Printout of New Zealand Official Yearbook, On the Web 1999 (as at 1 September 1999)

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This printout is a direct copy of the New Zealand Official Yearbook, On The Web 1999 ( which was launched in August 1999.

As this printout is sourced from the web publication it does not have an index. The printout shows the links to the latest statistical information and other organisations' websites which are only active in the web version. Graphs and tables have been designed to be viewed on screen and have not been altered for this print copy.


Statistics New Zealand gives no warranty that the information or data supplied contains no errors and shall not be liable for any loss or damage suffered consequent on the use, directly or indirectly, of the material contained in this publication.

Published in September 1999 by

Statistics New Zealand
Te Tari Tatau
Wellington, New Zealand

Catalogue Number 01.001.0099
ISSN 1175-0731

Recommended retail price $25.00
(includes 12.5% GST)

Table of Contents

List of Tables

Welcome from the Government Statistician

Since 1892, the “New Zealand Official Yearbook” has been the most reliable and widely accessible authoritative source of information about New Zealand. The yearbook is a robust, consistent chronicle of New Zealand's economic and social progress.

New opportunities to improve access to the yearbook, and improve its usefulness, have led us to issue the yearbook as a free internet service, offering both more and less than our printed Yearbook. In 2000, we will produce both paper and web versions of the publication.

The “New Zealand Official Yearbook, On The Web” is a first step towards the future, and we welcome your thoughts on how we can make it more useful to you.

Len Cook
Government Statistician

Chapter 1. Geography

1.1 Physical features

New Zealand lies in the south-west Pacific Ocean and comprises two main and a number of smaller islands. Their combined area of 270,500 sq km is similar to the size of Japan or the British Isles.

The main North and South Islands are separated by Cook Strait, which at its narrowest point is 20 km wide. The administrative boundaries of New Zealand extend from 33° to 53° south latitude, and from 160° east to 173° west longitude.

Table 1.1. Land area of New Zealand, 1998(1)

Land areaSize (sq km)

(1) Includes all internal waterways (lakes and rivers).

(2) Includes all offshore islands 20 sq km or larger, except those listed separately.

Source: Land Information New Zealand

North Island113729
South Island150437
Offshore islands (2)1065
Stewart Island1680
Chatham Islands963
Raoul Island34
Campbell Island113

New Zealand is more than 1,600 km long and 450 km wide at its widest part. In the North Island the main ranges run generally north-east to south-west. A massive mountain chain, the Southern Alps, runs almost the length of the South Island. There are many outlying ranges to the Southern Alps in the north, and the south-west of the South Island.

The highest mountain is Mt Cook (3,754 m). The longest river is the Waikato (425 km) and the largest lake is Lake Taupo (606 sq km).

1.2 Geology and soils

New Zealand is in an area of the world characterised by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. The boundary between the Indo-Australian plate and the Pacific plate runs through New Zealand.

Rock types

Almost three-quarters of New Zealand is covered by sedimentary rocks. The most common forms are sandstone, mudstone, greywacke, conglomerate and limestone. Other rock types are metamorphic rocks (schist, gneiss and marble), intrusive igneous rocks (granite, gabbro, diorite and serpentine) and volcanic rocks (basalt, andesite, rhyolite and ignimbrite).

Regional land usage

Table 1.2. Classification of New Zealand land usage

RegionVegetation and land use
North Auckland Peninsula and Auckland regionPatchy land use. Exotic forests on sand country and remnant kauri forest on uplands. Intensive dairying on rolling lands around Kaipara Harbour, Whangarei, Kaikohe and Dargaville. Sheep and beef on hill country.
Bay of Plenty-Waikato-Thames-Hauraki PlainsIntensively-farmed dairying region. Much of better dairying land in Bay of Plenty established on kiwifruit and subtropical horticulture. Maize cropping in Waikato Basin.
Volcanic PlateauImportant watershed with large areas protected as native forest. Extensive exotic forests. Topdressing of former scrub areas with trace elements has allowed widespread farming.
East Coast-WairarapaSemi-extensive sheep farming (wool and store sheep) on dry hill country. Intensive lamb production on flat to rolling plains. Market gardens and orchards near Gisborne, Napier, and Hastings. Important pip-fruit production. Vineyards. Pockets of dairying close to main ranges from Norsewood south.
TaranakiDistinct contrast between intensive dairying on ring plain, and severely eroded inland hill country, with many steep ridges covered in second-growth forest or dense gorse.
Manawatu-HorowhenuaIntensive sheep production and cropping on the terrace country; semi-intensive sheep and beef in hill country of Rangitikei. Exotic forestry on coastal sand country.
Marlborough Sounds-NelsonIntensive orcharding and market gardens. Exotic forests in Marlborough Sounds and Moutere Gravels.
Marlborough-Kaikoura CoastIntensive sheep farming and cropping on river terraces; semi-intensive sheep and beef on hill country. Vineyards in lower Wairau Valley.
West CoastIndigenous forestry declining; national parks and reserves; exotic forestry on hill country of north Westland. Dairying on river flats.
CanterburyIntensive cropping for cereals and fodder crops. Intensive sheep production, with widespread irrigation of pasture.
OtagoExtensive sheep and beef farming in uplands. Intensive orcharding in Central Otago basins, especially for stonefruit; irrigation necessary. Market gardening in lower Taieri.
SouthlandSemi-intensive sheep and beef farming in rolling areas inland, and intensive fattening on plains. Dairying on plains near Invercargill.


New Zealand's topography is varied with 50 percent of the land classifiable as steep, 20 percent as moderately hilly, and 30 percent as rolling or flat. The natural vegetation ranges from kauri forest to subalpine scrub, and from tussock grassland to broadleaf forest.

Between six million and one million years ago, mountain chains were pushed up. Erosion has transformed the landscape since that time, while glaciers have carved the fiords of Fiordland and the valleys occupied by most of the South Island lakes. Volcanic activity has also shaped the landscape. The most recognisable volcanoes include Ruapehu, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, White Island and Mount Tarawera, which are active, and Mount Taranaki (or Egmont) and Rangitoto, which are considered dormant at present.


Compared with some other countries lying around the rim of the Pacific, the level of seismic activity in New Zealand is moderate. A shock of Richter magnitude 6 or above occurs on average about once a year, a shock of magnitude 7 or above once in ten years, and a shock of about magnitude 8 perhaps once a century.

The Main Seismic Region covers the whole of the North Island except Northland peninsula, and north of a line roughly passing between Banks Peninsula and Cape Foulwind in the South Island. The Southern, or Fiordland, Seismic Region includes southern Westland, western Southland, and western Otago.

Principal earthquakes in 1998

While there were no large damaging earthquakes in 1998, moderate-sized events did occur, including several in places where few earthquakes have been recorded such as on Waiheke Island, near Haast, and inland from Oamaru near Danseys Pass.

Large deep earthquakes under the North Island are relatively common. The largest of these for 1998 occurred on 21 April at a depth of 230 km, with a magnitude of just over 6.5. While located 30 km west of Taumaranui, that event was felt from Gisborne to Christchurch and across to Taranaki.

Swarms of earthquakes, i.e. a series of shocks with no clear mainshock, are common in New Zealand especially in volcanic regions. The most active swarm recorded in 1998 started on 25 March just south of Rotorua where 40 of the swarm earthquakes were felt.

Earthquake risk

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) engaged Works Consultancy Services (WCS) to study the worst foreseeable disaster that could reasonably be anticipated within a generation. This event was a 7.5 Richter scale earthquake along the Wellington fault line within the city limits. It has a probability of occurring within the next 50 years of between 8 and 11 percent.

1.3 Climate

The climate of New Zealand is largely influenced by:

  • Its location in a latitude zone where the prevailing wind flow is westerly.

  • Its oceanic environment.

  • Its mountains, especially the main mountain chain which modifies the weather systems.

The day-to-day weather is mostly determined by a series of anticyclones and troughs of low pressure in the westerlies. Consequently New Zealand weather is changeable, typically with short periods of a few days of settled or unsettled weather. There is a marked contrast between the climates of regions west and east of the mountains. New Zealand largely has a “marine” climate-except in Central Otago which most nearly approaches a “continental” climate (dry with hot summers and cold winters).

Weather in 1998

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) climate summary 1998:

1.4 Wildlife and vegetation

New Zealand separated from its nearest neighbours over 80 million years ago. Some of the original inhabitants endured while other species died out, for example, coconut palms were once found in New Zealand. The pre-human community was notable for the absence of snakes, land mammals (save three species of bat) and many of the flowering plant families.

Wildlife and fauna

Whole orders and families are found only in New Zealand: tuātara, moa and kiwi, all of the native lizards, and all the native earthworms (nearly 200 species) to name just a few. Moa (11 species, some up to 3 m tall) became extinct in pre-European times, but many other large flightless birds still remain including kiwi, the nocturnal kākāpō (the only flightless parrot in the world), and weka (of the rail family). Flightless insects are numerous including many large beetles and 70 or so endemic species of the cricket-like weta.

New Zealand has the most diverse seabird fauna of any country (87 species). About 400 different marine fish are resident in the waters around New Zealand as well as various species of seal, dolphins and porpoises. Thirty-two species of whale have been recorded.


The most widespread and complex type of forest in New Zealand is a podocarp (conifer) broadleaf association. It is characterised by the variety of species, a stratified canopy and an abundance of vines and epiphytic plants. Kauri, which dominates only in the warmer climes to the north, and beech are other forest types.

A remarkable 25 percent of all New Zealand's plants can be found above the treeline. Ninety-three percent of all the alpine plants are endemic (compared with 80 percent for the rest of the higher plants). Snow tussock herb-fields are one of the most distinctive elements in this cold, windswept environment. A definitive feature of New Zealand's land-based plants and animals is their degree of specialisation and narrow habitat requirements (e.g. takahē/tussock grasslands; blue duck/fast flowing rivers and streams), and their evolution in the absence of mammalian predators (birds) or browsers (plants). This specialisation, and the adaptations which make New Zealand's wildlife so unique, render them extremely vulnerable to introduced predators (such as rats and cats) and competitors (such as deer and possums) and loss of habitat.

Introduced vegetation and wildlife

In the pre-1800 period following the arrival and expansion of Māori, forest cover was reduced and some 34 species became extinct including moa, the adzebill and the flightless goose. In the much shorter post-1800 period of European settlement the area of forest was further reduced to around 25 percent of the land, 9 more birds became extinct and many more are threatened. Many new species were introduced (since 1840 over 80 species of mammal, bird and fish and more than 1,800 plant species) totally changing the landscape and ecology.

1.5 Time zone

New Zealand Standard Time (NZST) is 12 hours ahead of Co-ordinated Universal Time (UTC). One hour of daylight saving, named New Zealand Daylight Time (NZDT), which is 13 hours ahead of UTC, is observed from 2am (NZST) on the first Sunday in October until 2am (NZST) on the third Sunday in March. Time kept in the Chatham Islands is 45 minutes ahead of that kept in New Zealand.

Chapter 2. History

2.1 Timeline of main events in New Zealand history

Table 2.1. c1300 - 1799

c1300Archaeological evidence indicates that Polynesian settlement was established by this date.
1642Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman discovers a land he calls Staten Landt, later named Nieuw Zeeland.
1769British explorer James Cook makes the first of three visits to New Zealand, taking possession of the country in the name of King George III.
1790sSealing, deep-sea whaling, the flax and timber trades begin, with some small temporary settlements. First severe introduced epidemic among Māori population.
1791First visit by a whaling vessel, the “William and Ann”, to Doubtless Bay.

Table 2.2. 1800 - 1849

1806First Pākehā women arrive in New Zealand.
1814British missionary Samuel Marsden makes first visit to New Zealand. Anglican mission station established. Sheep, cattle, horses and poultry are introduced.
1815Thomas Holloway King is the first Pākehā child born in New Zealand.
1819Raids on Taranaki and Te Whanganui-a-tara regions by Ngapuhi and Ngāti Toa people led by chiefs Patuone, Nene, Moetara, Tuwhare and Te Rauparaha.
1820Hongi Hika, Ngapuhi chief, visits England, meets King George IV and secures supply of muskets.
1821Musket wars begin with raids by Hongi Hika and Te Morenga on southern iwi and continue throughout the decade.
1822Ngāti Toa migration south to Cook Strait region, led by Te Rauparaha, begins.
1823Jurisdiction of New South Wales courts is extended to British citizens in New Zealand. Wesleyan Missionary Society mission established. First Church of England marriage between Philip Tapsell and Māori girl, Maria Ringa.
1824Te Heke Niho-puta migration of Taranaki iwi to the Kapiti Coast. Rawiri Taiwhanga in Bay of Islands sells dairy produce and other food supplies to visiting ships.
1827Te Rauparaha's invasion of the South Island from Kapiti begins.
1830First acorn planted at Waimate North where agricultural mission and school established.
1831Whaling stations established at Tory Channel and Preservation Inlet.
1833James Busby, appointed British Resident in New Zealand, arrives at the Bay of Islands.
1834United Tribes' flag adopted by some 25 northern chiefs at Busby's suggestion.
1835Declaration of Independence by the “United Tribes of New Zealand” signed by 34 northern chiefs.
1837New Zealand Association formed in London, becoming the New Zealand Colonisation Society in 1838 and the New Zealand Company in 1839, under the inspiration of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. William Colenso completes printing the New Testament in Māori, the first book printed in New Zealand.
1838Bishop Pompallier founds Roman Catholic Mission at Hokianga.
1839William Hobson instructed to establish British rule in New Zealand, as a dependency of New South Wales. Colonel William Wakefield of the New Zealand Company arrives on the “Tory” to purchase land for a settlement.
1840New Zealand Company settlers arrive at Port Nicholson, Wellington. Treaty of Waitangi signed at Bay of Islands and later over most of the country. British sovereignty proclaimed. French settlers land at Akaroa. Hobson becomes first Governor and sets up executive and legislative councils.
1841European settlements established at New Plymouth and Wanganui. Capital shifted from Kororareka to Auckland.
1842Main body of settlers arrive at Nelson.
1843Twenty-two European settlers and four Māori killed at a confrontation at Tua Marina, near the Wairau, in Marlborough. Robert FitzRoy becomes Governor.
1844Hone Heke begins the “War in the North”. New Zealand Company suspends its colonising operations due to financial difficulties.
1845George Grey becomes Governor.
1846War in the north ends with capture of Ruapekapeka. First New Zealand Constitution Act passed. Heaphy, Fox and Brunner begin exploring the West Coast. First steam vessel, HMS “Driver”, arrives in New Zealand waters.
1848Settlement founded by Scottish Otago Association. Provinces of New Ulster and New Munster set up under 1846 Act. Coal discovered at Brunner on the West Coast. Earthquake in Marlborough damages most Wellington buildings.

Table 2.3. 1850 - 1899

1850Canterbury settlement founded.
1852Second New Zealand Constitution Act passed creating General Assembly and six provinces with representative government.
1853Idea of a Māori King canvassed by Tamihana Te Rauparaha and Matene Te Whiwhi.
1854First session of the General Assembly opens in Auckland.
1855Governor Thomas Gore Browne, appointed in 1854, arrives. Severe earthquake on both sides of Cook Strait. Adhesive, imperforate postage stamps on sale.
1856Henry Sewell forms first ministry under responsible government and becomes first Premier. Edward Stafford forms first stable ministry.
1858New Provinces Act passed. Te Wherowhero installed as first Māori King, taking name Potatau I.
1859First session of Hawke's Bay and Marlborough provincial councils. Gold discovered in Buller River. New Zealand Insurance Company established.
1860Waitara dispute develops into general warfare in Taranaki.
1861Grey begins second governorship. Gold discovered at Gabriel's Gully; Otago goldrushes begin. First session of Southland provincial council. Bank of New Zealand incorporated at Auckland.
1862First electric telegraph line opens-from Christchurch to Lyttleton. First gold shipment from Dunedin to London.
1863War resumes in Taranaki and begins in Waikato when General Cameron crosses the Mangatawhiri stream. New Zealand Settlements Act passed to effect land confiscation. First steam railway in New Zealand opened.
1864War in the Waikato ends with battle of Orakau. Land in Waikato, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay confiscated. Gold discovered in Marlborough and Westland. Arthur, George and Edward Dobson are the first Pākehā to cross what becomes known as Arthur's Pass.
1865Seat of government transferred from Auckland to Wellington. Native Land Court established. Māori resistance continues. Auckland streets lit by gas for first time.
1866Cook Strait submarine telegraph cable laid. Christchurch to Hokitika road opens. Cobb and Co. coaches run from Canterbury to the West Coast.
1867Thames goldfield opens. Four Māori seats established in Parliament. Lyttleton railway tunnel completed. Armed constabulary established.
1868Māori resistance continues through campaigns of Te Kooti Arikirangi and Titokowaru. New Zealand's first sheep breed, the Corriedale, is developed.
1869New Zealand's first university, the University of Otago, is established.
1870The last imperial forces leave New Zealand. Vogel's public works and immigration policy begins. New Zealand University Act passed, establishing a federal system which lasts until 1961. Vogel announces national railway construction programme; over 1,000 miles constructed by 1879. First rugby match. Auckland to San Francisco mail service begins.
1871Deer freed in Otago.
1872Te Kooti retreats to the King Country and Māori armed resistance ceases. Telegraph communication links Auckland, Wellington and southern provinces.
1873New Zealand Shipping Company established.
1874First New Zealand steam engine built at Invercargill.
1876Abolition of the provinces and establishment of local government by counties and boroughs. New Zealand-Australia telegraph cable established.
1877Education Act passed, establishing national system of primary education.
1878Completion of Christchurch-Invercargill railway.
1879Triennial Parliaments Act passed. Vote is given to every male aged 21 and over. Kaitangata mine explosion, 34 people die. Annual property tax introduced.
1881Parihaka community forcibly broken up by troops. Te Whiti, Tohu Kakahi and followers arrested and imprisoned. Wreck of SS “Tararua”, 131 people die. Auckland and Christchurch telephone exchanges open.
1882First shipment of frozen meat leaves Port Chalmers for England on the “Dunedin”.
1883Te Kooti pardoned, Te Whiti and other prisoners released. Direct steamer link established between New Zealand and Britain.
1884King Tawhiao visits England with petition to the Queen, appealing to the Treaty of Waitangi, and is refused access. First overseas tour by a New Zealand rugby team, to New South Wales. Construction of King Country section of North Island main trunk railway begins.
1886Mt Tarawera erupts and the Pink and White Terraces are destroyed, 153 people die. Oil is discovered in Taranaki.
1887New Zealand's first national park, Tongariro, is presented to the nation by Te Heuheu Tukino IV. Reefton becomes first town to have electricity. First inland parcel post service.
1888Birth of writer Katherine Mansfield.
1889Abolition of non-residential or property qualification to vote. First New Zealand-built locomotive completed at Addington.
1890Maritime Strike involves 8000 unionists. “Sweating” Commission reports on employment conditions. First election on a one-man one-vote basis.
1891John McKenzie introduces the first of a series of measures to promote closer land settlement. John Ballance becomes Premier of first Liberal Government.
1892First Kotahitanga Māori Parliament meets.
1893Franchise extended to women. John Ballance dies and is succeeded by Richard John Seddon. Liquor licensing poll introduced. Elizabeth Yates becomes first woman mayor, of Onehunga. Banknotes become legal tender.
1894Compulsory arbitration of industrial disputes and reform of employment laws. Advances to Settlers Act. Clark, Fyfe and Graham become the first people to climb Mt Cook. Wreck of SS “Wairarapa”.
1896National Council of Women is founded. Brunner Mine explosion, 67 people killed. Census measures national population as 743,214.
1897First of series of colonial and later imperial conferences held in London. Apirana Ngata and others form Te Aute College Students' Association.
1898Old Age Pensions Act. First cars imported to New Zealand.
1899New Zealand army contingent is sent to the South African war. First celebration of Labour Day.

Table 2.4. 1900 - 1949

1900Māori Councils Act passed. Public Health Act passed setting up Department of Public Health in 1901.
1901Cook and other Pacific Islands annexed. Penny postage first used.
1902Pacific cable begins operating between New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. Wreck of SS “Elingamite”.
1904Richard Pearse achieves semi-controlled flight near Timaru.
1905New Zealand rugby team tours England and becomes known as the All Blacks. Old Age Pension increases to £26 per year; however, eligibility tightened.
1906Seddon dies and is succeeded by Joseph Ward as Premier.
1907New Zealand constituted as a Dominion. Fire destroys Parliament buildings.
1908Auckland to Wellington main trunk railway line opens. Ernest Rutherford is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. New Zealand's population reaches one million.
1909“Red” Federation of Labour formed. SS “Penguin” wrecked in Cook Strait, 75 people die. Compulsory military training introduced. Stamp-vending machine invented and manufactured in New Zealand.
1910Halley's Comet sighted in New Zealand.
1912William Massey wins vote in the House and becomes first Reform Party Prime Minister. Waihi miners strike.
1913Waterfront strikes in Auckland and Wellington.
1914World War I begins and German Samoa is occupied. New Zealand Expeditionary Forces are despatched to Egypt. Huntly coal mine disaster, 43 people die.
1915New Zealand forces take part in Gallipoli campaign. Reform and Liberal parties form National War Cabinet. Britain announces its intention to purchase all New Zealand meat exports during war.
1916New Zealand troops transfer from Western Front. Conscription introduced. Labour Party formed. Lake Coleridge electricity supply scheme opened.
1917Battle of Passchendaele, 3,700 New Zealanders killed. Six o'clock public house closing introduced. Lord Liverpool becomes first Governor-General.
1918New Zealand Division in the Battle of the Somme. End of World War I. Influenza epidemic in which an estimated 8,500 die. Creation of power boards for electricity distribution. Prohibition petition with 242,001 signatures presented to Parliament.
1919Women eligible for election to Parliament. Massey signs Treaty of Versailles. First official airmail flight from Auckland to Dargaville.
1920Anzac Day established. New Zealand gets League of Nations mandate to govern Western Samoa. First aeroplane flight across Cook Strait.
1921New Zealand Division of Royal Navy established.
1922Meat Producers' Board placed in control of meat exports.
1923Otira tunnel opens. Ross Dependency proclaimed. Death of Katherine Mansfield.
1926National public broadcasting begins under auspices of Radio Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
1928New Zealand Summer Time introduced. General election won by new United Party. Kingsford-Smith completes first flight across Tasman Sea.
1929Economic depression gets worse. Severe earthquake in Murchison-Karamea district, 17 people die. First health stamps issued.
1930Unemployment Board set up to provide relief work.
1931Newly formed Coalition Government under George Forbes wins general election. Hawke's Bay earthquake, 256 die. Substantial percentage reductions in public service wages and salaries. Airmail postage stamps introduced.
1932Compulsory arbitration of industrial disputes abolished. Unemployed riots in Auckland, Dunedin and Christchurch. Reductions in old-age and other pensions.
1933Elizabeth McCombs becomes first woman MP. Distinctive New Zealand coins first issued.
1934Reserve Bank and Mortgage Corporation established. First trans-Tasman airmail.
1935First Labour Government elected under Michael Joseph Savage. Air services begin across Cook Strait.
1936Reserve Bank taken over by state. State housing programme launched. Guaranteed prices for dairy products introduced. National Party formed from former Coalition MPs. Inter-island trunk air services introduced. Jack Lovelock wins New Zealand's first Olympic gold. Jean Batten's record flight from England. Working week reduced from 44 to 40 hours.
1937Federation of Labour unifies trade union movement. RNZAF set up as separate branch of armed forces.
1938Social Security Act establishes revised pensions structure and the basis of a national health service. Import and exchange controls are introduced.
1939World War II begins. Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force formed. Bulk purchases of farm products by Great Britain. HMS “Achilles” takes part in Battle of the River Plate.
1940Michael Joseph Savage dies and is succeeded by Peter Fraser. Sidney Holland becomes Leader of Opposition. Conscription for military service. German mines laid across Hauraki Gulf.
1941Japan enters the war. Māori War Effort Organisation set up. Pharmaceutical and general practitioner medical benefits introduced.
1942Economic stabilisation. New Zealand troops in Battle of El Alamein. Food rationing introduced. Mobilisation of women for essential work.
1943New Zealand troops take part in invasion of Italy.
1944Australia-New Zealand Agreement provides for co-operation in the South Pacific.
1945War in Europe ends on 8 May and in the Pacific on 15 August. New Zealand signs United Nations charter. Māori Social and Economic Advancement Act passed. National Airways Corporation founded.
1946Family benefit of £1 per week becomes universal. Bank of New Zealand nationalised.
1947Statute of Westminster adopted by New Zealand Parliament. First public performance by National Orchestra. Mabel Howard becomes first woman cabinet minister. Fire in Ballantyne's department store, Christchurch, 41 people die.
1948Protest campaign against exclusion of Māori players from rugby tour of South Africa. Polio epidemic closes schools. Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe erupt. Meat rationing ends.
1949Referendum agrees to compulsory military training. National Government elected. New Zealand gets first four navy frigates.

Table 2.5. 1950 - 1999

1950Naval and ground forces sent to Korean War. Legislative Council abolished. Wool boom.
1951Prolonged waterfront dispute-state of emergency proclaimed. ANZUS treaty signed between United States, Australia and New Zealand. Māori Women's Welfare League established.
1952Population reaches over two million.
1953First tour by a reigning monarch. Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first to climb Mount Everest. Railway disaster at Tangiwai, 151 people die. World sheep-shearing record set by Godfrey Bowen.
1954New Zealand signs South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty. Gains seat on United Nations Security Council. Social Credit gets 10 percent of vote in general election, but no seat in Parliament.
1955Pulp and paper mill opens at Kawerau. Rimutaka rail tunnel opened.
1956New Zealand troops sent to Malaya. Roxburgh and Whakamaru power stations in operation.
1957National loses election; Walter Nash leads second Labour Government. Last hanging. Scott Base established in Ross Dependency. Court of Appeal constituted. Dairy products gain 10 years of unrestricted access to Britain.
1958PAYE tax introduced. Arnold Nordmeyer's “Black Budget”. First geothermal electricity generated at Wairakei. First heart-lung machine used at Greenlane Hospital, Auckland.
1959Antarctic Treaty signed with other countries involved in scientific exploration in Antarctica. Auckland harbour bridge opened.
1960Regular television programmes begin in Auckland. National Government elected. Government Service Equal Pay Act passed.
1961New Zealand joins the International Monetary Fund. Capital punishment abolished.
1962New Zealand troops sent to Malaysia during “confrontation” with Indonesia. Western Samoa becomes independent. Sir Guy Powles becomes first Ombudsman. New Zealand Māori Council established. Cook Strait rail ferry service begins. Taranaki gas well opens. Peter Snell establishes mile and half-mile world running records.
1964Marsden Point oil refinery opens at Whangarei. Cook Strait power cables laid. Auckland's population reaches half a million.
1965NAFTA agreement negotiated with Australia. Support for United States in Vietnam; New Zealand combat force sent, protest movement begins. Cook Islands becomes self-governing.
1966International airport officially opens at Auckland. New Zealand labour force reaches one million. National Library of New Zealand created. Te Ata-i-rangi-kaahu becomes first Māori Queen.
1967Referendum extends hotel closing hours to 10pm. Decimal currency introduced. Lord Arthur Porritt becomes first New Zealand-born Governor-General. Breath and blood tests introduced for suspected drinking drivers.
1968Inter-island ferry “Wahine” sinks in severe storm in Wellington Harbour, 51 people die. Three die in Inangahua earthquake.
1969Vote extended to 20-year-olds. National Government wins fourth election in a row. First output from Glenbrook Steel Mill.
1970Natural gas from Kapuni supplied to Auckland.
1971New Zealand secures continued access of butter and cheese to the United Kingdom. Nga Tamatoa protest at Waitangi celebrations. Tiwai Point aluminium smelter begins operating. Warkworth satellite station begins operation.
1972Labour Government led by Norman Kirk elected. Equal Pay Act passed.
1973Great Britain becomes a member of the EEC. Naval frigate despatched in protest against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. New Zealand's population reaches three million. Rugby tour of South Africa cancelled. Oil price hike means worst terms of trade in 30 years. Colour TV introduced.
1974Prime Minister Norman Kirk dies. Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch.
1975Robert Muldoon becomes Prime Minister after National election victory. Māori land march protests against land loss. The Waitangi Tribunal is established. Second TV channel starts broadcasting.
1976Matrimonial Property Act passed. Pacific Islands “overstayers” deported. EEC import quotas for New Zealand butter set until 1980. Introduction of metric system of weights and measures. Subscriber toll dialling introduced.
1977National Superannuation scheme begins. New Zealand signs the Gleneagles Agreement. The 200-mile exclusive economic zone is established. Bastion Point occupied by protesters.
1978Registered unemployed reaches 25,000. National Government re-elected.
1979Air New Zealand plane crashes on Mount Erebus, Antarctica, 257 people die. Carless days introduced to reduce petrol consumption.
1980Social Credit wins East Coast Bays by-election. Saturday trading partially legalised. Eighty-day strike at Kinleith Mill.
1981South African rugby team's tour brings widespread disruption.
1982CER agreement signed with Australia. First kōhanga reo established. Year-long wage, price and rent freeze imposed-lasts until 1984.
1983Visit by nuclear-powered United States Navy frigate “Texas” sparks protests. Official Information Act replaces Official Secrecy Act. New Zealand Party founded.
1984Labour Party wins snap general election. Finance Minister Roger Douglas begins deregulating the economy. New Zealand ratifies the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Te Hikoi ki Waitangi march and disruption of Waitangi Day celebrations. Auckland's population exceeds that of the South Island. Government devalues New Zealand dollar by 20 percent.
1985Anti-nuclear policy leads to refusal of a visit by the American warship, the USS “Buchanan”. Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior bombed and sunk by French agents in Auckland harbour. New Zealand dollar floated. Keri Hulme wins Booker Prize for “The Bone People”. First case of locally-contracted AIDS is reported. Waitangi Tribunal given power to hear grievances arising since 1840.
1986Homosexual Law Reform Bill passed. Royal Commission reports in favour of MMP electoral system. Jim Bolger becomes National Party leader. Soviet cruise ship, the “Mikhail Lermontov”, sinks in Marlborough Sounds. Goods and Services Tax introduced. First visit to New Zealand by the Pope.
1987Share prices plummet by 59 percent in four months. Labour wins general election. Māori Language Act making Māori an official language passed. Anti-nuclear legislation enacted. First lotto draw. New Zealand's first heart transplant is performed. New Zealand wins Rugby World Cup. Significant earthquake in the Bay of Plenty.
1988Number of unemployed exceeds 100,000. Bastion Point land returned to Māori ownership. Combined Council of Trade Unions formed. Royal Commission on Social Policy issues April Report. Gibbs Report on hospital services and Picot Report on education published. State Sector Act passed. Cyclone Bola strikes northern North Island. Electrification of North Island's main trunk line completed. New Zealand Post closes 432 post offices. Fisheries quota package announced for Māori iwi.
1989Prime Minister David Lange suggests formal withdrawal from ANZUS. Jim Anderton founds New Labour Party. Lange resigns and Geoffrey Palmer becomes Prime Minister. First annual balance of payments surplus since 1973. Reserve Bank Act sets bank's role as one of maintaining price stability. First school board elections under Tomorrow's Schools reforms. First elections under revised local government structure. Sunday trading begins. Third TV channel begins.
 Māori Fisheries Act passed.
1990New Zealand celebrates its sesquicentennial. Māori leaders inaugurate National Congress of Tribes. Dame Catherine Tizard becomes first woman Governor-General. Geoffrey Palmer resigns as Prime Minister and is replaced by Mike Moore. National Party has landslide victory. Jim Bolger becomes Prime Minister. One and two cent coins are no longer legal tender. Commonwealth Games are held in Auckland. Telecom sold for $4.25 billion. Welfare payments cut. Big earthquake in Hawke's Bay.
1991First budget of new Finance Minister, Ruth Richardson. Welfare payments further reduced. The Alliance Party is formed. Employment Contracts Act passed. Consumers Price Index has lowest quarterly increase for 25 years. Number of unemployed exceeds 200,000 for the first time. New Zealand troops join multi-national force in the Gulf War. An avalanche on Mt Cook reduces its height by 10.5 metres.
1992Government and Māori interests negotiate Sealords fisheries deal. Public health system reforms. State housing commercialised. Watties Foods is bought by American company, Heinz. New Zealand gets seat on United Nations Security Council.
1993Centennial of women's suffrage celebrated. New Zealand First Party launched by Winston Peters. National wins election without majority-Opposition MP Peter Tapsell becomes Speaker of the House, thus giving the government a majority. Referendum favours MMP electoral system. New Zealand film “The Piano” has international success.
1994Government commits 250 soldiers to front-line duty in Bosnia. Government proposes $1 billion cap in plan for final settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims. Sharemarket reaches highest level since 1987 crash. New Zealand's first casino opens in Christchurch. First fast-ferry passenger service begins operation across Cook Strait.
1995Team New Zealand wins America's Cup. Occupation of Moutua Gardens, Wanganui. Waikato Raupatu Claims Settlement Act passed. New political parties form: the Conservative, Christian Heritage and United New Zealand. Renewal of French nuclear tests results in New Zealand protest flotilla and navy ship “Tui” sailing for Moruroa Atoll. Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Auckland, Nelson Mandela visits. New Zealand contingent returns from Bosnia.
1996Imported pests-Mediterranean fruit flies and white-spotted tussock moths-cause disruption to export trade and to Aucklanders. Thirteenth National Park, Kahurangi, opened in north-west Nelson. Waitangi Tribunal recommends generous settlement of Taranaki land claims. First legal sports betting at TAB. $170 million Ngai Tahu settlement proposed, $40 million Whakatohea settlement announced. First MMP election brings National/New Zealand First coalition government.
1997America's Cup damaged in attack by a Māori activist. TV4 begins daily broadcasts. Customs Service cracks down on imported Japanese used cars following claims of odometer fraud. Auckland's Skytower is opened. Beatrice Faumuina wins gold for discus at the World Track and Field championships in Athens. Auckland band OMC's album “How Bizarre” goes gold in the United States. Compulsory superannuation is rejected by a margin of more than 9 to 1 in New Zealand's first postal referendum. Jim Bolger resigns as Prime Minister after a National Party coup; he is replaced by New Zealand's first woman Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley.
1998Auckland city businesses hit by a power cut lasting several weeks. The crisis continues for over a month and results in an inquiry into Mercury Energy. The women's rugby team, the Black Ferns, become the world champions. Mortgage rates and the New Zealand dollar both take a slide leaving NZ$1 below the US50c mark for the first time in 12 years. The Coalition Government is dissolved leaving the Jenny Shipley-led National party as a minority government. Several cases of tuberculosis discovered in South Auckland in the worst outbreak for a decade. The Hikoi of Hope marches to Parliament calling for more support for the poor. The government announces plans to lease 28 new fighter aircraft but says no to a new naval frigate.

Further information

National Archives of New Zealand:


New Zealand National Register of Archives and Manuscripts:

Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History:

New Zealand Historic Places Trust - Pouhere Taonga:

Treaty of Waitangi: info/treaty.shtml

Chapter 3. Government

3.1 Constitution

New Zealand is an independent state; a monarchy with a parliamentary government. Queen Elizabeth II (of the United Kingdom) has the title Queen of New Zealand.

New Zealand's constitutional history can be traced back to 1840 when by the Treaty of Waitangi the Māori people exchanged their sovereignty for the guarantees of the treaty and New Zealand became a British colony. Five years earlier on 28 October 1835, an assembly of the Confederation of Chiefs of the United Tribes of New Zealand had proclaimed the country independent and signed the Declaration of Independence.

New Zealand's Constitution Act 1986 brings together in one act the most important statutory constitutional provisions and clarifies the rules relating to the governmental handover of power.

There remain a number of United Kingdom Acts (referred to as “Imperial Acts”) which are in force as part of the law of New Zealand. Some are historic constitutional acts, such as the Magna Carta and the Habeas Corpus Act 1679.

The Crown and the Governor-General

The Governor-General is the representative of the Sovereign in New Zealand and exercises the royal powers derived from statute and the general law (prerogative powers). The powers of the Governor-General are set out in the Letters Patent 1983, and it is for the courts to decide on the limits of these powers. The Governor-General's main constitutional function is to arrange for the leader of the party with the most support in Parliament to form a government.

The Crown is part of Parliament and the Governor-General's assent is required before bills can become law. The Governor-General is required, however, by constitutional convention and the Letters Patent, to follow the advice of ministers. In extraordinary circumstances the Governor-General can reject advice if he or she believes that a government is intending to act unconstitutionally. This is known as the reserve power.

The Sovereign appoints the Governor-General on the Prime Minister's recommendation, normally for a term of five years.

Recent constitutional reform

Electoral reform

On 19 September 1992 a referendum was held on electoral reform. The referendum was divided into two parts. The first part asked voters to choose between electoral reform or maintaining the existing first-past-the-post system. The second part asked voters which of four options they preferred: supplementary member, single transferable vote, mixed member proportional or preferential voting.

Of the 1,217,284 people who voted (roughly 55 percent of the registered electors) 1,031,257 or 84.7 percent voted for change. A clear preference was shown for mixed member proportional representation (MMP) which received 70.5 percent of the votes for change.

In a second referendum held in conjunction with the 1993 general election, voters chose between the first past the post (FPP) system and MMP representation. FPP received 884,964 votes (46.1 percent of the total vote) and MMP 1,032,919 votes (53.9 percent). Details of the MMP system are set out in the Electoral Referendum Act 1993.

Human Rights Act 1993

The Human Rights Act 1993 came into force on 1 February 1994. It amalgamated the Race Relations Act 1971 and the Human Rights Commission Act 1977 and added five new prohibited grounds of discrimination.

There are now 13 prohibited grounds of discrimination: sex, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, political opinion, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, employment status, family status and sexual orientation.

The areas in which it is unlawful to discriminate are the same as in the former legislation: employment; access to places, vehicles and facilities; provision of goods and services; provision of land, housing and other accommodation; access to educational establishments.

The act also contains provisions relating to racial disharmony, sexual harassment and racial harassment.

The act modified procedures to assist with the resolution of complaints. The Human Rights Commission includes a Complaints Division dealing specifically with complaints. (See section 6.3 Human Rights Commission)

3.2 Parliament and elections

House of Representatives

The Parliament of New Zealand consists of the Sovereign in right of New Zealand (normally represented by the Governor-General) and an elected House of Representatives. The Constitution Act 1986 vests in Parliament the power to make laws.

Perhaps the most important privilege of the House is that of freedom of speech, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights 1688, and claimed by the Speaker upon confirmation in office by the Governor-General.

The House meets in answer to a summons from the Governor-General. The Speaker, elected by the House, is the principal presiding officer, maintaining order in proceedings and ensuring the Standing Orders are complied with.

For the current list of MPs:

Standing Orders

Standing Orders are rules of procedure for the house. New standing orders were brought into force on 20 February 1996 in anticipation of the Mixed Member Proportional System (MMP).

The background to the changes is set out in the “Report of the Standing Orders Committee on the Review of Standing Orders” (Parl paper I. 18a, 1995). Amendments were made in August 1996 (Parl paper I.18b, 1996).

Role of parties

The House of Representatives has been characterised by two large, dominant parties, with the majority party forming the Government and the minority party forming the Opposition.

It is less likely under MMP, however, that any single party will command an absolute majority in the House and be able to form a government on its own account. The current Standing Orders provide expressly for parties to be recognised in the House, for instance in relation to voting participation in debate and the asking of oral questions.

The party caucus (a meeting of each party's members of Parliament in closed session at regular intervals, once a week when Parliament is in session) is a primary means of developing policies and tactics.

Party representation

The general election held on 12 October 1996 did not produce an outright majority of seats for either of the two main political parties, National (previously in coalition with the United New Zealand party) or Labour. A coalition agreement was concluded between National and New Zealand First on 11 December 1996 and the new Ministry was sworn in on 16 December 1996.

Table 3.1. Political parties in the 1996 general election

 Constituency seats contestedConstituency seats wonParty list candidatesList seats won
Source: Ministry of Justice
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis40190
Christian Coalition370410
Mana Māori70180
McGillicuddy Serious450650
Natural Law640650
NZ Conservative60200
New Zealand First6566211
Progressive Greens230150
The Libertarianz20240
United New Zealand251290
Total candidates6116567055

Legislative procedures

Proposed laws are presented to the House of Representatives in the form of draft laws known as “bills”. All types of bills follow a similar procedure in the House, with every bill being required by the Standing Orders of the House to be “read” three times.

Parliamentary Service: Te Ratonga a Te Whare Pāremata

The Parliamentary Service provides administrative and support services to Members of Parliament and the House of Representatives. It is controlled by the Parliamentary Service Commission.

Parliamentary elections and referenda

Enrolment as an elector is compulsory, but voting is not. New Zealanders 18 years and over have the right to vote in parliamentary elections.


Only people whose names are validly enrolled before an election are qualified to vote. Most electors cast their votes at polling booths in their electorates on polling day, but they may vote as special voters at booths outside their electorate. Special votes may also be cast before polling day at issuing offices or at home because of sickness, travel, or similar reasons. Provision is also made for voting overseas.

Voting is by secret ballot. A preliminary count of ordinary votes is available for each electorate on election night, and final results are normally available a fortnight later, once special and overseas votes have been received and counted.

Electoral boundaries

The boundaries of electorates are revised every five years based on the Census of Population and Dwellings. After provisional boundaries are drawn up and published, objections and counter-objections are considered by the Representation Commission, which makes a final decision.

Māori electorates and the Māori option

People of Māori descent are periodically given the option of registering on the Māori roll or the general roll. The number of Māori electorates is dependent on the proportion of Māori on the Māori roll. There were five Māori electorates at the 1996 general election and there will be six at the 1999 general election.

General election results

A three-yearly election of Members of Parliament was last held on 12 October 1996. The total number of electors on the master roll for the 1996 election was 2,418,587. A total of 2,080,542 votes were cast, representing 88.3 percent of electors on the master roll.

Table 3.2. General election results 1984–96, number of MPs(1)

Political party19841987(2)199019931996

(1) The election dates were: 14 July 1984, 15 August 1987, 27 October 1990, 6 November 1993, 12 October 1996.

(2) Includes result of electoral petition which was upheld and saw the Wairarapa seat pass from Labour to National in July 1988.

Source: Ministry of Justice

New Labour....1....
New Zealand First......217
United New Zealand........1

New electorates

In July 1998 the Representation Commission announced the creation of two new electorates and the renaming of four others.

Strong population growth in Auckland led to the new electorate Mt Roskill and a substantial redrawing of existing boundaries in the area. Nearby electoral districts were renamed Waitakere, Titirangi and Te Atatu to better reflect community of interest.

Māori electoral population growth in the area from Auckland to Taupo meant the formation of the new Māori electorate of Hauraki in the North Island. This caused extensive boundary revision, and the electorates Te Tai Rawhiti and Te Puku o Te Whenua were renamed Waiariki and Ikaroa Rawhiti.

Because of slow population growth the Mahia electoral district was extended to include the eastern Bay of Plenty, and renamed East Coast.

Boundaries were adjusted throughout the North Island, significantly in the Central North Island, the East Coast and Wellington. Similar adjustments were made in the South Island, particularly around Christchurch.

In a 120-seat Parliament there will be 67 electorate seats and 53 list seats, two fewer than the 55 in the first MMP election.

Citizens initiated referenda

Under the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993, non-binding referendums can be held on any subject.

There are seven steps in the process:

  1. Referendum proposal submitted to the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

  2. The Clerk advertises the proposed question. The act allows 28 days for submissions and a further three months for the determination of the final wording of the question.

  3. The Clerk, after consulting with the promoter and any other person, determines the final wording of the referendum question.

  4. The organiser gathers the signatures of at least 10 percent of registered electors and delivers the petition to the Clerk within 12 months of the publication of the determination.

