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23 octobre 2011 7 23 /10 /octobre /2011 15:01

New Zealand (Aotearoa in M?ori) is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and theSouth Island) and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ57N Battery

and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Due to its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation New Zealand developed a distinctive fauna dominated by birds, many of which became extinct after the arrival of humans and introduced mammals. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58GN Battery

With a mild maritime climate, the land was mostly covered in forest. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks owe much to the uplift of land and volcanic eruptions caused by the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates clashing underfoot.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58GN/C Battery

Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1250–1300 AD and developed a distinctive M?ori culture, and Europeans first made contact in 1642 AD. The introduction of potatoes and muskets triggered upheaval among M?ori early during the 19th century, which led to the inter-tribal Musket Wars.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58N Battery

In 1840 the British and M?ori signed a treaty making New Zealand a colony of the British Empire. Immigrant numbers increased sharply and conflicts escalated into the New Zealand Wars, which resulted in much M?ori land being confiscated in the mid North Island. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61MN/B Battery

Economic depressions were followed by periods of political reform, with women gaining the vote during the 1890s, and a welfare state being established from the 1930s. After World War II, New Zealand joined Australia and the United States in the ANZUS security treaty, although the United States later suspended the treaty after New Zealand banned nuclear weapons. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61VN/X Battery

New Zealanders enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world in the 1950s, but the 1970s saw a deep recession, worsened by oil shocks and the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community. The country underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61WN/C Battery

Markets for New Zealand's agricultural exports have diversified greatly since the 1970s, with once-dominant exports of wool being overtaken by dairy products, meat, and recently wine.

The majority of New Zealand's population is of European descent; the indigenous M?ori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and non-M?ori Polynesians. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ640N/B Battery

English, M?ori and New Zealand Sign Language are the official languages, with English predominant. Much of New Zealand's culture is derived from M?ori and early British settlers. Early European art was dominated by landscapes and to a lesser extent portraits of M?ori. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ645P3 Battery

A recent resurgence of M?ori culture has seen their traditional arts of carving, weaving and tattooing become more mainstream. Many artists now combine M?ori and Western techniques to create unique art forms. The country's culture has also been broadened by globalisation and increased immigration from the Pacific Islands and Asia. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ650N/C Battery

New Zealand's diverse landscape provides many opportunities for outdoor pursuits and has provided the backdrop for a number of big budget movies.

New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes; these have less autonomy than the country's long defunct provinces did. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ660N/C Battery

Nationally, executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. The Queen's Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); theCook Islands and Niue (self-governing but in free association); Sony VAIO VGN-SZ670N/C Battery

and the Ross Dependency, New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Commonwealth of Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and the United Nations.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ680ND Battery

Etymology

New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within M?ori populations suggest New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300, concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ691N/X Battery

Over the centuries that followed these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as M?ori. The population was divided into iwi(tribes) and hap? (subtribes) which would cooperate, compete and sometimes fight with each other. At some point a group of M?ori migrated to the Chatham Islands (which they named R?kohu) where they developed their distinct Moriori culture.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71E/B Battery

The Moriori population was decimated between 1835 and 1862, largely due to M?ori invasion and enslavement, although European diseases also contributed. In 1862 only 101 survived and the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933.

The first Europeans known to have reached New Zealand were Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and his crew in 1642.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71VN/X Battery

In a hostile encounter, four crew members were killed and at least one M?ori was hit by canister shot. Europeans did not revisit New Zealand until 1769 when British explorer James Cook mapped almost the entire coastline. Following Cook, New Zealand was visited by numerous European and North American whaling, sealing and trading ships. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71WN/C Battery

They traded food, metal tools, weapons and other goods for timber, food, artefacts, water, and on occasion sex. The introduction of the potato and the musket transformed M?ori agriculture and warfare. Potatoes provided a reliable food surplus, which enabled longer and more sustained military campaigns.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ74B/B Battery

The resulting inter-tribal Musket Wars encompassed over 600 battles between 1801 and 1840, killing between 30,000–40,000 M?ori. From the early 19th century, Christian missionaries began to settle New Zealand, eventually converting most of the M?ori population.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ750N/C Battery

The M?ori population declined to around 40 percent of its pre-contact level during the 19th century; introduced diseases were the major factor.

The British government appointed James Busby as British Resident to New Zealand in 1832 and in 1835, Sony VAIO VGN-SZ75B/B Battery

following an announcement of impending French sovereignty, the nebulous United Tribes of New Zealand sent a Declaration of the Independence to King William IV of the United Kingdom asking for protection. Ongoing unrest and the dubious legal standing of the Declaration of Independence prompted the Colonial Office to send Captain William Hobson to claim sovereignty for the British Crown and negotiate a treaty with the M?ori.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ76 Battery

The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840.In response to the commercially run New Zealand Company's attempts to establish an independent settlement in Wellington and French settlers "purchasing" land in Akaroa,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ770N/C Battery

Hobson declared British sovereignty over all of New Zealand on 21 May 1840, even though copies of the Treaty were still circulating.  With the signing of the Treaty and declaration of sovereignty the number of immigrants, particularly from the United Kingdom, began to increase.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ77N Battery

New Zealand, originally part of the colony of New South Wales, became a separate Crown colony in 1841. The colony gained a representative government in 1852and the 1st New Zealand Parliament met in 1854. In 1856 the colony effectively became self-governing, gaining responsibility over all domestic matters other than native policy. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ780 Battery

(Control over native policy was granted in the mid-1860s.) Following concerns that the South Island might form a separate colony, premier Alfred Domett moved a resolution to transfer the capital from Auckland to a locality near the Cook Strait. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ78N Battery

Wellington was chosen due to its harbour and central location, with parliament officially sitting there for the first time in 1865. As immigrant numbers increased, conflicts over land led to the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, resulting in the loss and confiscation of much M?ori land.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ791N/X Battery

In 1893 the country became the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote and in 1894 pioneered the adoption of compulsory arbitration between employers and unions.

