New Zealand

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 28, 2011
Flag of New Zealand
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of New Zealand
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Map of New Zealand
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Photos of New Zealand
 
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OF NEW ZEALAND
 

Introduction

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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.
 
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Geography

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Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia
 
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41 00 S, 174 00 E
 
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total: 267,710 sq km
country comparison to the world: 76
land: 267,710 sq km
water: NA
note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands
 
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about the size of Colorado
 
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0 km
 
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15,134 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
 
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temperate with sharp regional contrasts
 
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predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Aoraki-Mount Cook 3,754 m
 
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natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone
 
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arable land: 5.54%
permanent crops: 6.92%
other: 87.54% (2005)
 
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6,190 sq km (2008)
 
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397 cu km (1995)
 
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total: 2.11 cu km/yr (48%/9%/42%)
per capita: 524 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity
volcanism: New Zealand experiences significant volcanism on North Island; Ruapehu (elev. 2,797 m), which last erupted in 2007, has a history of large eruptions in the past century; Taranaki has the potential to produce dangerous avalanches and lahars; other historically active volcanoes include Okataina, Raoul Island, Tongariro, and White Island
 
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deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by invasive species
 
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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
 
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almost 90% of the population lives in cities; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world
 
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People and Society

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noun: New Zealander(s)
adjective: New Zealand
 
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European 56.8%, Asian 8%, Maori 7.4%, Pacific islander 4.6%, mixed 9.7%, other 13.5% (2006 Census)
 
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English (official) 91.2%, Maori (official) 3.9%, Samoan 2.1%, French 1.3%, Hindi 1.1%, Yue 1.1%, Northern Chinese 1%, other 12.9%, New Zealand Sign Language (official)
note: shares sum to 114.6% due to multiple responses on census (2006 Census)
 
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Protestant 38.6% (Anglican 13.8%, Presbyterian, Congregational, and Reformed 10%, Christian (no denomination specified) 4.6%, Methodist 3%, Pentecostal 2%, Baptist 1.4%, other Christian 3.8%), Roman Catholic 12.6%, Maori Christian 1.6%, Hindu 1.6%, Buddhist 1.3%, other religions 2.2%, none 32.2%, other or unidentified 9.9% (2006 Census)
 
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4,290,347 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
 
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0-14 years: 20.4% (male 448,106/female 426,348)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 1,426,595/female 1,420,643)
65 years and over: 13.3% (male 260,454/female 308,201) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 37 years
male: 36.2 years
female: 37.8 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.882% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
 
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13.68 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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7.15 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
 
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2.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
 
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urban population: 86% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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Auckland 1.36 million; WELLINGTON (capital) 391,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.048 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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14 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 135
 
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total: 4.78 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 186
male: 5.37 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 80.59 years
country comparison to the world: 23
male: 78.61 years
female: 82.67 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.08 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
 
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9.7% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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2.384 physicians/1,000 population (2007)
country comparison to the world: 57
 
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6.18 beds/1,000 population (2002)
country comparison to the world: 23
 
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improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2008)
 
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0.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
 
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2,500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
 
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fewer than 100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
 
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26.5% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 10
 
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6.1% of GDP (2007)
country comparison to the world: 27
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 19 years
male: 19 years
female: 20 years (2008)
 
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total: 16.6%
country comparison to the world: 69
male: 16%
female: 17.2% (2009)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: New Zealand
abbreviation: NZ
 
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parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
 
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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 last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April
note: New Zealand is divided into two time zones - New Zealand standard time (12 hours in advance of UTC), and Chatham Islands time (45 minutes in advance of New Zealand standard time)
 
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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
 
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Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau
 
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26 September 1907 (from the UK)
 
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Waitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840); ANZAC Day (commemorated as the anniversary of the landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April (1915)
 
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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
 
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common law system, based on English model, with special legislation and land courts for the Maori
 