  5. The petition is checked for compliance. If all is correct the Speaker presents the petition to the House of Representatives.

  6. The Governor-General sets a date for the referendum within one month from the date of presentation. The referendum must be held within a year of the date of presentation unless 75 percent of all the members of the House vote to defer it.

  7. The referendum is held and the result is declared. The result is indicative only and not binding on the government.

First nationwide postal referendum

The Compulsory Retirement Savings Scheme Referendum held in September 1997 was New Zealand's first nationwide referendum held by postal ballot.

The question put to electors by the government was, “Do you support the proposed compulsory retirement savings scheme?”

Out of a total of 1,988,650 votes received 163,309 (8.2 percent) voted yes. With 2,475,220 electors on the roll, the turnout (number of votes received) was 80.3 percent.

Royal commissions and commissions of inquiry

The Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908 provides that the Governor-General may appoint any person or persons to be a commission to inquire into and report upon any question arising out of, or concerning:

  1. The administration of the government.

  2. The working of any existing law.

  3. The necessity or expediency of any legislation.

  4. The conduct of any officer in the service of the Crown.

  5. Any disaster or accident (whether due to natural causes or otherwise) in which members of the public were killed, injured, or were or might have been exposed to risk of death or injury.

  6. Any other matter of public importance.

Commissions of inquiry must report to the Governor-General, who in turn refers the findings to his or her ministers. The reports are usually published.

Royal commissions are generally regarded as having the most prestige. A committee of inquiry may be set up by a minister to investigate some matter, but such a committee normally has no statutory basis, although there are ancillary powers in some instances.

3.3 State sector

The state sector includes the New Zealand Public Service, which is made up of 39 government departments, plus Crown entities and state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The state sector also includes the New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Defence Force.

The Public Service is characterised by relatively small departments which have clearly defined roles in policy advice, service delivery, regulatory, or sectoral funding functions.

The State Services Commissioner and the State Services Commission: Te Komihana O Ngā Tari Kāwanatanga

The State Sector Act 1988 provides for a State Services Commission and for the positions of a State Services Commissioner (the commission's chief executive) and Deputy State Services Commissioner.

The commissioner's principal functions relate to the departments of the public service. They include:

  • Recommending the most suitable candidates for chief executive appointments in the public service.

  • Reviewing the performance of public service chief executives.

  • Developing public service chief executives and, in consultation with chief executives, developing public service senior managers.

  • Advising on industrial relations and personnel policies.

  • Advising on performance management, service-wide systems, and organisational structures.

The commission also helps the government to manage major changes in the state sector.

Equal employment opportunities

Through the State Sector Act the commission is responsible for promoting, developing and monitoring Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) programmes in departments of the public service. The purpose of such programmes is defined in the act as “...the identification and elimination of all aspects of policies, procedures and other institutional barriers that cause or perpetuate, or tend to cause or perpetuate inequality in respect to the employment of any persons or group of persons.” (See section 6.3 Equal Employment Opportunities Trust)

3.4 Government departments and other government bodies

Government departments

The functions of government departments are under a continual process of review.

For information on government departments visit

For profiles of government departments' chief executives visit

Non-departmental public bodies

Crown entities

Unlike public service departments, Crown entities are distinct legal entities in their own right, either majority owned by the Crown or with a governing body appointed by the Crown.

There are around 2,900 Crown entities of which about 2,660 are school boards of trustees. Crown entities are diverse in their functions, size and structure. They include organisations such as the Human Rights Commission, the Land Transport Safety Authority, the ACC and Crown Research Institutes.

State-owned enterprises

State-owned enterprises are companies established by the government under the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986 to manage its trading activities. The principle objective of every state-owned enterprise is to operate as a successful business.

An annual statement of intent is signed between the shareholding government ministers and the board of directors of the respective state-owned enterprise. Performance of the enterprise is monitored against this statement.

Controller and Auditor-General: Te Mana Arotake

The Controller and Auditor-General is an officer of the Crown appointed by the Governor-General under the Public Finance Act 1977 who with the persons acting under his or her delegation are collectively called “the Audit Office”.

The function of the Audit Office is to act as a monitor on behalf of Parliament and to control issues of money out of the Crown Bank Account. The Audit Office audits the financial statements of government departments, local authorities, and most government-controlled corporations, boards and companies. Audit reports are tabled in Parliament each year.

Official information

The Official Information Act 1982 is based on the principle that information shall be made available unless there is good reason for withholding it. The purposes of the act are to:

  • Increase the availability of official information to the people of New Zealand.

  • Provide for proper access by bodies corporate to official information relating to themselves (access by individuals to information relating to them is governed by the Privacy Act 1993).

  • Protect official information consistent with the public interest and the preservation of individual privacy.

An information guide on access to personal and official information is available from the Ministry of Justice. There is also a “Directory of Official Information” which is published every two years, and is a comprehensive guide to all the organisations covered by the act. It includes their structure, functions, policies, documents held, contact officers and other listings which facilitate the access of information. The directory can ease the identification of material and assist the lodging of requests.


The principal function of the Ombudsmen is to enquire into complaints relating to administrative decisions of government departments and related organisations, Crown health enterprises and regional health authorities. Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975 there is provision for the appointment of a Chief Ombudsman and one or more ombudsmen, in either temporary or permanent positions. Sir Brian Elwood CBE was appointed Chief Ombudsman on 14 December 1994 and Judge Anand Satyanand was appointed as an Ombudsman in February 1995.

All investigations undertaken by ombudsmen are conducted in private. When an ombudsman believes a complaint can be sustained, this opinion is reported to the government department or organisation concerned along with any recommendation for action. A copy of this report is also made available to the responsible minister, mayor or chairperson.

Ombudsmen also investigate recommendations made to a minister by any government department, organisation or employee. Similarly, they look into any recommendations made to a full council or board of a local organisation by any committee, subcommittee, officer, employee, or member. It is also the responsibility of the ombudsmen to investigate any complaints on decisions for the request of official information.

Privacy Commissioner: Te Mana Matapono Matatapu

The functions of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Te Mana Matapono Matatapu, are set out in the Privacy Act 1993. The office is independent of the Executive and of Parliament. One of the main purposes of the act is the promotion and protection of individual privacy.

There are 12 information privacy principles which deal with the collection, security, use and disclosure of personal information, access to and correction of personal information, and the assignment and use of unique identifiers.

The most important code issued by the commissioner is the Health Information Privacy Code 1994, which provides stringent controls on the collection, use and disclosure of medical and health information by agencies throughout the health sector.

The Privacy Commissioner investigates complaints alleging the breaches of the principles, codes of practice and information matching rules.

If a complaint cannot be settled the Privacy Commissioner may refer it to the Proceedings Commissioner, who may in turn issue proceedings before the Complaints Review Tribunal. If either of the commissioners do not do so, the aggrieved individual may issue proceedings before the tribunal. The tribunal has the power to award a number of remedies, including declaring that an action has caused an interference with privacy, orders, damages and costs.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment: Te Kaitiaki Taiao a Te Whare Pāremata

The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment was created in response to significant public demands for an independent authority to review and publicly report on the environmental effects of central and local government works and policies.

Commissioner appointments are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the House of Representatives. The term of appointment is five years.

The principal functions of the commissioner comprise:

  • Reviews of the government systems established to manage the allocation, use and protection of natural and physical resources.

  • Investigations into the effectiveness of public authority environmental planning and management and other matters where there is considered to be significant actual or potential harm to the environment.

During 1997–98 major investigations were initiated on issues related to public authority performance, public participation, and aspects of management of the conservation estate.

Public Trust

Public Trust is a self-funding government department operating under the Public Trust Office Act 1957.

It was created in 1873 to provide all New Zealanders with the opportunity to write a will (thereby decreasing the number of intestacies) and to provide executor and trustee services.

Public Trust administers over 52,000 estates, trusts, funds and agencies. It also holds the statutorily-required deposits of insurance companies. Most of Public Trust's activities are commercial in nature but it is also required to provide a number of statutory services which may not be income earning.

3.5 Local government

New Zealand has a system of local government that is largely independent of the central executive government. It has, however, a subordinate role in the constitution as the powers of local authorities are only those conferred by Parliament.

Local authorities fall into three categories: regional, territorial and special purpose authorities. They have their own sources of income independent of central government. The basic source of income (apart from the income of trading activities under the control of territorial authorities) is local taxes on landed property (rates).

Local authorities are answerable to their electorates through three-yearly general elections. Legislation includes numerous provisions for local authorities to give public notice and receive public submissions before making certain important decisions.

Local government organisation

There are:

  • 12 regional councils

  • 74 territorial authorities

  • 154 community boards

  • 6 special authorities.

Regional councils

The main functions of regional councils are:

  • the functions under the Resource Management Act

  • the functions under the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act

  • control of pests and noxious plants

  • harbour regulations and marine pollution control

  • regional aspects of civil defence

  • overview transport planning

  • control of passenger transport operators.

Territorial authorities

The 74 territorial authorities consist of:

  • 15 city councils

  • 58 district councils

  • The Chatham Islands council.

Territorial authorities have a wide range of functions including land use consents under the Resource Management Act 1991, noise control, litter control, roading, water supply, sewage reticulation and disposal, rubbish collection and disposal, parks and reserves, libraries, land subdivision, pensioner housing, health inspection, liquor licensing, building consent, parking controls and civil defence.

Community boards

A community board is primarily an advocate for its community, and a means whereby the territorial authority can consult with the community. Any power the community board has is delegated by the territorial authority, but cannot include such powers as levying rates, appointing staff, or owning property.

Community boards may be partly elected by the community and partly appointed by the territorial authority from among its own members, or may be entirely elected.

Local government elections and membership

Local government elections are held on the second Saturday in October every third year. All regional council, territorial authority, special purpose local authority and community board elections are conducted at the same time.

Voting procedures

Postal voting is universal. Casting a vote is similar to parliamentary elections; the surnames of candidates are printed on the ballot paper and electors place a tick after the name of the candidate they wish to vote for.

Who can vote?

Every parliamentary elector is automatically qualified as a residential elector of a local authority if the address at which the person is registered on the electoral roll is within the district of the local authority.

Ratepayers are entitled to enrol and vote in any region, district or community in which they pay rates.

Membership of local authorities

Subject to meeting certain residency and citizenship requirements, any person who is a parliamentary elector may be elected to a regional council or territorial authority or community board.

Local Government Commission

The commission comprises three members including a chairperson appointed by the Minister of Local Government. Its main function is to act as a quasi-judicial appeal authority for local government.

3.6 National emblems and anthems

New Zealand Flag

The basis of the flag is the Union Flag (Jack) in the upper left quarter, and the Southern Cross on a blue background to the right which is represented by four five-pointed stars with white borders. It is the symbol of the realm, government and people of New Zealand. info/flag.shtml

New Zealand coat of arms

The lawful use of the New Zealand coat of arms is confined to official purposes. affairs/services/coatofarms/coatofarms.html

National anthems

New Zealand has two national anthems: “God Defend New Zealand” and “God Save The Queen”. They have equal status. info/anthem.shtml

Further information

New Zealand Government Executive:

Local Government New Zealand:

Chapter 4. International relations and defence

4.1 Relations with other countries

Independent New Zealand foreign policy dates from 1935. In 1943 the government established a career foreign service, and began to station its own diplomatic representatives overseas. Today, New Zealand has 49 diplomatic and consular posts located in 41 countries and territories. Multiple accreditation allows some New Zealand representatives to cover other countries from their bases.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Te Manatū Aorere

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is responsible on behalf of the government for all major policy functions related to New Zealand's external relations. The ministry's main work is the management of New Zealand's bilateral relations with other countries and interests in international institutions. Other functions include the management of New Zealand's official development assistance, provision of consular services to New Zealanders abroad, and provision of operational and administrative support services to other New Zealand government agencies overseas.

The ministry also administers Tokelau and undertakes external affairs and defence functions for the Cook Islands and Niue, after consultations with their respective heads of government.

Assistance to developing countries

New Zealand's Official Development Assistance (NZODA) programme provides assistance to developing countries to help them better meet their people's economic and social needs.

The NZODA is funded by two core payments set by Parliament. For the 1998–99 financial year these are:

  • $204.472 million as Non-Departmental Payments (NDP). The NDP is the core of the ODA allocation and covers transfers of New Zealand goods, services and funding.

  • $13.994 million for ODA Management, funded as one of the MFAT output classes.

The total disbursement on NZODA currently amounts to nearly 0.25 percent of New Zealand's Gross National Product (GNP).

4.2 International organisations

United Nations

New Zealand was a founding member of the United Nations (UN) organisation in 1945. New Zealand continues to have a high profile at the UN. Current New Zealand Permanent Representative Michael Powles and his predecessor Colin Keating each chaired one of the five important reform working groups set up by the UN General Assembly to advance the reform process. In addition, New Zealand diplomat Denise Almao currently serves on the powerful UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). This body examines and reports on the budgets and accounts of the UN and its constituent bodies. New Zealand has also been elected to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the period 1998–2000.

Contributions to the United Nations

Contributions to the UN's budget are based on members' capacity to pay. New Zealand's assessed contribution rate is set at 0.221 percent of the regular budget, resulting in annual dues in 1998 of US $2.3 million. Contributions to the budgets of specialised agencies are fixed according to a scale of assessment agreed by the membership as a whole. New Zealand's assessed contributions to peacekeeping operations are assessed at 0.24 percent. In 1997–98, these dues amounted to more than NZ$4.9 million.

New Zealand concentrates on areas where it can play a useful role in matters directly affecting its interests and where it can support efforts to secure lasting peace and security.

World Trade Organisation

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established on 1 January 1995. It is an international organisation which acts as a single institutional framework over the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the multilateral agreements that resulted from the Uruguay Round.

Like the GATT, which it now includes, the WTO is a multilateral trade treaty. It provides both a code of rules and a forum in which countries can discuss and address their trade problems and negotiate and enlarge world trading opportunities.

Each WTO member must grant all other members treatment as favourable as that which they grant any other country. This principle is particularly important for countries such as New Zealand, since it ensures that larger countries cannot adopt discriminatory trade policies (except for preferential free trade areas and customs unions).

World Bank

The World Bank is a multilateral lending agency consisting of five closely-associated institutions-the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICISID). The common objective of the institutions is to help raise the living standards in developing countries by channelling financial resources from developed countries to them. New Zealand joined the World Bank in 1961.

New Zealand has subscribed to a total of 7,236 shares in the IBRD, which represents 0.51 percent of the total voting shares. The shares have a total par value of US$723.6 million, although over 90 percent of this amount has not been called up but, together with the uncalled subscription of the other member countries, acts as a guarantee for the bank's borrowing in the financial markets. New Zealand owns 2,025 fully paid shares in the IFC which have a total par value of US$2.025 million.

Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a development finance institution. Established in 1965, it is owned by 37 countries from the Asia-Pacific region including New Zealand and 16 countries from Europe and North America. The ADB's principal function is to promote and finance the economic and social advancement of its 33 Asia-Pacific developing country members.

New Zealand currently holds 27,170 shares in the ADB, about 2.6 percent of the bank's voting shares. The shares have a total par value of US $381.35 million. The country also makes contributions to the periodic replenishment of the ADB's Asian Development Fund, the bank's facility for lending to its poorest developing member countries. New Zealand has contributed over $51 million to the ADB since 1974.


New Zealand is one of the 54 members of the Commonwealth which include countries in the six continents and the five oceans of the world. The Cook Islands and Niue, which have a continuing constitutional association with New Zealand, are associate members.

The Commonwealth is an effective vehicle for strengthening political and economic links between its members. New Zealand contributes actively to its activities at governmental and non-governmental levels.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (0ECD) based in Paris, France, is an intergovernmental organisation of 29 member countries. The OECD's fundamental mission is to enable members to consult and co-operate to achieve the highest possible sustainable economic growth, improve the economic and social well-being of their populations, and contribute to development worldwide.

Membership gives New Zealand the opportunity to interact with the world's most advanced economies in a continuing way that is not available in any other setting. The OECD also provides New Zealand with access to considerable economic policy resources and knowledge.

4.3 New Zealand territories


Tokelau consists of three small atolls in the South Pacific-Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu-with a combined land area of 12 sq km and a population of around 1,500.

The main objective of New Zealand's relationship with Tokelau is that of fostering a greater degree of self-government and economic self-sufficiency for the Tokelau people.

The Council of Faipule's head is the Ulu o Tokelau (Leader of Tokelau), a post which rotates on a yearly basis. The Ulu for 1998 is Kuresa Nasau, Faipule of Atafu.

Ross Dependency

The Ross Dependency consists of the land, permanent ice-shelf and islands of Antarctica between 160° east to 150° west. The land is almost entirely covered by ice, and is uninhabited except for people working on scientific research programmes. New Zealand has exercised jurisdiction over the territory since 1923.

An Antarctic scientific research programme is maintained in the Ross Dependency, with New Zealand operating Scott Base on Ross Island as a permanent base.

4.4 Defence

The New Zealand Naval Forces, the New Zealand Army and the Royal New Zealand Air Force together with civilian employees, constitute the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

The Chief of Defence Force is the principal military adviser to the Minister of Defence and is responsible for carrying out the functions and duties of the defence force.

The Secretary of Defence is the chief executive of the Ministry of Defence and is the principal civilian adviser to the Minister. The Secretary is responsible for formulating defence policy and planning advice; the procurement, replacement or repair of defence equipment which has major significance to military capability; and evaluation of defence force functions and activities.

Defence expenditure

Table 4.1. International comparison of defence expenditure, 1996–98

 199619971998 (1)
Percentage of GDP

(1) Estimated.

(2) Year ended 30 June.

(3) Year ended 31 March.

(4) Year ended 30 September.

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

Australia (2)
Canada (3)
New Zealand (2)
Sweden (2)
United Kingdom (3)
United States of America (4)

Royal New Zealand Navy

The Chief of Naval Staff exercises command and control of the Royal New Zealand Navy and is assisted by the naval staff.

Table 4.2. State of the navy (at 30 November), 1998

Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Naval Combat Force(Frigates (ANZAC class)“Te Kaha”
 Frigates (Leander class)“Wellington”
Naval Logistic Support ForceFleet tanker“Endeavour”
 Military sealift ship“Charles Upham”
Hydrographic Survey ForceSurvey ship“Resolution”
 Inshore survey craft“Takapu”
Maritime Mine Warfare ForceDiving support vessel“Manawanui”
 Inshore patrol craft“Moa”
OtherTraining tender“Kahu”
 Dockyard service craft“Aratiki”

Table 4.3. Strength of the navy (at 30 June), 1996–98

Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Regular forces:
Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (all ranks)367395397

New Zealand Army: Ngāti Tūmatauenga

The Chief of General Staff commands the army, supported by the army general staff.

The army comprises regular, territorial, and reserve elements and provides the following operational options:

  • A range of deployable regular force units, known as army ready response units, held at a high level of readiness.

  • A deployable regular force infantry battalion group.

  • A deployable regular and territorial force brigade group.

  • Force troops, such as the Special Air Service, Force Intelligence Group, signals, movement and military police units, to operate with or independently of the above groupings.

Table 4.4. Strength of the army (at 30 June), 1996–98

Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Regular forces
Other ranks373736763706
Territorial Force (all ranks)415236803394

Royal New Zealand Air Force: Te Hokowhitu o Kahurangi

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) provides forces for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance, offensive air support and air transport in New Zealand's area of interest. The Chief of Air Staff, supported by the air staff, commands the RNZAF.

Table 4.5. State of the air force (at 30 June), 1998

Location Aircraft
Source: New Zealand Defence Force
RNZAF Base AucklandMaritime patrol6 Orions
  2 Boeing 727s
 Transport5 Hercules
  3 Beech King Air
  4 Seasprites (operated by RNZN)
 Helicopters5 Sioux
  11 Iroquois
No. 3 Squadron detachment, ChristchurchHelicopters2 Iroquois
HMAS “Albatross”, Nowra, NSWAir attack6 Skyhawks
RNZAF Base OhakeaAir attack13 Skyhawks
 Flying training17 Aermacchi
  15 Air Trainers

Table 4.6. Strength of the air force (at 30 June), 1996–98

Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Regular forces
Other ranks256823512349
Territorial Air Force170180163

4.5 Intelligence and security

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security assists each minister responsible for an intelligence and security agency in the oversight and review of those agencies. In particular, the Inspector-General is responsible for assisting the minister to ensure that the activities of New Zealand intelligence and security agencies comply with the law and that complaints relating to New Zealand intelligence and security agencies are independently investigated.

External Assessments Bureau: Te Ranga Tātari Take Tāwāhi

The External Assessments Bureau (EAB) is part of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. It produces intelligence assessments of events and trends overseas to support informed decision-making by the government on events or trends likely to influence New Zealand's foreign relations and external interests. The staff prepare assessments and reports on political, economic, biographic, strategic and scientific matters.

Security Intelligence Service

The functions of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service are to obtain, correlate, and evaluate intelligence relevant to security and to advise ministers on security matters. It is not a function of the service to enforce measures for security or to further the interests of any political party. The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969 (amended in 1977 and 1996) does not limit the right of persons to engage in lawful advocacy, protest or dissent in respect of any matter and the exercise of that right shall not, of itself, justify the service in instituting surveillance of any person or entity within New Zealand.

The service reports directly to a minister (the Minister in Charge of the Security Intelligence Service) and is subject to oversight and review by the Inspector-General and the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliamentarians, both of which were established by acts passed in 1996.

During the year ended 31 March 1998, three warrants were issued for the detection of activities prejudicial to security (section 4A (1) (a) (i) of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969). A further three warrants had been issued for the purpose of that sub-paragraph before but remained in force at some time during the year ended 31 March 1998. The average term for each warrant was four months and eight days. The methods of interception used were listening devices and the copying of documents.

Government Communications Security Bureau

Responsible to the Prime Minister, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) provides information, advice and assistance to the New Zealand government, government departments and organisations. The GCSB is subject to oversight and review under two acts: the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996, and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996. Its functions are communications security and computer security-protecting information that is processed, stored or communicated by electronic or similar means and including:

  • The formulation of communications security and computer security policy, the dissemination of standards and the provision of material, advice and assistance to government departments and authorities, including the New Zealand armed forces, on matters related to the security and integrity of official information, the loss or compromise of which could adversely affect national security.

  • The provision of advice as required by government departments and authorities in relation to sensitive information which, although unrelated to national security, requires protection from unauthorised disclosure for privacy, financial or other reasons.

  • Technical security-providing defence against eavesdropping and other forms of technical attack against New Zealand government premises world-wide.

  • Signals intelligence-providing foreign signals intelligence to meet the national intelligence requirements of the New Zealand government.

The GCSB head office is in Wellington, and it operates two communications stations, the Defence Communications Unit, Tangimoana, and the Defence Satellite Communications Unit, Waihopai, Blenheim.

Table 4.7. Expenditure on intelligence and security agencies, 1996–98

Year ended 30 June$(000)
Source: External Assessments Bureau, Security Intelligence Service and Government Communications Security Bureau

Further information


Chapter 5. Population

5.1 Population overview and growth

At 31 December 1998 the estimated resident population of New Zealand was 3,803,900. Most of New Zealand's population lives in cities although the country is still reliant on agricultural exports. Demographic changes in the last 100 years include:

  • shrinking family size

  • increased divorce rates

  • increased de facto unions

  • an ageing population.

The future, with low birth rates and the high proportion of older New Zealanders, could herald a time of slow or nil population growth rates.

Demographic Trends, 1997 - Reference report, free sample table

New Zealand Now: People and Places - Publication, free sample chapter

Population and Dwellings Statistics - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Reference report, free sample table

History of population growth

Changes in the first 150 years of European settlement in New Zealand reflected international social and economic trends. Depression and recovery, along with gold rushes, world wars and assisted immigration schemes, saw population growth rates fluctuate regularly.

The population reached 500,000 in 1880, boosted by government-assisted immigration. The first million was surpassed in 1908 following the Depression of the 1880s and 1890s. After World War II the growth rate climbed dramatically (compared with the early 1930s) as the baby boom and increased immigration made their impact. The second million of population was reached in 1952 and the third in 1973. Almost one-fifth of this growth came from net immigration. Since 1974 New Zealand's population increased by over 500,000 to reach 3.68 million at the 1996 Census.

Over the past 20 years significant fluctuations in population growth were caused by external migration. New Zealand's population grew by a record 266,752 during 1971–76, only 46,354 during 1976–81, 131, 347 during 1981–86, 127,866 during 1986–91 and 246,596 over the latest intercensal period, 1991–96.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Population estimates

The latest resident population estimates show New Zealand's total population has grown since the 1996 Census to reach 3,803,900 at 31 December 1998 (provisional).

Table 5.2. Estimated population of New Zealand, 1991–98

YearTotal population at 31 DecemberMean population for year ended 31 December


..= Figures not available.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

 Resident population
1998 P38039003792000

National Population Estimates - Statistical release

5.2 Where people live

Three major trends stand out in the geographic distribution of New Zealand's population over the last 150 years:

  • An increasing proportion of people living in the north of the country.

  • A tendency for people to move from the south to the north.

  • Increasing urbanisation, in particular, a concentration of people in the main urban centres.

North and South Islands

From the end of the gold boom in the South Island in the 1870s, the proportion of New Zealanders in the South Island began to decrease. From the 1896 Census onward the North Island population has exceeded that of the South.

Since that time the North Island's population has continued to expand. In 1956, 69 percent of the population resided in the North Island; by 1996 it was almost 75 percent.

Table 5.3. Population of North and South Islands, 1858–1996 selected censuses

CensusNorth IslandSouth IslandTotal population

Note: North Island includes Kermadecs and oil rigs, South Island includes Chatham and Campbell Islands.

Source: Statistics New Zealand


Internal migration

New Zealanders are a mobile people and, while the majority of movement is within regions, there is a significant traffic of people between regions.

During 1986–91, regions in the north of each island gained more people from internal migration than did other regions, with the highest growth areas being Auckland and Bay of Plenty in the North Island and Nelson-Marlborough and Canterbury in the South Island.

Population Structure and Internal Migration - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Reference report. free sample table

Urban and rural

Eighty-five percent of New Zealanders lived in urban areas at the 1996 Census. Cities have increased in importance over time. In 1911 half the population was found in urban areas, rising to more than three-quarters by 1961.

The cities and local government areas

While 85 percent of the population lived in urban areas at the time of the 1996 Census, 69 percent lived in “main urban areas” (places with 30,000 people or over).

Table 5.4. Population of ten largest urban areas, 1986–96 Censuses

Urban area1986 (1)1991(1)1996(1)

(1) Boundaries as at 5 March 1996.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Palmerston North674057095173862

In 1996, 29 percent of New Zealand's population lived in Auckland, compared with only 14 percent 70 years earlier.

Between 1991 and 1996, most main urban areas experienced population growth. However, almost half of the secondary urban areas either lost population or grew very slowly. While the New Zealand population increased by 7 percent between 1991 and 1996, the population of main urban areas grew by 8 percent, secondary urban areas by 3 percent and minor urban areas by almost 4 percent.

Regional Summary - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Reference report, free sample table

Subnational Population Estimates - Statistical release


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

5.3 Population change: natural increase and migration

Population change has two main components, natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) and net migration. The contribution of each has varied, but net immigration's share has never exceeded two-fifths.

The volatility of migration trends contrasted with the upward trend in natural increase until 1961. Since then, the gap between births and deaths has gradually diminished because of a drop in the number of live births and a rise in the number of deaths.

The following looks at fertility, mortality and migration.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

For the latest vital statistics see the link at the end of this sub-section.


Fertility, the actual reproductive performance of a population, is measured by the number of live births per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 49 years.


In 1935 the fertility rate in New Zealand fell to a low of 2.2 births per woman. After World War II there was an increase in marriages and births and the fertility rate recovered to 3.6 births per woman in 1947.

In the post-war years New Zealanders were marrying younger, and marriage became almost universal. By 1961 half of all women were married before age 22 years, compared with barely a quarter married by that age in the early 1940s. These trends were reinforced by early childbearing and the shortening of birth intervals. Fewer couples remained childless or had only one child. The result was soaring birth numbers. Over 1.1 million New Zealanders were born between 1946 and 1965-the “babyboomers”.

At its peak in 1961, New Zealand's total fertility rate exceeded 4.3 births per woman and significantly exceeded other developed nations. However, the upward trend was reversed in the early 1960s, just as suddenly as it had begun.

By the mid-1970s, the post-Depression rise in fertility had ended. The total fertility rate fell below the “replacement level” in 1978 and then to an all-time low of 1.92 births per woman in 1983.

Recent times

Since 1983 there has been a minor resurgence in fertility, but the total fertility rate dropped from 2.10 in 1993 to 2.04 in 1995. This level of fertility is barely sufficient for the population to replace itself without migration.

Increased use of contraceptives, participation of women in the labour force, rising divorce rates and general economic conditions have probably all contributed to the decline in fertility levels. There has also been a shift away from early marriage and childbearing toward later marriage and delayed childbearing. (See also section 6.2 Marriage and divorce and family legislation.)

The growth in de facto relationships partly accounts for the rise in the number of ex-nuptial births (children born outside of legal marriages), 24,000 in 1997-or 42 percent of all births.

There is also a high incidence of ex-nuptial births among Māori. In 1995, 80 percent of all Māori births were classified as ex-nuptial.

The transition in Māori fertility from relatively large to small families is of more recent origin. Their total fertility rate fell from a high of 6.18 births per woman in 1962 to 2.19 births per woman in 1990, a 65 percent drop.

Marriage and Divorce Statistics - Statistical release


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.



From the middle of the nineteenth century until the 1930s, New Zealand had the lowest mortality rates in the world. A temperate climate, low population density, lack of heavy industry and good nutrition gave New Zealand an early advantage over other nations in terms of health conditions.

A large part of this improvement occurred prior to the 1930s. The infant mortality rate fell steadily with a major reduction in infectious and respiratory diseases, previously the main causes of death.

Recent times

Since 1970–72, there has been a gain of 5.7 years in the life expectancy at birth of men and 5 years for women. Unlike earlier years, a major part of this improvement has occurred at retirement ages. However, this improvement has not altered New Zealand's slightly disadvantaged position internationally. Currently residents of at least 10 other countries can expect to live longer than New Zealanders.

The infant mortality rate, 6.5 per 1,000 in 1997, is still high compared with some European countries, particularly its post neo-natal component (i.e. death of a child over 28 days but under 1 year of age).

Recent data indicates that heart disease, cancer and cerebrovascular diseases (in that order) continue to be the three leading causes of death in New Zealand, and account for over three-fifths of all deaths among the adult population. Respiratory diseases claim another 10 percent.

Women continue to outlive men. A century ago, women could expect to outlive men by 2 years. By 1950–52 the female advantage had increased to 4 years, and by 1990–92, it was about 6 years. In recent years the female-male differences in mortality appear to have declined to just over 5 years.

Life expectancy also varies according to ethnicity. The life expectancy at birth for Māori males increased from 54.0 years in 1950–52 to 68.0 years in 1990–92, a gain of 14.0 years. That for females rose by 17.1 years, from 55.9 years to 73.0 years. However, in 1991–92 a newborn Pākehā male child could expect to outlive his Māori counterpart by 5.4 years. For females, the difference was 6.2 years.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

New Zealand Life Tables. 1995–97 - Reference report

Regional Life Tables. 1995–97 - Statistical release

External migration


New Zealand has traditionally been a country of immigration.

Immigration has had a major impact on the size, growth rate, age-sex structure and ethnic composition of New Zealand's population, and has been a subject of vigorous public debate, especially when large-scale immigration has tested the amenities and structures of the country.

The end of World War II saw economic stability and the reintroduction, in 1947, of an assisted/free passage scheme to attract labour from the United Kingdom. Agreements were also negotiated to accept young non-British European migrants. Refugee immigration was allowed on humanitarian grounds. Historical and regional considerations also led to the establishment of immigration quotas for small Pacific Islands countries.

In 1974 the government ended unrestricted immigration from the United Kingdom and Ireland and provided for the selection of immigrants from all sources on the same criteria. The reciprocal Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement, which allows free movement of residents between Australia and New Zealand, was not changed. Similarly, free entry was maintained for Cook Islands, Niue and the Tokelau Islands people, who are regarded as New Zealand citizens. As a result, immigrants in post-war years have come from a wider range of countries than before.

Recent years

The last two decades have witnessed major changes in external migration levels and patterns. The preponderance of immigrants coming from the British Isles has decreased, and migration to and from Australia has become the largest in terms of volume.

The total number of arrivals jumped from 254,000 during 1968 to 2.65 million during the year ended 31 March 1998. During 1968–91, total departures exceeded total arrivals by an average of 111 people per annum. However, in the year ended March 1998 arrivals exceeded departures by 1,923 showing the volatility of external migration.

The 1990s have seen a return to net population gains from migration, resulting from both increases in the number of permanent and long-term arrivals, and decreases in departures. In the year ended March 1991, there was a net gain of 11,616 people. By 1995 this had almost doubled to 21,697 people and by 1996 reached 29,832-the highest recorded (March year) gain of permanent and long-term migrants. The year ended March 1998 recorded a significantly lower net gain of 2,707.

Immigration from the South Pacific countries, although small in size, is continuing. Net migration from Asia has shown a large increase over recent years. In 1988 net permanent and long-term migration from Asian countries was 3,998 and by the year ended 31 March 1998 it had risen to 11,580.

External Migration - Statistical release

Vital Statistics quarterly - Statistical release

Vital Statistics annual - Statistical release

New Zealand Now: People Born Overseas - Publication, free sample chapter

5.4 Age, sex and ethnic diversity

Sex of the population

At present the New Zealand population contains slightly more females than males. This contrasts with early colonial days when there was a large surplus of males, especially young males.

Each census saw the sex ratio draw closer to parity, with two exceptions when there was a temporary excess of females-during World Wars I and II.

In 1968 for the first time in the country's demographic history, females outnumbered males, and since then their advantage has increased steadily. The 1996 Census shows that there were 1,809,309 males and 1,872,237 females in New Zealand representing a sex ratio of 97 males per 100 females. The shift largely reflects more females among the elderly population (65 years and over) which carried a sex ratio of 76 males per 100 females in 1996. At ages below 65 years, women now outnumber men by a small margin.

Age of the population

Changes in the age structure of New Zealand's population largely reflect the “roller coaster” movements in the birth rate. However, migration gains/losses (dominated by younger and middle working-aged people) have added significantly to these structural changes.

The recent sharp decline in fertility, increased longevity, and the movement of the baby boom “bulge” into working ages has caused a major alignment of the age structure as well as incipient ageing. The median age of the population has risen by 7.5 years since 1971, from 25.6 years to 33.1 years in 1996.

At the 1996 Census, there were 835,830 children under the age of 15 in New Zealand (down from 909,623 in 1971). They made up just under 23 percent of the population. The working-age population has risen considerably since 1971 (by over half a million) to 2,413,190 at the 1996 Census. Despite this numerical increase, the proportion of the population in the working ages has declined slightly since the late 1980s. The greatest change in the age structure of the population is at the older ages. Since 1971 the number of people aged 65 years and over has increased by more than one-and-a-half times and the number aged 80 years and over has doubled.

New Zealand Now: 65 Plus - Publication, free sample chapter

New Zealand Now: Children - Publication, free sample chapter

New Zealand Now: Young New Zealanders - Publication, free sample chapter

Māori and Pacific Islands

Within New Zealand there are population subgroups with very different age structures. Ethnic groups such as Māori and Pacific Islands Polynesians have more youthful populations. At the 1991 Census, they contained roughly twice the proportion of children under 15 years as their non-Māori, non-Polynesian counterparts (22 percent for the latter); about seven-tenths of their populations are under 30 years, and their median ages are about 12 years lower than their non-Māori, non-Polynesian counterparts (which is 32.2 years). At the other end of the age scale, only 4 percent of Māori, and 3 percent of Pacific Islands Polynesians (because of their recent migration to New Zealand) are 60 years or over, compared with 17 percent for the non-Māori, non-Pacific Islands Polynesian population.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Ethnic and cultural diversity

New Zealand has been ethnically and culturally connected to Polynesia for at least 1,000 years. Less than 200 years ago, its population and cultural heritage was wholly Polynesian, but now New Zealand is dominated by cultural traditions that are mainly European, coming especially from Britain.

About four-fifths of New Zealanders are of European origin, predominantly from the British Isles, but also including people from the Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Germany and other nations. The indigenous Māori population makes up the next largest group of the population, about 14.5 percent in 1996. The third main ethnic group is the Pacific Islands people, who made up 5.6 percent of the population at the time of the 1996 Census.

Settlers from non-European sources have also added to the wider ethnic diversity of New Zealand.

Asian Population Projections - Statistical release

Ethnic Groups - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Reference report, free sample table

Māori population

Estimates of the size of the Māori population at the time of European contact in 1769 vary greatly. Figures ranging from 100,000 to 200,000 have all been advanced. There is, however, agreement that a substantial decline occurred over the following 70 years. It is believed that the population had dropped to no more than 100,000 by 1840.

Contact with Europeans had proved disastrous for the Māori population. Tuberculosis, typhoid, venereal disease, measles and other diseases new to Māori exacted a heavy toll. The introduction of firearms and subsequent warfare, both inter-tribal and with Europeans, also resulted in a depletion of population. At the time of the first census, in 1858, numbers had been further eroded to fewer than 60,000. This decline, combined with European immigration, made Māori a minority group in the population by the 1860s. The lowest point was reached in 1896 (42,000), and from this time onwards there was a recovery in the Māori population.

By the mid-1940s the Māori population had risen to a level comparable to that at the time European colonisation began. The growth rate accelerated markedly after World War II, and peaked at 4.4 percent per annum during the early 1960s. The rate of increase persisted at high levels until the mid-1970s.

Between 1976 and 1986 the rate of increase dropped significantly, averaging 1.3 percent per annum. By 1996 people who belonged to the Māori ethnic group numbered 523,374 and made up 14.5 percent of the population. Those with some Māori ancestry made up 16.0 percent of the population and numbered 579,714.

Large numbers of young Māori left New Zealand on a permanent or long-term basis in the 1980s. A population loss of 8,100 was recorded between 1981 and 1986. The main destinations of the migrants were Australia and the United Kingdom. Sizeable Māori communities now exist in Australia-particularly in Sydney. A result of this is that the Māori population is now susceptible to inward migration, both from return migration and the inward migration of Māori born overseas.


Māori fertility has historically been high. Up to the 1960s the birth rate was around 45 per 1,000. However, a transition in fertility from high to low rates occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. The 10 years from 1962–71 saw the total fertility rate begin to decline, from 6 births per woman to 5 births per woman. The rate then began to fall even more sharply, and by 1977 was 3 births per woman. This level had only been reached by non-Māori women in 1972. In 1997 the Māori total fertility rate was 2.7 births per woman, 0.7 higher than that for the total population.

Rural to urban migration

The change from being a largely rural to a predominantly urban population happened extremely rapidly for Māori. By 1945 around three-quarters lived in rural areas. However, within two decades the majority of the Māori population was living in urban areas. By the mid-1970s, three-quarters lived in urban areas. It is worth noting that at this time a trend for migration from urban to rural ancestral marae became apparent. Initially such migrants were older urban Māori. More recently a wider section of urban Māori have been involved. Nevertheless, by 1981, four-fifths of the Māori population was urban and urbanisation among Māori has remained at this level.

Urbanisation of Māori has been accompanied by a wider geographical distribution throughout the country. In the 1920s, 95 percent of Māori lived in the North Island. Countering the trend of the total New Zealand population, Māori began to shift south, to the southern North Island and to the South Island. In 1991, 12.4 percent lived in the South Island while 24.9 percent of all New Zealanders lived in the South Island.

Age structure

Youthfulness is the central characteristic that has distinguished the Māori from the non-Māori population structure.

Between 1926 and 1976, the proportion of children in the Māori population consistently exceeded 43 percent. A peak of 50 percent was achieved in 1966. Over the 15 years from 1971–86 significant changes to the structure of the Māori population occurred. The median age, the point at which half the population is older and half younger, steadily increased. In 1971 it was 15.5 years, by 1986 it had risen to 19.5 years and in 1996 it had risen to 21.4 compared with 32.3 years for the total resident population. The number and proportion of children in the Māori population also changed over this period declining to 33 percent in 1991.

In 1996, 59.4 percent of Māori were in the working ages-closer to the 65.3 percent of the total resident population. Within the working age group, however, a higher proportion of Māori were in the 15–29 age group (45.7 percent of Māori compared with 24 percent of the total resident population).

Although the Māori population is moving towards a more elderly age structure it is still younger than the non-Māori population. (See also section 6.6 Māori society, organisations and language.)

New Zealand Now: Māori - Publication, free, sample chapter

Māori - 1996 Census of population and dwellings - Reference report, free sample table

Māori-only Ethnicity - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Reference report, free tables

Pacific Islands Polynesians

Since the early 1960s the cultural and ethnic diversity of New Zealand has been enhanced by the inflow of people from the Pacific Islands to New Zealand. The population from Pacific Islands ethnic groups has grown from a little over 100,000 in 1981 to over 202,000 at the 1996 Census.

In the 1970s, as a result of economic downturn, immigration from the Pacific dropped sharply, and natural increase became the major influence on the growth of the Pacific Islands population. The early 1980s saw a return to net migration gains from the Pacific. From 1980 to 1984, there were 8,354 more arrivals than departures and the second half of the 1980s saw arrivals from the Pacific outnumbering departures by over 37,000. The early 1990s saw a temporary reversal of this trend, but since 1995 arrivals have continued to exceed departures. (See also section 6.7 Pacific Islands population.)

Pacific Islands Profiles - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Media release

Pacific Islands People in New Zealand - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Publication

Pacific Islands People - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Reference report


Refugees from Europe arrived in the 1930s and again during World War II. This migration was intensified after the war. About 6,000 refugees from Poland were allowed to settle in New Zealand in the immediate post-war years. As a result of the conflict in Indo-China, about 7,000 Indo-Chinese refugees have been resettled in New Zealand since 1975. This accounted for over 90 percent of New Zealand's total refugee intake from this time. In addition to the Indo-Chinese refugees, small numbers of Chilean, Russian Jew, East European, Assyrian, Ethiopian, Bosnian and Somali refugees have also been received at different times.

While the cultural diversity of New Zealand is-for the greater part-Eurocentric, the range of cultural norms present in New Zealand that have come from non-European sources, along with the existing Māori culture, suggest that New Zealand will proceed into the next century possessing a wide range of different ethnic and cultural values. (See also section 6.3 Human rights, race, women and youth issues.)

5.5 Future population issues

What lies ahead in New Zealand's demographic future?

The 1996-base New Zealand Resident Population Projections were released in October 1997 and cover the period 1998–2051.

The medium projection assumes that New Zealand women will have 1.85 children on average, life expectancy at birth will increase by six years and there will be a net migration gain of 5,000 people a year (the average annual level over the last 100 years). According to this projection New Zealand's population will grow from 3.71 million in 1996 to 4.53 million in 2039, an increase of 820,000, or 22 percent. The population is then projected to decrease slightly to reach 4.49 million by 2051.

The following highlights are based on the medium projection (annual migration gain of 5,000).

  • The population growth rate is projected to slow down gradually mainly because of the narrowing gap between births and deaths. It will average 1.0 percent a year in the late 1990s, 0.3 percent a year in the late 2020s and will become negative from 2040, as deaths outnumber births by a growing margin.

  • The number of births is expected to decrease over the next 55 years from 57,000 in 1996 to 45,000 by the year 2051. This is a decrease of 12,000, or 21 percent, and partly reflects the projected low (below replacement level) fertility rates. The number of deaths will double over the same period, from 28,000 in 1996 to 56,000 in 2051. Natural increase (excess of births over deaths) will decrease steadily from 29,000 in 1996 to nil in 2035 and then reach -11,000 (a natural decrease) in 2051.