In 1907 New Zealand declared itself a Dominion within the British Empire and in 1947 the country adopted the Statute of Westminster, making New Zealand aCommonwealth realm.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84NS Battery

New Zealand was involved in world affairs, fighting alongside the British Empire in the first and second World Wars and suffering through the Great Depression. The depression led to the election of the first Labour government and the establishment of a comprehensive welfare state and a protectionisteconomy.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84PS Battery

New Zealand experienced increasing prosperity following World War II and M?ori began to leave their traditional rural life and move to the cities in search of work. A M?ori protest movement developed, which criticised Eurocentrism and worked for greater recognition of M?ori culture and the Treaty of Waitangi.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84S Battery

In 1975, a Waitangi Tribunal was set up to investigate alleged breaches of the Treaty, and it was enabled to investigate historic grievances in 1985. The government has negotiated settlements of these grievances with many iwi, although M?ori claims to the foreshore and seabed have proved controversial in the 2000s.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84US Battery

Government

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy, although its constitution is not codified. Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealandand the head of state.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85NS Battery

The Queen is represented by the Governor-General, whom she appoints on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Governor-General can exercise the Crown's prerogative powers (such as reviewing cases of injustice and making appointments of Cabinet ministers, ambassadors and other key public officials) and in rare situations, Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85S Battery

the reserve powers (the power to dismiss a Prime Minister, dissolve Parliament or refuse the Royal Assent of a bill into law). The powers of the Queen and the Governor-General are limited by constitutional constraints and they cannot normally be exercised without the advice of Cabinet.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85US Battery

The Parliament of New Zealand holds legislative power and consists of the Sovereign (represented by the Governor-General) and the House of Representatives. It also included an upper house, the Legislative Council, until this was abolished in 1950.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94NS Battery

The supremacy of the House over the Sovereign was established in England by the Bill of Rights 1689 and has been ratified as law in New Zealand. The House of Representatives is democratically elected and a Government is formed from the party or coalition with the majority of seats.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94PS Battery

If no majority is formed a minority government can be formed if support from other parties during confidence and supply votes is assured. The Governor-General appoints ministers under advice from the Prime Minister, who is by convention the Parliamentary leader of the governing party or coalition.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94S Battery

Cabinet, formed by ministers and led by the Prime Minister, is the highest policy-making body in government and responsible for deciding significant government actions. By convention, members of cabinet are bound by collective responsibility to decisions made by cabinet.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94US Battery

Judges and judicial officers are appointed non-politically and under strict rules regarding tenure to help maintain constitutional independence from the government. This theoretically allows the judiciary to interpret the law based solely on the legislation enacted by Parliament without other influences on their decisions.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95NS Battery

The Privy Council in London was the country's final court of appeal until 2004, when it was replaced with the newly established Supreme Court of New Zealand. The judiciary, headed by the Chief Justice, includes the Court of Appeal, the High Court, and subordinate courts.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95S Battery

Almost all parliamentary general elections between 1853 and 1996 were held under the first past the post voting system. The elections since 1930 have been dominated by two political parties, National and Labour. Since 1996, a form of proportional representation called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) has been used.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95US Battery

Under the MMP system each person has two votes; one is for the 65 electoral seats (including seven reserved for M?ori), and the other is for a party. The remaining 55 seats are assigned so that representation in parliament reflects the party vote, although a party has to win one electoral seat or 5 percent of the total party vote before it is eligible for these seats.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ121 Battery

Between March 2005 and August 2006 New Zealand became the only country in the world in which all the highest offices in the land (Head of State, Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker and Chief Justice) were occupied simultaneously by women.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ13 Battery

Foreign relations and the military

Early colonial New Zealand allowed the British Government to determine external trade and be responsible for foreign policy. The 1923 and 1926 Imperial Conferences decided that New Zealand should be allowed to negotiate their own political treaties,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ130N/B Battery

with the first successful commercial treaty being with Japan in 1928. Despite this independence New Zealand readily followed Britain in declaring war on Germany on 3 September 1939 with then Prime Minister Michael Savage proclaiming, "Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand."Sony VAIO VGN-TZ131 Battery

In 1951 the United Kingdom became increasingly focused on its European interests, while New Zealand joined Australia and the United States in theANZUS security treaty.The influence of the United States on New Zealand weakened following protests over the Vietnam War,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ132/N Battery

the failure of the United States to admonish France after the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, disagreements over environmental and agricultural trade issues and New Zealand's nuclear-free policy.Despite the USA's suspension of ANZUS obligations the treaty remained in effect between New Zealand and Australia, whose foreign policy has followed a similar historical trend.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ132N Battery

Close political contact is maintained between the two countries, with free trade agreements and travel arrangements that allow citizens to visit, live and work in both countries without restrictions.Currently over 500,000 New Zealanders live in Australia and 65,000 Australians live in New Zealand.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N/B Battery

New Zealand has a strong presence among the Pacific Island countries. A large proportion of New Zealand's aid goes to these countries and many Pacific people migrate to New Zealand for employment.Permanent migration is regulated under the 1970 Samoan Quota Scheme and the 2002 Pacific Access Category,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N/N Battery

which allow up to 1,100 Samoan nationals and up to 750 other Pacific Islanders respectively to become permanent New Zealand residents each year. A seasonal workers scheme for temporary migration was introduced in 2007 and in 2009 about 8,000 Pacific Islanders were employed under it.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ160CB Battery

New Zealand is involved in the Pacific Islands Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum (including the East Asia Summit).New Zealand is also a member of the United Nations,the Commonwealth of Nations,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ160N/B Battery

the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Five Powers Defence Arrangements.

The New Zealand Defence Force has three branches: the Royal New Zealand Navy, the New Zealand Army and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16GN/B Battery

New Zealand's national defence needs are modest due to the unlikelihood of direct attack, although it does have a global presence. The country fought in both world wars, with notable campaigns in Gallipoli, Crete, El Alamein and Cassino. The Gallipoli campaign played an important part in fostering New Zealand's national identity and strengthened the ANZAC tradition it shares with Australia.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16N Battery

According to Mary Edmond-Paul, "World War I had left scars on New Zealand society, with nearly 18,500 in total dying as a result of the war, more than 41,000 wounded, and others affected emotionally, out of an overseas fighting force of about 103,000 and a population of just over a million."Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16N/B Battery

New Zealand also played key parts in the naval Battle of the River Plate and the Battle of Britain air campaign. During World War II, the United States had more than 400,000 American military personnel stationed in New Zealand.

In addition to Vietnam and the two world wars, New Zealand fought in the Korean War, the Second Boer War,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17/N Battery

the Malayan Emergency,the Gulf Warand the Afghanistan War. It has contributed forces to several regional and global peacekeeping missions, such as those in Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, the Iran–Iraq border, Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ170N/B Battery

New Zealand also sent a unit of army engineers to help rebuild Iraqi infrastructure for one year during the Iraq War.