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Lt Gen Sir Jerry MATEPARAE (since 31 August 2011)
head of government: Prime Minister John KEY (since 19 November 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Simon William ENGLISH (since 19 November 2008)
cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general
 
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unicameral House of Representatives - commonly called Parliament (usually 120 seats; 70 members elected by popular vote in single-member constituencies including 7 Maori constituencies, 50 proportional seats chosen from party lists; serve three-year terms)
elections: last held on 26 November 2011 (next to be held not later than November 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - National Party 48%, Labor Party 27.1%, Green Party 10.6%, NZ First 6.8%, Maori 1.4%, ACT Party 1.1%, Mana 1%, United Future 0.6%, other 3.43%; seats by party - National Party 60, Labor Party 34, Green Party 13, NZ First 8, Maori 3, ACT Party 1, Mana 1, United Future 1
note: results of 2011 election saw the total number of seats decline to 121
 
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Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; High Court; note - judges appointed by the governor general
 
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ACT New Zealand [Rodney HIDE]; Green Party [Russel NORMAN and Metiria TUREI]; Mana Party [Hone HARAWIRA]; Maori Party [Tariana TURIA and Dr. Pita SHARPLES]; New Zealand National Party [John KEY]; New Zealand First Party or NZ First [Winston PETERS]; New Zealand Labor Party [Phil GOFF]; Jim Anderton's Progressive Party [James (Jim) ANDERTON]; United Future New Zealand [Peter DUNNE]
 
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Women's Electoral Lobby or WEL
other: apartheid groups; civil rights groups; farmers groups; Maori; nuclear weapons groups; women's rights groups
 
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ADB, ANZUS (US suspended security obligations to NZ on 11 August 1986), APEC, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, Paris Club (associate), PCA, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNMIT, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Michael K. MOORE
chancery: 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-4800
FAX: [1] (202) 667-5227
consulate(s) general: New York, Santa Monica
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador David HUEBNER
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
 
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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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Southern Cross constellation (four, five-pointed stars); kiwi (bird)
 
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name: "God Defend New Zealand"
lyrics/music: Thomas BRACKEN [English], Thomas Henry SMITH [Maori]/John Joseph WOODS
note: adopted 1940 as national song, adopted 1977 as co-national anthem; New Zealand has two national anthems with equal status; as a commonwealth realm, in addition to "God Defend New Zealand," "God Save the Queen" serves as a national anthem (see United Kingdom); "God Save the Queen" normally is played only when a member of the royal family or the governor-general is present; in all other cases, "God Defend New Zealand" is played
 
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while not an official symbol, the Kiwi, a small native flightless bird, represents New Zealand
 
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Economy

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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 some at the bottom of the ladder - and broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector. Per capita income rose for ten consecutive years until 2007 in purchasing power parity terms, but fell in 2008-09. Debt-driven consumer spending drove robust growth in the first half of the decade, helping fuel a large balance of payments deficit that posed a challenge for economic managers. Inflationary pressures caused the central bank to raise its key rate steadily from January 2004 until it was among the highest in the OECD in 2007-08; international capital inflows attracted to the high rates further strengthened the currency and housing market, however, aggravating the current account deficit. The economy fell into recession before the start of the global financial crisis and contracted for five consecutive quarters in 2008-09. In line with global peers, the central bank cut interest rates aggressively and the government developed fiscal stimulus measures. The economy posted a 1.7% decline in 2009, but pulled out of recession late in the year, and achieved 2.1% growth in 2010. Nevertheless, key trade sectors remain vulnerable to weak external demand. The government plans to raise productivity growth and develop infrastructure, while reining in government spending.
 
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$117.8 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
$116 billion (2009 est.)
$118.5 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$140.4 billion (2010 est.)
 
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1.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
-2.1% (2009 est.)
-0.2% (2008 est.)
 
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$27,700 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
$27,500 (2009 est.)
$28,400 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 4.6%
industry: 24.4%
services: 71% (2010 est.)
 