  • Half of all New Zealanders will be over the age of 46 years in 2051, compared with a median age of 33 years in 1996.

  • The number of children (0–14 years) is projected to increase initially, from 846,000 in 1996 to 871,000 in 2001. The number will then generally decline to reach 696,000 by the year 2051, or 18 percent lower than in 1996. By 2051, children will comprise 16 percent of the population, well down from 23 percent in 1996.

  • The main working age population (15–64 years) is projected to increase from 2.44 million in 1996 to peak at 2.84 million in 2019, a growth of 400,000 or 16 percent. After this the number will decrease to 2.65 million in 2051. In 1996 this group comprised 66 percent of the total population, but this is projected to decrease to 59 percent by 2051.

  • The number of New Zealanders aged 65 years and over is expected to increase over the next 55 years, from 0.43 million in 1996 to 1.15 million in 2051. This is a rise of 720,000, or 167 percent. By 2051, the elderly are expected to make up 26 percent (just over 1 in 4) of all New Zealanders, compared with 12 percent in 1996. In 1996, there were nearly twice as many children in the population as elderly. By 2051, the elderly will outnumber children by over 65 percent.

Table 5.1. Projected New Zealand resident population(1) and median age,(2) 1996(base)-2051

 Population by age group
Year at 30 June0–1415–6465+TotalMedian age (2)
 (000) Years

(1) Assuming medium fertility and mortality, and long-term annual net immigration of 5,000.

(2) Half of the population is younger and half older than this age. Note: Owing to rounding, individual figures do not always sum to the stated totals.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

1996 (Base)8462438430371433.0

Further information

Department of Internal Affairs:

Population Association of New Zealand:

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 6. Social framework

6.1 Households and dwellings

There were 1,276,332 households living in private dwellings in New Zealand at the 1996 Census. This was 98,667 households or 8.4 percent more than the 1,177,665 recorded at the 1991 Census. “One family only” households remain the most common type followed by “one-person households”.

Table 6.1. Usual household composition

 1991 Census1996 Census

(1) Includes visitor-only households.

.. = Figures not available

Source: Statistics New Zealand

One family only775557803994
One family plus other people6638778909
One family, not further classifiable..21
Two or more families (with or without other people)1981832193
Other multi-person household6882066360
One-person households235986256572
Not elsewhere classified (1)1109738283


The number of dwellings occupied on census night increased from 1,185,396 in 1991 to 1,283,991 in 1996, a rise of 98,595, or 8.3 percent.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter

The average number of usual household members per private dwelling was 2.7 in both 1991 and 1996. The percentage of private dwellings with one occupant increased by 12 percent between the two censuses. While part of this increase is due to more people at the ages when living alone is most common, it also reflects lifestyle changes.

Ownership and rental of dwellings

Occupied private dwellings owned with a mortgage decreased by 1.5 percent from 1991 to 1996. There was a small increase (0.1 percent) in the number of occupied dwellings owned without a mortgage during this period. Also recorded for this period was a 9.4 percent increase in the number of private dwellings rented or leased and an 18.3 percent increase in the number of private dwellings provided rent free.

Dwellings rented or leased from individuals and companies remained the most common category (72.2 percent of rented dwellings in 1996). This category increased by 21.2 percent from 1991, while servicing of the rental housing market by government departments including Housing Corporation and local authorities continued to decline.

Māori and Pacific Islands households and dwellings

Composition of households

29.3 percent of all Pacific Islands households are in the “one family plus other people” and “two families and other people” categories compared to 19.6 percent of New Zealand Māori households.

Table 6.3. Usual composition of Māori and Pacific Islands households, 1996 Census(1)

 New Zealand MāoriPacific Islands
Household typeNumberPercentage of totalNumberPercentage of total

(1) Private dwellings where there is at least one usually resident person (excluding absentees) of “New Zealand Māori ethnicity” or “Pacific Islands ethnicity.”

(2) Includes visitor-only households.

..= Figures not available.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

One family only13005064.13674158.7
One family plus other people2648113.11077017.2
One family not further classifiable9..6..
Two families (with or without other people)131346.5758412.1
Three or more families (with or without other people)10770.59361.5
Other multi-person households139806.933725.4
One-person households177518.430484.9
Not elsewhere classified (2)4140.21110.2

Number of usual household members

At the 1996 Census 55.6 percent of New Zealand Māori dwellings had three or fewer usual household members, whereas only 39.9 percent of Pacific Islands dwellings did. This can be partly explained by the lower average size of New Zealand Māori families and the tendency for Pacific Islands dwellings to house more than one family.

Ownership and rental of dwellings

Pacific Islands people tend to be more reliant on rented or leased housing than New Zealand Māori, who, in turn, are almost twice as reliant on rental housing as the general population. For New Zealand Māori dwellings 50.5 percent were owned with or without a mortgage compared with 42.7 percent of Pacific Islands dwellings.

New Zealand Now: Families and Households - Publication, free sample chapter

Household transport

At the 1996 Census 1,073,721 households, or 88.0 percent of households, had the use of one or more motor vehicles for private transport. This was 64,635 more households than at the 1991 Census.

Table 6.4. Household transport, 1991 and 1996

 1991 Census1996 Census
Number of motor vehicles (1)HouseholdsHouseholds

(1) Includes cars, station-wagons, vans, trucks, and other vehicles used on public roads (excludes motorcycles and scooters). Business vehicles if available for private use are also included.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Three or more114045143172
Not specified2534755854

Household income and expenditure

The New Zealand Household Economic Survey is conducted continuously by Statistics New Zealand with the results presented applying to the year 1 April to 31 March. It provides information on the expenditure patterns and income levels of private households.

In the 1997–98 year, 2,876 private households (comprising 7,796 people) participated in the survey, each household containing an average of 2.71 people. The survey included questions on household structure, income and expenditure.

Household Economic Survey - Statistical release

Household Spending - Standard tables

Household Spending on Culture - Publication

6.2 Marriage and divorce, and family legislation

Marriage may be performed either by a marriage celebrant or before a registrar of marriages. A licence must be obtained from a registrar and one of the parties must complete a statutory declaration of intent to marry. Marriage celebrants are listed annually in the “New Zealand Gazette”. They may be members of organisations (including non-religious organisations) or other persons residing in a locality. Justices of the Peace are not necessarily marriage celebrants.

The minimum age for marriage is 16 years; although no marriage is deemed to be invalid if the reason is infringement of the minimum age only. People under 20 years of age who are not widowed require the consent of parents or guardian. In case of refusal, the consent of a District Court judge may be sought.

Marital status of the population

The rate of marriage is continuing to decline, meanwhile the number of people living in “de facto” relationships is increasing. At the 1996 Census 236,397 people were living in de facto relationships, an increase of 74,541, or 46.1 percent since 1991.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Table 6.6. Distribution of people aged 15 years and over by legal marital status

 1991 Census1996 Census
Marital statusNumberNumber

(1) Married for 1996 includes first marriage and married not further defined.

(2) Includes people who are still married but are permanently separated.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Never married433818446439
Marriage (1)591141587589
Separated (2)5005541337
Not specified1896094860
Never married368880397746
Marriage (1)596067599757
Separated (2)5918751711
Not specified1767990966

Table 6.7. De facto relationships(1)

 1986 Census (1)1991 Census(1)

(1) Usually resident New Zealand population.

Source: Statistics New Zealand


Age at marriage

The average ages of those marrying rose to 33.7 years and 31.1 years for men and women respectively in 1997. This rise is a continuation of the upward trend in average age at marriage evident since the early 1970s. The increase in the average age at marriage is largely a reflection of a trend towards delayed marriage, increasing numbers of people remaining single, cohabitation before marriage and a growing number of people living in de facto unions.

The rise in the average age at marriage for both men and women has been mainly driven by the rise in age at first marriage. The average age for people marrying for the first time in 1997 was the highest since the mid-1920s for men and since figures have been collected for women.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Dissolution of marriage

There is only one ground on which an order dissolving a marriage can be made-that is, that the marriage has broken down irreconcilably. The Family Proceedings Act 1980 provides the legal framework for the dissolution of marriage. To establish that a marriage has broken down irreconcilably, the parties must be living apart, and have done so for the previous two years.

Since 1981, applications for dissolution of marriage have been made to Family Courts, which are less formal and have more simplified procedures than other courts.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Marriage and Divorce statistics - Statistical release

Important family legislation

Matrimonial Property Act 1976.

This act provides for the just division of matrimonial property between spouses when their marriage ends by separation or dissolution.

Domestic Violence Act 1995

This came into force in 1996 and replaces the Domestic Protection Act 1982. It aims to provide greater protection for victims of domestic violence. It combines non-molestation and non-violence orders into one protection order that can last indefinitely, and is available to a wider range of people in closer relationships than the previous legislation. The act also places particular emphasis on the provision of programmes for both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

Guardianship Act 1968

This act defines the authority of parents as guardians of their children, and the powers of the court in relation to guardianship and custody of, and access to, children.

Child Support Act 1992

This act introduced a new regime for assessing non-custodial parental support of children. It replaced the Liable Parent Contribution Scheme which was contained in the Social Security Act 1964 and administered by the Department of Social Welfare.

Inland Revenue Child Support assesses the amount of child support to be paid by parents according to a specific formula and collects and pays child support to the Crown when the custodial parents are social welfare beneficiaries, and to custodial parents not receiving social welfare benefits.

The agency also collects and pays court-ordered maintenance to qualifying spouses and maintenance which has been agreed on voluntarily to spouses and/or children.

6.3 Human rights, race, women and youth issues

Human Rights Commission: Komihana Tikanga Tangata

The Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body. Its primary function is to protect human rights in New Zealand in accordance with United Nations human rights covenants and conventions.

An important function of the commission is the investigation and conciliation of complaints of unlawful discrimination in public life, which includes the areas of employment, access to public places, vehicles and facilities, provision of goods and services, accommodation and education.

It is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of sex, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status or sexual orientation. If complaints are not resolved by the commission's private and non-adversarial investigation and conciliation process they can be taken to the Complaints Review Tribunal.

Office of the Race Relations Conciliator: Te Tari Whakawhanaunga a Iwi

The Race Relations Conciliator (who is, ex officio, a Human Rights Commissioner) has responsibility for conciliating in complaints of racial discrimination, racial harassment and excitement of racial disharmony, and for the promotion of positive race relations in New Zealand.

The office of the Race Relations Conciliator is established by the Human Rights Act 1993. The act lays down a list of prohibited grounds of discrimination which include colour, race, ethnic or national origin (which includes nationality or citizenship).

The act entitles the conciliator to inquire generally into any matter, including any enactment or law, or any practice, or any procedure, whether governmental or non-governmental, if it appears to the conciliator that race relations are, or may be, infringed.

If there appears to be a breach of the act all attempts are made to conciliate between the complainant and respondent and to reach a settlement agreed to by both parties. If that is not possible the Complaints Division which includes the conciliator considers the case. The division can attempt further conciliation or recommend outcomes such as compensation, an apology or an agreement not to repeat the action complained of. If necessary, the complaint can be referred on to the Complaints Review Tribunal which has the ability to have the Complaints Division judgement enforced. The complainant or respondent can also apply to the tribunal for any decision to be reviewed.

Equal Employment Opportunities Trust

The Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) Trust was established in 1991 by the government and the private sector. It promotes to New Zealand employers the business benefits of valuing diversity.

The trust has developed a number of resources and services for New Zealand business. In 1997 it launched the annual EEO Trust Index, a stocktake of both the context in which New Zealand organisations operate and the current level of EEO activity. The index offers insights into the emerging issues in diversity that will have an impact on New Zealand organisations in the future.

Another resource available to employers is the trust's EEO Referral Database which has over 2,500 listings of EEO resources such as books, booklets, videos, pamphlets and posters. It also contains over 200 relevant consultants, trainers and training programmes.

Women's issues

Women comprise 51 percent of New Zealand's population. While men and women have equal status under the law, women have yet to achieve full equality with men in terms of economic and social status, freedom from discrimination and access to decision-making processes.

Publication: New Zealand Now: Women

Ministry of Women's Affairs: Minitatanga mō ngā Wāhine

The role of the ministry is to provide policy advice to the government on issues which affect women. The ministry's policy work addresses areas where there is significant disparity between women and men which disadvantages women, and where there is significant disparity between Māori women and non-Māori women which disadvantages Māori women. The ministry has two policy units, one of which, Te Ohu Whakatupu, is responsible for advice relating to Māori women.

National Council of Women of New Zealand: Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa The National Council of Women of New Zealand was formed in 1896 by women who led the suffrage movement and who had quickly come to realise that obtaining the vote was not enough to ensure women's full participation in the decision-making process of the country.

The National Council of Women serves women, the family and the community through study, discussion and action at both national and international levels. There are 35 branches in New Zealand and 47 affiliated national societies.

In the year to June 1998, the National Council made more than 70 submissions to government and other bodies. Current issues of concern include the availability of health care for all; access to education, particularly tertiary and continuing; promotion of the need for sustainable land management; standards of the media especially in relation to children; monitoring responses to the Beijing Platform for Action and the official report to the Monitoring committee for CEDAW; and the promotion of consumer interests in many aspects of the economy. NCWNZ is an active member of the International Council of Women (ICW).

Youth issues

The Ministry of Youth Affairs: Te Tari Taiohi

The Ministry of Youth Affairs aims to facilitate direct participation of young people in New Zealand life, and promote opportunities for young people to contribute to the cultural, social and economic policies and services affecting New Zealand's development.

The ministry provides policy advice on young people and their future, and communicates and facilitates with young people and those who work with them. It supports 26 Youth Councils and administers grants for youth training and development through the operation of the Conservation Corps and the Youth Service Corps.

Children, Young Persons and Their Families Agency

The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Agency, a division of the Department of Social Welfare, works with families to protect children, manage young offenders, and ensure care and security for children in need. It includes the Youth Justice Service (see section 7.2: Social services).

The Commissioner for Children: Te Tari o te Kaikomihana mo ngā Tamariki

The Office of the Commissioner for Children is an official government body which advocates for children and monitors law and policy on their behalf. The commissioner offers independent advice to government, local bodies and community organisations. There is particular interest in reducing violence towards and between children and in preventing child abuse. The office accepts inquires and complaints from members of the public. For the year ended 30 June 1998, 325 complaints and 1226 inquiries were lodged.

Table 6.1. Complaints and inquiries to the Commissioner for Children

Year ended 30 JuneComplaintsInquiries
..= Figures not available.

New Zealand Now: Children - Publication, free sample chapter

New Zealand Now: Young New Zealanders - Publication, free sample chapter

6.4 Religion and ethnicity

Religious affiliation

Fewer people are identifying with the major Christian denominations, while more people are identifying with the major non-Christian religions. The latest census information shows that the number of people with no religious affiliation is also growing. Pentecostals were the only major Christian group to experience significant growth between 1991 and 1996, with their numbers increasing by 55 percent. Anglicans, however, remained by far the largest religious denomination, accounting for 18 percent of the population in 1996.

Among non-Christian religions, the numbers of Buddhists and Muslim more than doubled while the number of Hindus increased by almost half between 1991 and 1996, although each of these groups still make up less than 1 percent of the population.

The number of people who indicated that they had no religious affiliation increased markedly between 1991 and 1996, rising by 33 percent to make up over a quarter of the population in 1996.

Table 6.11. Religious affiliations(1)

 1991 Census1996 Census

(1) Usually resident New Zealand population.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Religious affiliationNumberNumber
Latter Day Saints/Mormon4800941166
Jehovah's Witness1918219524
Assemblies of God1722617520
Salvation Army1999214625
Seventh Day Adventist1300512324
Other specified164679273735
Other response including no religion9806491338384


At the 1996 Census, when asked to choose one ethnic group, three-quarters of New Zealand's population specified that they belonged only to the European ethnic group. This group not only declined as a proportion of the population between 1991 and 1996 but also fell in numbers. Over the same period the other major ethnic groups increased in size and as proportions of the population. In 1996 the New Zealand Māori population made up 15 percent of the population, with Pacific Islands people and Asian people each making up 5 percent. The highest rate of growth between 1991 and 1996 was among the Asian population which grew by 71 percent, primarily due to increased immigration.

Table 6.12. Ethnic group of population(1)

 1991 Census1996 Census

(1) Usually resident New Zealand population.

(2) European includes those who specified a European group as their sole ethnic group; NZ Māori includes all those who specified NZ Māori either alone or in combination with other groups; Pacific Islands includes all people who specified a Pacific Islands ethnic group except those who also specified NZ Māori; Asian includes all those who specified an Asian ethnic group except those who also specified NZ Māori or a Pacific Islands ethnic group; Other includes all those who specified another ethnic group except those who also specified NZ Māori or a Pacific Islands or Asian ethnic group.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Ethnic group (2)Number of responses
European only26576192594688
New Zealand Māori434847523371
Pacific Islands152937173181
Not specified28113151716
Total responses (selected groups)
New Zealand European26184452496552
British and Irish93912407133
South Slav (Yugoslav)28689006
New Zealand Māori434847523374
Cook Islands Māori3785747019
Sri Lankan26284713

Country of birth

People who were born in New Zealand made up 82.5 percent of New Zealand's resident population at the 1996 Census, a slight decrease from 1991. Between 1991 and 1996 New Zealand's overseas-born population increased by almost 78,000 people, with 72 percent of that number having been born in Asia.

People born in the United Kingdom and Ireland remain New Zealand's largest immigrant group, making up 6.7 percent of the total population in 1996. Apart from the United Kingdom, the only individual countries to provide more than 1 percent of New Zealand's population in 1996 were Australia (1.6 percent) and Western Samoa (1.2 percent).


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

New Zealand Now: People Born Overseas - Publication, free sample chapter

6.5 Citizenship and immigration

The current legislation of New Zealand citizenship is the Citizenship Act 1977, and the Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 together with the Citizenship Regulations 1978.

Under the Citizenship Act 1977, New Zealand citizenship may be established: by birth in New Zealand; by descent (i.e. birth outside New Zealand); or by grant of citizenship.

Children born overseas after 1 January 1978 to a parent who is a New Zealand citizen otherwise than by descent, are automatically New Zealand citizens by descent. In order to preserve this status they must be registered as citizens by descent before their 22nd birthday. This can be done in New Zealand through the Citizenship Office, or at an overseas post.


The general requirements for a grant of citizenship are that an applicant must:

  • Have been ordinarily resident in New Zealand for the three years immediately preceding the date of application.

  • Be entitled in the terms of the Immigration Act 1987 to reside in New Zealand indefinitely.

  • Be of full capacity.

  • Be of good character.

  • Have sufficient knowledge of the English language and of the responsibilities and privileges attaching to New Zealand citizenship.

  • Intend to continue to be ordinarily resident in New Zealand or to enter or continue Crown service under the New Zealand Government, or service in the employment of a person, company, society, or other body of persons resident or established in New Zealand.

Citizens of Western Samoa

The Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 provides primarily for the grant of citizenship to any person who can establish that he or she is a Western Samoan citizen or that he or she comes within the specified degrees of association with Western Samoa; and who either:

  • Was in New Zealand at any time on 14 September 1982, or

  • Lawfully entered New Zealand on or after 15 September 1982 and is entitled to reside in New Zealand indefinitely in terms of the Immigration Act 1987.

People aged 14 years and over who are approved for the grant of citizenship by the Minister of Internal Affairs are required to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of State, at a private or public ceremony to make the grant effective.

Withdrawal of citizenship

New Zealand citizens can have their citizenship taken away if they:

  • Choose a foreign nationality by any formal act other than by marriage and have acted in a manner which is contrary to the interests of New Zealand; or

  • Choose to exercise any of the privileges or perform any of the duties of another nationality or citizenship which is contrary to the interests of New Zealand; or

  • Have obtained citizenship by fraud, false representation, mistake, or wilful concealment of relevant information.

Sometimes people can renounce New Zealand citizenship, e.g. when required to by countries such as Germany which do not accept dual citizenship. However, New Zealand citizenship must be renounced formally. This is because the New Zealand Government insists that New Zealand citizens should not become stateless during changes of citizenship. To protect citizens, government requires proof of citizenship in another country before giving approval to renounce New Zealand citizenship.

There were 18,017 grants of citizenship for the year ended 30 June 1998.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.


People who wish to emigrate to New Zealand are usually considered by the New Zealand Immigration Service under one of four main categories of government residence policy. They are General Skills (often called the “points system”), Business Investor, Family and Humanitarian.

As well as the four main residence categories, up to 1,100 Western Samoan citizens may be granted residence in New Zealand each year under a quota system for those with a job offer in New Zealand. There is also a special quota for up to 750 people each year to be granted residence under the Refugee Quota Programme. Refugees resettled in New Zealand under this programme are nominated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 1999 allowance was made for up to 600 Kosovo Albanian refugees to be granted residency in addition to the quota of 750.

6.6 Māori society, organisations and language

(See section 10 for information on the Treaty of Waitangi/ Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Waitangi Tribunal/Te Rōpū Whakamana i Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and The Office of Treaty Settlements/Te Tari Whakatau Take e pā ana ki te Tiriti o Waitangi.)


Statistics on the New Zealand Māori population from the 1996 Census are based on the concept of “ethnicity”. People are described as having New Zealand Māori ethnicity if they have given this response as any one of their ethnicities.

NB. While statistics based on ethnicity are widely used for analysing Māori population growth and distribution, it should be noted that legislation pertaining to New Zealand Māori and the concept used to measure the Māori electoral population is based on Māori ancestry.

Age distribution

At the 1996 Census the New Zealand Māori population was significantly younger in age structure than the total population. This youthfulness is demonstrated by the fact that 37.5 percent of Māori were under 15 years of age, compared with 23.0 percent of the total New Zealand resident population. In contrast, only 3.0 percent of Māori were 65 years of age and over at that time, the corresponding figure for the total New Zealand resident population being 11.7 percent.

These differences reflect both the higher historical fertility (in terms of birth numbers) and mortality levels of the Māori population relative to the total population.

Geographic distribution

Māori continue to be concentrated in the North Island regions (where 87.5 percent live) and more especially in the Northern regions-Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

Table 6.15. New Zealand Māori population by regional council(1)

 1991 Census1996 Census

(1) People of New Zealand Māori ethnicity usually resident in New Zealand.

(2) Includes Chatham Islands District.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Regional councilNumberNumber
North Island
Bay of Plenty5317562745
Hawke's Bay2824231650
North Island total387834458037
South Island
West Coast20252835
South Island total4668064920
Extra-county islands and shipping (2)330414
New Zealand total434847523371

Male-female ratio

At the 1996 Census females outnumbered males in the Māori population. There were 258,000 males and 265,374 females in the Māori population, representing a sex ratio of 102.9 females to every 100 males.

Dynamics of population change

Māori have a substantially higher rate of natural increase than non-Māori, due largely to a higher birth rate, which in turn is due mainly to the more youthful age structure.

In 1997 the total fertility rate for the Māori ethnic group stood at 2.67. In contrast to their non-Māori counterparts, whose fertility is currently below replacement level (2.1 births per woman), Māori women are still reproducing at above the “replacement level” and have an earlier childbearing pattern.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy at birth for the Māori ethnic group was 71.6 years for females and 67.2 years for males. Māori women can therefore expect to outlive Māori men by 4.4 years. For the non-Māori population, life expectancy at birth was 80.6 years for female and 75.3 years for males, giving females a longevity edge of 5.3 years over males. Based on the 1995–97 experience, a new-born non-Māori girl can expect to outlive her Māori counterpart by 9.0 years. For new-born boys the non-Māori advantage is 8.1 years. The 1995–97 life tables for Māori and non-Māori have been constructed using data drawn from new birth and death registration forms, and therefore are not comparable with earlier series.

Table 6.16. Comparison: Māori and non-Māori life expectancy

 Life expectancy at birth (years)
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Māori - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Reference report, free sample table

New Zealand Now: Māori - Publication, free sample chapter

Iwi Affiliation - Statistical release

Māori-Only Ethnicity - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Standard Tables

Ministry of Māori Development: Te Puni Kōkiri

The ministry is the Crown's principal adviser on the Crown's relationship with iwi, hapu and Māori, and on key government policies as they affect Māori.

In carrying out this role, the ministry's functions are:

  • To provide strategic leadership advice.

  • To provide advice on sectoral issues particularly across the key sectors of education, health, employment and commerce.

  • To provide early warning of discrete issues at a community level that affect the Crown-Māori relationship.

The ministry aims to achieve parity between Māori and non-Māori in key social and economic outcomes, as well as progress the fair and durable settlement of Treaty grievances.

Māori community services

National Māori organisations working alongside and partially resourced by the ministry are the New Zealand Māori Council; Māori Wardens; Māori Women's Welfare League; Te Kōhanga Reo; and Māori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori).

Māori tribal developments

The government is increasingly channelling communications and resources through tribal organisations to the “flax roots” of Māoridom. Runanga or trust boards play a key role in the implementation of development schemes, the development of a comprehensive Māori fisheries policy, the administration of Māori language boards and cultural wananga, and other activities.

As a result of this trend traditional institutions and networks have been revitalised and new runanga and trust boards have been established in areas where they did not previously exist. This strong tribal infrastructure is a key element in the emerging biculturalism in New Zealand, Māori economic development, and the adaptation of traditional strengths to meet contemporary needs, which are features of Māori society today.

Te reo Māori

New Zealand Māori, a Polynesian language closely related to Cook Islands Maori, Tahitian and Hawaiian, is the language of the tangata whenua of Aotearoa. There are some 10,000 native speakers of Māori and a further 152,000 people who possess varying degrees of fluency.

In August 1987, Māori was declared an official language of New Zealand. The Māori Language Act became law and the Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, came into existence.

The past decade has been one of remarkable challenge and change. Major steps have been taken to cement the Māori language as an ordinary, everyday means of communication.

Te reo Māori: facts and figures

  • In the early childhood sector, k5hanga reo offer programmes based on total immersion in Māori language, culture and values. In 1998, 40 percent of Māori children enrolled in early childhood education were attending kōhanga reo.

  • In July 1998 there were 11,689 enrolments in licensed kōhanga reo and 361 in developing kōhanga reo, a total of 12,050. Of this total, 99 percent (11,980) were Māori.

  • In 1998, 52,427 or 7.2 percent of the school population were learning the Māori language.

  • Forty-four percent of all the students learning Māori language are Māori.

  • Nearly 5 percent of the school population are taught some or all of their curriculum subjects in Māori.

  • Kura kaupapa Māori are schools of special character that provide education in which the principal language is Māori. In 1998 there were 60 kura kaupapa Māori of which 54 were primary, five were composite schools (with students from Year 1 to Year 15), and one was secondary.

  • In July 1998 there were 1,636 enrolments in specific Māori language programmes at the tertiary level. Students studying te reo Māori as part of a generic degree are not included in this figure.

6.7 Pacific Islands population

Current trends show that the Pacific population in New Zealand is growing 11 times faster than other population groups and is expected to double by 2031. Immigration is a major contributor to this growth.


The 1996 Census provides the most recent and complete data on New Zealand's Pacific Islands population. This population includes the categories of Samoan, Cook Islands Maori, Niuean, Tokelauan, and other Pacific Islands groups e.g., Hawaiian, Tahitian.

Age distribution

At the 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings, the Pacific Islands population was considerably younger in age structure than the total usually resident New Zealand population with 39.2 percent of Pacific Islands people under 15 years of age, compared with 23.0 percent of the total population. In contrast only 3.0 percent of Pacific Islanders were 65 years of age and over at that time, the corresponding figure for the total population being 11.7 percent.

Table 6.17. Pacific Islands population by regional council(1)

Regional council1991 Census1996 Census

(1) People of Pacific Islands ethnicity usually resident in New Zealand.

(2) Includes Chatham Islands District.

Note: Pacific Islands statistics are on the basis of self-identification and are based on the concept of ethnicity, allowing comparisons between the 1991 and 1996 Census data.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

North IslandNumber
Bay of Plenty32465088
Hawke's Bay25173732
North Island total156753189237
South Island
West Coast144198
South Island total1031112984
Extra-county islands and shipping (2)912
New Zealand total167070202233

Distribution of population

All regional councils experienced growth in their Pacific Islands populations between the 1991 and 1996 Censuses. Auckland experienced the greatest increase (19,989) or 56.9 percent of the national increase of 35,160 between the two censuses.

Pacific Islands Profiles - Media release.

Pacific Islands People in New Zealand - Publication

Pacific Islands People - 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Reference report

Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs

The ministry exists to promote the development of Pacific peoples in New Zealand in a way that reflects Pacific cultural values and aspirations, so that Pacific peoples can participate and contribute fully to New Zealand's social, cultural and economic life.

The ministry contributes to this through the provision of policy advice on key issues; encouraging government agencies to take responsibility for meeting the aspirations of Pacific people; influencing and monitoring the implementation of policies; and disseminating information and consulting with Pacific people.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Further information

Department of Internal Affairs:

Māori organisations in New Zealand:

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 7. Social welfare

7.1 Department of Social Welfare: Te Tari Toko i te Ora

The department has two major delivery functions. They are social services to children, young persons and their families; and funding of welfare organisations.

The department also:

  • Advises the Minister on the development of social welfare policies for New Zealand.

  • Provides welfare services.

  • Maintains close liaison with, and encourages co-operation and co-ordination among, any organisations and individuals (including departments of state and other agencies of the Crown) engaged in social welfare activities.

  • Undertakes and promotes research into aspects of social welfare.

  • Provides administrative services to boards, councils, committees, and agencies.

Prior to October 1998 the department was responsible for the delivery of income support. This role has been taken over by Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ), a new stand-alone delivery department.

Government support for programmes run by voluntary welfare organisations has substantially increased in recent years and the community has become more involved in providing social welfare. The Department of Social Welfare now delegates more of its responsibilities to the local level.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

7.2 Income support

Benefits are financed from general taxation. An advantage of this is that people who are unable to pay contributions are covered to the same extent as wage and salary earners.

Income Support is the business unit of Work and Income New Zealand and provides income support services and superannuation support. Income support is available for people who are:

  • looking for work

  • too ill to work

  • looking after other people

  • on a low income and needing extra help

  • of retirement age.

Income support can be divided into “main types of income support” and “extra help”.

The main types of income support provide customers with an income when they are retired or can't work. Most of the benefits are to help with everyday living costs and are only meant to be paid for a short time to help customers while they gain independence.

Extra help is for people who are on low incomes or who are already getting a main type of income support and who need extra help with certain types of expenses, like housing costs.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Main types of income support

Community Wage

As at 1 October 1998, persons receiving the unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, a training benefit, a 55+ benefit, or a young job seekers allowance received a benefit called the Community Wage.

In return for receiving the Community Wage, recipients are expected to:

  • search for work

  • meet with Work and Income New Zealand when asked

  • take a suitable work offer

  • take part in activities that would improve their chances of finding a job.

For the year ended 30 June 1998, 154,774 people received Unemployment Benefits (replaced by the Community Wage on 1 October 1998) with total gross expenditure amounting to $1,496,701,000.

New Zealand Superannuation

New Zealand Superannuation gives people a retirement income once they reach the qualifying age (between 63 and 65 depending on when they were born). Residency conditions apply.

The amount that people receive varies depending on their situation.

For the year ended 30 June 1998, 446,487 people received New Zealand Superannuation with total gross expenditure amounting to $5,259,198,000.

Transitional Retirement Benefit

The Transitional Retirement Benefit is for people who haven't quite reached the qualifying age for New Zealand Superannuation.

For the year ended 30 June 1998, 8,152 people received the Transitional Retirement Benefit amounting to $99,875,000.

War Pensions

War Pensions are for ex-service people with a disability from their service. The War Disablement Pension is paid as compensation for their disability. The Veterans Pension provides income for people who can't work or sometimes they will receive it instead of New Zealand Superannuation.

For the year ended 30 June 1998, 25,264 people received War Pensions with a total expenditure of $103,108,000.

Independent Youth Benefit

This income support is for 16 and 17-year-olds who can't be supported by their parents or anyone else. To qualify they must be looking for work or are unable to work because they are sick or injured or are attending school or approved training full time.

Invalids Benefit

To receive an Invalids Benefit recipients must be 16 years old or over and have a permanent sickness or disability which stops them working or makes it difficult for them to work.

For the year ended 30 June 1998, 49,419 people received Invalids Benefit with a total expenditure of $622,157,000.

Widows Benefit

The Widows Benefit is for women whose husband or partner has died. It is to help people who have children to support or who have spent a number of years married or raising children (if the recipient does not have children they must be over the age of 50 to qualify). If the recipient has remarried then they are no longer entitled to receive this benefit.

For the year ended 30 June 1998, 9,361 people received Widows Benefits with a total expenditure of $93,931,000.

Domestic Purposes Benefit

The Domestic Purposes Benefit is paid to a parent caring for children without the support of a partner, to a person caring for someone at home who would otherwise be hospitalised, and in some cases, to an older woman alone.

The amount that someone receives depends on age and if they are married or have a partner, the number of children living with the recipient and how much other income they have.

The number of people in receipt of the Domestic Purposes Benefit at 30 June 1998 was 113,029 and amounted to a yearly expenditure of $1,654,035,000.

Residential Care Subsidy

The Residential Care Subsidy is financial help to pay for long-term residential care in a rest home or hospital.

To be eligible for a subsidy assets must be under certain limits and any income received must be used towards the care (up to a maximum of $636 a week). Other criteria also apply.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Overseas social security agreements

New Zealand currently has eight overseas social security agreements: with the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Greece, Ireland, Australia, the States of Jersey and Guernsey, Denmark, Canada and Italy.

The main purpose of social security agreements is to encourage free movement of labour and to ensure that when a person has lived or worked in more than one country, each of those countries takes a fair share of the responsibility for meeting the costs of that person's social security coverage.

By entering into agreements, New Zealand is better able to attract skills, specialist knowledge and technical know-how from overseas when they are not available here.

7.3 Social services

Department of Social Welfare: Te Tari Toko i te Ora

One of the roles of the Department of Social Welfare is to provide financial and other support to non-government organisations and groups providing social services in the community.

Social Policy Agency: Rōpū Here Kaupapa

The Social Policy Agency is part of the Department of Social Welfare and provides the government with policy advice on a wide spectrum of social and welfare issues. The agency has a staff of about 100. The agency's main focus this year is on providing policy advice to government on strengthening families and child and family policy issues, welfare reform, the government's employment strategy and positive ageing. From 1 October 1999 the Social Policy Agency will become a policy group of a new Ministry of Social Policy.

Children, Young Persons and Their Families Agency

The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Agency (CYPFA) works with at risk children, young persons and their families.

As well as providing services directly, the agency funds and provides quality assurance, and contracts with community organisations for social services for the protection and well-being of children, young people and their families.

The agency combines the roles of the former Children, Young Persons and Their Families Services and the former New Zealand Community Funding Agency. On 1 October 1999, the agency will become a stand-alone department. The proposed name is the Department of Child, Youth and Whanau Services (DCYWS).

Retirement Commissioner: Kia Titikaha i te Ahungarua

The office has three main functions:

  • to promote public education on retirement income issues

  • to monitor the effects of retirement income policies in New Zealand

  • to advise the Minister of Social Welfare on retirement income issues.

Non-government organisations

New Zealand Council of Social Services: Te Kaunihera Ratonga Tauwhiro o Aotearoa The New Zealand Council of Social Services (NZCOSS) is the national association of Councils of Social Services, of which in 1997 there were 51. Each local Council of Social Services brings together a broad spectrum of voluntary sector groups. They may include employment, church, youth and service groups, schools and health and welfare organisations.

It is an advocacy organisation which makes submissions on legislation, writes consultative documents, lobbies and provides training.

Women's Refuge

The refuge movement was born out of a need to provide emergency safe housing for women and children fleeing violent domestic situations. Today, the movement aims to “support individual women towards lives free of violence, and to change the attitudes, beliefs and practices of a society which inadequately protects the rights of women to live in safety”.

At 30 June 1998 there were 48 member refuges of the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges (NCIWR), including Māori and Pacific Islands refuges, providing 56 safe houses around the country.

In 1998, refuges reported 115,877 occupied bed nights and 3,060 women and 4,719 children taken into residential care. After leaving the refuge about 62 percent of women did not return to their partner. Over 295,000 phone calls for refuge services were received on the 24-hour crisis line.

Citizens Advice Bureaux: Te Pokapū Whakahoki Pātai mai i te Iwi Whānui

The main aim of the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) is to ensure that individuals do not suffer through ignorance of their rights and responsibilities, or of the services available. It provides free to all individuals an impartial and confidential service of information, guidance and support.

In the year to June 1998 the CAB handled 548,638 enquiries about local and general information, health and welfare issues, legal and immigration problems, family and relationship matters, and consumer concerns.

The CAB has a nationwide 0800 toll-free line (0800 FOR CAB). This connects callers with their nearest bureau and makes the service more accessible to rural people and people calling from pay phones or their workplaces.

Further information

Community Development Group - Department of Internal Affairs: affairs/organisation/com.frml

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 8. Health and safety

8.1 Government health services

The New Zealand health system is made up of public, private and voluntary sectors which interact to provide and fund health care. Over 75 percent of health care is publicly funded.

Ministry of Health: Manatū Hauora

The ministry provides policy advice to the government on health and disability support services. It also negotiates, manages and monitors funding agreements with the Health Funding Authority and service providers, and provides services to Ministers.

The government's goals for the health and disability sector are:

Goal 1 : to improve the health of people in New Zealand

Goal 2 : to put people at the centre of service delivery

Goal 3 : to make the best use of resources available for health and disability services.

The New Zealand Health Information Service

The New Zealand Health Information Service (NZHIS) is the group within the Ministry of Health responsible for the collection and dissemination of health-related information.

There are three major information systems currently supported by the NZHIS: the National Health Index (NHI), the Medical Warning System (MWS), and the National Minimum Dataset (NMDS). These databases contain information for secondary and tertiary health events from Hospital and Health Services (HHSs). NZHIS also collects health workforce information.

Health Funding Authority

The Health Funding Authority is New Zealand's only national funder which funds personal health, disability support and public health services.

The three primary functions of the Health Funding Authority are:

  • to monitor the need for personal health, disability support, and public health services for New Zealanders

  • to fund health and disability services for people

  • to monitor the performance of providers which have purchase agreements.

Pharmaceutical Management Agency (PHARMAC)

New Zealand residents are entitled, at a small cost to themselves, to a wide range of medicines, approved appliances and materials which are included in the pharmaceutical schedule, and prescribed by medical practitioners, midwives or dentists.

The pharmaceutical schedule is a list of the drugs and services subsidised by the government.

PHARMAC is the Crown agency owned by the Health Funding Authority (HFA), which manages the country's pharmaceutical schedule. The schedule is the list of almost 3,000 subsidised prescription drugs and related products available in New Zealand.

Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit (CCMAU): Te Mata Aroturuki Rawa a te Karauna

CCMAU advises the Ministers of Health and Finance on the ownership monitoring aspects of Hospital and Health Services (HHSs). The advice includes setting ownership objectives and targets for HHSs, the Crown's investment in this sector and the impact on HHSs of proposed health policy options. It also monitors and advises Ministers of HHS performance.

Hospital and Health Services (HHSs)

There are 24 HHSs. Individual HHSs generally provide health care and disability support services based around a 24-hour acute care tertiary (high technology) hospital.

National Advisory Committee on Health and Disability

The committee advises the government on the content, quality and terms of access to publicly-funded public health, personal health and disability support services within a resource-constrained environment. It also provides independent public health policy advice.

Health Sponsorship Council: Te Rōpū Whakatairanga Hauora

The Health Sponsorship Council was established in 1990 under the Smoke Free Environments Act. The council works within a social marketing framework to change people's attitudes and behaviours on various social and personal issues.

The council has developed three distinct health brands: Smokefree, Sunsmart and Street-Skills. Smokefree encourages New Zealanders, particularly young women and Māori, not to start smoking. Sunsmart reminds people to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun when outdoors and Street-Skills focuses on encouraging youngsters to cycle safely.

Health and Disability Commissioner: Te Toihau Hauora Hauātanga

The commissioner's primary purposes are to promote and protect the rights of health and disability consumers and to facilitate the fair, speedy and efficient resolution of complaints relating to infringement of those rights.

This is achieved through facilitation between the public and providers of health and disability services, education and research into awareness on consumer rights, advocacy support, prosecutions, and policy formation and advice. For more information phone 0800 112233.

8.2 Research

Health Research Council of New Zealand: Te Kaunihera Rangahau Hauora o Aotearoa

The Health Research Council (HRC) is the major government agency purchasing and co-ordinating health research in New Zealand. The council supports Māori health research, sets guidelines for health research ethics and accredits regional ethic committees. The HRC also assesses the scientific merit of gene therapy and clinical trials.

The council's mission is to improve human health by promoting and funding health research. It funds a broad research spectrum, including biomedical, public health, and Māori and Pacific Islands health research. New funding is channelled into its priority areas-child health, mental health, Māori health and the social and economic determinates of health and disease.

The HRC website includes guidelines on research with Māori, research ethic guidelines, research services, application forms and requests for research proposals and links to other health sites.

Malaghan Institute of Medical Research

The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research is an independent medical research institute (formerly known as the Wellington Cancer and Medical Research Foundation). It was renamed in 1986 to recognise the contribution of Len and Ann Malaghan. The institute is a charitable trust. It has 35 full-time staff and is based at the University of Otago's Wellington School of Medicine.

Diseases studied at the Malaghan include asthma, cancer and tuberculosis. The institute collaborates with research groups both nationally and internationally. A major focus of the institute is on the provision of quality post-graduate (PhD) degrees through the Wellington School of Medicine (University of Otago). It is funded by contestable research grants and by contributions from corporate sponsors, private benefactors and bequests.

8.3 Regulation of health service professionals

The health service workforce is made up of a large number of professions and occupations. The Ministry of Health collects workforce data for the different professional groups.

The role of registration boards/councils is to monitor entry standards for their relevant professions, and to register and discipline practitioners.


The Medical Council of New Zealand is a statutory body constituted under the Medical Practitioners Act 1995. The principal purpose of the act is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by prescribing or providing for mechanisms to ensure that all medical practitioners are competent to practise medicine. The council has ten members and includes lay participation. The main functions of the council are:

  • Registration-the council must authorise the registration of all medical practitioners working in New Zealand. Doctors who complete their medical training in countries other than New Zealand or Australia must satisfy the council of their entitlement to registration by examination and/or assessment before registration is granted.

  • Medical education-which involves the accreditation of medical school courses and curricula. It also approves posts for the education, training and experience of interns in their seventh year, the mandatory period before general registration. In addition it must promote vocational and continuing medical education and training in New Zealand.

  • Fitness to practise.

  • Professional standards.

  • Discipline.

The number of medical practitioners with general or probationary registration at 30 June 1998 was 12,578, with 8,573 holding annual practising certificates. A further 354 overseas-trained doctors were working on temporary registration.


The Dental Council is governed by the Dental Act 1988. It registers dentists, promotes high standards of professional education and conduct among dentists, and provides administration services for the Dentists Disciplinary Tribunal. The number of dentists on the register at 30 June 1998 was 2,087.

Five dentists appeared before the Dentists Disciplinary Tribunal in the year to June 1998 one complaint was dismissed.

Professional studies in New Zealand are provided at the School of Dentistry, University of Otago.

Nurses and midwives

The Nursing Council of New Zealand, Te Kaunihera Tapuhi o Aotearoa, is constituted under the Nurses Act 1977. Its primary function is the registration of nurses and midwives and enrolment of enrolled nurses. The council sets minimum standards for registration and enrolment, monitors programmes leading to registration and enrolment, conducts examinations, approves schools of nursing and midwifery (subject to ministerial concurrence), issues annual practising certificates, and exercises disciplinary powers. For the year ended 31 March 1998 the council heard 15 disciplinary matters. It also maintains a register of nurses for each of the following categories: comprehensive, general, general and obstetric, psychiatric, psychopaedic, midwives and a roll for enrolled nurses. For the year to 31 March 1998, 45,728 nurses and midwives held annual practising certificates.