Local government and external territories

The early European settlers divided New Zealand into provinces, which had a degree of autonomy.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ170N/N Battery

Due to financial pressures and the desire to consolidate railways, education, land sales and other policies, government was centralised and the provinces were abolished in 1876.As a result, New Zealand now has no separately represented subnational entities. The provinces are remembered in regional public holidays and sporting rivalries.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17GN/B Battery

Since 1876, various councils have administered local areas under legislation determined by the central government. In 1989, the government reorganised local government into the current two-tier structure of regional councils and territorial authorities.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17N Battery

The 249 municipalities that existed in 1975 have now been consolidated into 67 territorial authorities and 11 regional councils.The regional councils' role is to regulate "the natural environment with particular emphasis onresource management",while territorial authorities are responsible for sewage, water, local roads, building consents and other local matters.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18/N Battery

Five of the territorial councils are unitary authorities and also act as regional councils. The territorial authorities consist of 13 city councils, 53 district councils, and the Chatham Islands Council. While officially the Chatham Islands Council is not a unitary authority, it undertakes many functions of a regional council.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ180N/RC Battery

The Realm of New Zealand is one of 16 realms within the commonwealth and comprises New Zealand, Tokelau, theRoss Dependency, the Cook Islands and Niue. The Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing states in free association with New Zealand. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ185N/WC Battery

The New Zealand Parliament cannot pass legislation for these countries, but with their consent can act on behalf of them in foreign affairs and defence. Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory that uses the New Zealand flag and anthem, but is administered by a council of three elders (one from each Tokelauan atoll).Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18GN/X Battery

The Ross Dependency is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica, where it operates the Scott Base research facility. New Zealand citizenship law treats all parts of the realm equally, so most people born in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and the Ross Dependency before 2006 are New Zealand citizens. Further conditions apply for those born from 2006 onwards.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18N Battery

Geography

New Zealand is made up of two main islands and a number of smaller islands, located near the centre of the water hemisphere. The main North and South Islands are separated by the Cook Strait, 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide at its narrowest point.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ190N/B Battery

Besides the North and South Islands, the five largest inhabited islands are Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island (in the Hauraki Gulf), d'Urville Island (in the Marlborough Sounds) and Waiheke Island (about 22 km (14 mi) from central Auckland).Sony VAIO VGN-TZ190N/BC Battery

The country's islands lie between latitudes 29° and 53°S, and longitudes 165° and 176°E.

New Zealand is long (over 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) along its north-north-east axis) and narrow (a maximum width of 400 kilometres (250 mi)), with approximately 15,134 km (9,404 mi) of coastline and a total land area of 268,021 square kilometres (103,483 sq mi) Due to its far-flung outlying islands and long coastline, the country has extensive marine resources. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ191N/XC Battery

Its Exclusive Economic Zone, one of the largest in the world, covers more than 15 times its land area.

The South Island is the largest land mass of New Zealand, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps. There are 18 peaks over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft), the highest of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3,754 metres (12,316 ft).Sony VAIO VGN-TZ195N/XC Battery

Fiordland's steep mountains and deep fiords record the extensive ice age glaciation of this south-western corner of the South Island.The North Island is less mountainous but is marked by volcanism. The highly active Taupo volcanic zone has formed a large volcanic plateau, punctuated by the North Island's highest mountain, Mount Ruapehu (2,797 metres (9,177 ft)). Sony VAIO VGN-TZ198N/RC Battery

The plateau also hosts the country's largest lake, Lake Taupo, nestled in the caldera of one of the world's most active supervolcanoes.

The country owes its varied topography, and perhaps even its emergence above the waves, to the dynamic boundary it straddles between the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/B Battery

New Zealand is part of Zealandia, a microcontinent nearly half the size of Australia that gradually submerged after breaking away from the Gondwanan supercontinent. About 25 million years ago, a shift in plate tectonic movements began to contort and crumple the region. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/N Battery

This is now most evident in the Southern Alps, formed bycompression of the crust beside the Alpine Fault. Elsewhere the plate boundary involves the subduction of one plate under the other, producing the Puysegur Trench to the south, the Hikurangi Trench east of the North Island, and the Kermadec and Tonga Trenches  further north.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/P Battery

Climate

New Zealand has a mild and temperate maritime climate with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north.Historical maxima and minima are 42.4 °C (108.3 °F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and ?25.6 °C (?14.08 °F) in Ranfurly, Otago.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ27/N Battery

Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to almost semi-arid in Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical inNorthland.Of the seven largest cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving on average only 640 millimetres (25 in) of rain per year and Auckland the wettest, receiving almost twice that amount.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ270N/B Battery

Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive a yearly average in excess of 2,000 hours of sunshine. The southern and south-western parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400–1,600 hours; the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive approximately 2,400–2,500 hours.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ27N Battery

Biodiversity

New Zealand's geographic isolation for 80 million years  and island biogeography is responsible for the country's unique species of flora and fauna. They have eitherevolved from Gondwanan wildlife or the few organisms that have managed to reach the shores flying, swimming or being carried across the sea.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ28/N Battery

About 82 percent of New Zealand's indigenous vascular plants[n 9] are endemic, covering 1,944 species across 65 genera and includes a single family. The two main types of forest are those dominated by broadleaf trees with emergent podocarps, or by southern beech in cooler climates.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ285N/RC Battery

The remaining vegetation types consist of grasslands, the majority of which are tussock.

Before the arrival of humans an estimated 80 percent of the land was covered in forest, with only high alpine, wet, infertile and volcanic areas without trees.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ28N Battery

Massive deforestation occurred after humans arrived, with around half the forest cover lost to fire after Polynesian settlement. Much of the remaining forest fell after European settlement, being logged or cleared to make room for pastoral farming, leaving forest occupying only 23 percent of the land.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAB Battery

The forests were dominated by birds, and the lack of mammalian predators led to some like the kiwi, kakapo and takah? evolving flightlessness. The arrival of humans, associated changes to habitat, and the introduction of rats, ferrets and other mammals led to the extinction of many bird species, including large birds like the moa and Haast's eagle.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAN Battery

Other indigenous animals are represented by reptiles (tuataras, skinks and geckos),  frogs, spiders (katipo), insects (weta) and snails. Some, such as the wrens and tuatara, are so unique that they have been called living fossils. Three species of bats (one since extinct) Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAP Battery

were the only sign of native land mammals in New Zealand until the 2006 discovery of bones from a unique, mouse-sized land mammal at least 16 million years old. Marine mammals however are abundant, with almost half the world's cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and large numbers of fur seals reported in New Zealand waters.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ295N/XC Battery

Many seabirds breed in New Zealand, a third of them unique to the country. More penguin species are found in New Zealand than in any other country.