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2.333 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
 
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agriculture: 7%
industry: 19%
services: 74% (2006 est.)
 
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6.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
6.2% (2009 est.)
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: %NA
highest 10%: %NA
 
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36.2 (1997)
country comparison to the world: 88
 
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19.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
 
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revenues: $53.9 billion
expenditures: $60.31 billion (2010 est.)
 
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38.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
 
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-4.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
 
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27.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
23.3% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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2.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
2.1% (2009 est.)
 
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2.5% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 75
5% (31 December 2008)
 
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10.095% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
10.389% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$28.11 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
$25.18 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$145.3 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
$125.5 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$236.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
$208.9 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$36.3 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 47
$67.06 billion (31 December 2009)
$24.17 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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dairy products, lamb and mutton; wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef; fish
 
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food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining
 
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1.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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42 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
 
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39.02 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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60,480 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
 
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149,700 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
 
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47,200 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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138,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
 
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112.5 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
 
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4.481 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
 
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4.481 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
 
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
 
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
 
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34.38 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
 
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-$3.177 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
-$3.625 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$31.88 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
$25.34 billion (2009 est.)
 
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dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, machinery
 
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Australia 23.1%, China 11.2%, US 8.6%, Japan 7.8% (2010)
 
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$29.52 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
$24.02 billion (2009 est.)
 
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machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, plastics
 
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Australia 18.1%, China 16%, US 10.5%, Japan 7.4%, Germany 4.1% (2010)
 
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$16.72 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
$15.59 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$81.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
$82.33 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$70.13 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
$64.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA (31 December 2010)
$59.08 billion (31 December 2009)
 
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New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar -
1.3874 (2010)
1.6002 (2009)
1.4151 (2008)
1.3811 (2007)
1.5408 (2006)
 
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Communications

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1.87 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 59
 
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5.02 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 100
 
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general assessment: excellent domestic and international systems
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership exceeds 150 per 100 persons
international: country code - 64; the Southern Cross submarine cable system provides links to Australia, Fiji, and the US; satellite earth stations - 8 (1 Inmarsat - Pacific Ocean, 7 other)
 
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state-owned Television New Zealand operates multiple television networks while state-owned Radio New Zealand operates 3 radio networks and an external shortwave radio service to the South Pacific region; a small number of national commercial television and radio stations and a large number of regional commercial television and radio stations are available; cable and satellite TV systems are accessible (2008)
 
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.nz
 
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2.47 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 33
 
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3.4 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 62
 
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Transportation

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122 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 48
 
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total: 40
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 24
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 82
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 32
under 914 m: 47 (2010)
 
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condensate 331 km; gas 1,838 km; liquid petroleum gas 172 km; oil 288 km; refined products 198 km (2010)
 
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total: 4,128 km
country comparison to the world: 41
narrow gauge: 4,128 km 1.067-m gauge (506 km electrified) (2010)
 
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total: 93,911 km
country comparison to the world: 48
paved: 61,879 km (includes 172 km of expressways)
unpaved: 32,032 km (2009)
 
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total: 14
country comparison to the world: 103
by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 3, chemical tanker 1, container 1, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 7 (Australia 1, Germany 2, Hong Kong 1, South Africa 1, Switzerland 2)
registered in other countries: 6 (Antigua and Barbuda 2, Cook Islands 1, France 1, Samoa 1, UK 1) (2010)
 
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Auckland, Lyttelton, Manukau Harbor, Marsden Point, Tauranga, Wellington
 
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Military

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New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF): New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force (Te Hokowhitu o Kahurangi, RNZAF) (2010)
 
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17 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18; no conscription (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,019,798
females age 16-49: 1,003,429 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 843,526
females age 16-49: 828,779 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 30,846
female: 28,825 (2010 est.)
 
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1% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
 
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Transnational Issues

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asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Ross Dependency)
 
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significant consumer of amphetamines
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