Nurses and midwives are educated through three-year degree programmes leading to registration as a comprehensive nurse or midwife. Some tertiary institutions offer shortened courses for graduates and enrolled nurses, which lead to comprehensive registration and midwifery registration. Post-registration education ranges from regular in-service and short clinical courses, to diploma and transition to degree programmes. Certificates and degrees to doctorate level are offered at Massey and Victoria universities.


The Psychologists Board is constituted under the Psychologists Act 1981. The board is concerned with the registration of psychologists and discipline of registered psychologists. At 30 June 1998 there were 1,892 registered psychologists, with 1,017 holding annual practising certificates. Current legislation only requires registration of psychologists for those psychologists practising in the state services or licensed institutions under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992.


The Physiotherapy Board is constituted under the Physiotherapy Act 1949. The board registers applicants for physiotherapy practice, regulates the conduct of those registered under the act and issues ultrasonic therapy licences.

Four-year full-time courses in physiotherapy are offered at the University of Otago and the Auckland Institute of Technology. Successful completion of these qualifications is required for registration. At 30 June 1998 there were 4,845 registered physiotherapists with 2,258 holding annual practising certificates.

Occupational therapists

The Occupational Therapy Board is constituted under the Occupational Therapy Act 1949. The board is concerned with the education, registration and conduct of occupational therapists.

The three-year full-time training courses are conducted at the Auckland Institute of Technology and the Otago Polytechnic. Successful completion of a qualification from one of the institutions is required for registration. The board also considers applications from overseas therapists.

At 30 June 1998 there were 2,491 registered occupational therapists, with 1,151 holding annual practising certificates.


The Dietitians Board is constituted under the Dietitians Act 1950. The post-graduate training course for dietitians is the responsibility of the University of Otago. Students are usually already qualified in either “home”, “consumer” or “applied” science.

At 30 June 1998 there were 943 registered dietitians with 312 holding annual practising certificates.

Optometrists and dispensing opticians

The Opticians Board, constituted under the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Act 1976, is concerned with the registration and conduct of optometrists and dispensing opticians.

At 30 June 1998 there were 661 registered optometrists with 401 holding annual practising certificates and 110 registered dispensing opticians with 76 holding annual practising certificates. Optometrists are trained at the University of Auckland in a four-year full-time degree course. Dispensing opticians are trained through a two-and-a-half year correspondence course.


The Medical Auxiliaries Act 1966 provides for the constitution of a Podiatrists Board. The board sets standards of education and conduct with regard to the profession and conducts special examinations. The Central Institute of Technology conducts a three-year Bachelor of Health Science (Podiatry) degree which is the qualification recognised for registration.

At 30 June 1998 there were 418 registered podiatrists, with 211 holding annual licences.


The Chiropractic Board is constituted under the Chiropractors Act 1982 and is concerned with the registration, education and conduct of practising chiropractors. Graduates from board-approved chiropractic colleges are eligible to take the board's competency examination and successful candidates are considered by the board for registration. The New Zealand Chiropractors' Association established the New Zealand School for Chiropractic Ltd., in Auckland in 1994.

At 30 June 1998 there were 322 registered chiropractors of whom 170 held annual practising certificates.


The Pharmacy Act 1970 provides for the registration of pharmacists. All pharmacists must be members of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand. The society provides the combined function of a registration board, including discipline, and the functions of a professional body including education, establishing standards and caring for public interests. The society also acts as the registering authority for pharmacies under the provisions of the Pharmacy Registration Regulations 1975.

Entry to the profession is via a four-year degree course at the University of Otago plus a formal one-year post-graduate training programme that must be completed before registration is granted. Reciprocal recognition of qualifications exists between New Zealand, the States of Australia, the United Kingdom and Eire.

In October 1998 there were 3,706 pharmacists on the register. At the same time there were 1,017 registered pharmacies (1,001 in August 1997).

Pharmacy Technicians may receive a National Certificate jointly awarded by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the society.

Medical radiation technologists

The Medical Radiation Technologists Board is constituted under the Medical Auxiliaries Act 1966. The board is concerned with the registration, education and conduct of those practising medical radiation technology. There are five classes of medical radiation technology: diagnostic radiography, radionuclide imaging, therapeutic radiography, ultrasound imaging and magnetic resonance imaging.

At 30 June 1998 there were 2,584 registered practitioners, 1,287 of whom held annual licences. Diagnostic imaging degree courses are available at UNITEC, Manawatu Polytechnic and Christchurch Polytechnic. Radiation therapists undertake a three-year full-time diploma course at the Central Institute of Technology, Heretaunga (Years 2 and 3). Year 1 students undertake a Bachelor of Health (Radiation Therapy) degree which is a three-year programme.

Medical laboratory technologists

The Medical Laboratory Technologists Board is constituted under the Medical Auxiliaries Act 1966. The board is concerned with the training, examination, registration and conduct of those engaged in the practice of medical laboratory technology.

The traditional apprenticeship-style training system has been replaced by courses based in the education sector. Otago University, Massey University and Auckland Institute of Technology offer a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science.

At 30 June 1998 there were 2,544 registered medical laboratory technologists, with 1,294 licensed to practise.

Clinical dental technicians and dental technicians

The Dental Technicians Board is the body responsible for the registration of dental technicians under the Dental Act. In 1998 there were 123 clinical dental technicians and 176 dental technicians registered with paid up annual practising certificates.

The board liaises with the governing bodies of educational establishments on training requirements and registers overseas-trained dental technicians who prove to have appropriate educational standards and are able to pass a board-approved examination.

The board has approved three qualifications for registration under the Dental Act. The dental technician qualification is a Diploma in Dental Technology awarded by the Central Institute of Technology. The clinical dental technician qualification is either a Diploma of Clinical Dental Technology awarded by the School of Dentistry or an Advanced Certificate in Clinical Dental Technology awarded after part-time study organised by the Central Institute of Technology.

The act provides for a disciplinary structure with independent complaints assessment committees and disciplinary tribunals for each category of technologist.

8.4 Smoking and alcohol


Tobacco products consumption per adult between 1994 and 1996 rose 2.1 percent to 1,553 cigarette equivalents per adult. Between 1995 and 1996 there was a 19 percent drop in the amount of loose tobacco released for consumption. This coincided with an increase of 39 percent in the tax on loose tobacco.

From the 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings, 24 percent of adults aged 15 years and over smoked cigarettes (25 percent of men and 23 percent of women). For the age group 20 to 24 years, 31 percent of men and 33 percent of women regularly smoke cigarettes. The prevalence of cigarette smoking is higher among Māori, where 44 percent of adults smoke. While for the total population smoking is more prevalent for men, smoking is more common among Māori women (40 percent of men and 47 percent of women). See also section 8.1 Health Sponsorship Council.

Tobacco consumption: New Zealand Production Statistics - Statistical release


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of the chapter.


In New Zealand the excessive consumption of alcohol is a major personal and public health issue.

Heavy drinking over a long period of time has been linked to a number of health problems, particularly liver and heart damage, hypertension and some cancers. In 1997 alcohol was also a contributing factor in 27 percent of fatal road traffic crashes and 16 percent of injury accidents. Alcohol also significantly aggravates violence and contributes to deaths from falls, drowning and suicide.

The Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC) promotes moderation in the use of alcohol and develops and promotes strategies which will reduce alcohol-related problems.

ALAC funds a multi-disciplinary alcohol research unit in association with the Health Research Council and the University of Auckland School of Medicine. It also supports other independent research projects.

In the health promotion area, ALAC funds mass media advertising to raise the level of awareness of alcohol-related problems, and is encouraging host responsibility both on licensed premises and at private functions. Contributions are made to the funding of community workers and groups around the country who are working to promote healthy choices about alcohol in their areas, such as drink-drive programmes.


Alcohol available for consumption - Statistical release


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

8.5 Abortion

Abortion is permitted by New Zealand law in certain circumstances. The main conditions required are that continuation of the pregnancy would result in serious danger (not being danger normally associated with childbirth) to the life, or to the physical or mental health of the woman or girl; or that there is a substantial risk that the child, if born, would be so physically or mentally abnormal as to be seriously handicapped. There is no upper limit to when an abortion can be carried out in New Zealand, but the grounds are stricter when the gestation of the pregnancy is more than 20 weeks. Then, an abortion can only be done to save the life of the mother or to prevent serious, permanent injury to her physical or mental health. The Crimes Act 1961 (as amended) sets out when an abortion would be unlawful.

The Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 sets out the referral procedure when a woman seeks an abortion. It also sets out the requirements when a case is determined. If, after consideration of a case, two specially appointed consultants both believe that the provisions of the law can be met, an authorising certificate is issued.

To supervise the workings of the abortion law a three-member committee, known as the Abortion Supervisory Committee, was established under the act.

Abortion Statistics - Statistical release

8.6 Accidents

Accident rehabilitation and compensation insurance

New Zealand was the first country to introduce a system of comprehensive, no-fault insurance cover for accident-related injuries and disabilities.

The accident compensation scheme took effect in 1974. It replaced a statutory workers' compensation scheme, compulsory third-party motor vehicle accident insurance and a criminal injuries compensation scheme. It also removed the common law right to sue for damages in return for support for injured people regardless of fault.

ACC is the commonly used name of the Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance Corporation. Legislative changes in 1996 allow ACC to exercise more discretion in matching services to claimants. This reinforces the scheme's basic principle-the acceptance of community responsibility for the treatment, rehabilitation and support of those injured by accident.

New legislation

A major task for ACC during 1998 has been to support the progress of the Accidents Insurance Bill which will open workplace injury insurance to a competitive market. The new legislation was passed through Parliament in December 1998.

As a consequence, from July 1999, ACC ends its foundation role as New Zealand's sole provider of workplace injury insurance and compensation. ACC will, however, continue to be the sole provider of personal injury insurance cover for all non-workplace injuries. Self-employed may also opt to remain with ACC.


ACC's objective is to reduce the social, economic and physical impact of personal injury on individuals and the community by:

  • Designing, implementing and evaluating effective programmes to prevent injuries.

  • Ensuring effective intervention when injury occurs to ensure appropriate treatment is received.

  • Working with claimants to help them, where practical, return to independent living and employment as soon as possible.

ACC is a Crown entity with a Board of Directors appointed by the Minister for Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance.

In ACC's last financial year (to 30 June 1998) the key points were:

  • 1.5 million new claims were first paid in the 1997–98 financial year.

  • The total scheme expenditure on entitlements in the 1997–98 financial year was $1.29 billion.

  • New entitlement claims made up 56 percent of the total number of entitlement claims but amounted to only 19 percent of the total entitlement costs. The majority of costs (81 percent) were paid to ongoing claims, which made up 44 percent of the total claim numbers.


ACC is active at all points of the injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation sequence. The main resources it provides to injured people are:

  • The costs of their retrieval from the accident scene, where an ambulance or air transport is necessary.

  • The costs of physical rehabilitation, including the costs of some public hospital and private hospital treatment, a contribution to the costs of “primary health care providers”, such as GPs, for consultations and treatment relating to minor injury, and some contribution to the costs of travel to treatment.

  • Compensation for loss of earnings, taking the form of weekly payments equivalent to 80 percent of the client's pre-injury income for the period in which the claimant is unable to work because of the accident, with abated compensation where the injured person is able to continue some work but earnings are reduced.

  • A range of “vocational” support providing injured people with retraining, which allows them to return, where possible, to their former capacity for work, or to alternative work.

  • A range of personal support, designed to make living with the results of an accident more comfortable. This support can include the payment of an independence allowance, the modification of homes and vehicles for those with lasting incapacity, and a range of care services for those unable to manage the normal routine of their daily life without help.

Traffic accidents and road safety

Accidents on roads

Motor-vehicle accidents involving death or personal injury are required by law to be reported to the Land Transport Safety Authority or to the police. During the year ended 31 December 1997 there were 13,918 reported accidents resulting in 469 fatalities and injuries to 9,012 other people.

Road safety

Road safely is administered by the Ministry of Transport with the road laws enforced by the New Zealand Police. For further information, see section 23.4 Road transport.

Publicity directed towards road safety is carried out through the press, radio, television and by means of posters and other advertising. Special road safety campaigns and traffic improvement courses are held from time to time. The main emphasis in schools and colleges of education centres around integrating traffic education into school programmes.

Traffic education units are co-operatively planned and implemented. Police officers, teachers and others in the community also work together to plan and implement traffic education interventions that are based on the special social and traffic needs of the community.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of the chapter.

Water accidents

Water Safety New Zealand

Water Safety New Zealand, formed in 1949, is the national organisation responsible for ensuring all New Zealanders participate safely in water activities-whether in home pools, at beaches, in lakes, rivers or out at sea.

The interests of national organisations, across a range of aquatic sports and recreation in both volunteer and professional sectors, are represented. Water Safety New Zealand is funded by the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and through corporate sponsorship by organisations such as the New Zealand Lotteries Commission's “Lotto” brand.

Water Safety New Zealand's website allows ready access to information which is used regularly by schools in teaching water safety.

The official drowning figures are maintained by Water Safety New Zealand. Trends for 1998 are:

  • 148 people died as a result of drowning. (This figure is provisional and awaits confirmation against coroners' reports.)

  • 80 percent of drowning victims are male.

  • Home swimming pools remain the single greatest danger for pre-school drownings.

  • Rivers are the main site where drownings occur, followed by the beach and the sea.

  • The 25–29-year age group had the highest risk of drowning, followed by the 0-5-year age group.

8.7 Civil defence and fire safety

Civil defence

The Ministry of Civil Defence was established in 1959 to provide a national focus to the management of response and recovery activities to national disasters.

In the early 1990s reviews of the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency arrangements in New Zealand recommended developing new systems for managing emergencies beyond the current focus on response and recovery activities.

The reviews recognised that by identifying and managing the hazards in communities through a systematic risk management approach, and anticipating and preparing for events before they happen, adverse effects on communities can be reduced.

In July 1998 the existing Ministry of Civil Defence and the Emergency Management Policy and Establishment Unit merged into one organisation following the appointment of a new Director of Emergency Management and Civil Defence. The new Ministry is expected to be established by July 1999.

Fire protection

Fire protection involves fire safety and operational firefighting. These services are managed nationally by the New Zealand Fire Service on behalf of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission. The primary emphasis on fire safety is determined by legislation in the Fire Service Act 1975.

New Zealand Fire Service Commission

The New Zealand Fire Service Commission is responsible for ensuring all statutory requirements set down in the terms of the Fire Service Act 1975 are met. The commission is also the purchasing and policy-setting agency.

The commission consists of three commissioners appointed by government with the Secretary for Internal Affairs being the fourth member. The commission is also the National Rural Fire Authority, set up under the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977. The authority is responsible for co-ordinating 112 rural fire authorities which operate in areas outside the designated urban fire districts in which operational firefighting is provided by the New Zealand Fire Service.

New Zealand Fire Service: Whakaratonga Iwi

The New Zealand Fire Service has reorganised its operating structure to deliver improved decision-making response and resources to front line operations. Senior managers are specifically responsible for fire safely and the enhancement of fire safety technology and legislation.

The majority of the 359 fire districts are staffed by volunteer firefighters.

Nineteen of the 359 fire districts are served mainly by paid firefighters with some stations augmented by volunteers. In 1997–98 there were 1,671 paid and 8,158 volunteer firefighters in the New Zealand Fire Service.

The net cost of funding the New Zealand Fire Service Commission, after allowance for miscellaneous income, is met by a levy on insured property which is collected by the insurance industry.

For the year ended 30 June 1998 contributions from the levy totalled $172,630,000 while the government contributed $12,496,000. This compares with levies of $153,702,000 and a government contribution of $12,496,000 for the year ended 30 June 1997. Other spending funded by miscellaneous revenue amounted to $16,666,000 in 1998 compared with $17,397,000 in 1996–97.

Table 8.4. Incidents attended by fire brigades, 1996–98

Year ended 30 June199619971998
Source: NZ Fire Service
Hazardous substance emergencies206121812002
Vehicle incidents593071477726
Medical emergencies122922393433
Other emergencies452252745334
False alarm calls177762008822448
Total incidents attended466465402361997

Fire statistics

Forty-eight people died as a result of fires during 1997–98, compared with 51 in 1996–97.

8.8 Occupational safety and health

Primary responsibility for the provision of occupational safety and health policy advice and services is held by the Occupational Safety and Health Service (OSH) of the Department of Labour. The Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance Corporation (ACC) also plays a major role in workplace injury prevention (refer section 8.6 Accidents).

The predominant piece of occupational safety and health legislation is the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. Its principal objective is the prevention of harm to employees at work, with three means of achieving this objective:

  • promoting excellence in health and safety management

  • prescribing, and imposing on employers and others, duties in relation to the prevention of harm to employees

  • providing for the making of regulations and approved codes of practice relating to hazards to employees.

Under the act, employers have primary responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of their workers by:

  • providing a safe and healthy working environment

  • implementing effective hazard identification and control methods

  • providing training and supervision of their employees

  • involving employees in the development of procedures for dealing with hazards and emergencies

  • recording and investigating accidents and incidents so that injury prevention activities can be undertaken.

Employees are also responsible for ensuring their work does not endanger the health and safety of themselves or others. People who control a place of work, the self-employed and principals to contracts also have responsibilities to protect the safety and health of employees and others at work.

The Occupational Safety and Health Service: Te Ratonga Oranga

The Occupational Safety and Health Service (OSH) is one of four services within the Department of Labour. It provides policy and technical advice to the government and industry, promotes excellence in health and safety management, and undertakes a number of public safety functions, in workplaces and in the community.

OSH has expertise in hazard management, industry processes and requirements, engineering and occupational medicine. It maintains an extensive occupational safety and health information collection, which is available to external clients. Of the approximately 290 staff 175 are field staff.

Funding is through a levy on employers which is collected along with ACC levies. For 1998–99 the figure was set at 6c per $100 of wages paid.

OSH's budget for the 1998–99 year is $24.351 million.

Occupational health

OSH maintains a Notifiable Occupational Disease System (NODS), with voluntary reporting of suspected cases by health professionals. OSH medical staff investigate all notifications of suspected occupational disease or illness, and this involved 1,087 cases in 1997–98.

Table 8.5. Occupational disease notifications (at 30 June), 1996–98

Disease category199619971998P

(1) Includes 51 unclassified notifications.


Source: Occupational Safety and Health

Asbestos-related disease677153
Occupational asthma816751
Other occupational respiratory disease312412
Occupational disease due to chemical exposure949175
Chronic solvent-induced neurotoxicity724248
Occupational cancer244
Occupational illness due to infection614546
Occupational noise-induced hearing loss612597325
Occupational overuse syndrome/osteoarthritis828826399
Occupational skin disease1063623
Total195418031087 (1)

Table 8.6. Accidents investigated by OSH, by industry (at 30 June), 1996–98

Fatal Accidents199619971998

(1) Includes non-injurious accidents.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health

Agriculture and hunting141215
Forestry and logging1199
Non-fatal Accidents (1)323831313893

Table 8.7. Action taken under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, 1996–98


Source: Occupational Safety and Health

Total Fines ($000)1210527500

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 9. Education

9.1 Administration of education

Education agencies

Ministry of Education: Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

The ministry's mission is to raise achievement and reduce disparity in education.

It is responsible for: providing policy advice to the Minister of Education on all aspects of education, overseeing the implementation of approved policies, developing national guidelines and ensuring the optimum use of resources.

The ministry provides funding to early childhood centres and schools, negotiates levels of funding for tertiary institutions and wānanga, and ensures accountability for resources. It also administers legislation, manages education property owned by the Crown, conducts research and collects education statistics. The ministry ensures the delivery of education advisory services, special education services, curriculum and early childhood development through contractual arrangements with other agencies.

Early Childhood Development Unit: Ngā Kaitaunaki Kōhungahunga

The ECDU is a government agency created in 1989 to support the early childhood education of children from 0 to 5 years of age. Advice and support is given on an individual and group basis to assist people who are working in or setting up early childhood education centres.

Career Services: Rapuara

Career Services' consultants deliver careers advice and information to help people choose work, education and training.

Career Services was established as a Crown entity in July 1990. It is directly responsible to the Minister of Education who appoints a board to oversee its work.

Services include information and advice, curriculum support, facilitation of school-industry links and career counselling.

Skill New Zealand: Pūkenga Aotearoa

Skill New Zealand is a Crown entity governed by a board appointed by the Ministry of Education. Skill New Zealand is the business name for the organisation, which until recently has been known by its official name of the Education and Training Support Agency.

Skill New Zealand promotes lifelong learning and works to raise the skill levels of all New Zealanders.

It is responsible for a number of training initiatives: industry training, youth training, training opportunities, te Ararau, takiala, commissioned youth action training. See also section 14.3 Training and employment assistance.

New Zealand Qualifications Authority: Mana Tohu Mātauranga o Aotearoa

The Qualifications Authority, a Crown-owned agency, is an independent body which reports directly to the Minister of Education.

Its main functions are to:

  • Promote improvement in the quality of education and training in New Zealand through the development and maintenance of a comprehensive, flexible and accessible National Qualifications Framework.

  • Oversee the setting of standards for qualifications.

  • Ensure New Zealand qualifications are recognised overseas, and overseas qualifications are recognised in New Zealand.

  • Administer national examinations, both secondary and tertiary.

Education Review Office: Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga

The Education Review Office (ERO) reports publicly on the quality of education in all New Zealand schools and early childhood centres.

This involves reviewing and evaluating all aspects of school and early childhood services including the quality of teaching, the quality of students' learning, and the role of management and elected school trustees.

Learning Media: Te Pou Taki Kōrero

Learning Media is an educational publishing company that specialises in producing programmes and resources in a wide range of media for teachers and children, including the “School Journal”.

In addition to producing educational materials in print and on audio and video cassettes, the Crown-owned company makes information and resources available on-line and on CD-ROM.

Teacher Registration Board: Te Poari Kairēhita Kaiako

The Teacher Registration Board is a Crown entity which maintains a register of teachers who fit the requirements of the Education Act. Teachers are issued with a practising certificate valid for three years.

Teacher registration is compulsory for teachers employed in all kindergartens, private and state schools. Teachers who do not meet registration requirements can be temporarily employed with a limited authority to teach, which must be renewed annually.

Other administrative bodies

Boards of Trustees

All state primary and secondary schools in New Zealand are governed by boards of trustees. Members of a board are elected by parents of students enrolled at the school and may include three to seven parent representatives, the principal of the school and a staff representative. One student enrolled full time in a class above Year 9 (form three) may also be elected to a board as a student representative.

Boards may co-opt additional members, to ensure, for instance, that there is a gender balance and that the board reflects the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of the student body of the school.

Each board of trustees has a large measure of autonomy in its control of the management of its school. It has responsibility for payment of ancillary staff salaries, salaries of designated management positions in schools and for the allocation of funds for the operational activities of the school.

Boards of trustees are required to present an annual report and statement of service performance to their community and the Ministry of Education.


Polytechnics, universities and colleges of education are all managed by councils made up of members representing various interest groups.

Other educational bodies

New Zealand Council for Educational Research: Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa mō te Rangahau i te Mātauranga

An autonomous body with statutory recognition, the council conducts educational research projects.

Māori Education Trust: Te Kaupapa Mātauranga mō te Iwi Māori

The Māori Education Trust administers and co-sponsors scholarships, bursaries and grants for Māori attending secondary, tertiary and post-graduate courses both here and overseas. The sponsor parties include trusts set up by prominent Māori and other individual New Zealanders as well as business and community organisations.

It also co-sponsors the national Māori speech competitions (Ngā Manu Kōrero) and runs programmes for Māori students in primary and secondary schools.

Education expenditure and funding

New Zealand's proportion of gross domestic product spent on education was 5.3 percent in 1996, above the OECD average of 4.9 percent.

Table 9.1. Government expenditure on education, 1996–98

 Education expensesEducation expenses as a percentage of government expenses

(1) Estimated actual.

Source: Annual Budget statements

Year ended 30 June$(million)percent

Early childhood education funding

A universal funding formula forms the basis for direct funding subsidies of chartered early childhood services. Services can claim funding for a maximum of six hours per childplace day, with a limit of 30 hours per week.

School funding

Operational funding is allocated to schools on the basis of universal and targeted entitlements. The amount of funding a school receives is dependent on pupil numbers, school type, year levels, and a school's property profile.

Schools have the choice of direct resourcing (Fully Funded Option) for their teachers' salaries or central delivery of their staffing entitlements. Direct resourcing provides boards of trustees with more opportunity to self-manage their schools.

Financial management of the schools is subject to review and audit by the Audit Office. Education management and attainment is reviewed by the Education Review Office.

Funds are also available for special education, school boarding bursaries and the school transport system.

Managing school property

The Ministry of Education, through its Property Management Group (PMG) is responsible for managing the Crown's ownership interest in New Zealand's state school property portfolio. This portfolio comprises around 2,300 schools and over 2,700 houses throughout the country.

Tertiary education funding

In 1991 a new system for funding tertiary institutions was introduced.

EFTS funding system-the Equivalent Full-Time Student (EFTS) system. Polytechnics, colleges of education, universities and wānanga receive state subsidies for the number of equivalent full-time students in each of the course-cost categories at their institution. These funded places are provided in bulk by the government in advance of the funding year. The funding is inclusive of capital works.

The EFTS funding system has abolished detailed central decision-making about levels of staffing, operating grants, and capital works projects. These responsibilities now lie with the management of tertiary institutions.

Total EFTS funding to the tertiary sector in 1998 was $1,146 billion for a total of 148,978 EFTS places.

The system was expanded in 1993 enabling state funding to subsidise certain programmes in Private Training Establishments (PTEs). Funding for PTEs amounted to $7 million in 1998.

Study Right-The Study Right policy, introduced in 1992, is integrated with the EFTS funding system. Under Study Right, the government pays a subsidy towards tertiary tuition costs according to a student's Study Right status.

Students eligible for Study Right are largely those aged under 22 at first enrolment. Some beneficiaries may also be eligible.

9.2 Early childhood, primary and secondary education

Early childhood education is not compulsory. It is available to children under six years old through a wide range of services. Many services are administered by voluntary agencies with government assistance.

The Education Act 1989 provides for free education in state schools between the ages of 5 and 19, and attendance is compulsory between 6 and 16 years.

Primary school education is compulsory from six years of age. The vast majority of children usually starts formal schooling at the age of five.

Table 9.2. Number of students enrolled in formal education, 1996–1998

Year ended July199619971998
Source: Ministry of Education
Early childhood education154194157540160129
Post-secondary education238118248296248123

Early childhood care and education

The main providers of early childhood education are kindergartens, playcentres, Pacific Islands centres, education and care services, home-based services, playgroups, the Correspondence School and kōhanga reo. Early childhood education programmes are, on the whole, developmental and based in learning through play.

All early childhood centres wishing to receive government funding must be licensed and chartered. Licensing ensures that basic standards of quality are maintained. A charter sets out a centre's objectives and practices. Chartered groups receive funding direct from government in the form of a grant.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Compulsory schooling

Levels of schooling

Primary schools are the first level of compulsory schooling. They cater for children from the age of five years (Year 0) to the end of their sixth year of schooling (Standard 4). Children in their seventh and eighth years of schooling (Forms 1 and 2) may either be in a separate intermediate school or part of a primary, secondary or composite/area school.

Secondary schools usually provide for students from Year 9 (Form 3) until the end of Year 13 (Form 7).

Area schools which are usually based in rural areas combine primary, intermediate and secondary schooling at one location.

Choices in schooling

State schools

These are co-educational at primary and intermediate level but some offer single-sex education at secondary level. Some offer special programmes for adult students or run community education classes.

While most students attend state-funded schools, there are a number of other choices for parents and students.

Integrated schools

These are schools which were previously private and have now been integrated into the state system. They follow the state curriculum requirements but incorporate their own special character (generally a philosophical or religious belief) into the school programme. Integrated schools receive the same government funding for each student as state schools but the buildings and land are privately owned so the school meets the costs of property development and maintenance from attendance dues.

Kura kaupapa Māori (Māori medium schools)

Kura kaupapa Māori are state schools where teaching is in the Māori language (te reo Māori) and is based on Māori culture and values. The curriculum is the same as at other state schools.

Independent (or private) schools

Independent schools are governed by their own independent boards but are required to meet certain standards in order to be registered. Independent schools may be either co-educational or single sex. They charge fees, but also receive some funding from the government based on the percentage of the average total cost of state schooling.

Boarding schools

These may either be independent or part of a state-funded school. Both systems charge boarding fees.

The Correspondence School: Te Kura-a-Tuhi

The Correspondence School is funded by the Ministry of Education. It is a national distance-learning school administered by an elected board of trustees, composed of parents, community and school representatives. Full-time students are enrolled for a variety of reasons, including distance from other schools, a wide range of special needs, medical and psychological problems, itinerancy and suspension from other schools.

The total school roll at 1 July 1997 was 19,790.

Home-based schooling

Parents who want to educate their children at home can do so provided they maintain a standard of education equivalent to that of a registered school. They need to get approval from the Ministry of Education and are given an annual grant to help with the cost of learning materials. Home-schooling parents may purchase teaching services from the Correspondence School.

The curriculum

A programme of reform of the curriculum is currently under way. The “New Zealand Curriculum Framework” and a series of seven national curriculum statements provide the basis for programmes in schools.

New Zealand Curriculum Framework

The “New Zealand Curriculum Framework” describes the broad elements which are fundamental to learning and teaching in New Zealand schools. It sets out the principles which underpin and give direction to all teaching and learning in New Zealand schools as well as the essential skills to be developed at each stage.

It also outlines the policy for assessment at school and national levels.

National qualifications at secondary schools

Under the present system secondary school students may take the following national examinations.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

School Certificate

This certificate is awarded on a single-subject basis. It is assessed mainly by external examination and is taken by most students at the end of three years of secondary education (5th Form or Year 11). Except for part-time students, each candidate's course of study must include English or te reo Māori, although the student is not required to sit the examination in that subject. A student may enter the examination in up to six subjects and is credited with a grade in each subject. There are five grades: A, B, C, D, and E, with A the highest.

Sixth Form Certificate

This certificate is awarded on a single-subject basis to 6th Form (Year 12) students who have satisfactorily completed a course of one year in one or more subjects. Most students take five or six subjects. All candidates must study a course of English, although, as with School Certificate, they do not have to sit it as a Sixth Form Certificate subject. Grades are awarded on a 1 to 9 scale, grade 1 being the highest. Candidates are assessed internally but grade allocations are moderated externally.

Higher School Certificate

Higher School Certificate is awarded to students who have satisfactorily completed five years of full-time secondary schooling beginning at Form 3. At least three subjects must be studied at a level above Sixth Form Certificate. It is a course completion qualification and grades or marks are not awarded.

University entrance, Bursary and Scholarship examinations

Entrance to university is achieved by gaining Higher School Certificate with three C grades or better. B bursaries are awarded if the total marks are between 250 and 299, and an A bursary is awarded if the total marks are 300 or more. Scholarships are awarded for high performance in individual subjects and there are also top scholar awards. Small cash payments are made to those gaining bursaries and scholarships.

National vocational qualifications

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has responsibility for advanced vocational awards qualifications, and trade certificate and advanced trade certificate qualifications; the New Zealand Diploma in Business; and New Zealand diploma qualifications. Many industries have moved to National Certificates and National Diplomas registered on the National Qualifications Framework.

National certificates and national diplomas generally are developed by industry training organisations or other standards-setting bodies.

Other qualifications

There is a wide range of other vocational qualifications. These include qualifications developed and administered by polytechnics and other tertiary training providers, national bodies such as the New Zealand Institute of Management and the New Zealand Air Force, and private training providers.

The National Qualifications Framework

The National Qualifications Framework brings together senior secondary education, industry training and tertiary education under one system. It is co-ordinated and administered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

The Framework is based on nationally agreed “unit standards”. These standards are like “building blocks” towards a qualification. Each standard belongs to one of eight Framework “levels”. Level 1 is comparable to entry-level learning (Year 11) while Level 8 is comparable to postgraduate degree learning.

The National Qualifications Framework has three qualifications-National Certificates, National Diplomas and degrees. National Certificates are generally earned at Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Framework. National Diplomas and degrees are generally earned at Levels 5, 6 and 7. Level 8 qualifications are regarded as postgraduate degrees.

The Framework means learners can continue their studies wherever they wish-at school, university, polytechnic, a private or government training establishment, wānanga, or even in the workplace.

Up to 1 January 1999, 360,000 learners had been registered on the Framework. There were 547 qualifications registered, and 18,000 national qualifications awarded.

Special education

Special education services have been developed for children with disabilities, learning difficulties or behaviour difficulties who have been identified as needing additional educational resources.

Parents of children with special education needs have the same rights to enrol their children at the school of their choice as other parents. It is against the law for any educational institution to treat a student differently (for example by denying or restricting access to any services) by reason of any disability.

Specialist Education Services: He Tohu ūmanga Mātauranga

Specialist Education Services (SES) is a Crown entity working with children and young people who have complex individual needs, their families, schools and early childhood centres.

SES staff include speech-language therapists, special education advisers, advisers on deaf children, registered psychologists, kaitakawaenga, early intervention teachers and education support workers. The staff work in teams to meet individual needs of students. Families, early childhood centres and schools are included as part of the team around the child.

SES is contracted by the Ministry of Education to provide services to schools. It also provides a range of additional programmes and services which schools, early childhood centres and other clients can purchase directly.

International students

Overseas students can get information about fees, courses of study in New Zealand and academic entry requirements from the New Zealand Government Office in their home country or by writing directly to the school they wish to attend.

A student visa is required for any course of study longer than 28 days. International students are not entitled to student loans or student allowances.

Overseas students need a written guarantee of suitable accommodation and must also be able to show that they have enough funds to support them during their stay in New Zealand.

Additional resources for teaching

Rural Education Activities Programmes (REAPs)

The Rural Education Activities Programme is a community managed and co-ordinated package of education resources based in a number of rural communities from the Far North to Southland.

REAP provides programmes and assistance of a supplementary and complementary educational nature across early childhood, primary, secondary and community education.

Information studies and teacher librarianship

This is a three-year part-time information studies and teacher librarianship programme offered through the six colleges of education. Trained teacher librarians manage school library resource centres.

Advisory services

Primary and secondary advisers are employed by colleges of education. They provide advice and guidance to schools and run professional development programmes for teachers throughout the country. Particular emphasis is given to assisting schools to achieve local and national educational objectives.

The Early Childhood Development Unit and Specialist Education Services also provide specialist assistance and advice.

9.3 Post-compulsory education and training


There are seven universities in New Zealand. They are the University of Auckland, the University of Waikato, Massey University, Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University and the University of Otago.

All universities offer courses in the usual faculties of arts, science, and commerce. Most universities specialise in certain fields.

Student support

The Student Allowances Scheme provides a range of allowances for students 18 years and over who are attending a secondary school or tertiary institution.

Students may also qualify for an accommodation benefit, if they are receiving a targeted student allowance.

Rates of allowances are changed annually and are subject to review.

Student loans

The Student Loan Scheme was established in 1992 to assist students to participate in tertiary education. Under the scheme eligible students may receive a loan from the government to cover:

  • Fees.

  • Course-related costs-a maximum of $500 a year is available to assist with course-related costs such as equipment, textbooks, field trips.

  • Living costs-$150 per week times the length of the course (less any entitlement to student allowances).

Loans, on which interest will be charged, are repayable through the Inland Revenue Department. The government reviews the interest rate yearly and the level of repayments is based on taxable income.

From 1 January 2000 the Department of Work and Income will be responsible for administering the student loan scheme.


Polytechnics provide a diverse range of academic, vocational and professional programmes and cover an increasing number of subjects at various levels of specialisation. There are 25 polytechnics in New Zealand.

The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand: He Wharekura-tini Kaihautu o Aotearoa

This is one of New Zealand's largest education providers with more than 30,000 students enrolled annually. Nearly 75 percent of students are in paid employment and are studying part time. Many study by correspondence.

The Open Polytechnic offers more than 650 courses and programmes ranging from National Certificate through to degree level. It consults closely with industry to ensure that qualifications are directly related to the requirements of the workplace.

All students have one-to-one access to their tutors through the use of toll-free telephone lines.

Teacher education providers

Early childhood workers and teachers

Three-year training programmes for early childhood workers and teachers are operated at each of the colleges of education.

Primary teacher training

The usual course of training for primary teacher trainees is a period of three years at a teacher training provider, followed by two years of satisfactory teaching in a state primary school. Courses may be shortened to one or two years for trainees who are university graduates or who are part way through degree courses or for mature trainees with relevant work experience.

Most primary trainees undertake a Bachelor of Education qualification or enter a programme where previous completion of a degree is a prerequisite.

Secondary teacher training

Two options are available to people who wish to train as secondary teachers. For graduates and those with other approved advanced qualifications there is a one-year course. People with University Entrance or acceptable Sixth Form Certificate grades may be accepted into division B, which involves up to four years consecutive or concurrent study. Secondary teacher training can be undertaken at a variety of institutions.

Special education training

People who wish to become speech/language therapists enrol for a four-year Bachelor of Education (Speech-Language Therapy) degree at the University of Canterbury.

Postgraduate courses for teachers who wish to be trained as teachers of people with disabilities are available at Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch. Specialist postgraduate training courses for teachers of the deaf and visually impaired are located at Auckland and Christchurch.

Continuing education for teachers

A wide range of professional education papers is offered to teachers, most of them intended to provide credits towards diploma qualifications and service increments for certified teachers.


Wānanga (Māori tertiary institutions) provide tertiary education and training, while assisting the application of knowledge regarding ahuatanga Māori (Māori tradition) in accordance with tikanga Māori (Māori custom).

Private Training Establishments

There are large numbers of private training establishments (PTEs) in New Zealand, of which about 800 are registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

PTEs which enrol foreign students are required by law to have course approval and accreditation from the NZQA. The legislation provides protection for foreign students who pay tuition fees in advance.

PTEs offer a wide range of courses, often in niche markets.

Other tertiary education providers

There are a number of other tertiary education providers. Included in this group are national organisations such as Literacy Aotearoa, the Workplace Education Trust, three national early childhood pre-service teacher education providers and the National Association of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Home Tutor Schemes. These other tertiary education providers receive an annual grant for the academic year and must conform to similar standards of accountability and financial viability as do private training establishments and tertiary education institutes.

Continuing education

National Resource Centre for Adult Education and Community Learning

The National Resource Centre for Adult Education and Community Learning is a resource centre for people and groups involved in adult and community learning.

Community Learning Aotearoa New Zealand (CLANZ)

This committee gives recommendations on the dispersal of grants to community groups for non-formal adult learning projects.

University Continuing Education

All seven universities have centres for continuing education. Most offer the general public substantial continuing education programmes in the liberal studies area. There has been, however, a significant increase in programmes designed for specialist groups, especially occupational. Some of these are national in scope.

School community education programmes

School community education programmes provide educational opportunities for adults residing within the school community.


Polytechnics provide a range of community education courses and programmes for adults both on campus and through outposts.

Distance education

The main agencies in the field of distance education are the Correspondence School, the Centre for University Extramural Studies of Massey University and the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.

Organisations contributing to non-formal and continuing education

Many voluntary organisations make some provision for continuing education. Some organisations, such as the New Zealand Workers' Educational Association, have community education as their primary purpose.

9.4 Māori education

While most Māori students remain within the mainstream education system there is now a strong demand for Māori language education.

This growth has been stimulated by the revival of te reo Māori (the Māori language). The programmes developed to preserve their language have given Māori the opportunity to design the kind of education they want, and one that meets the needs of both adults and children.

The revival began with the establishment of kōhanga reo (Māori language early childhood centres) and continued with kura kaupapa Māori (Māori medium schools). Growing numbers of Māori students are also enrolled in bilingual and Māori language immersion classes in mainstream schools.

While Māori achievement has increased across the New Zealand education system in recent years, it has not kept pace with that of other groups.

The government is focusing on a number of important issues to promote and stimulate growth in Māori education. Development of Māori language immersion education is being pursued through three areas:

  • support for the recovery of te reo Māori as a living language

  • greater participation by Māori parents in education

  • examining the effectiveness of both mainstream education and alternative structures in addressing Māori educational needs.

New Zealand Now: Māori - Publication, free sample chapter

Early childhood education

Since 1990 the number of Māori children enrolled in early childhood education has more than doubled.

Kōhanga reo, where te reo Māori is the medium of learning and instruction, are now the single most popular form of early childhood education for Māori families. In 1998, 11,980 Māori children were enrolled in kōhanga reo.

Kura kaupapa Māori and other secondary education

Māori medium education in schools is rapidly expanding. In 1990 there were six officially designated kura kaupapa Māori catering for 190 students. In 1998 there were 60 kura kaupapa Māori.

In 1998, 441 schools other than kura kaupapa Māori were offering some form of Māori medium education. Māori enrolments at the senior secondary school level have been steadily increasing over the last 10 years. This increase may be due in part to both changes in the classification of Form 6 and Form 7 students and the raising of the school leaving age.

Wānanga and other tertiary education

In the tertiary sector in 1998, Māori were most likely to be enrolled in polytechnics, while non-Māori were most likely to be enrolled in university. A total of 25,602 Māori were enrolled in a formal programme of tertiary education. Māori made up 9.0 percent of university students, 11.6 percent of college of education students and 11.9 percent of all tertiary students.

There are three wānanga Māori (tertiary establishments): Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (Te Awamutu); Te Wānanga o Raukawa (Otaki); and Te Whare Wānanga a Awanuiarangi (Whakatane). All are state funded. In 1998 there were 1,114 Māori students enrolled at wānanga and 114 non-Māori. Government and iwi will assess the future development and growth of wānanga as a viable option for Māori participation in the tertiary sector.

Māori language education resources

The government supports targeting funds to increase teacher training in the Māori language and to increase the supply of learning resources for Māori medium education.

Further information


Māori Employment and Training Commission:

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 10. Justice and law

10.1 Legal system

New Zealand has an independent judiciary which is seen as a protection against unnecessary intrusion by the state in the lives of citizens. Judges (including those who sit in the Court of Appeal) are appointed by the Governor-General.

Hierarchy of courts

At the head of the hierarchy of courts of New Zealand is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Below this is the Court of Appeal, followed by the High Court, and the District Courts. All courts exercise both criminal and civil jurisdiction.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

The Privy Council is the final appeal tribunal for New Zealand. Its members are primarily eminent British judges. The judicial committee submits its opinion on a case it has heard to the Sovereign, who is then required to make the necessary order.

Appeals to the Privy Council may be brought by leave of the court appealed from, or by special leave of the Privy Council itself.

The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal is the highest appeal court in New Zealand.

The primary function of the Court of Appeal is to determine ordinary appeals from the High Court and from District Court criminal jury trials.

The court consists of the Chief Justice, who is a member by virtue of his or her office as the head of the judiciary; a judge of the High Court appointed by the Governor-General as its President; and six other judges of the High Court appointed by the Governor-General as judges of the Court of Appeal. Additional judges of the High Court may be nominated by the Chief Justice to sit on the Court of Appeal. The judges of the Court of Appeal are also judges of the High Court. They have seniority over all other judges of that court except the Chief Justice or the acting Chief Justice.

The High Court

The High Court exercises jurisdiction in cases of major crimes, Admiralty proceedings, the more important civil claims, appeals from lower courts and tribunals, and reviews of administrative actions.

It consists of the Chief Justice and 36 other judges. An additional judge or judges may be appointed by the Governor-General in cases such as the illness of a judge. All High Court judges are stationed in Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton or Christchurch. The High Court travels on circuit to other centres.

