The World Factbook (1990)/New Zealand


New Zealand

World Factbook (1990) New Zealand.jpg

See regional map X


Total area: 268,680 km²; land area: 268,670 km²; includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands

Comparative area: about the size of Colorado

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 15,134 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: edge of continental margin or 200 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

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: 2% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 53% meadows and pastures; 38% forest and woodland; 7% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: earthquakes are common, though usually not severe


Population: 3,295,866 (July 1990), growth rate 0.4% (1990)

Birth rate: 16 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -3 migrant/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 1 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 72 years male, 78 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.0 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—New Zealander(s); adjective—New Zealand

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

Religion: 81% Christian, 18% none or unspecified, 1% Hindu, Confucian, and other

Language: English (official), Maori

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 1,591,900; 67.4% services, 19.8% manufacturing, 9.3% primary production (1987)

Organized labor: 681,000 members; 43% of labor force (1986)


Long-form name: none; abbreviated 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

Dependent areas: Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau

Independence: 26 September 1907 (from UK)

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

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

Executive branch: British monarch, governor general, prime minister, deputy prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral House of Representatives (commonly called Parliament)

Judicial branch: High Court, Court of Appeal

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General The Most Rev. Sir Paul REEVES (since 20 November 1985);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Geoffrey PALMER (since 8 August 1989); Deputy Prime Minister Helen CLARK (since 8 August 1989)

Political parties and leaders: New Zealand Labor Party (NZLP; government), Geoffrey Palmer; National Party (NP; opposition), Jim Bolger; Democratic Party, Neil Morrison; Socialist Unity Party (SUP; pro-Soviet), Ken Douglas

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: House of Representatives—last held on 15 August 1987 (next to be held by August 1990); results—LP 47%, NP 45%, DP 6%; seats—(97 total) LP 58, NP 39

Communists: SUP about 140, other groups, about 200


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Harold Huyton FRANCIS; Chancery at 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 328-4800; there are New Zealand Consulates General in Los Angeles and New York; US—Ambassador Delia NEWMAN; Embassy at 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington (mailing address is Private Bag, Wellington, or FPO San Francisco 96690-0001); telephone [64](4) 722-068; there is a US Consulate General in 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 an open free market economy that can compete on the global scene. The government has hoped that dynamic growth would boost real incomes, reduce inflationary pressures, and permit the expansion of welfare benefits. The results have been mixed: inflation is down from double-digit levels but growth has been sluggish and unemployment, always a highly sensitive issue, has been at a record high 7.4%. In 1988 GDP fell by 1% and in 1989 grew by a moderate 2.4%.

GDP: $39.1 billion, per capita $11,600; real growth rate 2.4% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 7.4% (1989)

Budget: revenues $18.6 billion; expenditures $19.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY90 est.)

Exports: $8.9 billion (f.o.b., FY89); commodities—wool, lamb, mutton, beef, fruit, fish, cheese, manufactures, chemicals, foresty products; partners—EC 18.3%, Japan 17.9%, Australia 17.5%, US 13.5%, China 3.6%, South Korea 3.1%

Imports: $7.5 billion (c.i.f., FY89); commodities—petroleum, consumer goods, motor vehicles, industrial equipment; partners—Australia 19.7%, Japan 16.9%, EC 16.9%, US 15.3%, Taiwan 3.0%

External debt: $17.0 billion (1989)

Industrial production: growth rate -1.6% (FY88)

Electricity: 7,800,000 kW capacity; 27,600 million kWh produced, 8,190 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: accounts for about 9% of GNP and 10% of the work force; livestock predominates—wool, meat, dairy products all export earners; crops—wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, and vegetables; surplus producer of farm products; fish catch reached a record 431,000 metric tons in 1987

Aid: donor—ODA and OOF commitments (1970-87), $448 million

Currency: New Zealand dollar (plural—dollars); 1 New Zealand dollar (NZ$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: New Zealand dollars (NZ$) per US$1—1.6581 (January 1990), 1.6708 (1989), 1.5244 (1988), 1.6886 (1987), 1.9088 (1986), 2.0064 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June


Railroads: 4,716 km total; all 1.067-meter gauge; 274 km double track; 113 km electrified; over 99% government owned

Highways: 92,648 km total; 49,547 km paved, 43,101 km gravel or crushed stone

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

Pipelines: 1,000 km natural gas; 160 km refined products; 150 km condensate

Ports: Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington, Tauranga

Merchant marine: 18 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 190,553 GRT/257,782 DWT; includes 1 cargo, 2 container, 4 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 1 railcar carrier, 4 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 liquefied gas, 5 bulk

Civil air: about 40 major transport aircraft

Airports: 157 total, 157 usable; 33 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 2 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 47 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: excellent international and domestic systems; 2,110,000 telephones; stations64 AM, 2 FM, 14 TV; submarine cables extend to Australia and Fiji; 2 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT earth stations

Defense Forces

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

Military manpower: males 15-49, 872,336; 740,207 fit for military service; 29,532 reach military age (20) annually

Defense expenditures: 2.1% of GDP, or $820 million (1989 est.)