Since human arrival almost half of the country's vertebrate species have become extinct, including at least fifty one birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, four plant species, and one bat.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ298N/XC Battery

Others are endangered or have had their range severely reduced. However New Zealand conservationists have pioneered several methods to help threatened wildlife recover, including island sanctuaries, pest control, wildlife translocation, fostering, and ecological restoration of islands and other selected areas.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/B Battery

Economy

New Zealand has a modern, prosperous and developed market economy with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita of roughly US$28,250.[n 10] TheNew Zealand dollar, informally known as the "Kiwi dollar", is the currency of New Zealand. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/N Battery

It also circulates in the Cook Islands (see Cook Islands dollar), Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands. New Zealand was ranked the 3rd "most developed" country in 2010 according to the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index, 4th in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Foundation.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/W Battery

Historically, extractive industries have contributed strongly to New Zealand's economy, focussing at different times on sealing, whaling, flax, gold, kauri gum, and native timber. With the development of refrigerated shipping in the 1880s meat and dairy products were exported to Britain, a trade which provided the basis for strong economic growth in New Zealand.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/B Battery

High demand for agricultural products from the United Kingdom and the United States helped New Zealanders achieve higher living standards than both Australia and Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1973 New Zealand's export market was reduced when the United Kingdom joined the European Community  and other compounding factors, such as the 1973 oil and 1979 energy crisis, led to a severe economic depression.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/N Battery

Living standards in New Zealand fell behind those of Australia and Western Europe, and by 1982 New Zealand had the lowest per-capita income of all the developed nations surveyed by the World Bank.Since 1984, successive governments engaged in majormacroeconomic restructuring (known first as Rogernomics and then Ruthanasia), Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/P Battery

rapidly transforming New Zealand from a highly protectionist economy to a liberalised free-trade economy.

Unemployment peaked above 10 percent in 1991 and 1992, following the 1987 share market crash, but eventually fell a record low of 3.4 percent in 2007 (ranking fifth from twenty-seven comparable OECD nations).Sony VAIO VGN-TZ370N/B Battery

The global financial crisis that followed however had a major impact on New Zealand with the GDP shrinking for five consecutive quarters, the longest recession in over thirty years, and unemployment rising back to 7 percent in late 2009. The unemployment rate for youth was 17.4 percent in the June 2011 quarter.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/G Battery

New Zealand has experienced a series of "brain drains" since the 1970s that still continue today. Nearly one quarter of highly-skilled workers live overseas, most in Australia and Britain, the most from any developed nation. In recent years, however, a "brain gain" has brought in educated professionals from Europe and lesser developed countries.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/P Battery

Trade

New Zealand is heavily dependent on international trade, particularly in agricultural products. Exports account for a high 24 percent of its output, making New Zealand vulnerable to international commodity prices and global economic slowdowns. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/R Battery

Its principal export industries are agriculture, horticulture, fishing, forestry and mining, which make up about half of the country's exports. Its major export partners are Australia, United States, Japan, China, and the United Kingdom. On 7 April 2008, New Zealand and China signed the New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/X Battery

the first such agreement China has signed with a developed country. The service sector is the largest sector in the economy, followed by manufacturing and construction and then farming and raw material extraction. Tourism plays a significant role in New Zealand's economy, contributing $15.0 billion to New Zealand’s total GDP and supporting 9.6 percent of the total workforce in 2010.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ38N/X Battery

International visitors to New Zealand increased by 3.1 percent in the year to October 2010 and are expected to increase at a rate of 2.5 percent annually up to 2015.

Wool was New Zealand’s major agricultural export during the late 19th century.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ398U/XC Battery

Even as late as the 1960s it made up over a third of all export revenues, but since then its price has steadily dropped relative to other commodities  and wool is no longer profitable for many farmers. In contrast dairy farming increased, with the number of dairy cows doubling between 1990 and 2007, to become New Zealand's largest export earner.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ50B Battery

In the year to June 2009, dairy products accounted for 21 percent ($9.1 billion) of total merchandise exports, and the country's largest company, Fonterra, controls almost one-third of the international dairy trade.Other agricultural exports in 2009 were meat 13.2 percent, wool 6.3 percent, fruit 3.5 percent and fishing 3.3 percent.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ90HS Battery

New Zealand's wine industry has followed a similar trend to dairy, the number of vineyards doubling over the same period, overtaking wool exports for the first time in 2007.

Infrastructure

In 2008, oil, gas and coal generated approximately 69 percent of Ne

w Zealand's gross energy supply and 31 percent was generated from renewable energy, primarily hydroelectric power and geothermal power.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ90NS Battery

New Zealand's transport network includes 93,805 kilometres (58,288 mi) of roads, worth 23 billion dollars,and 4,128 kilometres (2,565 mi) of railway lines. Most major cities and towns are linked by bus services, although the private car is the predominant mode of transport.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ90S Battery

The railways were privatised in 1993, then re-purchased by the government in 2004 and vested into a state owned enterprise. Railways run the length of the country, although most lines now carry freight rather than passengers.Sony VAIO VPC CW2MFX/PU Battery

Most international visitors arrive via air and New Zealand has seven international airports, although currently only theAuckland and Christchurch airports connect directly with countries other than Australia or Fiji. The New Zealand Post Office had a monopoly over telecommunications until 1989 when Telecom New Zealand was formed,Sony VAIO VPC S11V9E/B Battery

initially as a state-owned enterprise and then privatised in 1990. Telecom still owns the majority of the telecommunications infrastructure, but competition from other providers has increased.

Demography

The population of New Zealand is approximately 4.4 million.Sony VAIO VPCB119GJ/B Battery

New Zealand is a predominantly urban country, with 72 percent of the population living in 16 main urban areas and 53 percent living in the four largest cities of Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, and Hamilton.New Zealand cities generally rank highly on international livability measures.Sony VAIO VPCB11AGJ Battery

For instance, in 2010 Auckland was ranked the world's 4th mostliveable city and Wellington the 12th by the Mercer Quality of Life Survey.