District Courts

Unlike the High Court, which is one court for New Zealand, District Courts are established as separate entities in various localities.

Judges are appointed by the Governor-General, who also appoints a Chief District Court Judge. District Courts have extensive civil and criminal jurisdiction.

Justices of the Peace can sit as a District Court judge to hear some minor criminal and traffic charges.

Community magistrates

In 1998 Parliament passed legislation allowing for the appointment of community magistrates. The intention of the legislation was for the community magistrates to relieve the workload of District Court judges as well as improve access to and increase community involvement in the justice system.

From February 1999, 16 community magistrates began sitting in four courts, Hamilton, Huntly, Tauranga and Whakatane, as part of a pilot study of the effects of the new jurisdiction.

The magistrates' jurisdiction will cover some of the District Court cases which attract smaller sentences as well as the jurisdiction currently exercised by Justices of the Peace.

Specialist courts

In New Zealand there are a number of courts with specialist functions:

Employment Court

This court is constituted under the Employment Contracts Act 1991. It consists at present of the Chief Judge of the Employment Court and three other judges appointed from time to time by the Governor-General.

The Employment Court deals with matters in the labour relations field. These include hearing and determining appeals or reviews of adjudicated decisions of the Employment Tribunal (see Tribunals section below) in respect of personal grievances, disputes about employment contracts etc; hearing and determining any questions of law referred to it by the tribunal; hearing and determining penalties in relation to freedom of association, and strikes and lockouts; and issuing compliance orders on specified matters.

Family Courts

Family Courts have been established since 1980 as divisions of the District Courts. The Governor-General appoints Family Court judges.

Family Courts deal with dissolution of marriages, adoption, guardianship applications, domestic actions, matrimonial property, child support, care and protection applications in respect of children and young persons, mental health compulsory treatment applications, protection of personal property rights applications and similar matters.

Youth Courts

These courts are constituted by the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989. The jurisdiction of the courts is exercised by specially designated District Court judges. Offences committed by children (under 14 years) and young persons (older than 14 but less than 17 years of age) come before the Youth Courts initially and most are dealt with there. The remainder proceed to District Courts or the High Court. The Youth Courts do not hear matters relating to the care or protection of children and young people. These are dealt with in the Family Courts.

Māori Land Court and Māori Appellate Court

These courts are constituted under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 and have jurisdiction to hear matters relating to Māori land. The judges of the Māori Land Court are also judges of the Māori Appellate Court.

Environment Court

Constituted under the Resource Management Act 1991, the Environment Court determines appeals, applications, submissions on resource consent applications and references on local authorities' plans under the Resource Management Act. It also makes recommendations on water conservation order applications. It replaces the Planning Tribunal.

Tribunals: employment, disputes, complaints review, residential tenancies, Waitangi

Over 100 tribunals, authorities, boards, committees or related bodies exist to deal with disputes, largely between individuals, on matters such as environmental planning; economic issues; scientific and technical matters; censorship; welfare and benefits; taxation; occupational licensing and discipline; activity licensing, e.g., shop trading hours; and company registration. The main tribunals are described below.

Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal is constituted under the Employment Contracts Act 1991.

The tribunal's jurisdiction includes:

  • Providing mediation assistance. Emphasis is placed on mediation as a first step towards resolution of differences between employers and employees.

  • Adjudicating on unresolved personal grievances, disputes about employment contracts, recovery of unpaid or underpaid wages, and recovery of penalties for breach of an employment contract or certain parts of the Employment Contracts Act.

  • Issuing compliance orders on specified matters.

Appeals or reviews of tribunal decisions involving adjudication can be taken in the Employment Court.

Disputes Tribunals

These tribunals (previously known as Small Claims Tribunals) determine disputes up to a value of $7,500 based on contract, quasi-contract, or tort (in respect of the destruction or loss of any property, damage or injury to any property, or recovery of property). Claims may also be determined by the tribunal up to the value of $12,000 if the plaintiff and the defendant agree to settle in this way, rather than take the matter to a higher court. Every District Court, apart from the five courts with police registrars, has a Disputes Tribunal.

Complaints Review Tribunal

Formerly the Equal Opportunities Tribunal, its function is to deal with complaints of discrimination and breaches of privacy, which have not been settled by either the Human Rights Commission, the Race Relations Conciliator or the Privacy Commission.

Residential Tenancies Tribunals

Set up under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, Residential Tenancies Tribunals determine all disputes arising between landlords and tenants, to which the act applies.

Waitangi Tribunal: Te Rōpū Whakamana i te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Waitangi Tribunal is a permanent commission of inquiry established by the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. Its main function is to inquire into claims, submitted by Māori, that relate to the Treaty of Waitangi and to report its findings and recommendations to the Crown.

Tribunal members are appointed for their knowledge and experience in the different aspects of matters likely to come before the Tribunal. Up to 16 members, in addition to the chairperson, may be appointed. From the total membership, separate Tribunals (of not less than three nor more than seven members) are constituted for different inquiries. The membership of the Tribunal reflects the partnership in the Treaty of Waitangi through equal representation of Māori and non-Māori. Appointments are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Māori Affairs after consultation with the Minister of Justice.

The Tribunal may only inquire into legislation, or acts, commissions, politics and practices of the Crown, that are claimed to have caused the claimants prejudice and to be inconsistent with the historical claims (e.g. past government actions); contemporary claims (e.g. current government policies or practices); and conceptual claims (e.g. the “ownership” of natural resources).

By the end of the 1997–98 year, the Tribunal had registered 720 claims since its establishment in 1975. Of these, at least 81 claims have been reported on (either in part or in full) and 24 were in report writing, 79 were in hearing and a further 45 claims had either been withdrawn or required no further inquiry.

Planning Tribunal

The Planning Tribunal has now been replaced by the Environment Court (see Specialist courts).

Sources of law

The law of New Zealand consists of the common law, statute law enacted by the New Zealand Parliament, constitutional conventions, a number of United Kingdom statutes which are still in force in New Zealand, regulations, by-laws and other forms of subordinate legislation.

Law Commission: Te Aka Matua o te Ture

The Law Commission is an independent, publicly-funded, central advisory body whose function is to undertake the systematic review, reform and development of the law of New Zealand.

The purpose of the Law Commission is to help achieve law that is just, principled, and accessible, and that reflects the heritage and aspirations of the peoples of New Zealand. The commission recognises the Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of New Zealand, and takes account of community and international experience.

The Law Commission's reports are presented to the Minister of Justice, tabled in Parliament, and published.

Jury service

Every person between the ages of 20 and 65 years (inclusive) is eligible for jury service, subject to some exceptions. Those involved in justice-related occupations cannot serve. A person may be excused if jury service would cause serious inconvenience or hardship. Also precluded are people with recent prison records and those who have been imprisoned for more than three years.

Legal aid

Criminal legal aid will be granted if it appears to the registrar that the applicant does not have sufficient means to obtain legal assistance and the interests of justice require such representation. Not all cases justify a grant of legal aid, especially many of those where imprisonment is not the likely outcome should the person be found guilty. About 38,000 people are assisted by criminal legal aid each year.

Civil legal aid is available for most non-criminal proceedings in the courts and before a range of tribunals, including the Employment Tribunal and the Waitangi Tribunal. The legal aid is generally viewed more as a loan than a grant.

Legal Services Board: Te Poari Ratonga Ture

The Legal Services Board is a Crown entity established by the Legal Services Act 1991. It is an independent, publicly-funded body responsible for administering both civil and legal aid throughout the country, using a network of district committees and subcommittees.

Community law centres and neighbourhood law offices

These are offices set up to provide various legal services, particularly advice to people who cannot afford a lawyer. They also develop legal resource material. There are currently over 20 such offices nationally, of which 19 are largely funded by the Legal Services Board.

Crown Law Office

The Crown Law Office is a government department which provides legal advice and representation to government in matters affecting the Crown and, in particular, government departments.

Reporting to the office is a network of Crown solicitors located in main centres around New Zealand. Crown solicitors are private legal practitioners appointed on the recommendation of the Attorney-General, and by warrant of the Governor-General, to conduct indictable trials on behalf of the Crown in all High Court districts.

The Solicitor-General is the chief legal adviser to the government (subject to any views expressed by the Attorney-General), and is its chief advocate in the courts. In addition the Solicitor-General is chief executive of the Crown Law Office and responsible for the conduct of prosecution of indictable crime. The office of the Solicitor-General is also responsible for performing most of the statutory and ex-officio duties of the Attorney-General.

10.2 Criminal justice

In New Zealand the more serious crimes are defined by the Crimes Act 1961. The Summary Offences Act 1981 provides for a wide variety of less serious offences. These include offences against public order, such as disorderly behaviour and fighting in a public place, and offences against persons or property, such as common assault and wilful damage.

Recorded crime

For the year ended 30 June 1998, a total of 465,834 offences was recorded by the New Zealand Police, a decrease of 3.5 percent from the previous year. This includes 116 homicide offences and 45 murders. This compares with 159 homicides and 74 murders the previous year.

The total number of robberies recorded was 2,012, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year.

There were 741 recorded sexual violation offences, a 13.6 percent decrease from the previous year, with 53.3 percent resolved.

There were 1,397 recorded non-cannabis drug offences, a 3.2 percent decrease from the previous year.

In total, recorded drug and antisocial offences increased by 6.4 percent, with 55,936 recorded compared to 52,555 offences for the previous year.

Recorded dishonesty offences decreased 6.4 percent from the previous year with 293,250 offences recorded compared to 313,319 for the previous year. This offence class accounted for the major proportion of all recorded offences excluding traffic offences, at 63 percent.

Convictions for all offences except traffic offences

There were about 9,000 fewer convictions for non-traffic offences in 1997 than in 1996. Much of the decrease was due to the offence of “failing to register a dog” under the Dog Control Act 1996 becoming an infringement offence, as well as fewer prosecutions for some more serious offences such as “male assaults female”, burglary and fraud. There were also fewer prosecutions (and hence convictions) under the various tax acts in 1997.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Sentencing for non-traffic offences

Throughout the decade, around one in ten people convicted of a non-traffic offence have received a custodial sentence. In 1997, 6,877 non-traffic cases resulted in a custodial sentence - the highest number recorded in the decade. The average length of the custodial sentences (including preventive detention) imposed in cases involving non-traffic offences was 14.2 months in 1997.

Table 10.2. Sentencing of cases involving non-traffic offences,(1) 1997

Sentence typeYear ended 31 December

(1) Only the most serious sentence imposed is shown for cases where more than one sentence was imposed.

(2) Community care was renamed “community programme” by the Criminal Justice Amendment Act 1993.

(3) Monetary penalties are fines and reparation.

(4) To come up for sentence if called upon or a suspended prison sentence.

(5) Mainly disqualification from driving and deportation orders.

(6) Conviction and discharge under Section 20 of the Criminal Justice Act 1985.

Source: Ministry of Justice

Periodic detention13345
Community programme (2)355
Community service4082
Monetary (3)20580
Deferment (4)3299
Other (5)17
Conviction and discharge (6)3653

Convictions and sentencing for traffic offences

Traffic offences comprised the largest single category of offences resulting in conviction for each year between 1988 and 1997. In 1997, for example, one-third of all convictions resulted from traffic offences.

Table 10.3. Number of convictions for traffic offences, 1997

Offence typeYear ended 31 December

(1) Includes charges where the offender refused to supply a blood specimen, or was convicted for driving under the influence of drink or drugs. NB: All charges where death or injury occurred are included in the first two categories of the table.

Source: Ministry of Justice

Drive causing death129
Drive causing injury1428
Driving with excess alcohol (1)24708
Driving while disqualified10772
Reckless/dangerous driving2617
Careless driving9658
Other traffic11328

10.3 Corrections system

The Department of Corrections manages all custodial and non-custodial sentences imposed by the courts on offenders. This includes prison and community-based corrections.

There are eight services and groups in the department which works to reduce re-offending. They are: Public Prisons Service, Community Probation Service, Psychological Service, Policy and Service Development, Contracts, Strategic Development, Finance, which includes Corrland (responsible for the department's forests and farms), and Internal Audit.

Community Probation Service

Community Probation Service's purpose is to reduce re-offending by encouraging positive change in the lives of offenders and by facilitating offender reparation to the community.

The service manages community-based sentences for 22,148 people on average monthly. This includes periodic detention, community service, supervision, community programmes, and services to parolees including home detention.

Public Prisons Service

The Public Prisons Service is responsible for the safe, secure and humane containment of sentenced and remand inmates.

There are 17 prisons capable of housing about 5,500 sentenced inmates and remandees with a variety of security classifications. There are two separate women's prisons and a women's wing at Mt Eden. There are about 2,645 staff members.

Prisons provide a wide range of work, training and specialist programmes to assist inmates rehabilitate.

Detention in a penal institution

The sentences of imprisonment which judges may impose are set out in the Criminal Justice Act 1985 and amendments to it.

Census of prison inmates

The following statistics are taken from the census of inmates carried out on 20 November 1997 and published in the Ministry of Justice's Census of Prison Inmates 1997.

In total, there were 4,935 sentenced inmates, comprising 207 females and 4,728 males. In addition, there were 529 remand inmates within the prisons (13 female and 516 male) making a total of 5,464 prisoners.

In total, 491 inmates (10 percent) were under the age of 20, 1,627 inmates (33 percent) were under the age of 25 and 2,628 inmates (53 percent) were under the age of 30. Twenty percent of inmates (993) were 40 years or over.

Of the female inmates whose ethnic group was known, 76 (42 percent) identified themselves as Māori only, and 67 (37 percent) identified themselves as European only. Of the male inmates whose ethnic group was known, 1566 (44 percent) identified themselves as Māori only, and 1366 (38 percent) identified themselves as European only.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.


Wherever possible, inmates are given constructive employment with the aim of developing relevant work habits and skills to increase their chances of securing employment on release.

Areas that inmates may work in include (but are not limited to) maintenance of the prison, industrial production, work on farms, forestry or horticulture, and computing (Auckland Prison).

Money earned is banked in a personal trust account and may be spent on personal items through a weekly shopping system.


An inmate charged with an offence against discipline appears either before the Superintendent or a Visiting Justice who may impose a range of penalties if the charge is proven. Allegations of serious criminal offences by inmates are referred to the police for investigation.

Release to work

A small number of selected inmates in the final months of their sentences may be released during the day for outside employment. This assists their re-integration into the community. They are required to contribute to the cost of their board and part of their earnings may also be withheld to fund debts and family expenses.

Financial support on release

Inmates who have been in prison for more than 31 days are eligible on release for the steps to freedom grant which is administered by the New Zealand Income Support Service. This grant provides a maximum of $350 and is abated by any prison earnings the inmate may have.

Psychological Service

There are offices in eight centres and two special units for the treatment of child sex offenders.

The main work of the service is the psychological assessment and treatment of convicted offenders who are either serving a prison sentence or a community-based sentence administered by the Community Probation Service. It also provides psychological assessments for courts at the pre-sentence stage, and for the district prisons boards and the Parole Board to assist in parole decisions.

10.4 Police

The Police Commissioner is in charge of the New Zealand Police and reports to the government through the Minister of Police.

The police are governed by the Police Act 1958 and are responsible for the enforcement of criminal law.

The effective strength of the police at 30 June 1998 was 7,021 sworn personnel, including 1,053 women, giving a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 6,760 sworn officers (6,492 at 30 June 1997).

Police operations

Armed offenders squads

Police maintain 17 squads of specially trained and equipped officers throughout New Zealand. During the year ended 30 June 1998, armed offenders squads attended 596 incidents. In those incidents, 635 firearms (mainly rifles and shotguns) or other weapons were in the possession of the subjects.

Special Tactics Group

This group deals with incidents beyond the capability of armed offenders squads.

Search and rescue

There were 838 police-controlled search and rescue operations during the year ended 30 June 1998, which searched for and/or rescued a total of 1,172 people. The comparable activity in 1997 was 981 searches and 1,406 people.

Youth Education Service

This service works with young people, families, teachers and school communities to promote individual safety, leading to safer communities. A curriculum for schools has four themes:

  • crime prevention and social responsibility, e.g. stealing and vandalism

  • Drug Abuse Resistance Education, e.g. the DARE programmes

  • school road safety education, e.g. school patrols and the Road Safe series

  • violence prevention, e.g. Keeping Ourselves Safe and Kia Kaha.

Police dogs

A comprehensive network of police dogs and handlers is maintained throughout New Zealand.

The Police Dog Section nationally has an operational strength of 96 general purpose teams and of these three are dual trained to find narcotics. The section continues to operate eight specialist narcotic detector dogs and three specialist trained explosive detector dogs. There is one specialist firearms detector dog working in the country.

Community constables

Community constables assess law-related problems and work to resolve them by enlisting community support.

At 30 June 1998 there were 213 community constables spread over all four police regions.

Youth Aid Section

This section deals with both care and protection, and youth justice matters relating to children and young persons. Youth Aid officers work within their communities in liaison with truancy officers, school counsellors and the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Agency.

Of the offences attributed to children and young persons in the year to 30 June 1998, 10,785 were finalised by way of warning, 24,533 by Youth Aid alternative action, 2,722 referred for a family group conference and 4,425 were prosecuted in the Youth Court.

Neighbourhood Support Groups and Victim Support Groups

There were 17,985 community support groups throughout New Zealand as at 30 June 1998, and 73 victim support groups.

National Drug Intelligence Bureau

For the year ended 30 June 1998 there was a total of 26,296 drug offences recorded, of which 90 percent were resolved.

Police Infringement Bureau

A speed camera programme was introduced by the New Zealand Police in 1993.

The purpose of the speed camera programme is to reduce vehicle crashes on high risk areas of road by encouraging drivers to maintain safe and consistent vehicle speeds in those areas. Speed camera tickets are issued to the owners of speeding vehicles.

There are 31 mobile cameras fitted in police vehicles which are able to be driven from place to place to take photographs of speeding vehicles. The mobile cameras are supplemented by 13 fixed cameras which can be used in any one of 57 pole-mounted installations on city streets.

Police Complaints Authority

The authority is a person appointed by the Governor-General to receive and deal with any complaints against misconduct or neglect of duty by police, and to investigate incidents involving death or serious harm in which police are involved. Complaints can be made to the authority, the police, an ombudsman or a registrar of a District Court.

In the year ended 30 June 1998, 1,757 individual complainants lodged complaints against the police. As in previous years, the majority of complaints were about attitude/language and use of force.

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 11. Communications

11.1 Administration

The communications infrastructure in New Zealand has undergone dramatic changes in recent years. (Therefore we advise caution in interpreting figures and company ownership information in this section.) Over the past decade, competition has been progressively introduced into all aspects of the communications market. Today it is one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the economy.

The Ministry of Commerce provides advice to the Minister of Communications on broadcasting policy issues, manages the radio spectrum, and carries out regulatory functions relating to communications. It administers the Telecommunications Act 1987, Postal Services Act 1987, Radiocommunications Act 1989 and Broadcasting Act 1989.

11.2 Mass media

Broadcasting policy

In 1988 the Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand was replaced with two state-owned enterprises, Radio New Zealand Limited (RNZ) and Television New Zealand Limited (TVNZ), each with its own management board. TVNZ was required to vest its transmission assets in a subsidiary company, Broadcast Communications Limited (BCL). Aotearoa Māori Radio, which had been managed by a subcommittee of the Broadcasting Commission, was established as a charitable trust to be managed on an independent basis and has, since 1989, been broadcasting on a full-time basis in Auckland.

The Broadcasting Act 1989 established the Broadcasting Commission (NZ On Air) and the Broadcasting Standards Authority, provided for election broadcasting and restricted the scope for political intervention in the management or programming of TVNZ or RNZ.

Te Māngai Pāho, the Māori broadcasting funding agency, was established by the Broadcasting Amendment Act 1993 to provide funding to promote Māori language and culture through broadcasting.

Limits on overseas shareholdings in New Zealand broadcasting companies were removed in 1991.

Broadcasting Commission (NZ On Air): Irirangi te Motu

The commission's role is to promote cultural and social objectives in broadcasting and other activities unlikely to receive sufficient commercial provision. Its statutory objectives are to:

  • Reflect and develop New Zealand identity and culture by promoting programmes about New Zealand and New Zealand interests and promoting Māori language and culture.

  • Maintain and, where considered appropriate, extend television and radio coverage to New Zealand communities that otherwise would not receive a commercially viable signal.

  • Ensure that a range of programmes is available to provide for the interests of women, children, people with disabilities and other minorities, including ethnic minorities.

  • Encourage the establishment and operation of archives of programmes that are likely to be of historical interest in New Zealand.

NZ On Air fulfils these objectives by providing funds for broadcasting, production of programmes and archiving of programmes. From July 2000 this funding will come from general taxation. Currently it is sourced directly from the public by way of the Public Broadcasting Fee which is $110 per annum per household with a television set.

The members of the Broadcasting Commission are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Communications.

In 1997–98, NZ On Air spent $44.4 million on the production of television programmes; $22.4 million on National Radio, Concert FM and access radio services; and $12.7 million on Māori broadcasting. It also spent $1.9 million on remote television and radio coverage, $2.0 million on New Zealand music projects and $1.0 million on broadcasting archives.

Broadcasting standards

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) is a Crown entity established to oversee and enforce the standards and objectives specified by the Broadcasting Act 1989. The four members of the authority are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Communications. The authority's functions are to:

  • Encourage broadcasters to develop and observe codes on the protection of children; the portrayal of violence; fair and accurate programming and procedures for correcting factual errors and redressing unfairness; restrictions on the promotion of liquor; safeguards in the area of human rights; and the presentation of appropriate warnings.

  • Develop other codes where appropriate.

  • Conduct research and publish findings.

In relation to complaints, the authority:

  • Hears and determines formal complaints against broadcasters when the complainant is dissatisfied with the decisions or the action taken by broadcasters, or when the issue relates to issues of individual privacy.

  • Publishes its findings.

  • May impose penalties (the most severe being a 24-hour restriction on broadcasting).

There are appeal rights to the High Court against the authority's decisions.

Complaints about the standard of advertising on radio and television are handled by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Election broadcasting

The Electoral Commission is responsible for allocating political parties free broadcasting time and funding party political advertising broadcasts before an election.

Māori broadcasting

Frequencies suitable for radio and television were reserved throughout New Zealand for the promotion of Māori language and culture.

Te Māngai Pāho, a broadcasting funding agency, has primary responsibility for the allocation of public funding for Māori broadcasting, which currently includes support for Māori programming on TVNZ, iwi radio stations and some Māori radio programming available on a networked basis.

Television broadcasting

Television New Zealand (TVNZ)

TVNZ operates two national channels (TV ONE and TV2), and has a number of subsidiaries and other broadcasting interests.

A state-owned enterprise, TVNZ is charged with being a commercially successful television business, acting with social responsibility in the provision of quality services, in particular the provision of television programmes which reflect and foster New Zealand's identity and culture, both in New Zealand and internationally, and which are in the overall national interest.

The Chief Executive reports to a Board of Directors appointed by government.

TVNZ broadcasts its services to approximately 1.126 million households, and has almost 100 percent coverage of the New Zealand population and 70 percent audience share. Its channels broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

TV ONE aims to provide quality New Zealand and overseas drama, news, sport and information programming. TV2's mix of comedy, movie and entertainment programming attracts a younger audience.

TVNZ distributes programmes internationally through London-based HIT Entertainment. In 1997 sales were made to over 80 countries, including major markets such as the US, UK, Germany, Italy and France. Growth areas for TVNZ were Eastern Europe and China.

The company's main revenue source is advertising. Advertising revenue in 1997 was $270 million (total revenue $451.4 million), down from $292.5 million in 1996. Tax-paid profit for the year to 31 December 1997 was $30 million.

TV3 Network Services

TV3 Network Services is a privately-owned free-to-air network which operates TV3 and TV4.

From November 1997, TV3 Network Services became 100 percent owned by Can West Global Communications Corporation, a Canadian communications company.

TV3 is a broad-based channel which primarily targets viewers aged 18 to 49 years old. It has an emphasis on international and local entertainment shows, documentaries, news and current affairs.

TV4 targets young, urban New Zealanders in the 15 to 39-year-old age bracket and features contemporary entertainment and lifestyle programming.

Sky Television

Sky Television, New Zealand's first pay television network, began broadcasting in May 1990.

SKY has access to 900,000 homes via its terrestrial UHF network and the remaining 325,000 homes are able to receive SKY through a satellite dish

The UHF service provides up to six channels including SKY Sport, SKY 1, SKY Movies, Cartoon Network and CNN.

The satellite service provides up to 18 channels including 3 movie channels, 4 sport channels, 3 news channels, 3 documentary channels and 5 entertainment channels.

Regional and local television services

A number of small regional television services operate around the country, providing a mix of programmes, from music to local and international news and entertainment services.


Owned by the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB), Trackside broadcasts live racing, race results and programmes about racing, using UHF frequencies.

Cable television

New Zealand's first commercial cable television operation had its beginnings on the Kapiti coast in the early 1990s. Now re-branded as Saturn Communications, the Wellington-based telecommunications company is rapidly expanding and plans to achieve blanket coverage of greater Wellington by year's end 1999. It offers multi-channel TV, telephone and high-speed data services via HFC (hybrid fibre co-axial) cable. Ownership of Saturn is 65 percent United International Holdings (UIH) of Denver Colorado and 35 percent Sasktel of Saskatchewan Canada.

Radio broadcasting

Since the broadcasting reforms of 1988–89, the number of registered radio frequencies has increased substantially. At 1 July 1988 there were 47 AM and 17 FM stations broadcasting in New Zealand, 30 of which were privately owned.

Spectrum access rights are allocated by auction. The registration of licences following allocation establishes the tradeable right which is recorded in a publicly accessible register. An annual administration fee is payable to the Ministry of Commerce by all registered licence holders.

Additional licences are created, where technically possible, and allocated when there is demand for them.

Public radio

State-owned radio has provided both commercial and public radio services to New Zealand since the early 1930s. Private radio emerged in the late 1960s and, since then, privately-owned and commercial state radio stations have been in competition.

Radio New Zealand: Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa

Radio New Zealand is New Zealand's public radio broadcaster consisting of three non-commercial radio networks: National Radio, Concert FM and the AM Network; a shortwave service: Radio New Zealand International; a news service: Radio New Zealand News and Current Affairs; and Sound Archives/Ngā Taonga Kōrero. National Radio and Concert FM are currently funded by the Broadcasting Fee through New Zealand On Air (see Broadcasting Commission above), and Radio NZ International is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Radio New Zealand is a Crown entity.

The Radio Network of New Zealand

The Radio Network, formerly the government-owned Radio New Zealand Commercial, commenced operations as a private radio broadcaster on 1 August 1996. The Radio Network is made up of about 50 stations. It is owned by a consortium comprising radio, newspaper and outdoor advertising group Australian Provincial Newspapers Holdings Limited, US radio and television operator Clear Channel Communications Inc., and local newspaper and publishing group Wilson and Horton Limited.

The Radio Broadcasters Association (RBA)

Formerly the Independent Broadcasting Association, the Radio Broadcasters Association is based in Auckland and represents the private companies operating independent radio stations in all metropolitan and provincial markets, including locally-operated, network and iwi stations.

Non-commercial broadcasting

The Crown has reserved AM radio frequencies and UHF television frequencies throughout the country for use by non-commercial broadcasters. Licences are allocated to appropriate community organisations which are responsible for ensuring that all interested groups have access to airtime on the frequencies. Use of reserved frequencies is restricted to non-profit activities.

Access radio stations

Access stations operating on reserved frequencies provide air time on a non-profit basis to a range of minority groups in the community. In 1998 there were 12 access radio stations operating in New Zealand. All have been assisted by NZ On Air, whose funding for access radio in 1997–98 was $1.7 million.

Newspapers and magazines

Daily newspapers

New Zealand has a high number of daily newspapers in relation to its population size. There are 29 daily newspapers, of which 21 are evening papers, nearly all of them published in provincial towns and cities. Of the eight morning dailies, the Auckland-based New Zealand Herald had, at 31 March 1998, the largest audited net circulation at 221,047 copies daily. The largest provincial paper is Hamilton's “Waikato Times” with an audited net circulation of 41,083. Other daily newspapers have circulations ranging from about 2,300 to about 100,000.

The majority of the country's daily papers are owned by two major publishing groups, Independent Newspapers Limited and Wilson and Horton Limited. Between them, these two groups now account for almost 90 percent of New Zealand's aggregate daily newspaper circulation of about 1 million copies.

On a typical day more than 1.7 million New Zealanders over the age of 10 read a newspaper and New Zealanders spend approximately $3.4 million per week on their daily newspapers (including Sunday papers).

Sunday newspapers

There are two Sunday newspapers, “Sunday Star Times” and “Sunday News”, both published by Independent Newspapers Limited and distributed nationwide. The “Sunday Star Times” is a broadsheet and circulates about 190,000 copies while the “Sunday News” is a tabloid and circulates 115,000 copies every Sunday.

Community newspapers

There are well over 100 community newspapers in New Zealand which collectively publish over 2.3 million copies each issue, most of them delivered free to households in their recognised circulation area, although a few have paid circulations. The great majority are tabloid and most are weekly, but some are bi or tri-weekly. Many of these community papers are owned by the two big newspaper publishing groups but a significant number are owned by individuals, families or by small companies.


There are over 2,300 magazines available in New Zealand on a regular basis. Many are imported. Of the magazines available 181 are listed with the New Zealand Audit Bureau of Circulations as being published in New Zealand or as New Zealand editions. One hundred and sixty-two of these were audited in the period between 1 January and 30 June 1998. Of these, 83 were published monthly and 38 in alternate months.

Table 11.1. Top ten magazines by circulation, Jan-June 1998

PublicationCirculation per issuePublished
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations
AA Directions530436Alternate months
TV Guide258806Weekly
NZ Woman's Day175002Weekly
Reader's Digest (NZ Edition)138267Monthly
NZ Woman's Weekly129920Weekly
Computer Buyer126476Alternate months
Australian Woman's Weekly (NZ Edition)93148Monthly
NZ Listener92786Weekly
Rural News92144Fortnightly

New Zealand Press Association (NZPA)

NZPA is an organisation co-operatively owned by New Zealand daily newspapers. NZPA provides a wide variety of local and international news through co-operative news-swapping arrangements between newspapers in New Zealand and international agreements with Reuters, Australian Associated Press (AAP) and other news organisations around the world. NZPA has staff correspondents in Sydney and London.

New Zealand Press Council

The Press Council is a self-regulatory body founded in 1972. It has as its primary duty the investigation and adjudication of complaints against newspapers.

Its membership comprises an independent chairman, four members representing the public and four from the newspaper industry.

Since its inception the council has adjudicated on more than 700 complaints against newspapers.

Complaints cover a wide area ranging from cartoons that are too hard-hitting, photographs that are too explicit, and editorials that are alleged to be skewed, to the more frequent ones of non-publication or editing of letters sent to the correspondence columns.

New Zealand enjoys one of the most free presses in the world.


Advertising industry

Approximately 1,000 people are employed in advertising agencies, and 2,500 in advertising-related services. Advertising revenue also contributes to the employment of another 10,000 people in the publishing, radio and television industries.

At the end of March 1996, there were approximately 150 agencies, most of them New Zealand-owned, with the remainder (29) affiliated to multi-nationals by total or partial ownership (these tend to be the larger agencies). The number of agencies with overseas interests has grown from 12 in 1983 to 30 in 1997.

Mainstream media advertising for the year ended March 1996 was approximately $1.365 billion. Substantial additional money was spent on advertising using direct mail, telemarketing, display material, brochures and the like, although accurate estimates of this are not available. Expenditure in this category would certainly be in excess of $500 million.

Industry organisations and self-regulation

The Advertising Agencies' Association of New Zealand is an incorporated body representing the interests of its members on issues affecting the advertising industry and agencies. The Association of New Zealand Advertisers represents the interests of advertisers.

The industry has a self-regulatory system managed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), and the Advertising Standards Complaints Board. The authority's function is to promulgate codes of practice and develop policies on advertising standards. The board's function is to adjudicate on complaints and advise the ASA on codes and public issues.

11.3 Telecommunications

Introduction of competition

The provision of general telecommunication services was opened up to competition on 1 April 1989. Telecom New Zealand Ltd., which was established as a state-owned enterprise on 1 April 1987, was privatised in August 1990. There is now a considerable number of companies providing telecommunications services in New Zealand.

Regulatory framework

In comparison with most other countries, New Zealand has a light-handed regulatory regime. For instance, there are no specific licensing requirements to commence business as a telecommunications carrier, there are in effect no foreign ownership restrictions and the government is not involved in setting or approval of prices.

It is not, however, a completely unregulated market. For instance:

  • Under the Telecommunications (Disclosure) Regulations, Telecom is required to disclose various items of information, including the full text of interconnection agreements.

  • A golden share, known as the “Kiwi Share Obligation” imposes a number of obligations on Telecom, including that a local free calling option be available for residential customers and that residential phone services remain at least as widespread as at the date of privatisation.

  • The Telecommunications (International Services) Regulations require companies offering international services to be registered.

Available services

At least 15 companies were offering services at 1 January 1999, including Telecom, Clear Communications, Vodaphone, Telstra NZ, Global One, WorldxChange, Teamtalk, Compass, Newcall, Saturn, and Superway (the last two offering local loop services).

Most provide national and international toll call services and local business voice and data services. Interconnection agreements have been signed between Telecom and ten other companies, and a number of the new entrant companies have interconnection agreements with each other. A range of number portability agreements are in place.

Local loop residential service competition has been slower to develop, but Saturn is now offering local residential services in Wellington, the Hurt Valley and Kapiti. Telecom and Vodaphone (formerly Bellsouth) are providing analogue and digital cellular mobile services. Internet telephony services are widely available.

Telephone density is high with about 51 access lines per 100 people (and almost 20 mobile phones per 100 people). New Zealand's Internet connections are the fifth highest in the world on a per capita basis.

New technologies, such as Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), are being trialled. In order to meet the increased demand, particularly in the data traffic area, investment is being made in additional facilities within New Zealand (underwater cables, etc) and as part of international consortia to improve the networks' ability to carry broadband services.

Telecom Corporation of New Zealand

Telecom is the leading supplier of telecommunications services in New Zealand and has been privately owned since September 1990 when it was purchased from the government for $4.25 billion. New Zealanders hold about 22 percent of Telecom shares.

Telecom provides local, national and international telephone services and a wide range of other telecommunication services, including mobile telecommunication, data communications, leased circuits, directories, paging and mobile radio. By June 1998 XTRA, Telecom's Internet access, navigation and content service, had gained more than 124,000 customers.

Clear Communications

In response to the deregulation of the New Zealand telecommunications industry, a privately owned company, Clear, was launched in November 1990. The company is owned by two New Zealand shareholders, the Todd Corporation and Television New Zealand with MCI Communications from the United States and BT (formally British Telecom). Each holds 25 percent of the company.

In addition to its core toll service, Clear is an Internet service provider, offers local business services, data services, and is New Zealand's provider of the Concert global communications services. In an understanding reached with Telecom, Clear interconnects its long distance network to the Telecom local networks for the operation of these services.

Vodafone New Zealand

Vodafone New Zealand entered the mobile telecommunications market in November 1998 following its purchase of BellSouth New Zealand.

This network now covers more than 95 percent of New Zealand's population operating mobile phone and data services on the 900-megahertz radio frequency based on Global System for Mobile communications (GSM Digital) technology.


The inland and international telegram service is operated by The Telegram Company, a subsidiary of New Zealand Post. Telegrams can be lodged by freephone or at a Post Shop, and are delivered within New Zealand by courier or by FastPost.

11.4 Postal services

New Zealand has one of the most liberalised postal markets in the world. On 1 April 1998, the Postal Services Act removed New Zealand Post's former statutory monopoly on the carriage of letters and opened the postal market to full competition. To carry out a business involving the carriage of letters, a person or company must be registered as a postal operator with the Ministry of Commerce.

Social obligations

Under a Deed of Understanding with the government, New Zealand Post Limited is required to meet certain social obligations, including:

  • maintaining a minimum number of delivery points and postal outlets

  • maintaining 5 or 6 day-a-week delivery to 99.88 percent of delivery points

  • not increasing the price of a standard letter beyond 45 cents for a period of at least three years

  • not re-introducing the rural delivery fee, which was abolished on 1 April 1995

  • providing competitors with access to its network on terms and conditions that are no less favourable than the terms and conditions offered to equivalent customers.

The Register of Postal Operators listed 17 registered operators at 31 December 1998.

New Zealand Post

New Zealand Post is owned by the New Zealand government as a state-owned enterprise. Shares are held by the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises and the Minister of Finance on behalf of the Crown.

New Zealand Post's main focus is on distributing courier and parcel items and on financial transactions. It provides stamps and telegram services as well as data processing and mail production services. Through the Electoral Enrolment Centre, the company maintains the country's electoral rolls under a contestable contract with the Ministry of Justice.

New Zealand Document Exchange (DX)

New Zealand Document Exchange offers a network of “document exchanges” throughout the country where businesses can collect and post mail to each other. There are over 10,000 mailboxes on the DX network. DX has expanded its services to include street deliveries in the main central business districts. The company has also begun issuing its own stamps.

Fastway Post New Zealand

Fastway Post is in the process of opening a nationwide network of retail outlets selling courier and standard letter products. Many of Fastway Post's outlets are located in conjunction with existing retail outlets, such as bookstores and chemists. Fastway Post has produced its own stamps and is offering business and casual residential mail services. As at 31 December 1998, there were 60 Fastway Post retail outlets throughout New Zealand.


11.5 Information technology

New Zealand has a very competitive information technology (IT) market, with a range of equipment and software companies supplying both the domestic market and niche export markets overseas. New Zealanders are enthusiastic early adopters of new technologies: the rapid take-up of mobile cellular phones and personal computers (PCs) are examples, with 21 percent of households having at least one cellular phone and 33 percent of households having a home computer in 1997/98.

Household Economic Survey - Statistical release

The information technology industry

The IT industry comprises those industry sectors whose business is IT-related, including computing, broadcasting and telecommunications. At the March 1996 Census, there were just under 42,000 people employed in the New Zealand IT industry. An industry survey conducted by Statistics New Zealand found the industry was worth approximately $5.6 billion in 1998, up 15.4 percent on the previous year. This comprises sales to end users of hardware, computer peripherals, communications hardware, software and services.

Information Technology Survey - Statistical release

New Zealand's telecommunications infrastructure, now recognised as being one of the best in the world, is helping to make the distance New Zealand is from its major markets no longer the barrier it once was for local businesses.


The Internet is an international network of computer networks, linking millions of computers around the world through telephone connections. In New Zealand, the Internet has grown quickly from just a few users in the scientific and research communities in the early 1990s. The 1,193 host computers connected to the Internet in July 1991 had risen to 155,678 by July 1997.

The Internet Society of New Zealand (ISOC) has been responsible for the management of New Zealand domain space since 1996.


IT has over the last decade become a part of the modern New Zealand classroom. Almost all New Zealand schools have computer equipment and telephone and fax lines available for staff and student use. Many are using their computer equipment and phone lines to connect to the Internet to take advantage of the educational resources available online. Interactive educational software is also being used by New Zealand schools as this type of software makes mastering the basics fun, and at a higher level provides realistic simulations that help teach complex topics and strengthen students' problem-solving skills.

The Ministry of Education is engaged in a number of IT initiatives which will increase the use of information technology in the classroom. Key among these is teacher training in IT.

The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ)

TUANZ provides information on technology-enabled communications for over 450 members including major corporates, government organisations, industry representatives, educational institutions, large and small businesses and individuals. The purpose is to lead informed, sophisticated usage of technology-based communications by business users in New Zealand.

Further information

New Zealand newspaper industry:

Chapter 12. Arts and cultural heritage

12.1 Administration and support

Art and culture are strongly supported in New Zealand. Government, local authorities, private patrons, private art galleries and community groups all recognise the importance of the arts and the nation's cultural heritage and provide support.

Central agencies assist the development of New Zealand culture. Profits from state-run lotteries are used extensively to assist art galleries, museums, and cultural organisations and projects. New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funding is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs.

Ministry of Cultural Affairs: Te Manatū Tikanga-ā-iwi

The Ministry of Cultural Affairs, established in 1991, provides advice to government on cultural matters and assists government in its provision and management of cultural resources.

The ministry administers the government's funding contributions to the following cultural sector organisations: New Zealand Film Commission, Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa), Creative New Zealand, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), New Zealand Film Archive, Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Aotearoa Traditional Māori Performing Arts Society.

The government's contribution to these seven organisations totalled approximately $38 million in 1998/99.

The Minister of Cultural Affairs is responsible for Te Papa, the NZSO, the Film Commission, and Creative New Zealand. These are owned by government and are known as Crown entities. Each Crown entity has an independent board appointed on the recommendation of the Minister of Cultural Affairs. The film archives, the ballet and the Aotearoa Traditional Māori Performing Arts Society are private organisations from which the government purchases services.

Table 12.1. Funding through Vote Cultural Affairs, 1998–99(1)

OrganisationGovernment funding (incl. GST)

(1) Estimates of appropriations for year ended 30 June 1999.

Source: Ministry of Cultural Affairs

Ministry of Cultural Affairs1563
Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand)19037 (operating)
Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand)1665 (capital)
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra9990
New Zealand Film Commission1375
Creative New Zealand2631
Royal New Zealand Ballet3251
Aotearoa Traditional Māori Performing Arts Society1103
New Zealand Film Archive200
Auckland War Memorial Museum4374 (capital)
Otago Museum1126 (capital)

Capital projects at regional museums

The ministry administers the policy for government assistance towards capital projects at regional museums. The government recognises that regional museums make an important contribution towards conserving and exhibiting New Zealand's cultural heritage and may hold collections of national significance.


Under this scheme, the government facilitates public access to significant cultural exhibitions through indemnifying museums and art galleries against liability for loss or damage to borrowed exhibitions.

Cultural statistics project

The Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Statistics New Zealand have been working together to improve the range and quality of statistical information on New Zealand's cultural sector. In November 1995, the Cultural Statistics project team published the first report that brings together data on the sector, “New Zealand Cultural Statistics-Ngā Tatauranga Whakapuaki Tuakiri o Aotearoa 1995”. “Household Spending on Culture” was published in November 1996 and “Employment in the Cultural Sector-Ngā Mahi ki te Taha Tikanga-a-Iwi” in 1998.

Household Spending on Culture 1996 - Publication

Employment in the Cultural Sector - Ngā Mahi ki te Taha Tikanga-a-Iwi, Census 1996 - Publication

Creative New Zealand

Creative New Zealand (the operating name for The Arts Council of New Zealand: Toi Aotearoa) is a Crown entity established in 1994. It receives funding through Vote Cultural Affairs and from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board. It is the only body responsible for supporting a full range of arts activity in New Zealand. It also has a programme of research and information, and advocacy on behalf of the arts. Creative New Zealand supports the arts at community level in partnership with the country's 74 local authorities through the Creative Communities New Zealand scheme.

Grants totalling $20.15 million were allocated in the year ended 30 June 1997.


Copyright in New Zealand is based on the Copyright Act 1994 and is administered by the Ministry of Commerce.

Copyright protection in New Zealand comes into existence automatically on the completion of any original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work (including photographs), sound recording, film, broadcast, cable programme and published edition. Computer programs gain copyright protection under the definition “literary work”.

For literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (including photographs) copyright continues for 50 years after the end of the calendar year in which the author died. For sound recordings and films, copyright generally continues for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which they were made. For broadcasts and cable programmes copyright continues for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which they were made (broadcasts) or included in a cable programme service (cable programmes). Copyright in published editions is for 25 years from the end of the calendar year in which they are first published.

