP in 2001. Thus far the economy has been resilient, and the Labor Government promises that expenditures on health, education, and pensions will increase proportionately to output.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$106 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$98.77 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.9% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$26,000 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 4.3%
industry: 26.9%
services: 68.8% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
2.18 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 10%
industry: 25%
services: 65% (1995)
Unemployment rate:
8.3% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA (1991 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
36.2 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.8% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
22% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $41.51 billion
expenditures: $36.99 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:
19.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef, lamb and mutton, dairy products; fish
food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining
Industrial production growth rate:
1.2% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
41.1 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 31.6%
hydro: 57.8%
nuclear: 0%
other: 10.7% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
38.22 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
27,860 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
150,600 bbl/day (2004 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:
4.35 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
4.349 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
33.36 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
$-7.944 billion (2006 est.)
$23.69 billion (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, machinery
Exports - partners:
Australia 21.4%, US 14.1%, Japan 10.6%, China 5.1%, UK 4.7% (2005)
$25.23 billion (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, plastics
Imports - partners:
Australia 20.9%, US 11%, Japan 11%, China 10.9%, Germany 4.9% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$10 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$47 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $276 million
Currency (code):
New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
New Zealand dollars per US dollar - 1.55677 (2006), 1.4203 (2005), 1.5087 (2004), 1.7221 (2003), 2.1622 (2002)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications New Zealand
Telephones - main lines in use:
1,800,500 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
3.53 million (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent domestic and international systems
domestic: NA
international: country code - 64; submarine cables to Australia and Fiji; 8 satellite earth stations - 1 InMarSat (Pacific Ocean), 7 other
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:
1,050,197 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
36 (2000)
Internet users:
3.2 million (2005)
Transportation New Zealand
118 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 45
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: 4 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 73
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 31
under 914 m: 40 (2006)
condensate 224 km; gas 1,693 km; liquid petroleum gas 45 km; oil 280 km; refined products 288 km (2006)
total: 4,128 km
narrow gauge: 4,128 km 1.067-m gauge (506 km electrified) (2005)
total: 92,931 km
paved: 59,783 km (including 171 km of expressways)
unpaved: 33,148 km (2003)
Merchant marine:
total: 13 ships (1000 GRT or over) 136,361 GRT/124,972 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 1, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 4 (Australia 2, Germany 1, Isle of Man 1)
registered in other countries: 8 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Cook Islands 1, Dominica 4, France 1, UK 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Auckland, Lyttelton, Tauranga, Wellington, Whangarei
Military New Zealand
Military branches:
New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF): New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
17 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18 (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 17-49: 984,700
females age 17-49: 965,170 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 17-49: 809,519
females age 17-49: 802,069 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 29,738
females age 17-49: 28,523 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1.147 billion (FY03/04)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1% (FY02)
Transnational Issues New Zealand
Disputes - international:
asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Ross Dependency) [see Antarctica]

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007