The life expectancy of a New Zealand child born in 2008 was 82.4 years for females, and 78.4 years for males.Sony VAIO VPCB11AVJ Battery

Life expectancy at birth is forecast to increase from 80 years to 85 years in 2050 and infant mortality is expected to decline. In 2050 the population is forecast to reach 5.3 million, the median age to rise from 36 years to 43 years and the percentage of people 60 years of age and older to rise from 18 percent to 29 percent.Sony VAIO VPCB11V9E Battery

Ethnicity and immigration

In the 2006 census, 67.6 percent identified ethnically as European and 14.6 percent as M?ori. Other major ethnic groups include Asian(9.2 percent) and Pacific peoples (6.9 percent), while 11.1 percent identified themselves simply as a "New Zealander" (or similar) and 1 percent identified with other ethnicities.Sony VAIO VPCB11X9E Battery

This contrasts with 1961, when the census reported that the population of New Zealand was 92 percent European and 7 percent M?ori, with Asian and Pacific minorities sharing the remaining 1 percent.While the demonym for a New Zealand citizen is New Zealander, the informal "Kiwi" is commonly used both internationally and by locals.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/P Battery

The M?ori loanword P?keh? usually refers to New Zealanders of European descent, although some reject this appellation, and some M?ori use it to refer to all non-Polynesian New Zealanders.

The M?ori were the first people to reach New Zealand, followed by the early European settlers. Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/R Battery

Following colonisation, immigrants were predominantly from Britain, Ireland and Australia due to restrictive policies similar to the white Australian policies. There was also significant Dutch, Dalmatian, Italian, and German immigration together with indirect European immigration through Australia, North America, South America and South Africa.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/W Battery

Following the Great Depressionpolicies were relaxed and migrant diversity increased. In 2009–10, an annual target of 45,000–50,000 permanent residence approvals was set by the New Zealand Immigration Service—more than one new migrant for every 100 New Zealand residents.Sony VAIO VPCCW19FJ/W Battery

Twenty-three percent of New Zealand's population were born overseas, most of whom live in the Auckland region.While most have still come from the United Kingdom and Ireland (29 percent), immigration from East Asia (mostly mainland China, but with substantial numbers also from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong)Sony VAIO VPCCW1AFJ Battery

is rapidly increasing the number of people from those countries.The number of fee-paying international students increased sharply in the late 1990s, with more than 20,000 studying in public tertiary institutions in 2002.

Language

English is the predominant language in New Zealand, spoken by 98 percent of the population.Sony VAIO VPCCW1AHJ Battery

New Zealand English is similar to Australian English and many speakers from the Northern Hemisphere are unable to tell the accents apart.After the Second World War, M?ori were discouraged from speaking their own language (te reo M?ori) in schools and workplaces and it existed as a community language only in a few remote areas.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E Battery

It has recently undergone a process of revitalisation, being declared one of New Zealand's official languages in 1987, and is spoken by 4.1 percent of the population.  There are now M?ori language immersion schools and two M?ori Television channels, the only nationwide television channels to have the majority of their prime-time content delivered in M?ori.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/B Battery

Many places have officially been given dual Maori and English names in recent years. Samoan is the most widely spoken non-official language (2.3 percent),[n 12] followed by French, Hindi, Yue and Northern Chinese. New Zealand Sign Language is used by approximately 28,000 people and was made New Zealand's third official language in 2006.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/L Battery

Primary and secondary schooling is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, with the majority attending from the age of 5. There are 13 school years and attendingpublic schools is free. New Zealand has an adult literacy rate of 99 percent, and over half of the population aged 15 to 29 hold a tertiary qualification.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/P Battery

There are five types of government-owned tertiary institutions: universities, colleges of education, polytechnics, specialist colleges, and w?nanga, and also private training establishments. In the adult population 14.2 percent have a bachelor's degree or higher, 30.4 percent have some form of secondary qualification as their highest qualification and 22.4 percent have no formal qualification.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/R Battery

Christianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand. In the 2006 Census, 55.6 percent of the population identified themselves as Christians, while another 34.7 percent indicated that they had no religion (up from 29.6 percent in 2001) and around 4 percent affiliated with other religions.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/W Battery

The main Christian denominations are Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, Presbyterianism and Methodism. There are also significant numbers of Christians who identify themselves withPentecostal, Baptist, and Latter-day Saint churches and the New Zealand-based Ratana church has adherents among M?ori. Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/B Battery

According to census figures, other significant minority religions include Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.

Culture

Early M?ori adapted the tropically-based east Polynesian culture in line with the challenges associated with a larger and more diverse environment, eventually developing their own distinctive culture. Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/L Battery

Social organisation was largely communal with families (whanau), sub-tribes (hapu) and tribes (iwi) ruled by a chief (rangatira) whose position was subject to the community's approval.The British and Irish immigrants brought aspects of their own culture to New Zealand and also influenced M?ori culture,particularly with the introduction of Christianity.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/R Battery

However, M?ori still regard their allegiance to tribal groups as a vital part of their identity, and M?ori kinship roles resemble those of other Polynesian peoples.More recently American, Australian, Asian and other European cultures have exerted influence on New Zealand. Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/W Battery

Non-M?ori Polynesian cultures are also apparent, with Pasifika, the world's largest Polynesian festival, now an annual event in Auckland.

The largely rural life in early New Zealand led to the image of New Zealanders being rugged, industrious problem solvers.Sony VAIO VPCCW26EC Battery

Modesty was expected and enforced through the "tall poppy syndrome", where high achievers received harsh criticism. At the time New Zealand was not known as an intellectual country.From the early 20th century until the late 1960s M?ori culture was suppressed by the attempted assimilation of M?ori into British New Zealanders.Sony VAIO VPCCW26FX/B Battery

In the 1960s, as higher education became more available and cities expanded urban culture began to dominate. Even though the majority of the population now lives in cities, much of New Zealand's art, literature, film and humour has rural themes.Sony VAIO VPCCW28EC Battery

Art

As part of the resurgence of M?ori culture, the traditional crafts of carving and weaving are now more widely practised and M?ori artists are increasing in number and influence.Most M?ori carvings feature human figures, generally with three fingers and either a natural-looking, detailed head or a grotesque head.Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/P Battery

Surface patterns consisting of spirals, ridges, notches and fish scales decorate most carvings. The pre-eminent M?ori architecture consisted of carved meeting houses (wharenui) decorated with symbolic carvings and illustrations. These buildings were originally designed to be constantly rebuilt, changing and adapting to different whims or needs.Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/R Battery

M?ori decorated the white wood of buildings, canoes and cenotaphs using red (a mixture of red ochre and shark fat) and black (made from soot) paint and painted pictures of birds, reptiles and other designs on cave walls.M?ori tattoos (moko) consisting of coloured soot mixed with gum were cut into the flesh with a bone chisel.Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/W Battery

Since European arrival paintings and photographs have been dominated by landscapes, originally not as works of art but as factual portrayals of New Zealand. Portraits of M?ori were also common, with early painters often portraying them as "noble savages", exotic beauties or friendly natives.Sony VAIO VPCCW29FJ/W Battery

The country's isolation delayed the influence of European artistic trends allowing local artists to developed their own distinctive style of regionalism. During the 1960s and 70s many artists combined traditional M?ori and Western techniques, creating unique art forms.Sony VAIO VPCCW2AFJ Battery

New Zealand art and craft has gradually achieved an international audience, with exhibitions in the Venice Biennale in 2001 and the "Paradise Now" exhibition in New York in 2004.