Enforcement of copyright in New Zealand is available through civil action or criminal action. Criminal liability for breach of copyright can extend to $50,000 or three months imprisonment. Disputes may be heard by the Copyright Tribunal.


The Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 established a legal test which looks at whether the availability of a publication would be injurious to the public good. This test is applied to publications in order to ascertain whether restriction is required, and what level of restriction is appropriate. In general, publications classified by the office deal with matters such as sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence.

There are three general levels of classification: unrestricted, restricted and objectionable.

The Department of Internal Affairs has an enforcement role and employs a number of inspectors of publications. The role of the inspectors is to ensure that classified publications are supplied in accordance with their classification, that restricted level material is not supplied inappropriately, and that objectionable publications are not available for supply or possession. New Zealand Customs and the Police are also involved in enforcement.

12.2 The national collection

Art galleries and museums

There are approximately 600 public museums and art galleries in New Zealand. Many are relatively small collections focusing on a particular region or location.

Over 60 percent of museums and art galleries are funded by local government. The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board provides subsidies for capital works schemes.

Te Papa

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand's national museum, opened to the public on 14 February 1998. Within 12 months of opening, more than 2 million people visited the museum. Te Papa seeks to tell the stories of all New Zealand's peoples, its culture and its unique natural environment.

Historic places

New Zealand Historic Places Trust: Pouhere Taonga

The country's leading heritage agency since 1955, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust is now a statutory non-Crown-owned entity. The trust's board is responsible for promoting nationally the identification, protection, preservation and conservation of the land-based historic and cultural heritage of New Zealand. This includes buildings and archaeological sites, historic areas, and wahi tapu which are sites of special, often sacred, significance to Māori. The Māori Heritage Council provides advice and support in matters of significance to Māori. The trust's Māori name Pouhere Taonga means “pillar that binds all treasures”.


National Archives: Te Whare Tohu Tuhituhinga o Aotearoa

National Archives is the country's largest repository of information on the history and development of New Zealand, holding about 68,152 linear metres of paper documents, 507,000 maps and plans, 1.4 million photographic images, large collections of films, videos, art works, posters, microfilms and objects.

The records held by National Archives are those created by central government and provide evidence of its functions, policies, transactions, decisions and areas of responsibility. The wide variety of archives provide evidence of the social, political, economic, scientific, military, legal, technical and administrative development of the country.


New Zealand Film Archive: Ngā Kaitiaki o ngā Taonga Whitiahua

The New Zealand Film Archive, a charitable trust established in 1981, collects and preserves a national collection of New Zealand's moving image history and makes it accessible.

The collection consists of over 30,000 predominantly New Zealand titles dating from 1895 to the present day, including documentaries, feature films, shorts, animation, newsreels, television programmes, advertisements and home movies.

12.3 Performing arts and film

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO)

The NZSO, a Crown-owned entity, has 95 players and an administration staff of 23. It is now an orchestra of international standing attracting prominent international artists and conductors. The orchestra performs over 100 concerts each year. See table 12.1 for funding.

National Youth Orchestra

The National Youth Orchestra is administered and funded by the NZSO. It brings together about 100 young instrumental musicians each year for an intensive week of rehearsal and a public concert performance.

Royal New Zealand Ballet

Established in 1953, the Royal New Zealand Ballet is the oldest professional dance company in Australasia and one of just five ballet companies upon whom the “Royal” title has been bestowed by the British Monarchy.

It is one of New Zealand's largest performing arts organisations comprising around 32 permanent dancers and a seven-member board of trustees.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet tours New Zealand more extensively and more frequently than any other major performing arts organisation and has the largest audience of any resident arts company-about 140,000 annually. The ballet also tours internationally. See table 12.1 for funding.

New Zealand School of Dance

The New Zealand School of Dance trains approximately 55 students each year, offering two and three-year courses in dance performance and a three-year course in teaching dance. The school has a close relationship with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The school is funded by a grant from the Ministry of Education, tuition fees, and sponsorship.

Te Kura Toi Whakaari o Aotearoa: New Zealand Drama School

The New Zealand Drama School was established in 1970 by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. Since then over 300 actors have graduated from the school. In 1996–97 the school received funding of $681,000. It has a three-year full-time degree course in acting, a two-year full-time National Diploma course in technical production, and a one-year full-time Advanced Diploma in technical production.

Chamber Music New Zealand

Founded in 1950, Chamber Music New Zealand is the major presenter of chamber music concerts in New Zealand. There were 90 concerts in 1998.

The major source of Chamber Music New Zealand's funding is the sale of tickets to its concerts. The balance comes from Creative New Zealand and sponsorship.

New Zealand Choral Federation (NZCF): Te Kotahitanga Manu Reo o Aotearoa

The New Zealand Choral Federation has 335 community, chamber, youth, cathedral, church, school and children's choirs among its members. The NZCF, whose Māori name means “the assembly of the chorus of birds of New Zealand”, aims to promote choral music in all its forms and to ensure that the experience of singing in a group is available to all New Zealanders.

Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ)

RIANZ, founded in 1955, is a non-profit association of over 50 recording companies. Its primary objective is to promote and strengthen the legal rights of its member companies and their recording artists. RIANZ confers the annual music awards and compiles and publishes the weekly top 50 national sales chart.

New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC): Te Tumu Whakāta Taonga

The New Zealand Film Commission's role is “to encourage and participate and assist in the making, promotion, distribution and exhibition of films” made in New Zealand by New Zealanders on New Zealand subjects.

It does this by providing loans and equity financing, being active in the sales and marketing of New Zealand films, and assisting with training and professional development within the industry.

Budgeted expenditure was $12.6 million in the 1998/99 financial year.

In the 20 years since the Film Commission was established, over 120 features have been made in New Zealand, more than 70 of them with Film Commission finance.

12.4 Books and libraries

Book publishing

New Zealand has a vigorous book publishing industry that caters not only for the local market but, particularly in the case of educational books, for an increasing number of overseas purchasers.

Educational publishing accounts for approximately 20 percent of all book sales by value. Sales over the Internet are a new and growing aspect of the book publishing industry.

According to library sources there were 715 New Zealand publishers and distributors in 1998. About 100 of these were specialist book publishers or importers. The remainder comprised government departments, local bodies, historical societies, business organisations, special interest groups and individuals.

The Book Publishers Association of New Zealand (BPANZ) represents the wide-ranging interests of its members, such as export, copyright concerns, training and professional standards. With the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, BPANZ carries out an annual survey of spending on educational books.

The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc)

The New Zealand Society of Authors aims to improve the working conditions of New Zealand writers by raising their professional status and promoting their fair treatment of others.

The society has about 900 members, around 500 of whom (ordinary members) have published at least one book-length work (or equivalent).


Libraries are distributed throughout the country and range from very small school and community libraries to large library systems. The library needs of the majority of New Zealanders are met through public libraries provided by local authorities. Most of the 74 cities and districts provide a library service to the whole district population.

Libraries are also found at tertiary education institutions, including the seven universities, all of which have major collections, and there is provision for a library or library room in every school. Over 300 specialist libraries and information centres serve government departments, businesses and other organisations. Due to recent developments in information technology, including easy access to the Internet, there is more sourcing of materials from external databases and collections.

An interloan scheme administered jointly by the National Library and the New Zealand Library and Information Association allows resource-sharing among 250 member libraries.

Globally, New Zealand has one of the highest reading achievement rates, and reading has been surveyed as one of the country's top leisure activities.

National Library of New Zealand: Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa

The National Library is the principal adviser to the government on library and information issues.

In 1966 the National Library was established by an act of Parliament, which also incorporated the Alexander Turnbull Library into the National Library. The National Library has the responsibility of collecting, preserving and making the country's documentary heritage available to all New Zealanders.

It provides access to its collections on site and by interlending to other libraries, and electronically, such as through the Internet and on CD-ROM for some collections.

The National Library Gallery holds exhibitions and public events providing a unique form of access to, and interpretation of, the heritage collections held by the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Alexander Turnbull Library

The Alexander Turnbull Library is a national research collection containing both published and unpublished material. It specialises in documentary materials relating to New Zealand and the Pacific, John Milton and his times, English literature, early printed books, voyages of discovery and exploration and the art and craft of bookmaking. It is based on the collections of Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull, a wealthy Wellington merchant who died in 1918 bequeathing the nation some 55,000 volumes, as well as manuscripts, paintings and sketches.

Researchers are given access to the New Zealand collections which are not generally available for lending.

Other initiatives include: the Archive of New Zealand Music; the New Zealand Cartoon Archive; and the Oral History Centre.

Parliamentary Library

This library provides library, information, research and reference services for Parliament as required by the Parliamentary Service Commission.

Hocken Library

The Hocken Library in Dunedin contains major research collections of New Zealand, Pacific and early Australian material and is administered in trust by the University of Otago for the people of New Zealand.

Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA): Te Rau Herenga o Aotearoa

LIANZA is the professional body for libraries and information services in New Zealand as well as those people working in the library and information sector. It has 900 personal and 500 institutional members. LIANZA publishes two journals, “Library Life: Te Rau Ora”, a monthly newsletter and “New Zealand Libraries”, a quarterly research journal. It also runs the LIANZA Children's Book Awards and the Māori Language Competition: Te Whakataetae Reo Māori o Ngā Whare Pukapuka o Aotearoa, an annual competition for essays written in Māori for children up to 18 years of age.

Further information

Moving Image Centre:

Chapter 13. Leisure and tourism

13.1 Sport, fitness and leisure

Sport, fitness and leisure have played an important part in creating and shaping New Zealand's national image. New Zealand is perhaps best known for the calibre of its international sportspeople. Traditionally New Zealanders have excelled in rugby union, which is regarded as the national sport, and track and field athletics. However, Sir Edmund Hillary, who with Sherpa Tensing Norgay in 1953 was the first to climb Mount Everest, probably remains New Zealand's best internationally known sportsman. Outdoor recreation is popular due to the country's relatively pristine environment and scenic beauty.

Sport and leisure providers

Hillary Commission for Sport, Fitness and Leisure: Te Kōmihana Hākinakina a Hillary i Enei Rā

The Hillary Commission is the Crown agency responsible for supporting sport and active living in New Zealand. The commission initiates, supports and facilitates programmes and policies aimed at raising the quantity and quality of active participation in sport, fitness and leisure among all age groups of New Zealanders, at all levels of competence. In the year to June 1998, the commission invested $37 million into sport and active living activities.

In 1996 the commission asked over 3,000 adults (18 years and over) in New Zealand about the sport and physical activities they had done in the last year. Nine out of 10 stated they had taken part in sport or physical activities. Gardening, walking, swimming, exercising and cycling are the main ways in which New Zealand adults are physically active. Eight out of 10 of the New Zealanders surveyed participated in sport or physical activity, not including walking and gardening. Three out of 10 people belonged to a sports club and one-third took part in competitive sport. A similar number received coaching or instruction. One in 5 adults volunteered their services as coaches, officials and administrators (only 3 percent were paid).

In the same survey 750 school students (13–17 years old) were asked about their participation in sport and physical activity. Ninety-eight percent of young people reported taking part in sport with 72 percent choosing to do so in their own time and 47 percent belonging to a club. At school, rugby (28 percent) and cricket (27 percent) were the two main sports played by boys. Netball (36 percent) and soccer (14 percent) were the top sports for girls.

Central government

A wide array of government departments, corporations and statutory bodies are concerned with recreation. The Department of Conservation is, for example, a principal land manager in the sphere of outdoor recreation. The Department of Internal Affairs administers a number of programmes to help local authorities and community organisations provide for the needs of young people.

Department of Conservation:

Department of Internal Affairs: affairs/index.ssi

City and district councils

City and district councils are the biggest investors in sport and active living. In 1997/98 they spent $340 million providing facilities and services for New Zealanders, which was up 7 percent since 1991.

Sports organisations

The New Zealand Assembly for Sport

The New Zealand Assembly for Sport, which in 1997/98 represented over 100 national associations, claims a collective membership of 1.5 million. The assembly provides advocacy and information services, and sports law resources.

New Zealand Sports Foundation

The foundation aims to assist New Zealand's current and potential high performance sportspeople to succeed at international level. Conceived as a joint venture between the public and private sectors, the foundation received $11.8 million in Hillary Commission funding in the year to 30 June 1998.

The foundation provides funding to 17 sports academies. Academies are integrated high-performance development programmes which incorporate the employment of national coaches, sports science and medicine, squad development and talent identification.

The foundation currently operates on an annual grants budget approaching $16.4 million.

New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC)

The NZOC oversees the administration, selection, development and funding of teams that compete at Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Forty-one sports federations are members of the NZOC.

Educational and promotional activities are a major part of the committee's function.

Outdoor leisure activities - fishing, hunting, skiing etc

Trout and salmon fishing

Rainbow and brown trout are found in the lakes and rivers of the North Island, and the lakes of the South Island. The South Island also has sea-run brown trout in West Coast rivers, sea-run quinnat salmon in east coast rivers and land-locked salmon.

A licence is required for trout and salmon fishing. With the exception of the Lake Taupo Fishery, which is managed by the Department of Conservation, trout and salmon fisheries are managed by Fish and Game New Zealand through its 12 regional fish and game councils. Fish and Game New Zealand can provide useful information about hunting and angling regulations, access and codes of conduct.

Big-game fishing

The warm waters off the east coast of the North Island provide some of the best surf, line and spear fishing in the world. The main bases for line fishing from charter boats are at Whangaroa, Bay of Islands (Russell, Otehei Bay, and Waitangi), Tutukaka, Mercury Bay (Whitianga), and Tauranga (Mayor Island).

The most prized catches are broadbill, black marlin, striped marlin and blue marlin, while other types of big-game fish found in New Zealand waters are mainly tiger shark, hammerhead shark, mako shark, thresher shark, kingfish (yellow tail), and tuna. The best catches are usually made in February but fishing is good from December to April.

Shooting and hunting

The principal game birds are duck, swan, pheasant, quail, geese and chukor, but the sport is limited. The main season usually extends about six to eight weeks depending on the fish and game region. By tradition the season starts on the first weekend of May.

There are few restrictions on big game hunting. Generally speaking there is no limit on the number of game animals that can be taken, no licence requirement and the season is open for most species all year round. Deer of several species, chamois, thar, wild pigs, goats and wallaby are numerous in several areas. Department of Conservation offices provide hunting permits for people wanting to hunt on conservation land. For tourists and inexperienced hunters, the services of an experienced guide are recommended. For further information contact the Department of Conservation.


The snowsports season in New Zealand extends from May to late October at ski areas in the North and South Islands. New Zealand has 12 commercial ski areas, 11 club ski fields and one commercial cross-country ski area. Guided heliskiing and ski touring are also available. Many areas have snowmaking equipment to ensure reliable snow depth and quality.

International snowsports competitions are held at Mount Hutt, Whakapapa, Coronet Peak, Cardrona, Turoa, and Mt Dobson. This includes Continental cups and International Ski Federation (FIS) level races and events held annually.

Mountaineering and tramping

New Zealand has many walking tracks through beautiful scenery ranging from half-day family-oriented walks to challenging tramps in back-country and alpine isolation. Climbing (both rock and ice) is popular. Information on mountaineering and tramping is available through commercial guiding companies and the Department of Conservation.

The Great Walks are New Zealand's most famous tracks. They are: Lake Waikaremoana Track, Tongariro Northern Circuit, Abel Tasman Coast Track, Heaphy Track, Routeburn Track, Milford Track, Kepler Track, Rakiura Track, and Whanganui Journey on the Whanganui River. Most of these tracks take two to four days to complete and are well marked. Huts and campsites are provided for overnight accommodation.

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is the most popular of the tracks with around 23,500 overnight visitors per year.


Cycling New Zealand has about 2,000 licensed participants belonging to 49 clubs throughout the country. There are around 150 major open events during the year, apart from club racing which caters for racing at entry level. The New Zealand Mountain Bike Association has 500 licensed competitors and BMX New Zealand around 1,000 licensed competitors.

Racing and gaming


New Zealand has 81 thoroughbred, 54 harness and 13 greyhound racing clubs.

There is also a very strong horse breeding sector. Export of horses is worth around $100 million per year with Australia and Asian countries being the main markets.


On and off-course betting on racing in New Zealand is conducted through the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB). There are 580 TAB outlets around the country. In the year ended 31 July 1998, TAB bets totalled: off-course racing $1,002 million; on-course racing $97 million; and sports $51 million. A total of $56 million in tax and duties was paid to the government, $65 million in levies to the Racing Industry Board. The balance, around 81 percent of the total turnover, went back to bettors.

Table 13.1. Major gaming activities in $ million, 1996–98

Year ended 30 June199619971998


Turnover is the total (gross) amount wagered by punters and is published by the Lotteries Commission and racing industry. It includes a “churn” factor or re-investment where the same dollar is counted more than once. This is particularly relevant for rapid re-investment forms of gaming like gaming machines or race betting; if for instance a player has S20 to spend on a gaming machine and plays until the full $20 is lost it is likely that this $20 will be recorded on the machine's meters as $120 or more of turnover (gross amount wagered). Turnover is not an indicator of the amount spent by players or of the profit of the operator.

Gross Profit and Expenditure arc interchangeable terms which means gross amount wagered minus the amount paid out or credited as prizes or dividends. Expenditure is the amount lost or spent by players or the gross profit of the gaming operator. In the above example, the gross profit calculated by the machine meters will be $20.

Gaming machine data is estimated using Gaming Machine Duty paid to the IRD plus information collected by the Department of Internal Affairs gaming regulatory group. The duty rate of 20 percent is used to estimate expenditure. Gaming machine turnover is calculated by applying a percentage return to players to the expenditure estimate, of 85 percent in 1996 and 88 percent from 1997, resulting in turnover or gross amount wagered for 1996: $1,313m; 1997: $1,913m; 1998: $2,434m.

Casino estimated gross amount wagered for 1996: $914m; 1997: $1,883m; 1998: $1,914m. Casinos pay GST on gross profit and corporate tax on net taxable income (gaming duty is deductible for corporate tax purposes).

Racing data includes the introduction of new products, namely from 1996 inclusive fixed odds and totalisator sports betting ($4.846 million in 1996), and from 1997 inclusive fixed odds race betting.

Other licensed forms of gaming (housie, raffles, etc) are not included in the above table. Turnover is approximately $65 million, of which approximately $45 million relates to housie.

Source: Department of Internal Affairs

NZ Lotteries Commission
Gaming machines (outside casinos) Expenditure197230292
Casinos Expenditure117241245
Total Expenditure8079731029

Lotteries and gaming

Under the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 gambling may only be run to benefit charities and the community. Larger sites and lotteries need to be licensed, smaller ones are exempt providing they meet the requirements of the act.

New Zealand Lotteries Commission

The commission promotes, organises and conducts the flagship lottery Lotto, Lotto Strike, Instant Kiwi, Daily Keno and TeleBingo. Net profits from these are paid to the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board for distribution to the community.

The commission's most popular game is Lotto, generating around 70 percent of sales. Lotteries Commission research shows some 60 percent of all adult New Zealanders play Lotto at least once a month.

Typically, out of every dollar of sales, some 55 cents is paid in prizes; 20 cents goes to the Lottery Grants Board; 11 cents is paid in taxes; 7 cents is paid in commission to Lotto shops; and 7 cents pays the expenses.

In the financial year ended 30 June 1998, sales were $638.7 million; prizes were $350.7 million; $137 million was paid to the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board; tax paid was $67.2 million; retail commission was $44.7 million; and expenses were $44.2 million.

The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board: Te Puna Tahua

The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board distributes lottery profits as grants to arts, sports, welfare, recreation, environment, heritage, research and community projects which do not receive funding directly from any other government source.

Casino Control Authority

The main functions of the Casino Control Authority are to consider applications and grant casino licences, to set a casino supervision policy, and to advise the Minister of Internal Affairs on act and its regulations. Currently there are two casinos operating-Sky City Casino in Auckland and the Christchurch Casino. Funding for the authority comes from levies imposed on casino premises licence holders. In the year to June 1998 this totalled $2,484,000.

13.2 Tourism

New Zealand has an international image as one of the world's most beautiful countries. The rural landscape and farm life, the towns and the pace of life, art and craft activity, and the multi-cultural mix all contribute to New Zealand's distinctive appeal.


Many tourists visit scenic destinations such as Milford Sound, the glaciers on the West Coast of the South Island, the caves at Waitomo and the geysers and hot springs of the geothermal areas in the central North Island.

Many international visitors also take part in activities such as mountain biking, bungy-jumping, white-water rafting and jet boating, as well as more traditional activities like walking and fishing in natural areas.

New Zealand also offers a diverse range of cultural attractions including farm visits, marae visits, homestays, museums, art and craft galleries, wineries and historic buildings. Shopping is another important part of the tourism sector. Popular merchandise includes antiques, designer clothing and crafts and souvenirs of New Zealand.


Sporting and cultural events are playing an increasingly important role in attracting domestic and international visitors to New Zealand. There are wine and food festivals, arts festivals, Māori cultural competitions, flower festivals, triathlons and rugby matches. The New Zealand Tourism Board (NZTB) works with the tourism industry to develop travel packages around events which can be marketed to potential travellers overseas.

Conferences and conventions also generate considerable business for many cities and towns. A survey conducted in 1996 identified 2,874 conferences lasting an average of 2.9 days and attracting 226,758 participants.

Value of tourism

A new Statistics New Zealand report, “Tourism Satellite Account 1995”, examines and measures tourism's economic impact on the New Zealand economy. Although the statistics for this first report relate to 1995, the overall picture they present is thought not to have changed markedly since then.

Key results are:

  • Tourism directly contributed $2.9 billion, or 3.4 percent, to New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1995. This can be compared to the contribution of conventional industries such as agriculture (5.6 percent), construction (3.5 percent) and communications (3.0 percent).

  • If the indirect flow-on effects are also included - and these occur when tourism industry providers such as transport firms, hotels and restaurants purchase goods and services from their suppliers - then a further $4 billion of GDP (4.6 percent) was generated.

  • Total spending in New Zealand by all tourists was $9.1 billion for the year ended March 1995. Of this $4.3 billion was spent by overseas visitors and $3.5 billion by New Zealand households travelling for recreation and pleasure, while the remaining $1.3 billion was spent on travel by business and government.

  • The $4.3 billion spent by international visitors to New Zealand accounted for 15.8 percent of total export earnings for 1995, more than any other export category.

  • An estimated 58,000 full-time equivalent persons were engaged in directly producing goods and services consumed by tourists. Another 60,000 full-time equivalent persons were indirectly engaged in supporting tourism.

Tourism Satellite Account. March 1995 - Downloadable free publication

The New Zealand Tourism Board estimates that in the year to June 1998 international tourism contributed $3.068 billion to the economy or about 3.4 percent of GDP, excluding international airfare revenue.

Tourism statistics

International visitors

After enjoying a period of growth in both visitor numbers and revenue for many years, the tourism industry is now facing tougher times. Towards the end of 1997, a sudden deterioration in the economies of several Asian countries led to a significant drop in the number of tourists from those countries.

About 1.457 million overseas visitors arrived in New Zealand in the year to September 1998 - down 5.2 percent on the previous year. This downturn is largely due to a reduction in international travel from most Asian destinations.

External Migration - Statistical release

Tourist accommodation

Of all the accommodation nights spent in New Zealand by international visitors in the year ending June 1998, an estimated 40 percent were spent in private homes, 16 percent in hotels, 12 percent in backpacker hostels, 11 percent in motels, 7 percent in student accommodation, 7 percent in campervans or camping grounds, 4 percent in rented homes or time shares, 2 percent in farm or homestays, 0.4 percent in luxury lodges and 0.3 percent in national parks.

Travel Agents Association of New Zealand:

Accommodation Survey - Statistical release


In the year ending June 1998 an estimated 31 percent of international visitors used domestic air services during their visit, 26 percent took a coach tour, 25 percent hired a rental car, 20 percent borrowed a private car, 14 percent took a ferry trip, 8 percent used scheduled bus services, 6 percent used train services, 4 percent hired a campervan, 3 percent travelled on a backpacker bus, 1 percent travelled by cruise ship and 1 percent hitchhiked.

Tourism organisations

New Zealand Tourism Board: Manaakitanga Aotearoa

The New Zealand Tourism Board (NZTB) is responsible for co-ordinating, marketing, and promotion of New Zealand overseas as a tourism destination. NZTB maintains 14 overseas offices located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, London, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Osaka, Frankfurt, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taipei and Seoul. Industry liaison staff are also located in Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

Office of Tourism and Sport

The office of Tourism and Sport is a policy unit situated within the Department of Internal Affairs. The office is responsible for developing policy advice on tourism, sport, fitness and leisure issues and for maximising the interface between tourism and sport. It also monitors the outcomes of the work of the New Zealand Tourism Board and the Hillary Commission.

Chapter 14. Employment

14.1 Labour force

In general terms the labour force includes people aged 15 years and over who are either employed or unemployed. Statistics New Zealand collects information through the:

  • Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) quarterly

  • five-yearly Census of Population and Dwellings

  • Quarterly Employment Survey (QES)

  • Labour Cost Survey

  • record of work stoppages provided by the Department of Labour.

Other sources include Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) and the Department of Labour.

The 1991 and 1996 Censuses and the HLFS definitions of the labour force include all those people who work for one hour or more per week for pay or profit (including unpaid family members working in a family enterprise) plus unemployed people who are available for and actively seeking work. Those who have a job to start within four weeks are counted as unemployed.

Table 14.1. The labour force for the December 1998 quarter(1)

 Labour ForceNot in labour forceWorking-age population (1)

(1) The civilian, non-institutionalised usually resident New Zealand (population aged 15 and over.

Source: Household Labour Force Survey


Household Labour Force Survey - Statistical release

Employment and Unemployment. 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Reference report, free sample table


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Women in the labour force

In the year ended December 1998, women made up 45 percent of the labour force. This compares with 43.7 percent five years ago and 42.6 percent a decade ago. At every age group, however, male participation is higher than female participation, the difference being particularly marked in the main child-bearing ages (between 25 and 34). For the year ended December 1998, the overall labour force participation rate for males was 73.7 percent compared with 57.2 percent for females.

National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW)

The council advises the Minister of Social Services, Work and Income on all matters relating to the employment of women, and helps to provide information on the employment of women in New Zealand and overseas.

Eight of the 18 members are appointed by the Minister of Social Services, Work and Income for their knowledge and experience in women's employment issues. The rest are representatives from government departments and the central employer and union organisations.

During 1998 NACEW completed a survey on childcare. This survey collected information on childcare arrangements, and aims to examine the relationship between childcare and employment. NACEW also worked with the Ministry of Women's Affairs on a research project which looked at the effect of performance-related remuneration systems on women's pay and a project looking at employment issues for low-income women.

Childcare Survey - Media release

Full-time and part-time work

People whose usual hours of work are 30 or more per week are classified as working full time, whereas those whose usual hours of work are between 1–29 hours per week are classified as working part time. For the year ended December 1998, an average of 1,327,100 New Zealanders were employed in full-time work and 397,900 in part-time work. Compared with five years ago, full-time employment has grown by 11.2 percent and part-time employment by 24.5 percent. However, over the last decade full-time employment has grown by 7.9 percent, while part-time employment grew by a massive 42.8 percent.

Household Labour Force Survey - Statistical release

Hours of work

Average total weekly hours, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey, have remained in the range of 38.7–39.4 paid hours since 1987, and have been increasing during the last four years.

Table 14.3. Employed persons by actual working hours,(1) 1993 and 1998


(1) Annual average for the year ended December.

.. Denotes estimates fewer than 1,000 and subject to sampling errors too great for most practical purposes. Some discrepancies may exist between totals and the sum of their component items due to rounding.

Source: Household Labour Force Survey

Actual hours worked per week(000)
0 hours53.760.353.864.1
50 and over217.7263.155.671.9
Not specified1.3......

Actual hours worked per week (as opposed to usual hours) have changed between 1993 and 1998. The table above illustrates the growth in people working part time, and also indicates that of those working full time, more people are now working longer hours than they did five years ago.

Status in employment

Table 14.4. Status in employment of employed persons, 1993 and 1998(1)


(1) Annual average for the year ended December.

.. Denotes estimates fewer than 1,000 and subject to sampling errors too great for most practical purposes. Some discrepancies may exist between totals and the sum of their component items due to rounding.

Source: Household Labour Force Survey

Wage or salary earners621.4706.4565.1666.4
Unpaid in family business5.84.610.910.9
Not specified2.7..2.6..

Quarterly Employment Survey - Statistical release

Industry structure of the labour force

More people are now employed in the services sector (wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels; business and financial services; and community, social and personal services) than a decade ago. Employment in the primary sector of agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing is down 5.8 percent on the level it was a decade ago. The construction sector is now up 13.8 percent on the employment level a decade ago. Manufacturing employment dropped 6.3 percent between 1988 and 1993 but rose 12.4 percent by 1998 and is above the level it was at a decade ago.

Occupation structure of the labour force

Statistics New Zealand classifies occupations into nine major groups using the New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (NZSCO).

Table 14.5. Employed persons by occupation and sex, 1998(1)


(1) Annual average for the year ended December 1998.

.. Denotes estimates fewer than 1,000 and subject to sampling errors too great for most practical purposes. Some discrepancies may exist between totals and the sum of their component items due to rounding.

Source: Household Labour Force Survey

Major occupational groups(000)
Legislators, administrators and managers129.674.9204.5
Technicians and associate professionals106.9104.1211.0
Service and sales workers89.4160.5249.9
Agriculture and fishery workers103.541.8145.3
Trades workers162.711.1173.9
Plant and machine operators and assemblers120.130.1150.2
Elementary occupations79.050.2129.2
Not adequately defined3.21.04.2

14.2 Unemployment

There are three main sources of unemployment data in New Zealand:

  • Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). This is the official measure of unemployment.

  • Statistics New Zealand's five-yearly Census of Population and Dwellings.

  • The Department of Labour's job seeker register.

These measures differ from each other in their scope, collection methods and the way they define unemployment, which means that people counted as “unemployed” by one measure may be excluded by another.

Household Labour Force Survey - Statistical release

Employment and Unemployment, 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings - Reference report, free sample table

Demographic and social characteristics of the unemployed

In the year ended December 1998 an average of 139,100 people were counted by the HLFS as being unemployed. This is the equivalent to 7.5 percent of the total labour force. The unemployment rates for males and females were very similar, at 7.5 percent and 7.4 percent respectively. Variations in unemployment rates are wider when characteristics like age, education, age and ethnicity are taken into account.

Table 14.6. Unemployed persons by educational attainment, 1998(1)

 Number of unemployed

(1) Annual average for the year ended December 1998.

.. Denotes estimates fewer than 1,000 and subject to sampling errors too great for most practical purposes. Some discrepancies may exist between totals and the sum of their component items due to rounding.

Source: Household Labour Force Survey

Educational attainment(000)
No qualifications30.321.051.3
School qualification18.016.734.7
Post-school but no school qualification9.26.015.2
Post-school and school qualification19.717.937.6
Not specified......

Table 14.7. Unemployed persons by age, 1998(1)

 Number of unemployed

(1) Annual average for the year ended December 1998.

.. Denotes estimates fewer than 1,000 and subject to sampling errors too great for most practical purposes. Some discrepancies may exist between totals and the sum of their component items due to rounding.

Source: Household Labour Force Survey

65 and over......

Table 14.8. Unemployed persons by ethnicity, 1998(1)

 Number unemployed

(1) Annual average for the year ended December 1998.

... Denotes estimates fewer than 1,000 and subject to sampling errors too great for most practical purposes. Some discrepancies may exist between totals and the sum of their component items due to rounding.

Source: Household Labour Force Survey

Ethnic group(000)
NZ European/Pakeha46.736.483.2
Pacific Island6.94.811.7
Not specified......


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Duration of unemployment

In the year to December 1998 an average of 38 percent of those unemployed had not worked for 27 weeks or more (defined as long-term unemployment in the HLFS).

Table 14.1. Duration of unemployment, 1998 and 1999

March quarter19981999
Source: Statistics New Zealand
Short-term unemployment(000)
26 weeks or less83.178.5
Long-term unemployment
Over 26 weeks, but not over 1 year22.220.3
Over 1 year, but not over 2 years14.215.4
Over 2 years, but not over 3 years3.54.7
Over 3 years5.36.9
Total long-term unemployment45.147.3
Not specified12.816.1
Total unemployment140.9141.7

Household Labour Force Survey - Statistical release

14.3 Training and employment assistance

Employment assistance measures

Department of Work and Income: Te Hiranga Tangata

Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) provides help to people seeking work including job search and subsidised work programmes. It also looks after income support services, including benefits, superannuation and student loans. Details of its work and income support services are available on its website.

Skill New Zealand: Pūkenga Aotearoa

Skill New Zealand is a Crown entity which offers a range of training options for employers, industry training organisations, training providers and trainees. It supports Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) in which industry groups develop, implement and administer their own training.

ITOs are responsible for:

  • setting national skill standards

  • developing training packages for employers

  • arranging delivery of on and off-job training

  • administering apprenticeships, primary industry cadetships and other industry training arrangements.

At 30 June 1998 there were 52 recognised ITOs covering an estimated 75 percent of New Zealand's work force.

Skill New Zealand's programmes include:

  • Training Opportunities-separate Youth and Mature programmes for beneficiaries aged 18 years and over run through WINZ.

  • Skill Enhancement-vocational learning opportunities and improved employment prospects for young Māori and Pacific Islands people aged from 16 to 21.

  • Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR)-funding for schools to offer a wider range of courses to their senior students. These help students to undertake courses of study and/or workplace experience and gain skills and qualifications which lead to either employment or further education and training.

Career Services: Rapuara

Career Services is a Crown entity which provides career advice, planning and information to a range of private and public sector clients and the general public.

In the year to June 1998 it served more than 42,000 clients.

Its other services include career guidance, a job database, a library of career information and self-help, computer-based programs on career options. Freephone: 0800 A CAREER. See also section 9.1 Administration of education.

14.4 Incomes


The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) measures employment levels, and the average pre-tax earnings and hours of paid employees.

Quarterly Employment Survey - Statistical release

Table 14.11. Average weekly earnings (revised),(1) l998

 Average weekly earnings (2)
Ordinary timeOvertimeTotal (3)

(1) This data has been revised to incorporate state education payroll data. Data for the state education sector had been imputed since May 1996 as a result of changes to their payroll system. In order to include the new payroll data, revisions had to be made to all back quarters of the Quarterly Employment Survey.

(2) Includes allowances and special payments (bonuses, penal and shift allowances, paid leave and commission) earned in the payweek. Payments not earned in the payweek (e.g. back pay, redundancy and severance pay) and non-taxable payments, such as tool money, are excluded.

(3) Average ordinary time and total weekly earnings are averages for full-time equivalent employees (full-time equivalent employees being the number of full-time employees plus half the number of part-time employees). Overtime weekly earnings are averaged over full-time employees only, as it is assumed that only full-time employees work overtime. For this reason, average total weekly earnings do not equal the sum of average ordinary time and overtime earnings.

Source: Quarterly Employment Survey

Date of survey$
1998 Feb636.6732.48663.95

Table 14.12. Average ordinary time hourly and weekly earnings, February 1998

 PrivateCentral government tradingCentral government non-tradingLocal government tradingLocal government non-tradingAll sectors
Source: Quarterly Employment Survey
             Hourly earnings$
             Weekly earnings

Income distribution

Sources of information on income distribution include:

  • “New Zealand Now: Incomes” (income distribution at a household level).

  • Statistics New Zealand's sample of personal tax data (detailed information about small groups of individuals, for example high income earners).

  • New Zealand Income Survey (details income inequality according to age, sex, occupation, education and ethnicity).

New Zealand Income Survey - Statistical release

New Zealand Now: Incomes - Publication, free introduction and sample tables

Gender income differences

Table 14.13. Median wage and salary income for full-time workers by age and sex, June 1998

Source: New Zealand Income Survey, June 1998
Age group$ per week

Table 14.14. Labour force status, June 1998

Source: Household Labour Force Survey, June 1998
Full-time employed836.8475.9
Part-time employed108.6295.0
Not in the labour force368.1632.1

Table 14.15. Proportion of males and females by occupation group with income over $40,000, 1996

OccupationTotal number in occupationPercentage receiving $40,001 and overTotal number in occupationPercentage receiving $40,001 and over
Source: 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings
Legislators, administrators and managers11275858.05444428.0
Technicians and associate professionals8396143.05680516.7
Service and sales workers5725223.3668913.6
Agriculture and fishery workers8551517.22757011.6
Trades workers12704416.667924.6
Plant and machine operators and assemblers9504616.7210691.9
Elementary occupations488619.9175381.7

Labour costs

Labour Cost Index (LCI)

The LCI measures changes in salary and wage rates and changes in non-wage labour-related costs, using information obtained by a quarterly postal survey of employers.

In addition to an index for all sectors combined, separate indexes are compiled for the local government, central government, public and private sectors of ownership. Each of these sectors is further divided into New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations occupation groups and industry groups of the New Zealand System of National Accounts.

Non-wage labour costs in the survey are annual leave and statutory holidays, superannuation, ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) employer premiums, medical insurance, motor vehicles available for private use and low interest loans.

Labour Cost Index (All Labour Costs) - Statistical release

14.5 Labour relations

The Employment Contracts Act 1991 sets out the main framework for employee and employer representatives, what type of employment contract should apply and what the contract should contain. Other employment legislation sets out minimum statutory conditions of employment, for example, minimum entitlements to paid holidays.

The act's provisions include:

  • voluntary membership of employees' organisations

  • bargaining arrangements

  • dealing with personal grievances

  • enforceable rights and obligations

  • strikes and lockouts

  • special labour relations institutions.

Minimum entitlements

Certain other provisions, known as the minimum code of employment, provide statutory minimum entitlements which apply to all employees. These include:

  • A statutory minimum wage at two levels: an adult minimum wage applying to employees aged 20 and over, and a youth minimum wage applying to people aged 16 to 19.

  • Protection from unlawful deductions from wages.

  • Eleven paid public holidays where the holiday would otherwise be a working day.

  • Three weeks paid annual leave after 12 months employment.

  • Five days special leave after six months employment.

  • Parental leave and employment protection.

  • Equal pay for men and women doing substantially the same work.

  • Access to procedures for resolving personal grievances and disputes.

Minimum wage

The Minimum Wage Act 1983 sets the national minimum wages for adults and young people. The Minimum Wage Order 1997 set the adult minimum wage, for those aged 20 and over, at $7 per hour, $56 for an 8-hour day, and $280.00 for a 40-hour week. The youth minimum wage, for young people aged 16 to 19, is set at $4.20 per hour, $33.60 for an 8-hour day, and $168.00 for a 40-hour week. The new statutory minimum wages rates came into force on 1 March 1997.

Several groups are not entitled to the minimum wage including those under 16, apprentices, and holders of under-rate workers permits.

Hours of work

Hours of work are negotiated into employment contracts, but unless the parties agree otherwise, every employment contract under the Employment Contracts Act must fix the working week at not more than 40 hours, exclusive of overtime.


The Holidays Act 1981 contains minimum rights and obligations concerning annual leave, public holidays, and special leave for sickness, domestic or bereavement reasons. They apply to employees whether they are full-time, part-time, permanent, casual or temporary. Employers and employees cannot agree to contract out of the Holidays Act, but can agree to better terms and conditions. Visit the Department of Labour's website for dates of NZ public holidays from 2000–2003.

Holidays Act:

Parental leave

Under the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987, unpaid parental leave is available to employees who are having a child, and to their partners. It is also available to employees, male or female, who are adopting a child under five years old.

Equal employment opportunities (EEO)

Legislation relevant to equal employment opportunities in the labour market includes the Equal Pay Act 1972, the Human Rights Act 1993 and the Employment Contracts Act 1991.

In addition to the anti-discrimination legislation the EEO Trust and the EEO Contestable Fund promote EEO programmes and practices. See also section 6.3 Human rights, race, women and youth issues.

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) is the national advocate of worker interests. Its website contains information on trade unions, media releases and newsletters.

The New Zealand Employers' Federation

The New Zealand Employers' Federation is the main representative of New Zealand business and has particular emphasis on labour market issues.

Work stoppages

Statistics relating to what are now termed work stoppages have been published regularly in the “Yearbook” since 1922. Statistics New Zealand compiles work stoppage statistics from data collected by the Department of Labour.

The Employment Contracts Act 1991 makes strikes and lockouts lawful only in certain circumstances. The right to strike and lock out is recognised, but the legislation attempts to minimise the extent and wider economic impact of industrial action.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter. Work Stoppages - Statistical release

Further information

Ministry of Youth Affairs:

Māori Employment and Training Commission:

Industrial Relations Info-Net:


Unpaid Work, 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings

Employment and Unemployment, 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 15. Science and technology

15.1 Organisation of science

The science system in New Zealand

From 1989 to 1992 the science sector in New Zealand underwent significant reform. A key element was the separation of the government's involvement in science and technology policy, funding, research and development from operational activities. The system is characterised by highly focused operating agencies, with strong, transparent incentives for excellent science performance.

Science and technology policy including science priorities and overall funding levels is decided by Cabinet based on the recommendations of a Cabinet Committee.

There are presently two ministerial portfolios in the Government with specific responsibilities for science and technology. These portfolios are Research Science and Technology (RS&T) and Crown Research Institutes (CRIs). The RS&T portfolio includes the Government's interest in both policy and funding (or the purchase of science). The CRI portfolio covers the government's ownership interest in CRIs.

Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST): Te Manatū Pūtaiao

MoRST is the primary adviser to the Government on science and technology policy, including advice on science priorities and funding. MoRST is also responsible for gathering and disseminating statistics and descriptive information on research, science and technology activities, represents international science relations at an inter-governmental level, and monitors Government funding of science. MoRST also provides scientific and technical advice for public policy development and coordinates science funding and activity on topics of national importance, where a range of funding agencies and science organisations are involved.

The total public investment in research, science and technology (approximately $625 million (including GST) in 1998–99) is managed through the “science envelope”. Investment is balanced between research targeted at achieving defined economic, social and environmental objectives, and untargeted research directed toward building the knowledge base and human resource capacity for the national science system.

Foundation for Research, Science and Technology: Tūāpapa Toha Pūtea, Whakatakoto Kaupapa Rangahau, Pūtaiao

The foundation is a statutory authority with an independent board, reporting to the Minister of Research, Science and Technology. It is responsible for almost half of the gross expenditure on research and development in New Zealand, investing approximately $325 million annually in line with broad priorities set by the Government and more detailed sectoral research strategies. The foundation's roles are to:

  • invest public funds in research and development and human resources

  • provide independent advice to the government on science and technology

  • encourage technological innovation in industry.

The foundation is responsible for three kinds of funding: the Public Good Science Fund (with 17 outputs); Technology New Zealand (the Graduate Research in Industry Fellowship, TechLink, and Technology for Business Growth schemes); and Fellowships (New Zealand Science and Technology Post-Doctoral Fellowships and the Tūāpapa Pūtaiao Māori Fellowships). The Public Good Science Fund (PGSF) is a contestable pool of funds for research in science and technology.

In the 1998–99 financial year the foundation allocated approximately $290 million from the PGSF, $241.5 million to CRIs, $23.4 million to research associations, $20.1 million to universities and $5.6 million to private organisations.

Crown Company Monitoring and Advisory Unit: Te Mata Aroturuki Rawa a Te Karauna

CCMAU monitors Crown-owned science research institutes (CRIs), advises the shareholding ministers and reviews the performance of the boards of Crown companies including the CRIs.

15.2 Science and research funding

New Zealand's research effort is funded by the government, the private sector and the universities.

Government funding

Public Good Science Fund (PGSF)

The PGSF is the government's major investment in strategic science and technology. It is administered by the Foundation for Science, Research and Technology and had a value of $290.7 million in 1998–99.

