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By Referrals > Visit Detail > Country Facts for New Zealand
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Map of New Zealand
IntroductionTop
Background: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.
GeographyTop
Location:Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia
Geographic coordinates:41 00 S, 174 00 E
Map references:Oceania
Area: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
Coastline: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

Climate:temperate with sharp regional contrasts
Terrain: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: 5.6%
permanent crops: 6.99%
other: 87.41% (2001)

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
PeopleTop
Population:4,035,461 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 21.4% (male 441,836/female 421,065)
15-64 years: 66.9% (male 1,356,095/female 1,343,728)
65 years and over: 11.7% (male 206,650/female 266,087) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 33.65 years
male: 32.92 years
female: 34.4 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:1.02% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:13.9 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:7.53 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:3.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 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 (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 5.85 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 78.66 years
male: 75.67 years
female: 81.78 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:1.79 children born/woman (2005 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.)
Nationality: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)
Religions: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)
Languages:English (official), Maori (official)
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1980 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: none
conventional short form: New Zealand
abbreviation: NZ

Government type:parliamentary democracy
Capital:Wellington
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
Independence:26 September 1907 (from UK)
National holiday:Waitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840)
Constitution: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 adopted 1 January 1987; in force 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
Suffrage: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 17 September 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, Progressive 2; (By-election in 2004 resulted in following change to party seats NZLP 51, Maori 1)

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 and Rod DONALD]; Maori Party [Whatarangi WINIATA]; National Party or NP [Don BRASH]; 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:NA
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, UNMIK, UNMISET, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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
EconomyTop
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 six consecutive years and is now more than $23,000 in purchasing power parity terms. New Zealand is heavily dependent on trade - particularly in agricultural products - to drive growth. Exports are equal to about 20% of GDP. 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 - $92.51 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:4.8% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $23,200 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 4.6%
industry: 27.4%
services: 68% (2004 est.)

Labor force:2.05 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 10%, industry 25%, services 65% (1995)
Unemployment rate:4.2% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 0.3%
highest 10%: 29.8% (1991 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.4% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):22.4% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $38.29 billion
expenditures: $36.12 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)

Public debt:22.1% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef, lamb and mutton, dairy products; fish
Industries:food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining
Industrial production growth rate:5.9% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:38.39 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 31.6%
hydro: 57.8%
nuclear: 0%
other: 10.7% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:35.71 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
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)
Current account balance:$-3.647 billion (2004 est.)
Exports:$19.85 billion (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, machinery
Exports - partners:Australia 19.6%, US 14.3%, Japan 11.4%, China 6.3%, UK 5.1% (2004)
Imports:$19.77 billion (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, plastics
Imports - partners:Australia 28.6%, Japan 10.7%, US 10%, China 6.6%, Germany 4.2%, Singapore 4.1% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$4.805 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$47.34 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - donor:ODA, $99.7 million
Currency (code):New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Currency code:NZD
Exchange rates:New Zealand dollars per US dollar - 1.5087 (2004), 1.7221 (2003), 2.1622 (2002), 2.3788 (2001), 2.2012 (2000)
Fiscal year:1 July - 30 June
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:1.765 million (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:2.599 million (2003)
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)
Radios:3.75 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:41 (plus 52 medium-power repeaters and over 650 low-power repeaters) (1997)
Televisions:1.926 million (1997)
Internet country code:.nz
Internet hosts:474,395 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):36 (2000)
Internet users:2.11 million (2003)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 3,898 km
narrow gauge: 3,898 km 1.067-m gauge (506 km electrified) (2004)

Highways:total: 92,382 km
paved: 59,124 km (including at least 169 km of expressways)
unpaved: 33,258 km (2002)

Pipelines:gas 2,213 km; liquid petroleum gas 79 km; oil 160 km; refined products 304 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Auckland, Lyttelton, Tauranga, Wellington, Whangarei
Merchant marine:total: 13 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 77,523 GRT/108,352 DWT
by type: cargo 3, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1, bulk carrier 3
foreign-owned: 2 (Germany 1, Isle of Man 1)
registered in other countries: 5 (2005)

Airports:116 (2004 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 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 70
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 39 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force
Military manpower - military age and obligation:17 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18 (2001)
Military manpower - availability:males age 17-49: 984,700 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 17-49: 809,519 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 29,738 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$1.147 billion (FY03/04)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1% (FY02)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Ross Dependency) [see Antarctica]



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