M?ori cloaks are made of fine flax fibre and patterned with black, red and white triangles, diamonds and other geometric shapes.Sony VAIO VPCCW2AHJ Battery

Greenstone was fashioned into earrings and necklaces, with the most well-known design being the hei-tiki, a distorted human figure sitting cross-legged with its head tilted to the side. Europeans brought English fashion etiquette to New Zealand, and until the 1950s most people dressed up for social occasions.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E Battery

Standards have since relaxed and New Zealand fashion has received a reputation for being casual, practical and lacklustre.However, the local fashion industry has grown significantly since 2000, doubling exports and increasing from a handful to about 50 established labels, with some labels gaining international recognition.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/B Battery

Literature

M?ori quickly adopted writing as a means of sharing ideas, and many of their oral stories and poems were converted to the written form. Most early English literature was obtained from Britain and it was not until the 1950s when local publishing outlets increased that New Zealand literature started to become widely known.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/L Battery

Although still largely influenced by global trends (modernism) and events (the Great Depression), writers in the 1930s began to develop stories increasingly focused on their experiences in New Zealand. During this period literature changed from a journalistic activity to a more academic pursuit.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/P Battery

Participation in the world wars gave some New Zealand writers a new perspective on New Zealand culture and with the post-war expansion of universities local literature flourished.

Entertainment

New Zealand music has been influenced by blues, jazz, country, rock and roll and hip hop, with many of these genres given a unique New Zealand interpretation.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/R Battery

M?ori developed traditional chants and songs from their ancient South-East Asian origins, and after centuries of isolation created a unique "monotonous" and "doleful" sound. Flutes and trumpets were used as musical instruments or as signalling devices during war or special occasions.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/W Battery

Early settlers brought over their ethnic music, with brass bands and choral music being popular, and musicians began touring New Zealand in the 1860s. Pipe bands became widespread during the early 20th century. The New Zealand recording industry began to develop from 1940 onwards and many New Zealand musicians have obtained success in Britain and the USA.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S5C CN1 Battery

Some artists release M?ori language songs and the M?ori tradition-based art of kapa haka (song and dance) has made a resurgence.

Radio first arrived in New Zealand in 1922 and television in 1960, while the number of New Zealand films significantly increased during the 1970s.Sony VAIO VPCF112FX/B Battery

In 1978 the New Zealand Film Commission started assisting local film-makers and many films attained a world audience, some receiving international acknowledgement. Deregulation in the 1980s saw a sudden increase in the numbers of radio and television stations.Sony VAIO VPCF115FG/B Battery

New Zealand television primarily broadcasts American and British programming, along with a large number of Australian and local shows. The country's diverse scenery and compact size, plus government incentives, have encouraged some producers to film big budget movies in New Zealand.Sony VAIO VPCF116FGBI Battery

The New Zealand media industry is dominated by a small number of companies, most of which are foreign-owned, although the state retains ownership of some television and radio stations. Between 2003 and 2008, Reporters Without Borders consistently ranked New Zealand's press freedom in the top twenty.Sony VAIO VPCF117FJ/W Battery

Sports

Most of the major sporting codes played in New Zealand have English origins. Golf, netball, tennis and cricket are the four top participatory sports, soccer is the most popular among young people and rugby union attracts the most spectators.Sony VAIO VPCF117HG/BI Battery

Victorious rugby tours to Australia and the United Kingdom in thelate 1880s and the early 1900s played an early role in instilling a national identity, although the sport's influence has since declined. Horse racing was also a popular spectator sport and became part of the "Rugby, Racing and Beer" culture during the 1960s.Sony VAIO VPCF118FJ/W Battery

M?ori participation in European sports was particularly evident in rugby and the country's team performs a haka (traditional M?ori challenge) before international matches.

New Zealand has competitive international teams in rugby union, netball, cricket, rugby league, and softball and has traditionally done well in triathlons, rowing, yachting and cycling.Sony VAIO VPCF119FC Battery

The country has performed well on a medals-to-population ratio at Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. New Zealand is known for its extreme sports, adventure tourism  and strong mountaineering tradition. Other outdoor pursuits such as cycling, fishing, swimming, running, tramping, canoeing, hunting, snowsports and surfing are also popular.Sony VAIO VPCF119FC/BI Battery

The Polynesian sport of waka ama racing has increased in popularity and is now an international sport involving teams from all over the Pacific.

New Zealand has a market economy which is greatly dependent on international trade, mainly with Australia, the European Union, the United States, China, and Japan. Sony VAIO VPCF119FJ/BI Battery

It has only small manufacturing and high-tech sectors, being strongly focused on tourism and primary industries like agriculture. Economic free-market reforms of the last decades have removed many barriers to foreign investment, and the World Bank in 2005 praised New Zealand as being the most business-friendly country in the world, before Singapore.Sony VAIO VPCF11AFJ Battery

Profile

Traditionally, New Zealand's economy was built upon on a narrow range of primary products, such as wool, meat and dairy products. As an example, from approximately 1920 to the late 1930s, the dairy export quota was usually around 35% of the total exports, and in some years made up almost 45% of all New Zealand's exports.Sony VAIO VPCF11AGJ Battery

Due to the high demand for these primary products – such as the New Zealand wool boom of 1951 – New Zealand enjoyed high standards of living. However, commodity prices for these exports declined, and New Zealand lost its preferential trading position with the United Kingdom in 1973, due to the latter joining theEuropean Economic Community. Sony VAIO VPCF11AHJ Battery

Partly as a result, from 1970 to 1990, the relative New Zealand purchasing power adjusted GDP per capita declined from about 115% of the OECD average to 80%.