Public good science and technology supports research that is likely to increase knowledge or understanding of the physical, biological or social environment; develop, maintain or increase research skills or scientific expertise important to New Zealand; or which may be of benefit to New Zealand, but is unlikely to be funded from non-government sources. Public good science and technology funds are potentially available through a contestable bidding system to all organisations and individuals involved in research and development.

The allocation of funds is guided by priorities which are determined by the Government after a widely consultative process, involving both scientists and end-users. Priorities are expressed by setting five-year funding targets for broad areas to which the research, scientific services and technology are expected to contribute.

Non-Specific Output Funding (NSOF)

In 1998–99, $26.131 million was allocated directly to Crown research institutes as Non-Specific Output Funding (NSOF). This funding is allocated as 10 percent of the funds allocated in the previous year from the Public Good Science Fund (PGSF) and NSOF to each institute. NSOF is applied to public good science and technology projects which are not subject to the government's priorities.

Marsden Fund

The Marsden Fund is for the support of scientific and technological research which is characterised by excellence, irrespective of topic or research area. In 1998–99 $21.839 million was invested. The fund is managed by the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ).

Technology New Zealand scheme

The Technology New Zealand scheme helps businesses develop and adopt new technology through three funding programmes:

  • Technology for Business Growth (TBG)-encouraging technological innovation in product and process development and strengthening technology management skills by part funding research projects

  • TechLink-providing access to local and international technology information sources and advisory services

  • Graduates in Industry Fellowships (GRIF)-funding people to research and develop new technologies within businesses.

In the 1998–99 year, investment for the scheme was $15,694 million.

The Health Research Council (HRC)

The Health Research Council (HRC) is the crown entity responsible for purchasing and co-ordinating health research. Through Public Good Health Research the government provides priorities for investment in consultation with the wider health research and user communities. Total research investment funds of $37.746 million in 1998–99 were provided as $27.621 million from government's direct research, science and technology investment and $10,125 million from funds available through New Zealand universities.

15.3 Science organisations

Government science agencies

On 1 July 1992 the final organisational changes of government-funded science were put in place with the formation of nine Crown-owned research institutes. (A tenth, the Institute for Social Research and Development, closed in 1994.) These institutes replace the former departmental or ministry science agencies (DSIR, MAFTech, NZ Meteorological Service, Forest Research Institute and Communicable Diseases Centre of the Department of Health).

Crown research institutes

The nine autonomous research institutes are registered as companies in New Zealand law. Each institute has its own board of directors, appointed by the government, and manages its own assets. Ownership of the institutes remains with the government represented by two shareholding ministers, the Minister for Crown Research Institutes and the Minister of Finance.

Forest Research (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited)-is the principal supplier of research and technology to the New Zealand forestry sector and specialises in plantation forestry research.

AgResearch (New Zealand Pastoral Agriculture Research Institute Limited)-provides innovative solutions and opportunities to the food, fibre and biotechnology-related industries based on pastoral agriculture to enhance New Zealand's international competitiveness.

HortResearch (The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of NZ Limited)-works in close partnership with New Zealand's horticulture and food industries to develop and enhance their competitive advantage in local and overseas markets.

NZ Institute for Crop & Food Research Limited-conducts research, develops technologies and provides services to improve New Zealand's capability to produce high quality products from field and glasshouse crops as well as from the ocean.

Landcare Research New Zealand Limited-focuses on management of land resources for conservation and primary production.

Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited-is New Zealand's leading supplier of earth and isotope scientific research and consultancy services.

Industrial Research Limited-IRL's mission is to be New Zealand's leading provider of scientific and technological research and development in the processing, manufacturing and energy industries.

NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited): Taihoro Nukurangi-conducts research and provides related services required to give a scientific basis for the sustainable management of New Zealand's atmospheric, marine and freshwater systems and associated resources.

Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited-ESR provides science-related research and analytical and consulting services in public health, environmental health and forensic sciences to the public and private sectors in New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region.

The Royal Society of New Zealand

The Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) is an independent, statutory body incorporating the national academy of science and technology, and a constituency of scientific and technological societies, regional societies, Fellows, and individual members. The society includes the fundamental, applied and human dimensions of the biological, earth, engineering, mathematical, medical, physical, social and technological sciences. It has the statutory responsibility to foster a culture supportive of science and technology in New Zealand and to initiate appropriate international linkages. It provides considered, expert advice on important public issues to the government and the community.

Other organisations contributing to research

Carter Observatory

The Carter Observatory was established by act of Parliament in 1938 and is named after Charles R. Carter, a prominent pioneer in Wellington and the Wairarapa.

The Wellington-based observatory has four distinct functions: astronomical research, astronomical education, public astronomy and heritage preservation.

In 1998 research emphasis was on improving our understanding of the ways in which galaxies, star clusters and stars are formed and evolve.

The observatory also provides support for the astronomy strand in the science curriculum; programmes for visiting school groups; resource booklets; special workshops for teachers; and other community programmes. It received funding from a number of sources.

Cawthron Institute

One of two private scientific research establishments in New Zealand, the Cawthron Institute was established under the Thomas Cawthron Trust Act 1924.

Based in central Nelson the institute undertakes research into marine and freshwater microbiology and ecology, largely funded from the contestable Public Good Science Fund. It provides commercial services to the seafood industry; environmental consultancy services to resource managers and users; and analytical and microbiological laboratory services for monitoring and quality control to a wide range of client groups.

The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research

The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research is a private scientific research organisation. See section 8.2 Research.

Government departments

Government departments carry out research and development to support their own activities. This includes research which supports the development and effective implementation of policy.

Tertiary institutions

Universities and polytechnics offer a wide range of tertiary education studies, which includes science in all cases and aspects of technology in most. As well as this education and training function, the seven universities carry out basic and strategic research and make substantial contributions in applied science and technology fields. Several universities also have formal links with CRIs. There are 26 polytechnics in New Zealand that offer certificate and diploma courses in a variety of subjects related to science and technology such as building, engineering, manufacturing, software engineering, agriculture, horticulture, forestry and viticulture.

Research associations

Research associations are non-governmental, industry-linked institutions. They provide capabilities in research and technology transfer which individual companies in the sector may not be able to justify. A key goal of those research associations involved with the primary export industries is to improve the marketability and added value of products from New Zealand's farms and forests.

Social science research

There are five main areas in which social science research is carried out in New Zealand: universities; research units in government departments and in some local government authorities; independent social research units, e.g. the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (see section 9) and the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research (Inc) (see below); commercial market research firms, private research consultancies and research or analysis units within private enterprises; and voluntary agencies.

New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER)

Originally funded in partnership by government with corporates contributing through membership, NZIER is now a non-profit-making incorporated society, administered by an independent board and entirely reliant on revenue from consultancy work and membership subscriptions.

Research programmes at the institute reflect economic issues of current or future concerns to government and business. Since the early 1980s the institute has been looking at the impact of deregulation and reform in the economy. Other research areas include international trade, energy, natural resource and environmental issues, the labour market and overseas direct investment. The application of economic theory to legal issues is a focus of research that is of growing importance.

NZIER forecasts of the New Zealand economy, “Quarterly Predictions”, have been published quarterly since 1964. Since 1961 the “Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion” has been asking firms for their assessment of the business situation. The survey is the longest running one of its type in New Zealand.

15.4 Technology services

Patents, trade marks and designs

The Intellectual Property Office

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand is part of the Ministry of Commerce.

Its main function is to examine patent, trade mark and design applications to ensure that only those which comply with the requirements of the relevant act are granted (in the case of patents) or registered (in the case of trade marks and designs).

Patents. The owner of an invention in any country may apply to patent it under the New Zealand Patents Act 1953. A patent grants the owner the exclusive right to exploit the invention commercially in New Zealand for a maximum of 20 years. After the patent expires, anyone may make use of the invention.

During the year to June 1998 Letters Patent were sealed on 4,152 applications.

Trade marks. The owner of a trade mark in any country may apply to register it under the New Zealand Trade Marks Act 1953 for any lawful product or service. Once the mark is registered the owner has the exclusive right to use it in New Zealand for the goods or services covered by the registration.

During the year to June 1998, 18,652 trade marks were registered.

Designs. The owner of an industrial design (an artistic shape or surface pattern on a manufactured article) in any country, may apply to register it under the New Zealand Designs Act 1953. Registration protects the design from unauthorised copying in New Zealand for a maximum of 15 years. There were 1,108 designs registered in the June 1998 year.

Plant Variety Rights Office

The Plant Variety Rights Office administers intellectual property rights in relation to new plant varieties. It is part of the Ministry of Commerce.

Other intellectual property rights

Layout designs. The Layout Designs Act 1994 provides protection for the designs of integrated circuits. The act protects layout designs from unauthorised copying in New Zealand for a period of up to 15 years.

Telarc Ltd.

Telarc provides assessment and recognition services for management systems. These include:

  • Quality Management Systems certification to the ISO 9000 series of standards, QS 9000 and TQS1.

  • Telarc Q-Base - a basic, entry-level management system, based on the ISO 9000 series of standards.

  • Environmental Management Systems certification to ISO 14001 standards.

International Accreditation New Zealand

International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) is the accreditation service of the Testing Laboratory Registration Council. It is a user-funded statutory body responsible for ensuring technical professional service standards are met in New Zealand's industrial, scientific, commercial, regulatory, health care and administrative sectors. All laboratories, radiology services and inspection bodies previously registered with Telarc New Zealand are now accredited by IANZ.

Standards New Zealand: Paerewa Aotearoa

Standards New Zealand (SNZ) is the national body responsible for co-ordinating the development of standards. It is the trading arm of the Standards Council that operates under the Standards Act 1988. Its aim is to develop partnerships with the business community and the government, to advance national prosperity by harnessing quality and technology through the development of efficient and effective standards.

In early 1998 Standards New Zealand sold its systems and product certification services division to Bureau Veritas Quality International.

The full text of all New Zealand Standards and Joint Australian/New Zealand Standards is available on CD-ROM.

Chapter 16. Land and environment

16.1 Land information and ownership

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ): Toitū te Whenua

Land Information New Zealand advises the government, administers the Crown's interests in land and makes government-held land information available to the public. It is the government spatial referencing authority, and the steward and standard-setter for core national land databases including: the spatial referencing system, cadastral system (a system which shows the extent, value and ownership of land for taxation), land titles, topography, hydrography, Crown property (excluding the conservation estate) and valuation.

Terralink NZ Limited

Terralink is a state-owned enterprise and is New Zealand's leading geospatial information company. It collects, interprets and reports information relating to land, property and the seabed.

It comprises two business units, Geospatial Solutions and Property Services.

Geospatial Solutions

Geospatial Solutions offers services in cartography, remote sensing, photogrammetry (the use of photography for surveying), data conversion and GIS applications development and provides a national coverage of digital land information products. Geospatial Solutions has developed a range of customised software and innovative data-matching services. These include:

  • Terramatch which matches the survey and title data from Land Information New Zealand valuation data and, where available, the Māori Land Courts block data. It is used by most local government councils to link their land tax systems with GIS town planning systems.

  • Terraview which provides boundaries, legal descriptions, title references, lot numbers and survey plan details for nearly two million land parcels.

  • Terranet which offers detailed property searches and online ordering of legal documentation.

The unit's Land Cover Database uses satellite imagery to provide a detailed classification of land use throughout New Zealand.

Property Services

Property Services provides specialised processes associated with the acquisition and disposal of public land.

Surveying, mapping and land information

Surveying infrastructure

New Zealand's survey or spatial reference system is based on a network of trig stations, connected to the global reference framework. This provides the reliable identification and definition of land boundaries for all land rights and tenures e.g. Crown, Māori, freehold, mining, and for a range of certifications of title and recording of other interests for public and land action. This system also enables integration of other land information and mapping activities such as administrative boundaries (e.g. electoral districts), land development, resource management, marine licences, location of utilities, engineering and construction projects, communications, topographic maps and hydrographic charts, scientific studies, the location of marine and air navigation aids both nationally and internationally, and the determination of New Zealand's national and economic zone boundaries.

Land Information New Zealand manages the cadastral survey system. A computerised spatial database (Digital Cadastral Database, or DCDB) is maintained to facilitate custody of, and enable ready access to, these extensive land records.

Survey Board of New Zealand

The board is responsible for the registration of surveyors to conduct cadastral (land title) surveys, and maintains the standards of education and practical experience that are pre-requisites for the registration of surveyors.

The board has helped Land Information New Zealand prepare a set of new land survey registrations that will integrate new technology methods and techniques within the survey system process.

The board receives income from the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors and from examination and registration fees.

New Zealand Geographic Board: Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa

One of the board's primary tasks is determining place names for official maps. All board members with the exclusion of the Surveyor-General are appointed by the Governor-General for a term of three years.

Aerial photography

Extensive use is made of aerial photography to support the revision of New Zealand's national mapping programme. Land Information New Zealand holds a comprehensive national air photo library. Terralink holds multi-spectral imagery collected by earth resource satellites.

Topography and hydrography

LINZ's National Topographic/Hydrographic Authority (NTHA) is responsible for providing New Zealand's authoritative national topographic and hydrographic charts.

The topographic database, which includes Crown copyright aerial photographs, provides a reliable and authoritative record of New Zealand land form and its features.

Hydrographic data coverage (for navigation) includes the south west Pacific Ocean, New Zealand coastal regions and parts of the sea near Tonga and the Antarctic. The NTHA publishes annual tide tables, the “New Zealand Nautical Almanac” and the “New Zealand Tidal Streams Atlas”. It also ensures the distribution of weekly “Notices to Mariners”.

Registration of land ownership

Almost all privately-owned land in New Zealand is held under the land title system of the Land Transfer Act 1952. All property rights are derived from the Crown and title to land in private ownership is a matter of public record. Land Information New Zealand is responsible for all land transfers and keeping title records.

A Certificate of Title to a piece of land is the basic record of transactions concerning that land. It provides the legal description and diagram of the land; all owners, both current and historic; and a summary of registered legal documents concerning the land.

Documents listed on a Certificate of Title may include mortgages, leases, various types of charges, and rights and restrictions which affect the land in some way. These are held in the Land Registry Office in the district where the land is situated and are available for public search. Copies of unregistered documents are also available on the Land Titles Database.

Table 16.1. Market sales of freehold rural land, 1994–98

Half year endedNo. of salesTotal sale price $(million)Index number(1)Percentage change from previous half year

(1) Base (=1000) half year ended December 1989.

Source: Quotable Value New Zealand

Jun 199422161018.61988+17.2
Dec 19941393556.22073+4.3
Jun 199520131094.12270+9.5
Dec 19951153483.02295+1.1
Jun 199620061133.92323+1.2
Dec 19961121452.72334+0.5
Jun 19971365635.02272-2.7
Dec 19971023411.52270-0.1
Jun 19981160559.22192-3.4

Acquisition of New Zealand land by overseas parties

The Overseas Investment Regulations 1995 govern the acquisition of New Zealand rural land by overseas parties. Consent is given either by a joint ministerial decision from the Treasurer and Minister of Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control, or by the Overseas Investment Commission, under delegated authority.

The regulations among other things:

  • define land transactions that will normally require joint ministerial consent

  • require accrual of “national interest” benefits

  • provide for the joint consents or revocation of consents of the Treasurer and Minister of Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control.

The Overseas Investment Commission administers the legislation.

Crown-owned lands

In 1987 significant reorganisation of the public sector began and much of the Crown's commercial or productive land was transferred to state-owned enterprises. Land remaining in Crown ownership is administered by:

  • Service delivery departments where the land is required for the running of the business (e.g. education, defence and law and order).

  • The Department of Conservation in the case of reserves etc.

  • Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), in the case of residual Crown-owned lands.

Land Information New Zealand administers 2.4 million hectares (ha) of South Island High Country Crown pastoral leasehold land.

All Crown forest lands, and other lands administered by the department, are required to be held in Crown ownership until Māori land claims lodged under the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 are resolved, or the completion of direct negotiations between the Crown and claimants are complete.

The department also administers an estimated 150 property-related liabilities such as contaminated sites, subsidence areas and residual accommodation leases.

Department of Conservation: Te Papa Atawhai

The department administers national forest parks, world heritage areas, wilderness areas, marginal strips around lakes and rivers and more than 1,000 other reserves of different kinds. It also protects privately-owned land under special arrangement with the landowner. The department is responsible for conservation in New Zealand's sub-antarctic islands and the Ross Dependency in Antarctica.

Land Corporation Limited (Landcorp)

Landcorp is a state-owned enterprise which handles the government's commercial farming and land management operations. It has two main operating subsidiaries, Landcorp Farming and Landcorp Investments.

Landcorp Farming is responsible for farming operations involving some 1.4 million stock units on 125 properties spread throughout New Zealand. The company is also involved in animal breeding schemes and provides research, development and marketing to enhance profitability.

Landcorp Investments is responsible for some 1,116 leases, licences, and freehold land properties taken over from the Crown.

Valuation of land

Valuations of land may be required in connection with a wide range of property-related transactions including: buying and selling, mortgage securities and refinancing, fixing rents, insurances, rates and taxes, matrimonial property negotiations, asset management and financial statements, and commercial developments and feasibility studies.

For most statutory purposes a valuation by a registered valuer is stipulated.

Each territorial authority is required to prepare and maintain a district valuation roll at not less than three-yearly intervals. A Valuer-General is appointed to set minimum quality standards and specifications for district valuation rolls, and to monitor and audit rating valuations. The office of the Valuer-General is located within LINZ.

National Property Database (NPD)

District valuation rolls together with details of property sales are held in the NPD. Territorial authorities will become responsible for the NPD by 30 June 2000. During the transitional period the Valuer-General is custodian of the database.

Registration of valuers

A registration board under the chairmanship of the Valuer-General sets standards of education and practical experience for registration of valuers of land. The board maintains a register of valuers and issues annual practising certificates. In addition the board exercises disciplinary power.

16.2 Māori land

Before European settlement, all land was held by the various groups and tribes of the Māori people in accordance with traditional customs and usage. The land remaining in this tenure is termed “Māori customary land”. By the Treaty of Waitangi, the right to purchase land from Māori was reserved to the Crown. Almost all of what had been Māori customary land has been converted to other forms of title. Land titles issued to Māori by the Māori Land Court became known as Māori freehold land. It is not known how much general land Māori have purchased outside the Māori Land Court process but it is a considerable amount in addition to holdings of freehold land. Māori freehold land is subject to the jurisdiction of the Māori Land Court pursuant to the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 and some general land owned by Māori is subject to certain provisions of that act.

Māori Land Court: Te Kooti Whenua Māori

The purpose of the Māori Land Court is to contribute to the administration of Māori land, the preservation of taonga Māori, and to promote the management of Māori land by its owners. Its role includes maintaining the records of title and ownership of Māori land, and providing information.

The new computerised Māori Land Court information system became operational in 1999. It provides a database of ownerships of Māori land for each title and converts court records to traditional, microfiche or electronic images allowing for the transfer of the valuable original documents to the National Archives.

Māori Trustee: Te Kaitiaki Māori

The Māori Trustee, a corporation sole, was created to deal with Native Reserves, which included confiscated lands. Its role has expanded to embrace other Māori lands and general land owned by Māori.

The bulk of the Māori Trustee's work comes from orders of the Māori Land Court.

As at 5 November 1998, the Māori Trustee was administering a total of 2,465 properties arranged under a variety of statutory provisions. At the same date, the Māori Trustee was maintaining 121,794 accounts for past and present owners of these properties.

Māori land development.

Former government programmes aimed at the development of Māori land have largely been concluded. Te Puni Kōkiri encourages administration of Māori land by Māori landowners.

A significant proportion of the more than two million ownership shares in Māori land are believed to be held by deceased or absentee owners. This hinders decision-making and utilisation of Māori land as well as making it more difficult for the Māori Land Court to approve or confirm a proposal when it comes before the court.

To help address some of these issues the Department for Courts and Te Puni Kōkiri jointly commenced a Māori land owner education strategy. Two booklets “A Guide to Succession” and “A Guide to Māori Land Trusts” provide relevant information.

16.3 Environmental and resource management

New Zealand occupies approximately 27.1 million ha. It is predominantly mountainous and hilly country and can be categorised in terms of slope and altitude. Over two-thirds (18.5 million ha) slopes at greater than 12 degrees and nearly half at greater than 28 degrees. Approximately three-fifths of the country (16 million ha) is over 300 metres above sea level, with one-fifth over 900 metres. It has been estimated that in pre-Polynesian times 78 percent of the total area (21 million ha) was under forest cover, 14 percent was made up of the alpine zone, and the balance was drylands, lakes, and swamps. Polynesian and European settlement has seen a marked reduction of the original forest cover. For geographic details see section 1 Geology and soils.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Information about the environment

The Ministry for the Environment publishes a wide range of information about environmental issues and policy, including newsletters, information sheets, discussion documents, guidelines, and strategies. Its website aims to give an overview of environmental management in New Zealand, the ministry's activities and detailed information for resource managers and users. Information resources include “The State of New Zealand's Environment 1997”; a paper on technical design issues for a domestic emissions trading regime for greenhouse gases; and information about environmental projects supported by the Sustainable Management Fund (see below).

Environmental planning framework

The Resource Management Act facilitates planning of use, distribution or preservation of natural and physical resources. These resources include rivers, lakes, coastal and geothermal areas; land, including soils, forests and farmlands; the air; and the constructed environment-buildings, bridges and other structures in cities and towns.

The act places emphasis on the effect a proposed activity will or might have on the environment, and encourages community involvement.

The purpose is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.

The act covers national policies, sustainable management, regional policies and plans, district planning, resource consents, public involvement in resource management, use of land, and waste management.

Sustainable Management Fund

The Sustainable Management Fund, administered by the Ministry for the Environment, supports community initiatives to improve environmental management. Funding is provided to the community, including local government and business.

It funds projects where other parties are unable to cover the total costs and where there is likely to be some national benefit. The fund can help get practical environmental initiatives off the ground and encourage investment from other sources of funding.

Funding is allocated on the basis of topic areas and priorities set out each year in the “Guide for Applicants”.

Since the fund was established in 1995 it has provided funding of over $20 million to around 200 projects.

Commission on Sustainable Development

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established in 1992.

In May 1998 New Zealand became a member of the commission for a term extending to 2001. The New Zealand government's United Nations Conference of Environment and Development Officials Implementation Group is responsible for New Zealand's annual report to the commission. The group is convened by the Ministry for the Environment.

Environment 2010 strategy

In 1995 the New Zealand government adopted the “Environment 2010 Strategy” which is a strategic overview of how we deal with environmental issues. Its agenda for action is to:

  • Integrate environmental, economic and social policy.

  • Establish a coherent framework of law.

  • Sharpen the policy tools.

  • Build up the information base.

  • Promote education for the environment.

  • Involve people in decision-making.

Hazardous substances and new organisms

The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 reforms the law relating to management of hazardous substances and new organisms. The Environmental Risk Management Authority has been established to administer the act.

The purpose of the act is to protect the environment and the health and safety of people and communities by preventing or managing the adverse effects of hazardous substances and new organisms.

Hazardous substances managed under the act include explosives, flammable, oxidising, corrosive, toxic and ecotoxic substances. Radioactive substances are managed under the Radiation Protection Act.

New organisms managed under the act cover the deliberate introduction of new species, such as for primary production or for biological control of pests. Also covered are proposals for the development, testing or release of genetically modified organisms. This part of the act works alongside the Biosecurity Act.

Organochlorines programme

The Ministry for the Environment is completing an extensive research programme into organochlorines in the New Zealand environment. Organochlorine chemicals include dioxins (unwanted by-products from industrial and combustion processes), pentachlorophenol (PCP), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and agricultural pesticides such as DDT and dieldrin which are no longer used in New Zealand.

The ministry's three-year research programme shows that background levels of organochlorines in our air, soil and water are generally low and that New Zealanders have one of the lowest dietary intakes of these contaminants in the western world. However, there are a number of sites contaminated in the past by organochlorines that need to be cleaned up.

The ministry is working on the development of draft national environmental standards and guidelines for dioxins, PCBs, and certain organochlorine pesticides.

Mineral exploitation

Environmental matters related to prospecting, exploration and mining of Crown or privately-owned minerals are controlled through the Resource Management Act 1991. Resource consents are required for all activities that have an effect on the environment, including mining.

Minerals and coal in New Zealand can be either Crown or privately owned. The Crown owns all gold, silver and petroleum and substantial amounts of coal and other metallic and non-metallic minerals and aggregates. Companies wanting to prospect, explore or mine a Crown-owned mineral need to hold a permit granted under the Crown Minerals Act 1991 or a licence granted under preceding legislation.

Water and soil management

The administration of water and soil resources is achieved through the Resource Management Act 1991, though protection against flooding and erosion control are still covered by the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941. Both acts are administered by the Ministry for the Environment.

Under these acts, regional councils manage water use, control of rivers, mitigation of erosion, assessment of coastal, landslip and flooding hazards, and the protection of scenic and recreational waterways. The ministry has developed guidelines to help regional councils manage river flows for in-stream uses and values.

Water resources

The country's total annual precipitation is between 300,000 and 600,000 million cubic metres.

It has been estimated that New Zealand's consumption of water approaches 2,000 million cubic metres per year. Households use 210 million cubic metres, industry 260 million cubic metres, livestock 350 million cubic metres, and irrigation 1,100 million cubic metres per year. Approximately 87 percent of the population is supplied by public water supply systems. The rest rely on an independent domestic supply (rainwater collection, aquifer bores, etc). Industry obtains about 33 percent of its requirements from public supply systems and 66 percent from its own sources.

These figures do not include the use of water for hydro-electric generation, which exceeds 100,000 million cubic metres per day and is recyclable.

Water quality

Maintenance of water quality is the responsibility of regional councils.

A major research programme is under way to examine the health, environmental and agricultural risks related to disease-causing organisms in fresh water. It is a joint venture between the ministries of Environment, Health, and Agriculture and Forestry. The aim is to develop guidelines for fresh water used for bathing and for stock drinking water quality, and to improve the drinking water guidelines. The programme is scheduled to conclude in 2002.

River control

River control projects carried out by local government often serve both the objectives of preventing damage by erosion and protecting property from flood damage. A catchment-wide approach to water and soil problems is encouraged.

Soil conservation

The change from forest cover to pastoral land use in many parts of New Zealand has resulted in disturbed soil conditions. Natural erosion, caused by climatic factors (such as high density rainfall and frost heave), combined with the geological instability of much of the country, has been aggravated by human habitation. Nearly 10 percent of land is classified as experiencing severe to extreme erosion problems.

A range of successful techniques has been developed to control erosion such as control of burning, grazing control, and soil conservation fencing.


The problems of water pollution, including those in the coastal marine area, are being addressed by regional councils under the Resource Management Act 1991. The Ministry of Fisheries (through the Fisheries Act) and the Department of Conservation (through the Wildlife Act) also have statutory powers to control water pollution. Both air pollution and noise control are covered by the Resource Management Act.

The marine protection rules of the Maritime Transport Act 1994 cover pollution of the area extending from the 12-nautical-mile limit to the edge of New Zealand's economic zone (200 nautical miles).

Global environmental issues

New Zealand has wide-ranging interests in international environmental work which it pursues as best it can. Priority issues include climate change, ozone depletion, Antarctica, forestry, waste issues, the protection of marine mammals, sustainable resource use, protection of biodiversity and South Pacific environment matters.

Domestic implications

The Ministry for the Environment deals with the domestic implications of global environmental issues.

Having ratified the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) in September 1993, New Zealand, along with other party nations, has an obligation to reduce its greenhouse gases.

16.4 National parks and reserves

The Department of Conservation administers the majority of the publicly-owned land in New Zealand that is protected for scenic, scientific, historic and cultural reasons, or set aside for recreational purposes. More than 8 million ha-nearly 30 percent of the nation's total area-are administered by the department.

There are 13 national parks, covering just under 2.5 million ha, 20 forest parks covering some 1.8 million ha, about 3,500 reserves covering around 1.5 million ha, and some 61,000 ha of protected private land and covenants that have been set aside for scenic, scientific or ecological reasons. The department also has responsibility for the preservation and management of wildlife, and has a role in management of the coastal marine area with 14 marine reserves and two other protected marine areas from the Kermadec Islands to Fiordland.

National parks

The National Parks Act 1980 provides for the establishment of national parks or reserves in areas where the scenery is of such distinctive quality, or the natural features or ecological systems so important scientifically that their preservation is in the national interest. The act also provides for the public to have freedom of entry and access to the parks, though this is subject to such conditions and restrictions as are necessary for the preservation of native plants and animals or for the welfare of the parks in general. Access to specially protected areas (55,000 ha) constituted under the act is by permit only.

The act states that national parks are to be maintained as far as possible in their natural state so that their value as soil, water and forest conservation areas is maintained. Native plants and animals are to be preserved and introduced plants and animals are to be removed if their presence is seen to conflict with the aims of the act. Development in wilderness areas established under the act is restricted to foot tracks and huts essential for wild animal control or scientific research. The act allows the Department of Conservation to provide hostels, huts, camping grounds, ski tows and similar facilities, parking areas, roading and tracks within the parks. Accommodation, transport and other services at entry points to the parks are provided by the department, other government agencies, voluntary organisations and private enterprise. Some services within the parks, such as guided walks and skiing instruction, are provided by private firms under concessions from the department.

New Zealand's national parks (from north to south) are:

Tongariro National Park

(79,598 ha, established in 1887), was New Zealand's first national park. It includes the three active volcanoes, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro.

Urewera National Park

(212,675 ha, established 1954), together with neighbouring Whirinaki Forest Park, is the largest remaining area of native forest in the North Island. Lake Waikaremoana which is within the park is noted for its scenic shoreline.

Egmont National Park

(33,543 ha, established 1900), comprises all the land in a 9-kilometre radius of the Taranaki/Mount Egmont summit and some outlying areas to the north. The symmetrical cone of the dormant volcano is a provincial landmark.

Whanganui National Park

(74,231 ha, established 1986), borders the Whanganui River. It incorporates areas of Crown land, former State Forest and a number of former reserves. The river itself is not part of the park.

Kahurangi National Park

(452,000 ha, established 1996), situated in the north-west of the South Island comprises spectacular and remote country and includes the Heaphy Track. It has ancient landforms and unique flora and fauna. It is the second largest national park.

Abel Tasman National Park

(22,541 ha, established 1942), has numerous tidal inlets and beaches of golden sand along the shores of Tasman Bay. It is New Zealand's smallest national park.

Nelson Lakes National Park

(101,753 ha, established 1956), is a rugged, mountainous area in Nelson Region. It extends southwards from the forested shores of Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa to the Lewis Pass National Reserve.

Paparoa National Park

(30,560 ha, established 1987), is on the West Coast of the South Island between Westport and Greymouth. It includes the celebrated Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.

Arthur's Pass National Park

(114,357 ha, established 1929), is a rugged and mountainous area straddling the main divide of the Southern Alps.

Westland National Park

(117,547 ha, established 1960), extends from the highest peaks of the Southern Alps to a wild remote coastline. Included in the park are glaciers, scenic lakes and dense rainforest, plus remains of old gold mining towns along the coast.

Mount Cook National Park

(70,728 ha, established 1953), is an alpine park, containing New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook (3,754m), and longest glacier, Tasman Glacier (29 km). A focus for mountaineering, ski touring and scenic flights, the park is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The Mount Cook and Westland National Parks have together been declared a world heritage area.

Mount Aspiring National Park

(355,531 ha, established 1964), is a complex of impressively glaciated mountain scenery centred on Mount Aspiring (3,036 m), which is New Zealand's highest peak outside Mount Cook National Park.

Fiordland National Park

(1,251,924 ha, established 1952), is the largest national park in New Zealand and one of the largest in the world. The grandeur of its scenery, with its deep fiords, its lakes of glacial origin, its mountains and waterfalls, has earned it international recognition as a world heritage area.

World heritage areas

World heritage areas consist of 582 sites listed under UNESCO's World Heritage Convention as the most outstanding natural and cultural places on the globe. New Zealand has three world heritage area sites, Te Wahipounamu (south-west New Zealand), Tongariro National Park and New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands.


Forest parks

The Department of Conservation administers 20 forest parks whose primary purpose, in most cases, is to protect the catchments of forested mountain ranges throughout the country. They provide a less restricted range of recreational activities than national parks and reserves, including tramping, camping, fishing, and shooting for a variety of game.


Reserve land includes scenic, nature, scientific, historic, national, recreation and wildlife reserves, protected private land and land protected under various conservation and open space covenants.

Marine reserves and parks

There are 13 marine reserves. The Kermadec Islands Marine Reserve is the largest at 748,000 ha. Located approximately 400 nautical miles north-east of Auckland, the area has an interesting mix of subtropical, temperate and endemic species.

There are two marine parks, Mimiwhangata and Tawharanui, protected by fisheries regulations. The Sugar Loaf Islands, previously a marine park, are now protected under their own act as a marine protected area.

Fire control

The Department of Conservation is responsible for fire control in state areas, which include national parks and reserves, forest parks, and unalienated Crown land, together with a 1 km fire safety margin adjoining all these lands.

Protected Natural Areas Programme

The Department of Conservation is responsible for augmenting the network of protected areas through the Protected Natural Areas Programme. The programme operates in two phases. First there are district surveys to identify the unprotected areas that best represent the range of natural ecological diversity characteristic of the district. This is followed by an implementation phase, which involves work towards effective protection of these areas, under public or private ownership.

16.5 Statutory and associated committees

New Zealand Conservation Authority: Te Pou Atawhai Taiao o Aotearoa

Under the Conservation Act, the Conservation Authority (established in 1990) provides advice to the Minister of Conservation on departmental policy development including Māori customary use, Treaty issues and other conservation matters of national importance. The authority approves Conservation Management Strategies (CMSs), which are regional strategies currently being prepared in conservancies.

The authority is closely involved in ecosystem protection, including animal and weed pests and the use of 1080 in animal control, the development of strategies and plans to protect New Zealand's biodiversity, monitoring, auditing and community involvement. It also has a particular interest in plans, performance and impacts of recreation and tourism.

Under the National Parks Act, the authority approves national park management plans and investigates additions to national parks and creation of new national parks.

Conservation boards

There are 14 regional conservation boards serviced by the Department of Conservation. Boards work closely with conservancies in the development of CMSs, management plans, conservation advocacy, walkways and a wide range of other conservation issues.

New Zealand Fish and Game Council

This council represents nationally the interests of anglers and hunters and provides co-ordination of the management, enhancement and maintenance of sports fish and game. The council may advise the minister and develop national policies for carrying out its functions. It also oversees the implementation of general ministerial policies and has an advocacy role in statutory planning processes and the fair distribution of revenues between the Regional Fish and Game Councils.

Regional Fish and Game Councils

There are 12 Regional Fish and Game Councils, whose functions include assessment and monitoring of fish and game, promotion and education, planning, representing the interests of anglers and hunters in planning processes, and the issuing of licences to fish or hunt.

Queen Elizabeth II National Trust

The trust encourages the provision, protection and enhancement of open space for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

Most often, the trust enters into voluntary open space covenants with private or non-government landowners. While the land itself remains in private ownership, the landscape is protected by the trust which acts as independent perpetual trustees. Covenant agreements specify how the area is to be managed and are registered against the land title.

At June 1997, there were 1,030 registered covenants protecting natural features on 42,376 ha of land throughout New Zealand. A further 320 approved projects covering 59,000 ha are proceeding toward registration. The trust also owns property, most of which has been gifted or bequeathed.

In the 1997 year the trust received an operating grant of $819,000 from the government. It also received $422,000 from the Forest Heritage Fund for native forest protection projects and applied $109,000 Lottery Grants Board funding to projects including wetland covenants and revegetation programmes.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust: Pouhere Taonga

This is a non-profit organisation which exists to identify, record and preserve New Zealand's historic buildings and archaeological sites and to encourage public interest in the nation's past. See section 12.2 The national collection.

Waitangi National Trust Board

This board administers the Waitangi National Reserve which includes the Treaty House.

Other boards

A number of other boards have been set up to aid the government and the department in administering specific responsibilities. These include: Guardians of Lakes Manapouri, Monowai and Te Anau, and Lake Wanaka, Forest Heritage Fund, South Westland Environmental and Community Advice Group, Ngā Whenua Rāhui, and the Wild Animal Recovery Service Appeal Authority.

Conservation non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

New Zealand has many private organisations actively involved in conservation and environmental issues. These vary from local clubs focused on preserving some feature of the local landscape to national societies concerned with preserving the environment for its ecological, scientific, recreational or scenic value.

Further information

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:

Environmental Risk Management Authority:

Resource Management Law Association of New Zealand Inc.:

International Institute for Sustainable Development:

UNESCO World Heritage Centre:

Fish and Hunt New Zealand:

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 17. National economy

17.1 National accounts

Every day there are countless transactions taking place in the New Zealand economy:

  • businesses are buying and selling goods and services

  • government is collecting taxes and making transfer payments to beneficiaries

  • individuals are being paid for their labour and using this income to buy their groceries or pay their rent.

As in most other countries, this myriad of transactions is classified, measured and recorded in the national accounts. The New Zealand System of National Accounts (NZSNA) is based on an internationally-accepted standard given in “A System of National Accounts” (United Nations, 1968).

National accounts are produced annually and quarterly. Accounts for the year ended 31 March are published each year.

New Zealand System of National Accounts - Reference report

Principle aggregates

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) represents the income earned from production in New Zealand, whether that is carried out by New Zealanders or foreign firms operating within New Zealand. It does not measure the final incomes which New Zealand residents earn. Gross National Income (GNI), which in the past has been referred to as Gross National Product, is a better measure of New Zealanders' income or claim on resources as it excludes income remitted abroad (dividends, interest and other transfers) and includes similar income earned by New Zealanders from overseas investments. Further adjustments to take account of depreciation and transfers from the rest of world gives an even better measure of income (National Disposable Income) from which New Zealanders can actually save and consume.

Table 17.1. Principle aggregates: 1989–98

 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (1)Gross National Income (GNI) (1)Net National Income (NNI) (1)Net National Disposable Income (NNDI) (1)GDP at 1991/92 prices

(1) Includes stock valuation adjustment. GNI = GDP plus net primary incomes from the rest of the world. NNI = GNI less consumption of fixed capital. NNDI = NNI plus net current transfers from the rest of the world.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Year ended March$(million)

The ratio of GNI to GDP shows what proportion of income from domestic production remains available to New Zealanders after adjusting for net profits, interest and dividends remitted abroad.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Gross Domestic Product - Statistical release

17.2 Balance of payments

New Zealand's balance of payments statements are records of the value of New Zealand's transactions in goods, services and income with the rest of the world, and the changes in New Zealand's financial claims on, and liabilities to, the rest of the world.

The balance of payments summarises all New Zealand's international transactions over a given period of time:

  • exports and imports

  • the cost of transporting New Zealand exports and imports internationally

  • how much New Zealanders spend holidaying overseas and how much foreign tourists spend holidaying in New Zealand

  • how much is spent servicing the overseas debt

  • what countries are invested in and which invest in New Zealand

  • how much is earned from New Zealand investments overseas

  • how much foreign investors earn from their investments in New Zealand

  • all the government's international transactions.

In short, it is a statement summarising income and expenditure and the investment decisions with the rest of the world. The current account records the day-to-day income and expenditure while the capital account records the investment decisions.

Balance of payments statements are published quarterly and annually (year ended 31 March) by Statistics New Zealand. Both quarterly and annual statements show a full current account. The annual statement shows the capital flows of both the private and official sectors while the quarterly statements show the capital flows of only the official sector.

Balance of Payments - Statistical release

Table 17.3. Annual balance of payment statistics: summary of major components, 1998

Year ended March1998

(1) Consists of all Direct and Portfolio Investment flows and non Official Sector Other Capital flows, Official Sector non reserve assets, and errors and omissions.

.. Not applicable.

(fob) The fob value is the market value of the goods at the New Zealand port of loading. It includes all value added in bringing the goods to the port of loading but excludes international freight and associated insurance.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

 $ NZ (million)
Exports/imports (fob)21706 20446
Balance on merchandise trade 1259 
Exports/imports of services6544 7712
Balance on services -1168 
International investment income489 7824
Transfers2171 1415
Balance on invisibles -7747 
Balance on current account -6488 
Direct investment3609 641
Portfolio investment-1770 2875
Other capital3424 -2703
Reserve assets.. -659
Net errors and omissions (1)1377 ..
Net apparent capital inflow5829 ..

Table 17.4. Annual balance of payments: direct investment statistics, 1989–98

 Foreign direct investment in New ZealandNew Zealand direct investment abroad

P = Provisional.

R = Revised.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Year ended March$ NZ (million)
1997 R2766-2424
1998 P3609641


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

17.3 Overseas debt

New Zealand's overseas debt statistics measure, at specific points in time, the outstanding total gross liabilities (excluding equity capital) of New Zealand-located organisations to all overseas-located organisations and individuals.

New Zealand's overseas debt includes the liabilities of New Zealand companies to their overseas parents, subsidiaries or branches. It excludes:

  • the liabilities of the overseas subsidiaries and branches of New Zealand companies

  • the overseas liabilities of New Zealand people and households

  • equity capital

  • contingent liabilities.

The total overseas debt figure is produced annually as at 31 March.

Balance of Payments - Statistical release

Table 17.6. Overseas debt, 1996–98

Year ended March199619971998

R = Revised.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

 $ NZ(million)
Official government sector218962064919969
Corporate sector53529 R58945 R79029
Total75425 R75593 R98998


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

17.4 International investment position

New Zealand's international investment position statement shows the value of all New Zealand's international assets and liabilities at specific points in time. By also including international assets the statement's scope is wider than the overseas debt statistics.

The difference between the total value of a country's international assets and its international liabilities is its net international investment position. The net position of an economy is often used to characterise an economy as either a “net creditor” or “net debtor”.

International Investment Position - Statistical release


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

17.5 Business statistics

A linked series of collections provides a comprehensive coverage of business in New Zealand. At regular intervals economic censuses are held. These cover all businesses within specified industry groups. The Annual Enterprise Survey supplements the censuses, collecting financial information from a representative sample of some 30,000 businesses. Most non-farming, market-orientated industries are included in the Annual Enterprise Survey coverage. Quarterly business surveys, such as the economic surveys of manufacturing and distribution, provide information on short-term activity, while the Quarterly Employment Survey offers a broad picture of activity across the economy.

In addition to these financial surveys and censuses, the Annual Business Frame Update Survey collects business demographic information as at February each year. This survey collects non-financial data relating to the location, type of activity, degree of overseas ownership and employment level of New Zealand business. This survey (together with data from the Inland Revenue Department and various other sources) is used to update the Business Frame, which is the population register for Statistics New Zealand's business surveys and censuses. Farms are excluded from this survey, as are non-trading companies. The publication “Key Statistics”, produced by Statistics New Zealand, is another valuable source of information.

Business Activity (GST) Indicator - Statistical release

Key Statistics. 1998

Further information

Reserve Bank of New Zealand:

New Zealand Treasury:

Budgets of New Zealand:

Commerce Commission of New Zealand:

International Monetary Fund:

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 18. Agriculture

18.1 Background

Farming and horticulture are major industries, providing a high proportion of New Zealand's export earnings.

Traditionally farming has centred on sheep and cattle to produce sheepmeat, beef, wool, dairy produce and hides, although in recent years new types of livestock have included deer, goats, ostriches and llamas. Since the 1970s horticultural produce has also become an important export earner.

Uniquely, among the developed countries, New Zealand farmers are almost totally exposed to world market forces. They receive no subsidies from government and have to compete with subsidised production from other producing countries. However, the GATT Uruguay Round Agriculture Agreement, which began to take effect in 1995, imposes progressive reductions on the subsidies that other countries can give to agricultural production and exports, increasing access opportunities for New Zealand exports into overseas markets.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF): Te Manatu Ahuwhenua, Ngaherehere On 1 March 1998, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Forestry merged together into a new Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Its mission is to help the government create an environment allowing the food, fibre and timber industries make the best contribution to sustainable economic growth and environmental quality, while managing risk to human, animal and plant health and safety, and to resources.