Liberalisation

Since 1984, the government of New Zealand has undertaken major economic restructuring, moving an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access toward a more industrialised, free market economy that can compete globally. Sony VAIO VPCF11JFX/B Battery

This growth has boosted real incomes, broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector, and contained inflationary pressures. Inflation remains among the lowest in the industrial world. Per capita GDP has been moving up towards the levels of the big West European economies since the trough in 1990, but the gap remains significant. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E Battery

New Zealand's heavy dependence on trade leaves its growth prospects vulnerable to economic performance in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

New Zealand's economy has traditionally been based on a foundation of exports from its very efficient agricultural system. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H Battery

Leading agricultural exports include meat, dairy products, forest products, fruit and vegetables, fish, and wool. New Zealand was a direct beneficiary of many of the reforms achieved under the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, with agriculture in general and the dairy sector in particular enjoying many new trade opportunities in the long term. Sony VAIO VPCF11MFX/B Battery

The country has substantial hydroelectric power and sizeable reserves of natural gas, much of which is exploited due primarily to major Keynesian import substitution-oriented industrial projects (See Think Big). Leading manufacturing sectors are food processing, metal fabrication, and wood and paper products.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E Battery

Some manufacturing industries, many of which had only been established in a climate of import substitution with high tariffs and subsidies, such as car assembly, have completely disappeared, and manufacturing's importance in the economy is in a general decline.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B Battery

Outlook and challenges

The New Zealand economy has recently been perceived as successful. However, the generally positive outlook includes some challenges. New Zealand income levels, which used to be above much of Western Europe prior to the deep crisis of the 1970s, have never recovered in relative terms. Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E Battery

The New Zealand GDP per capita is for instance less than that of Spain and about 60% that of the United States. Income inequality has increased greatly, implying that significant portions of the population have quite modest incomes. Further, New Zealand has a very large current account deficit of 8–9% of GDP.Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI Battery

However, despite this, its public debt stands at only 21.2% (2006 est.) of the total GDP, which is small compared to many developed nations. However, between 1984 and 2006, net foreign debt increased 11-fold, to NZ$182 billion, NZ$45,000 for each person.Sony VAIO VPCF11ZHJ Battery

The combination of a modest public debt and a large net foreign debt reflects that most of the net foreign debt is held by the private sector. At 31 December 2010, net foreign debt was NZ$253 billion, or 132% of GDP. At 31 March 2011, net international debt was $148.2 billion.Sony VAIO VPCF127HGBI Battery

New Zealand's persistent current account deficits have two main causes. The first is that earnings from agricultural exports and tourism have failed to cover the imports of advanced manufactured goods and other imports (such as imported fuels) required to sustain the New Zealand economy. Sony VAIO VPCF137HG/BI Battery

Secondly, there has been an investment income imbalance or net outflow for debt-servicing of external loans. The proportion of the current account deficit that is attributable to the investment income imbalance (a net outflow to the Australian-owned banking sector) grew from one third in 1997 to roughly 70% in 2008.Sony VAIO VPCS111FM/S Battery

1900s–1970s – Regulation and welfare state

Historically, New Zealand had a highly protected, regulated and subsidised economy. This stemmed at least partly from trends started in the first half of the 20th century, Sony VAIO VPCS115EC Battery

when the First Liberal Government and later the First Labour Government introduced both social security systems with for the time very wide-ranging scope (from state pensions to unemployment benefits and free education and health care), while also regulating industry, mandating trade unionism and industrial arbitration. Sony VAIO VPCS115FG Battery

Imports were also heavily regulated. While called 'welfare statism' by some[who?], it was accepted that until at least the 1950s, both main parties (Labour and National) generally supported this trend, even though critics pointed to negative effects on the general economy and argued that increasing emigration could be blamed to a large degree on these policies.Sony VAIO VPCS117GG Battery

By the 1960s, the New Zealand economy's terms of trade began to decline. This was largely due to the decline in export receipts from the United Kingdom, which in 1955 took 65.3 percent of New Zealand's exports. By the year ended June 1973, during which Britain formally entered the European Economic Community, this had fallen to 26.8 percent. Sony VAIO VPCS117GGB Battery

By the year ended June 1990 its share had fallen to 7.2 percent and in the year ended June 2000 its share was 6.2 percent.

To a substantial degree, the economic restrictions remained in place or were even sometimes extended in the early second half of the 20th century. However, reforms in the 1980s and early 1990s were then to turn this situation into its opposite.Sony VAIO VPCS118EC Battery

1980s–1990s – Reform and liberalisation

Since 1984, government subsidies including those for agriculture have been eliminated; import regulations have been liberalised; exchange rates have been freely floated; controls on interest rates, wages, and prices have been removed; and marginal rates of taxation reduced. Sony VAIO VPCS119FJ/B Battery

Tight monetary policy and major efforts to reduce the government budget deficit brought the inflation rate down from an annual rate of more than 18% in 1987. The deregulation of government-owned enterprises in the 1980s and 1990s reduced government's role in the economy and permitted the retirement of some public debt, Sony VAIO VPCS119GC Battery

but simultaneously massively increased the necessity for greater welfare spending and has led to considerably higher rates of unemployment than were standard in New Zealand in earlier decades.

Deregulation created a very business-friendly regulatory framework. Sony VAIO VPCS11AFJ Battery

A 2008 study and survey ranked it 99.9% in "Business freedom", and 80% overall in "Economic freedom", noting amongst other things that it only takes 12 days to establish a business in New Zealand on average, compared with a worldwide average of 43 days. Other indicators measured were property rights, Sony VAIO VPCS11AGJ Battery

labour market conditions, government controls and corruption, the last being considered "next to non-existent" in the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal study.

In its 'Doing Business 2008' survey, the World Bank (which in that year rated New Zealand as the second-most business-friendly country worldwide), ranked New Zealand 13th out of 178 in the business-friendliness of its hiring laws.Sony VAIO VPCS11AHJ Battery

The 1990s liberalisations also had a number of significant negative effects for New Zealand. One of them was the leaky homes crisis, where the liberalisation of building standards (in the expectation that market forces would assure quality) led to many thousands of severely deficient buildings (mostly residential homes and apartments) being constructed over a period of a decade. Sony VAIO VPCS11AVJ Battery

The costs of fixing the damage has been estimated at over NZ$11 billion.

2000s – Recent trends

Economic growth, which had slowed in 1997 and 1998 due to the negative effects of the Asian financial crisis and two successive years of drought, rebounded in 1999.Sony VAIO VPCS11J7E/B Battery

A low New Zealand dollar, favourable weather, and high commodity prices boosted exports, and the economy is estimated to have grown by 2.5% in 2000. Growth resumed at a higher level from 2001 onwards due primarily to the lower value of the New Zealand dollar which made exports more competitive.Sony VAIO VPCS11M1E/W Battery

The return of substantial economic growth led the unemployment rate to drop from 7.8% in 1999 to 3.4% in late 2005, the lowest rate in nearly 20 years.

Although New Zealand enjoyed low unemployment rates in the years immediately prior to the financial crisis beginning in 2007,Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E Battery

subsequent unemployment rose and according to Statistics New Zealand"In seasonally adjusted terms", New Zealand’s unemployment rate stood at 6.8% percent during the December 2010 quarter".

New Zealand's large current account deficit, which stood at more than 6.5% of GDP in 2000, has been a constant source of concern for New Zealand policymakers and hit 9% as of March 2006.Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E/B Battery

The rebound in the export sector is expected to help narrow the deficit to lower levels, especially due to decreases in the exchange rate of the New Zealand dollar during 2008.

Foreign business relations

New Zealand's economy has been helped by strong economic relations with Australia. Sony VAIO VPCS11X9E/B Battery

Australia and New Zealand are partners in "Closer Economic Relations" (CER), which allows for free trade in goods and most services. Since 1990, CER has created a single market of more than 25 million people, and this has provided new opportunities for New Zealand exporters.Sony VAIO VPCS123FGB Battery

Australia is now the destination of 19% of New Zealand's exports, compared to 14% in 1983. Both sides also have agreed to consider extending CER to product standardisation and taxation policy. New Zealand initiated afree trade agreement with Singapore in September 2000 which was extended in 2005 to include Chile and Brunei and is now known as the P4 agreement.Sony VAIO VPCS125EC Battery

New Zealand is seeking other bilateral/regional trade agreements in the Pacific area.

U.S. goods and services have been competitive in New Zealand, though the then-strong U.S. dollar created challenges for U.S. exporters in 2001. The market-led economy offers many opportunities for U.S. exporters and investors. Sony VAIO VPCS128EC Battery

Investment opportunities exist in chemicals, food preparation, finance, tourism, and forest products, as well as in franchising. The best sales prospects are for medical equipment, information technology, and consumer goods. On the agricultural side, the best prospects are for fresh fruit, snack foods, specialised grocery items (e.g. organic foods), and soybean meal. Sony VAIO VPCS129GC Battery

A number of U.S. companies have subsidiary branches in New Zealand. Many operate through local agents, with some joint venture associations. The American Chamber of Commerce is active in New Zealand, with its main office in Auckland and a branch committee in Wellington.Sony VAIO VPCS12C7E/B Battery

However, as of the 2010s, China is now New Zealand's second-largest trading partner, behind Australia.[22][23] On 17 June 2010, Xi Jinping, China's vice-president, travelled to Auckland, New Zealand for a three-day visit, along with more than 100 senior business leaders.Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B Battery

New Zealand welcomes and encourages foreign investment without discrimination. The Overseas Investment Commission (OIC) must however give consent to foreign investments that would control 25% or more of businesses or property worth more than NZ$50 million. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B Battery

Restrictions and approval requirements also apply to certain investments in land and in the commercial fishing industry. In practice, OIC approval requirements have not hindered investment. OIC consent is based on a national interest determination, but no performance requirements are attached to foreign direct investment after consent is given. Sony VAIO VPCY115FGS Battery

Full remittance of profits and capital is permitted through normal banking channels.

This free investment by foreign capital has also been criticised. Groups like Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) consider that New Zealand's economy is substantially overseas-owned,Sony VAIO VPCY115FX/BI Battery

noting that direct ownership of New Zealand companies by foreign parties increased from $9.7 billion in 1989 to $83 billion in 2007 (an over 700% increase), while 41% of the New Zealand sharemarket valuation is now overseas-owned, compared to 19% in 1989. Around 7% of all New Zealand agriculturally productive land is also foreign-owned. Sony VAIO VPCY115FXBI Battery

CAFCA considers that the effect of such takeovers has generally been negative in terms of jobs and wages.

Unemployment

Prior to the economic shocks which occurred upon Britain's joining the EEC in the 1970s and closing as a primary New Zealand export market, measured unemployment in New Zealand was very low. Sony VAIO VPCY118EC Battery

In 1959 and 1960, for example, the country was officially at full employment. One Labour party representative recently joked in a speech that the Prime Minister of the day knew the name of every unemployed person.

In the middle 2000s, the national unemployment rate stood at 3.4% (December 2007), its historically lowest level since the current method of surveying began in 1986. Sony VAIO VPCY118GX/BI Battery

This gave the country the 5th-best ranking in the OECD (with an OECD average at the time of 5.5%). The low numbers correlated with a robust economy and a large backlog of job positions at all levels.Its worth noting, however, that unemployment numbers are not always directly comparable between OECD nations, Sony VAIO VPCY119FJ/S Battery

as they do not all measure voluntary and involuntary separation from the labour market in the same way.

The percentage of the population employed also increased in recent years, to 68.8% of all inhabitants, with full-time jobs increasing slightly, and part-time occupations decreasing in turn. Sony VAIO VPCY11AFJ Battery

The increase in the working population percentage is attributed to increasing wages and higher costs of living moving more people into employment. The low unemployment also had some disadvantages, with many companies unable to fill jobs.Sony VAIO VPCY11AGJ Battery

In the late 2000s, mainly as a result of the global financial crisis, unemployment numbers rose to a 10-year high of 6% in mid-2009, with the job losses being especially hard amongst women. Seasonally adjusted employment levels fell 0.4 per cent to 2.17 million people, while the number of unemployed rose to 138,000 people.Sony VAIO VPCY11AHJ Battery

Taxation

As of 2010, New Zealand had the second-lowest personal tax burden in the OECD, once all compulsory effects (such as superannuation and other mandatory deductions) were included in the tax-take. Only Mexico's citizens had a higher percentage-wise "take home" proportion of their salaries.Sony VAIO VPCY11AVJ Battery

There is an ongoing political debate between left-leaning and right-leaning political parties as to whether further lowering taxes is appropriate. One of the most contentious

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