The role of MAF Policy is to advise the Ministers of Agriculture, Forestry and Biosecurity and the government on policies and legislation affecting the land-based sectors. It also provides information on sustainable resource use and development.

The MAF Regulatory Authority (MAF Reg) is responsible for developing and setting New Zealand standards for agricultural, horticultural and forestry biosecurity; food safety; pest and disease management; agricultural compounds; and animal welfare.

MAF Operations has three subgroups: the Quarantine Service; the Verification Agency (validating inspection process and certifying products); and the New Zealand Animal Health Reference Laboratory and Exotic Disease Control Centre.

On 1 November 1988 another MAF division, MAF Quality Management was replaced by two state-owned enterprises-Asure New Zealand Ltd. and AgriQuality New Zealand Ltd. Asure New Zealand provides front-line meat inspection services and other services to the meat processing industry. AgriQuality New Zealand provides services covering farm quality and animal health, quality assurance services for a wide range of food products, and biosecurity and food safety services.

Agricultural production indicators

Statistics New Zealand's Agriculture Production Account is a statistical series that provides a summary of the activities of all market-oriented establishments classified under agricultural and livestock production or agricultural services. It includes all income derived from the activities of the establishments covered, including their characteristic farming activities, and also their “other” productive activities. However, investment income (such as dividends and interest) accruing to the proprietors of farming establishments is excluded.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Agricultural Statistics 1996 - Reference report, sample table

The Farm Expenses Price Index measures price changes of fixed inputs of goods and services to the farming industry.

Farm Expenses Price Index - Statistical release

18.2 Pastoral agriculture

Pastoral agriculture is practised throughout New Zealand and mainly comprises beef cattle, dairying, and sheep farming. However, deer farming is also an important livestock industry. Deer are farmed for venison and velvet.

Stock are grazed in paddocks, often with movable electric fencing, which allows rotation of grazing around the farm. Grass growth is seasonal, largely dependent on location and climatic fluctuations, but normally occurs for between 8 and 12 months of the year. Many farmers supplement grass feed with hay and silage, particularly in winter.

Phosphoric fertilisers are used extensively on New Zealand's predominantly grass/clover pasture. Nitrogen fertilisers are used to a small degree.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Livestock numbers

Probably New Zealand's best known statistic is that it has more than 20 times as many sheep as people (actually now close to 13 times as many). Grasslands have been developed to the extent that the best sheep farms can carry up to 25 sheep per hectare throughout the year. The best dairy farms carry 3.5 cows per hectare throughout the year.

Trends in livestock numbers are largely determined by world market prices for farm products, including meat, wool, dairy products and, more recently, venison, and goat fibre.

Over the last 14 years MAF records that the sheep population has declined from 70.3 million at June 1982 to stand at around 46.2 million at June 1998. The beef cattle population fell to 4.4 million at June 1998. The total number of dairy cattle at June 1998 is estimated to have risen to 4.4 million according to the Meat and Wool Economic Service. In 1996 there were around 1.2 million deer in New Zealand.

18.3 Meat

Meat industry products are New Zealand's second largest export income earner, accounting for about 18 percent of merchandise exports. New Zealand's main meat exports are lamb, mutton and beef. About 80 percent of lamb, 80 percent of mutton and 80 percent of beef produced in New Zealand in 1997–98 was exported overseas. The domestic market absorbs over 99 percent of the pigmeat and poultry produced in New Zealand.

Meat production

In the 1997–98 season slaughterings increased for lambs, sheep and cattle. However, average carcass weights declined from the previous season. Export lamb, sheep and cattle production increased slightly, while bobby veal and goat export production declined.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Meat New Zealand

Meat New Zealand is the operational name of the New Zealand Meat Board. It exists to further the interests of New Zealand's 32,000 meat producers. The board does not buy or sell meat. It is funded by producers through a levy on stock slaughtered and is involved in market access issues, market development and information, international promotion, carcass classification and quality assurance. It provides market support through offices in Brussels, London, Tokyo, Washington and Seoul. It also funds a number of industry organisations.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Export marketing

New Zealand is a major exporter of sheepmeat, accounting for about 54 percent of the world export trade. It is a smaller player in the global market for beef, accounting for about 6.4 percent of all world beef exports.

New Zealand's major meat markets include the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia and the United States for lamb; the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea and France for mutton; and the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan for beef.

The largest markets for New Zealand venison exports in 1997 were Germany, the United States and France. Most of the venison produced in New Zealand is exported.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

18.4 Wool

New Zealand sheep are largely dual purpose wool/meat animals and their wool is predominantly strong. New Zealand is the world's largest producer of crossbred (strong) wool.

This type of wool is used mainly in interior textiles such as carpets, upholstery, furnishings, bedding and rugs. It is also used for handknitting yarn, in knitwear and in blankets.

It is estimated that 34 percent of New Zealand wool is used in machine-made carpets, 12 percent in handknotted and hand-tufted carpets, 44 percent in apparel, and 10 percent in other uses, primarily upholstery and bedding.

Net domestic consumption of wool in New Zealand is among the highest in the world on a per head basis.

Wools of New Zealand

Wools of New Zealand is the marketing arm of the New Zealand Wool Group. It promotes the use of New Zealand wool in existing and new markets; encourages efficiencies in the preparation, handling, distribution, shipping and selling of wool; and promotes and undertakes research and development work into wool, sheep and wool products. The board is entirely funded by woolgrowers.

Markets for wool

The most common way of selling wool in New Zealand is by open auction: 49 percent was sold this way in 1997–98. The auction season runs from July to the following June. Sales are held at three centres around the country and attract buyers representing all the main wool importing countries. Growers can also sell their wool to merchants privately in New Zealand (37 percent of sales in 1997–98).

Around 90 percent of the New Zealand clip leaves the country in a greasy, scoured, or slipe form. Seventy-five percent of exports are scoured. Of the 10 percent of the clip processed in New Zealand, roughly half is exported in product form, mainly as carpet yarn, carpets or knitted jerseys.

During 1997–98 the largest importers of New Zealand wool were China, the United Kingdom, India, Germany and Belgium.

Total exports from wool products were $25.2 million in 1997–98.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

18.5 Dairy produce

The dairy industry is primarily geared towards overseas markets which account for between 90–95 percent of all milk produced.

The four major product groups manufactured by New Zealand dairy factories are: milk powders; cream products such as butter, anhydrous milkfat and ghee; cheese; and protein products such as casein and caseinates.

Table 18.8. New Zealand dairy product manufacturing, 1996–98

Year ended 31 May199619971998
Source: New Zealand Dairy Board
Anhydrous milkfat558325909872729
Frozen cream8652110694273
Wholemilk powder298307337854355871
Nutritional products/infant food3486913616240522
Skimmilk powder172149192267177573
Buttermilk powder299843271037770
Casein products7915792157103659
Whey products224142074621703

Dairy organisations

There are around 29 dairy factories producing manufactured dairy products in New Zealand. These are owned by about a dozen co-operative companies. Each company is governed by a board of directors elected by farmer suppliers. Farmers fund the co-operatives by supplying share capital.

The dairy companies produce nearly all of the dairy products manufactured in New Zealand, of which most is exported.

New Zealand Dairy Board

The board is responsible for marketing dairy produce manufactured for export. It co-ordinates manufacturing and industry growth plans with export market requirements.

The board exports to over 100 countries annually and has its own marketing distribution network in the countries it exports to. The Dairy Board is the largest multinational dairy marketing organisation in the world. It has more than 89 fully-owned subsidiaries, associate companies and agencies.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Overseas marketing and exporting

New Zealand is one of the top five dairy exporters in the world which supply around 90 percent of dairy products traded on the international market.

The New Zealand dairy industry's major markets vary for different products. Britain and the EU are New Zealand's most valuable market for butter.

The primary markets for casein and cheese are the United States, Japan, and the EU. New Zealand is the world's largest exporter of casein and caseinate products.

New Zealand's most important milk powder markets are in Central and South America and South-East Asia.


In 1998 the state of the world economy with financial problems in parts of Asia and Latin America and in Russia led to a reduction in demand for dairy products. An increase in EU export subsidies also contributed to the fall in prices. The decrease in demand was reflected in a slight drop in exports of New Zealand dairy products in 1997–8, despite a 50,000 tonne increase in domestic production. However, this and the decrease in prices was offset by the fall in the value of the New Zealand dollar relative to that of our major trading partners, which resulted in the value of New Zealand dairy exports increasing 7 percent to $4.6 billion, or over 20 percent of total New Zealand merchandise exports.

18.6 Pigs, poultry and bees


Domestic pork production increased slightly in 1998 after declining since 1995 due to increasing pressures from the importation of competitively priced Canadian and Australian frozen pork, relatively high feed costs and pressure from increased consumer demand for chicken and cheaper beef. For the year ending September 1998, 776,856 pigs were slaughtered, an increase of 3,586 from the previous year. The tonnage of domestic pigmeat produced increased to 48,338, a slight increase of 385 tonnes from the previous year.

New Zealand Pork Industry Board

The Pork Industry Board is a statutory body. Its income is sourced from a compulsory levy on all pigs slaughtered at licensed premises. The board comprises seven members, five of whom are elected by producers and two who are appointed by the Government.

The Pork Industry Board is concerned with extending markets, research and development, encouraging best practices and making market information available.


The poultry meat industry is relatively new in New Zealand and is expanding rapidly. It is now the major intensive livestock industry in this country. In 1997 the poultry industry produced 93,000 tonnes of poultry meat, almost solely for the domestic market. Of this total, over 95 percent was chicken meat produced from 61 million broiler chickens; with turkey, duck and roasting fowl making up the remaining 5 percent. The industry earns around $500 million in retail sales and provides about 3,000 jobs.

Poultry consumption continues to increase due to declining prices in real terms, changes in lifestyle and consumer perceptions. Consumption has increased from 14 kg per capita ten years ago, to over 25 kgs in 1997. The proportion of poultry meat consumed has increased from 15 percent to 25 percent of total meat consumption. This increase has been largely at the expense of sheepmeat.


In 1997 New Zealand's estimated 2.55 million laying hens produced close to 756 million eggs. Over 85 percent of eggs are sold as table eggs within the domestic market, with the remainder used in the baking and catering industries. Retail sales of eggs are worth more than $160 million.

Total egg production has remained relatively static for the past decade, with slight drops in per capita consumption-now around 200 eggs per person annually. Most eggs produced in New Zealand are from caged hens, with free range and barn egg production accounting for 5 percent of the total. The last decade has seen a wider choice of egg types available from standard white and brown to wholegrain, vegetarian, omega-enriched, barn and free range eggs.

New Zealand currently has around 160 commercial egg producers, with the largest 20 producers accounting for over 50 percent of total production. Since the industry was deregulated in the late 1980s the number of commercial egg producers has declined rapidly. The Egg Producers Federation of New Zealand Inc (EPF), funded via producer levies, represents the industry and plays a growing role in research funding and direction.


The rich pasture lands of New Zealand and some of its forest and bush areas are suited to apiculture and produce high-grade honey. Clover (Trifolium repens) is still the principal honey type. A number of New Zealand native honey sources also have wide national and international consumer appeal.

In 1992 researchers confirmed that manuka honey (Leptospermum scoparium) is very effective as an antiseptic dressing. Because of this both the demand and the price for manuka honey have risen dramatically.

The total saleable crop of honey for 1998 was 8,081 tonnes. Exports of honey totalled around 2,500 tonnes.

The industry's other products include beeswax, pollen, propolis (an antibiotic gum or resin collected from plants), royal jelly and live bees.

The National Beekeepers Association levies beekeepers with more than three apiaries or 10 hives to pay for its activities as well as its pest management strategy.

18.7 Crops and horticulture

Although pastoral farming is the major land use in New Zealand, in recent years there have been significant increases in the area planted in horticulture and other crops.

After a period of decline in the 1980s the area planted in traditional cereals, such as wheat, barley and maize is stabilising. This has occurred as the profitability of cereals has improved relative to that of other crops and farm enterprises. There has also been an increase in plantings of pasture seeds and specialist crops.

Major crops for the export market include kiwifruit, pipfruit, stonefruit, onions, squash, flowers and berryfruit. Grapes are grown mainly for the domestic market and for wine production.

Main grain and seed crops

New Zealand wheat is primarily grown for domestic human consumption and is milled for flour. Some wheat grain and the by-products of flour milling, bran and pollard, are used for stock feed. Most wheat is grown in the South Island in the Canterbury region.

Most barley grown in New Zealand is used for the manufacture of stock feed and for malting. Exports of malting and feed barley fluctuate in response to price changes, reflecting international supply and demand.

Primarily grown in the eastern North Island, maize is used as poultry feed and increasingly as a supplementary feed for pigs and other livestock.

Grown mainly for threshing and green feed, oats are also used to produce milled rolled oats, oatmeal, and oaten foods.

Hay and silage crops are grown for supplementary animal feed. They are almost exclusively grown on the farms where they are consumed.

The renewal and extension of pastures require the annual supply of very considerable quantities of grass seed. There is an appreciable export trade in some species of grass seeds. home.asp?web=index&customer=vegfed&page=home



New Zealand's main pipfruit growing areas are Hawke's Bay and Nelson.

Almost 70 percent of the New Zealand pipfruit industry's export income is derived from the apple varieties Braeburn, Gala and Royal Gala-which were all developed in this country.

ENZA is the marketing arm of the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board and is responsible for the sales of all export-grade apples and pears from New Zealand except those sales made by organisations which have received an export component.

In 1998 ENZA exported 13.9 million, 18 kilogram cartons of apples and pears on behalf of New Zealand's 1,500 pipfruit growers. These exports generated a total income of $535,347,000.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.


The main production areas for summerfruit are Central Otago, Hawke's Bay, Marlborough, Canterbury and Auckland.

At 30 June 1998 the total area planted in summerfruits was around 3,000 hectares. This was mainly peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and cherries.

The Summerfruit Export Council of the New Zealand Horticulture Authority is the main exporter of summerfruit.


The Bay of Plenty is the major growing area for kiwifruit with over 80 percent of production.

Kiwifruit is one of New Zealand's most important horticultural export earners. New Zealand is a major supplier of kiwifruit globally and has led the development of the industry internationally.

ZESPRI International is the world's largest marketer of kiwifruit and the sole marketer of the ZESPRI kiwifruit, exporting around 60 million trays of kiwifruit annually to about 70 countries. It is the global marketing subsidiary of Kiwifruit New Zealand. Total kiwifruit exports were $429 million in the year to June 1998.

Kiwifruit New Zealand is responsible for industry governance and onshore grower equity issues, inventory, quality and administration.

Grape growing and wine production

Marlborough, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay are the major grape producing areas. In 1998 an estimated 7,356 ha were planted in producing grape vines.

Exports of wine increased from 13.072 million litres in 1997 to 15.153 million litres in 1998.

The United Kingdom, which imported 7.997 million litres of wine from New Zealand in the year to 30 June 1998, is New Zealand's major export market for wine. Australia is the second-largest export market.

The 1998 season was New Zealand's largest wine vintage, producing 78,300 tonnes of grapes. Chardonnay (18,169 tonnes), Muller Thurgau (10,579 tonnes) and Sauvignon Blanc (15,136 tonnes) were the most popular grapes of the season.

Further information


Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand:

Monogastric Research Centre:

Greenzone (fruit and agriculture sites):

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 19. Forestry and fishing

19.1 Forestry

Forests cover about 29 percent or 8.1 million hectares of New Zealand's land area. Of this, about 6.4 million hectares are in natural forest and 1.7 million hectares in planted production forests. Of the total planted production forest estate, 91 percent is radiata pine (Pinus radiata), and 5 percent is Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Hardwoods comprise about 3 percent of New Zealand's planted production forests. The most important hardwood plantation species are eucalypts originating from Australia.

New forest establishment has increased markedly during the 1990s. During 1998, 52,000 hectares of new forest planting occurred. Almost all areas of forest harvested are replanted.

The volume of wood available for export is expected to increase dramatically, with about a 74 percent increase between 1996 and 2010. This projected increase assumes 60,000 hectares of new plantings are undertaken each year.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry: http://www.maf.g0vt.n2

New Zealand Forest Industries Council:

New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd. (FRI):

New Zealand Forestry:

New Zealand Institute of Forestry Inc.:


Indigenous forests

New Zealand's 6.4 million hectares of indigenous forest are located mainly in the mountainlands, particularly on the West Coast of the South Island. The major indigenous tree species are beech, kauri, rimu, taraire and tawa. The indigenous forests harbour about 330 species of native birds (some classed as endangered or threatened), two species of bat, reptiles, freshwater fish, and amphibians and invertebrates of which land snails and giant weta are the most notable.

The main threats to these forests are introduced animals and plants and an increasing demand from people for access and recreational opportunities.

The Crown is the major indigenous forest owner (about 77 percent).

Less than 2 percent of New Zealand's total forest production is harvested from indigenous forests.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Natural production forests

Of the 6.4 million hectares of natural forest remaining in New Zealand, around 4.9 million hectares (77 percent) are unavailable for timber production being held for heritage, conservation, soil and water, and recreation values.

Harvesting timber from state-owned natural forests is confined to the 130,000 hectares set aside on the West Coast and managed by Timberlands West Coast Limited. During 1996, 12,000 hectares set aside in Southland and managed by Crown Forest Management Limited was transferred to the private Waitutu Incorporation. These forests are required to be managed under approved sustainable forest management regimes.

Planted production forests

Trees planted in the second boom of afforestation (1970 through to the mid-1980s) are reaching large-scale utilisation. Special-purpose plantation species are being planted on a small scale.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Ownership of forests

Many of the earlier plantation forests were developed by the state, but ownership has moved increasingly to the private sector over the last decade. In 1990 the state sold cutting rights to 247,000 hectares, in 1991 to a further 97,000 hectares and in 1996 to 188,000 hectares. Today approximately 93 percent of the plantation resource is in private ownership. The state holds the majority of the natural resource available for wood production.

Private forestry

The total area of planted production forests in New Zealand at 31 March 1998 was 1.68 million hectares. Almost 70 percent of the planted forest estate is owned by 17 major organisations (with considerable off-shore investment), while the remaining 30 percent is owned by small companies, local government, partnerships, joint ventures and many thousands of farmers. In terms of new planting the dominance of large companies has recently given way to individuals and groups of smaller investors. About 45 percent of the resource is controlled by three companies, Fletcher Challenge, Carter Holt Harvey Limited and Rayonier New Zealand Limited.

Employment and training in forest industries


The forestry and wood products industries are concentrated near the largest forest areas, particularly in the central North Island.

Statistics New Zealand's Annual Business Directory Update recorded a total of 29,160 full-time equivalent persons engaged in forestry and first-stage processing activities in 1998. There were 8,880 in forestry and logging, 6,630 in sawmills, 1,350 in planing, preserving and seasoning timber, 100 in chipmills, 1,800 in plywood, veneer and board, 3,230 in pulp and paper manufacturing and 7,170 in wood product manufacturing. This compares with 30,110 people engaged in the same activities in 1997.

Education and training

The following institutions offer courses or programmes relating to forestry: Canterbury University, Waikato University, University of Auckland, Lincoln University, Massey University and Waiariki Polytechnic. Other polytechnics, as well as ACCESS/TOPs courses, provide pre-entry training in forestry, including logging.

The Logging and Forest Industry Training Board has an accreditation system for forestry and logging skills while the pulp and paper industry run Certificates in Pulp and Paper Technology.

The Forest Industry Training and Education Council (FITEC) co-ordinates and funds various education and training programmes. In partnership with the former Ministry of Forestry, it embarked on a major project to introduce forestry-related materials into schools.

19.2 Timber and forest products



In 1997–98 logs from planted production forests supplied 16,350,000 cubic metres, or 99.5 percent of the total roundwood removals. It supported approximately 400 sawmills, 6 plywood, and 9 veneer plants, 4 particleboard mills, 8 pulp and paper mills, and 5 fibreboard mills in 1997–98. This roundwood production does not include firewood.

Table 19.3. Estimated roundwood removals from New Zealand forests, 1994–98

 Natural forest removalsPlanted production forest removals
 TotalSaw logsPulp logsExport logsOther (1)TotalTotal removals

(1) Other includes peeler logs, small logs and export chips.

Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

Year ended 31 Marchcubic metres (000)

Sawn timber

Radiata pine accounts for about 95 percent of the total cut of exotics, Douglas-fir for 3 percent and other conifers for most of the remainder. Just over 1 percent of the country's sawn timber production comes from natural forests.

Export wood chips

Both native and exotic trees unsuitable for sawn timber production are used for wood chip production. The process also uses forest and sawmill residues which would normally be wasted.

Chip exports during the year ended June 1998 totalled 289,000 bone-dry units. (A bone-dry unit for radiata pine wood chips is equivalent to 2.63 cubic metres; and for beech, 2.25 cubic metres.)

Timber preservation

Over 1 million cubic metres of timber, including round-wood, is preservative treated in New Zealand each year. The Timber Preservation Council is responsible for maintaining standards in the industry.

Quarantine and inspection

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry border protection officers inspect imported wood and wood products, including dunnage and packaging materials. Ships may be inspected for gypsy moth. Inspection of forestry exports such as logs and timber is also undertaken where the importing country requires a phytosanitary certificate.

Forest products

Pulp and paper

Of the eight pulp and paper plants in New Zealand, seven are in the North Island, and four are integrated with sawmills.

There are four main pulp and paper companies. The Tasman Pulp and Paper Company Limited in Kawerau, part of the Fletcher Challenge Corporation, produces market pulp and newsprint.

Carter Holt Harvey has five plants: at Penrose, corrugated medium paper and paperboard from recycled waste paper is produced; at Kinleith, market pulp and paper, and paperboard; at Whakatane, paperboard from mechanical pulp and semi-chemical and waste-paper based pulps; at Kawerau, tissue and other papers; and at Mataura, a range of papers.

Pan Pacific Forest Industries New Zealand Limited operates an integrated sawmill and thermo-mechanical pulp mill at Whirinaki, near Napier.

Winstone Pulp International has a chemical thermo-mechanical pulp mill at Karioi.

Table 19.4. Pulp and paper production, 1994–98

 Wood pulpPaper and paperboard
 Chemical (1)Mechanical (2)NewsprintOther printing and writing paperOther paper and paperboardTotal paper and paperboard

(1) Chemical includes semi-chemical pulp.

(2) Mechanical includes groundwood pulp, thermo-mechanical and chemithermo-mechanical pulp.

Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Year ended 31 Marchtonnes

Wood-based panels

Six factories manufacture plywood, and the total output for the year ended 31 March 1998 was 189,447 cubic metres (180,713 cubic metres in 1997). Total production of veneer in the industry in 1997–98 was 292,171 cubic metres (300,648 cubic metres in 1997). Radiata pine has become increasingly important as a species for peeler-log supply because of the demand for industrial plywood, and constitutes about 99 percent of total peeler-log production.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.

Overseas trade in forest products


Forest products are important earners of overseas funds. For the year ended June 1998 exports of forest products were valued at about $2,242 million ($2,379 million in 1997). Australia took 31 percent (by value) of exports, mainly in wood pulp, sawn timber, paper and paperboard, panel products and wood pulp. Japan took 26 percent, mainly logs, sawn timber, and wood pulp and panel products. The remaining 43 percent was taken by smaller customers, of which the largest was Korea (11 percent).

Table 19.6. Volume of timber exports, 1994–98

 Sawn timber
 From natural forestRadiata pineDouglas-firOtherTotalLogs and poles

P =

Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

Year ended 30 Junecubic metres (000)
1998 P11112163011584212


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of this chapter.


The main categories of sawn timber imports are Australian hardwoods, and North American softwoods.

Imported sawn timbers generally have specialist applications such as industrial construction, weatherboards with a natural finish, decorative furniture, panelling and boat-building. Specialty pulps and articles of paper and paperboard accounted for 77 percent of the value of total forest products imports in the year ended June 1998. Imports of forest products for the year ended June 1998 were valued at $880 million ($830 million in 1997).

Table 19.8. Volume of timber imports, 1994–98

 HardwoodsSoftwoodsTotalLogs and poles

P =

Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

Year ended 30 Junecubic metres (000)
1997 P1021323
1998 P1119323

19.3 Fisheries

Fishery resources

New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is one of the largest in the world at 1.3 million square nautical miles. This is an area 15 times New Zealand's land mass. The waters are relatively deep with less than one-third shallower than 1,000 metres-the depth where most fishing takes place.

The waters are not particularly productive but support over 1,000 species of marine fish, about 100 of which are commercially significant. The fisheries are mostly small resources ranging from subtropical species in the north, warm temperate species on the shelves around the main islands, to large resources of a few cool water species on the extensive plateau to the south-east and east of the country.

Recreational fishing

For information on recreational fishing visit the website of Fishing and Hunting New Zealand.

Fisheries management

The fisheries within New Zealand's EEZ are a “common property” resource, and the government's role is to ensure they are managed sustainably within their environment. This means managing the state of fisheries and their environment and ensuring fisheries are not overfished.

The main method used to manage fisheries is a system based on controlling the levels of catch, known as the Quota Management System (QMS). Under this system, catch limits are set for each fish stock. The catch limits, known as Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and Total Allowable Commercial Catches (TACCs) are reviewed periodically.

Rights to harvest fish for sale are acquired by purchasing or leasing quota. There are 41 fish species or species groups currently managed under the Quota Management System (QMS), consisting of 543 different fish stocks.

In addition to the QMS, there are various regulatory controls used to manage aspects of commercial and recreational fishing. These include method and gear restrictions, closed areas, recreational daily bag limits, minimum fish sizes and closed seasons. There are also specific regulations setting up a process for customary Māori fishing.

New Zealand control

Since the advent of the Quota Management System, control of New Zealand's fisheries resources has been firmly held by New Zealanders and New Zealand companies.

For a number of years there has been limited foreign fishing involvement in New Zealand waters and this is limited to the tuna fisheries. The charter (foreign) fleet dominates the high volume deepwater fisheries (such as hoki and southern blue whiting) and the seasonal squid fishery. However, even in these fisheries, New Zealand domestic vessels have increased their share of the catch. This is due to the significant investment by the seafood industry in new vessels. New Zealand vessels now take 63 percent of the total catch.

Ministry of Fisheries: Te Tautiaki i ngā tini a Tangaroa

The Ministry of Fisheries was established on 1 July 1995, and currently provides the following services:

  • policy advice on sustainable utilisation

  • standards and specifications for all fisheries services

  • purchase of contestable services (including research)

  • management and co-ordination of the TAC/TACC setting process

  • monitoring and audit of service delivery

  • delivery of non-contestable services including enforcement and dispute resolution

  • fisheries administration services including the management of the quota registry.

Māori fisheries

The Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992 established the basis for regulations which would provide for non-commercial customary Māori fishing. After an extensive consultation process the regulations were passed in two sections - the South Island regulations in April 1998 and the Kaimoana regulations in February 1999 (applying to the North Island and Chatham Islands). User guides have been developed.

The regulations provide for managers, notified by iwi, to be appointed for an area. They authorise the taking of fish for customary purposes in a designated area. They are also responsible for issuing authorisations and the conditions that may be placed on them. New compliance and management positions have been established within the Ministry of Fisheries to support tangata whenua and to ensure the regulations are functioning.

Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission: Te Ohu Kai Moana

Te Ohu Kai Moana (TOKM), the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, was set up in 1992 to replace the Māori Fisheries Commission, which held fisheries assets returned to Māori by the Crown, and arranged for their eventual distribution. In late 1992 an historic Deed of Settlement was signed in which the Crown agreed to fund Māori in a 50/50 joint venture with Brierley Investments Ltd to bid for Sealord Products Ltd-New Zealand's biggest fishing company. In return, Māori agreed that all their current and future claims in respect of commercial fishing rights were fully satisfied and discharged.

The $175 million paid for a half share of Sealord gave Māori control of roughly a third by volume of the New Zealand fishing quota. In addition the Deed of Settlement promised Māori 20 percent of quota for new species added to the quota management system.

TOKM's role. By law, TOKM is charged with helping Māori to get into and develop “the business and activity of fishing”. Its responsibilities include:

  • The development of a method of allocating assets to iwi, according to the provisions of the Settlement Act and the Deed of Settlement.

  • Organising annual lease rounds (to make quota available to iwi through a leasing process) until an allocation scheme is in place. Providing leases to iwi at a rate calculated below true market rates-underlining the objective of encouraging Māori into the business and activity of fishing.

  • Ensuring the widest possible iwi representation in the legislative process, particularly in relation to amendments to the Fisheries Act, Customary Fisheries regulations and eventually the new Māori Fisheries Act.

  • Implementation of a training and development strategy, through a charitable trust set up for that purpose, aimed at ensuring Māori have the skills to match their fisheries assets.


Greenshell mussels, salmon and Pacific oysters continue to be the mainstay of New Zealand's aquaculture industry. In 1997 greenshell mussels and salmon exports totalled $ NZ 84.5 million and $ NZ 31.5 million respectively. The main markets are Australia, Japan and the USA.

Production tonnages and the range of species farmed have substantially increased in recent times. Paua are being cultured for pearls as well as flesh production, and several freshwater k5ura (crayfish) farms have been established.

The aquaculture industry is involved in research to extend the range of species and technologies involved. This includes consideration of turbot and brill, oysters, sponges for chemical production, kingfish and rock lobster as well as further enhancement prospects for several species such as paua and snapper.

19.4 Seafood trade


New Zealand seafood exports have been affected by prolonged price weakness in international markets and strengthening of the New Zealand dollar. The Asian financial crisis which began in mid-1997 has affected seafood exports to the region, particularly to Korea and Japan. Most New Zealand exporters have had to work through significant forward exchange contracts taken out when the New Zealand dollar was still trading at high values.

Table 19.9. Value of fisheries exports to principal markets, 1995–97

Year ended December199519961997
Source: New Zealand Seafood Industry Council
CountryValue ($ million)
United States252.1213.5195.5
Total fisheries exports1238.01179.21125.4

Table 19.1. Seafood exports, 1995–97

Year ended December199519961997
Source: New Zealand Seafood Industry Council
Commodity exportedQuantity tonnes (000)Value ($ million)Quantity tonnes (000)Value ($ million)Quantity tonnes (000)Value ($ million)
Finfish or wetfish212.9791.1238.7762.0261.6746.1
Rock lobster3.0113.83.1114.52.9111.2

Changes to industry organisation

The industry imposition by government of full cost recovery of fisheries management and related research costs has stimulated reorganisation of commercial stakeholder interests away from national industry associations into a wide variety of new bodies. These focus on the management and research needs of individual and related fisheries. The new organisations have generally been established as companies with constitutions structured to represent the interests of quota owners and other commercial interests.

New Zealand Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC)

During 1997 the New Zealand Fishing Industry Board (NZFIB),which oversaw orderly, profitable industry development, entered into an agency contract to contract out most of its operations to a newly formed industry-owned company, The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Ltd (SeaFIC). The financing of operations remains as the statutory levy collected by the NZFIB on all fish caught and processed by the New Zealand industry. The agency contract is for a fixed term until the end of the NZFIB's 1999/2000 financial year, by which time it is anticipated that SeaFIC will be financially independent.

SeaFIC has combined most of the operations of the NZFIB, the Fishing Industry Association and the Federation of Commercial Fishermen. SeaFIC's focus is on issues of a generic concern, such as refinement of fisheries law and regulation, further development of property rights in capture fisheries and aquaculture, fisheries science and research, trade policy and trade development, and information services to industry. The Seafood Industry Training Organisation operates as a business unit of SeaFIC. details.html

The current situation

In 1997, 63 percent of the total catch was taken by domestic New Zealand-owned vessels. This is a significant increase compared to previous years. Investment in specialised trawlers is resulting in declining use of chartered vessels in mid-water and deep-water fishing. An increasing proportion of the catch is being processed either in factory vessels at sea or landed to shore-based processing operations. The extent of further processing and the product forms selected are dependent on international market returns.


Surveyed employment in the seafood industry rose by 6.5 percent in 1997 to a record level of 10,590 full-time equivalent jobs. Over the last five years, employment in the industry has risen by 18.9 percent or 1,682 jobs. Jobs in the processing sector rose by 51.3 percent, or 2,080 jobs as a direct result of the increasing proportion of catch. The increase in processing jobs has offset an 8.9 percent decline in jobs in catching and farming. The decline has arisen from work efficiencies in the catch sector and economies of scale in the aquaculture sector. The industry employs significant numbers of seasonal workers unaccounted for in the above figures.

Further information

New Zealand Seafood Industry:

The downloadable file is in Microsoft Excel 97 format and contains graph data for this chapter.

Chapter 20. Energy and minerals

20.1 Energy

Energy contributes about 3 percent to New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and directly employs about 9,000 people, or slightly over 0.5 percent of the workforce.

Energy use

New Zealand's total primary energy supply (the amount of energy available for use in New Zealand for energy transformation and end-use) for the year ended September 1998 was 683.71 petajoules (PJ).

New Zealand is self-sufficient in all energy forms apart from oil.

Total energy consumption was 420.95 PJ for the year ended September 1998. (The difference between total energy supply and total energy consumption is accounted for by energy transformation losses and non-energy use). New Zealand's consumer energy (energy used by final consumers) is dominated by oil, comprising 204.27 PJ per year (48 percent), with electricity 112.40 PJ (27 percent), coal 31.84 PJ (8 percent), gas 31.39 PJ (8 percent), and renewables such as geothermal, wastes and wood making up the remainder.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of the chapter.

Energy policy

All sectors of the energy market have been substantially deregulated.

Areas where government interventions are still in place include: natural monopolies (e.g. electricity and gas transmission and distribution lines), environmental impacts, and barriers to energy efficiency uptake.

Environmental impacts

The Resource Management Act 1991 regulates the local impacts of energy production and use.

Debate continues about how best to deal with global impacts like carbon dioxide emissions. Considerable attention focuses on “polluter pays” approaches. New Zealand is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol undertaking to reduce emission of greenhouse gases during 2008–2012 to levels prevailing in 1990.

Energy research and development

Through the Public Good Science Fund energy research and development funding is to increase by 61 percent to $7.8 million, and work in the energy efficiency and non-traditional renewables areas will be emphasised. In 1997–98, $6.67 million was allocated.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority:

Energy Management Association of New Zealand:

Future energy scenarios

Residential sector consumer energy is projected to grow at around 1.7 percent per year between 1995 and 2020, the industrial and commercial sector by 0.8 percent, and the transport sector by around 2.0 percent per year. Over the same period electricity consumption is projected to grow each year by around 1.8 percent, the consumer energy of coal by 0.9 percent, oil by 2.0 percent, and gas to decline by an average of around 0.5 percent.

Electricity generation is projected to change significantly with the hydro system share expected to decline from 74 percent in 1995 to around 55 percent in 2020, and gas's share from around 14 percent to around 7 percent in 2020. Electricity generated from coal will grow from around 2 percent in 1995 to around 17 percent in 2020.

Carbon dioxide emissions are projected to increase by about 1.8 percent per year, with transport and electricity generation contributing most of the growth.

20.2 Electricity

New Zealand's major generator, Electricity Corporation of New Zealand, has recently been split into two state-owned enterprises causing a competitive wholesale electricity market to be established.

Fuel share

Around 75 percent of New Zealand's electricity demand is met by renewable resources, mainly hydro (about 67 percent in 1997) and geothermal (5 percent). Over two-thirds of hydro electricity is generated in the South Island, and all geothermal electricity is generated in the North Island. The balance is met by natural gas (22 percent), coal, wind and landfill gas.

The largest electricity-using sector is industry (aluminium smelter, iron and steel works, and several pulp and paper mills and large dairy factories) which accounted for 45 percent in 1997, followed by the household sector (35 percent) and commercial applications (20 percent). Annual per capita end use is 31 GJ (8700 kWh).

Table 20.2. International comparison of electricity prices, 1997

Source: Ministry of Commerce
CountryCost per kWh (NZ cents)
United Kingdom9.719.1
New Zealand6.211.7
Prices relate to the 4th quarter of 1997 or are the latest available.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of the chapter.

Contact Energy:

New Zealand Energy Statistics - Statistical release

20.3 Oil

Oil, which includes condensate, crude oil and oil products accounted for 230 PJ (33 percent) of primary energy and 202 PJ (47 percent) of consumer energy in 1997. The consumer energy of oil includes synthetic petrol produced from natural gas.


New Zealand's estimated remaining crude oil and condensate reserves comprise the Maui field (containing 66 percent of reserves at December 1997) and the Kapuni, Kupe and McKee fields.


New Zealand's production of crude oil and condensate was 110 PJ in 1997, all from the Taranaki region. The average daily production of crude oil and condensate is 0.3 PJ (about 53,000 barrels or 8,500,000 litres). About one-third of local production is used for refinery feedstock, and about two-thirds is exported.


New Zealand's only oil refinery is located at Marsden Point, near Whangarei. It produces petrol, diesel, aviation kerosene, fuel oils and bitumen.

Imports and exports

New Zealand imports crude oil and refined petroleum. It exports about two-thirds of local crude oil and condensate production.

Table 20.4. Crude oil and condensate, production and trade, 1994–97

 Crude oil and condensate (Gross PJ)
YearNew Zealand productionImportsRefinery intakeExports
Source: Ministry of Commerce


New Zealand was 53 percent self-sufficient in oil for the year ended 1998.

End use

Domestic transport dominates the consumer energy use of petroleum products, with 170 PJ (or 84 percent) of oil consumption used for transport, 71 percent of this for road transport. Annual per capita end use of petroleum products is 54 GJ (about nine barrels or 1,430 litres).

Unleaded petrol

The supply of leaded petrol was banned by the government for health and environment reasons from 1 October 1996. New Zealand has followed an international trend to a lead-free petrol market.

20.4 Gas


New Zealand's major gas resource is the Maui offshore field. Gas reserves are estimated to last until about 2014, with the Maui field possibly running out around 2006.


Natural gas production in the year ended March 1998 was 201 PJ per year. It is mainly produced in the Taranaki region and is only distributed in the North Island.


About a third of New Zealand's gas is used in the production of chemical methanol and petrochemicals. Crude methanol is produced from natural gas and either distilled into high (“AA”) grade methanol or made into synthetic petrol.

Other end use

Forty-three percent of New Zealand's gas is used for electricity generation, and 21 percent is reticulated to the commercial and residential sectors. Annual per capita end use of gas is 11 GJ (290 cubic metres).

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

CNG is supplied through a network of North Island service stations for the automotive market. The gas industry also produces liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is transported by sea and rail throughout New Zealand.

20.5 Coal


New Zealand's total in-ground coal resources are estimated to be about 15 billion tonnes, of which 8.6 billion tonnes is judged to be economically recoverable.


Coal production for the year ended December 1997 was about 88 PJ, or 3.4 million tonnes, mainly sub-bituminous. Of the 45 mines operating (down from 53 in 1995) 29 were opencast and 16 underground, responsible for about 78 percent and 22 percent of total coal production respectively. Only five mines produced over 200,000 tonnes of coal, and 18 operations had an output of less than 10,000 tonnes.


The markets for premium grade New Zealand coal in the year to March 1998 were (by energy content), Japan (29 percent), India (28 percent), Chile (15 percent), China (8 percent), Belgium and Australia (7 percent).

End use

For the year to March 1998 the main end users of coal in New Zealand were electricity generation (including co generation) 40 percent, iron and steel 26 percent, other industry (mainly cement, lime and plaster, meat, dairy products, forestry and timber products) 24 percent, commercial 8 percent and residential 2 percent. Annual per capita end use is about 10 GJ (390 kg).

Government interests

The government's interest in coal operations trade is Solid Energy, which produces about two-thirds of New Zealand's coal from 11 mines and has major export contracts to Japan, India and China. It also supplies about 48 percent of the local market.

20.6 Renewables

Renewables such as hydro power, wood and wind contributed 207 PJ or 29 percent to New Zealand's total primary energy supply in 1997. Hydro and geothermal contributed more than half of this energy supply. Total biomass (wood and wood products) and animal products provided the next largest renewable contributions. “Wastes” and biogas and wind provided small contributions.

Electricity generation

About 72 percent of New Zealand's electricity is generated by renewable energy resources, predominantly from hydro (65 percent), and geothermal (7 percent).

Direct use

Apart from electricity, 41 PJ per year or 10 percent of consumer energy is provided by the direct use of renewables, dominated by wood (28 PJ). Direct geothermal use for heating contributed 13 PJ, and wastes and biogas provided 0.5 PJ.

Other “non-traditional” renewable sources, such as biomass, micro hydro, wind and solar at present make a very small contribution to overall supply, although they have the potential to make a greater contribution in the future.

Landfill gas

Landfill gas is already used to produce electricity in small scale plants in Auckland and the Hutt Valley.


Wind generation from better sites at 6 to 8 cents per kWh is the non-traditional renewable resource nearest to being commercially competitive. New Zealand's first commercial wind farm, in the southern Wairarapa, began generating electricity in June 1996. A wind farm in the Tararua ranges is expected to begin operating in mid-1999.

Solar energy

Solar energy for water heating is currently priced at 13 to 16 cents per kWh, and photovoltaic electricity generation at 30 to 60 cents per kWh.

New Zealand Production Statistics - Statistical release

20.7 Energy efficiency

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) helps New Zealanders use energy wisely.

EECA's current mix of activities focus on:

  • Energy-Wise Business-providing companies with tailored information services.

  • Energy-Wise Home-for the installation of household energy efficiency measures.

  • Energy-Wise Information-through “Energy-Wise News”, the EECA website, email newsletters, technical publications and seminars.

  • Energy-Wise Government-for national and local government organisations.

20.8 Minerals

New Zealand contains a wide variety of minerals reflecting its diverse geology and dynamic tectonic history. While New Zealand is best known for its gold production (about 12 tonnes last year) there is also production of silver, ironsand, coal, aggregate, limestone, clay, dolomite, pumice, salt, serpentinite, zeolite and bentonite. In addition, there are resources or potential for deposits of titanium (ilmenite beachsands), platinum, sulphur, phosphate, silica and mercury.

Mineral legislation

Minerals and coal in New Zealand can either be Crown or privately owned. All gold, silver, uranium and petroleum is owned by the Crown. The ownership of other minerals can be identified by Land Information New Zealand. Legislation controlling mineral production includes the Crown Minerals Act 1991 and the Resource Management Act 1991.



Gold is present as lode gold in quartz veins, as disseminated gold, finely dispersed through host rocks, and as alluvial gold in river gravels. In 1997 New Zealand produced 12 tonnes of gold from alluvial and hardrock sources. Alluvial gold mining occurs dominantly on the West Coast of the South Island and in Otago and Southland.


For data used in this graph click the Excel icon at the end of the chapter.


Historically, the Coromandel area had produced most of the silver mined in New Zealand. Production in recent years has been from the Martha Hill and Golden Cross mines.


New Zealand has a large resource of iron ore in the black sands of the west coast beaches between Greymouth and Westport in the South Island and from Wanganui to Muriwai in the North Island. Deposits of ironsand are currently mined at Waikato North Head and Taharoa by BHP New Zealand Steel.

Ilmenite and other heavy mineral sands

Ilmenite is a source of titanium dioxide which is used as an opacifier and a pigment in paint, paper, plastics, cloth and rubber and forms the basis of UV protection creams. Ilmenite black sands are present along the west coastline of the South Island. The largest known ilmenite resource is at Barrytown in Westland, where 50 million tonnes of potentially mineble sand has been defined.

Platinum group metals

An area of Southland which has produced platinum previously is being explored for platinum group metals.

Other metallic minerals

There are small deposits of manganese minerals in many localities. Some areas of Northland, Coromandel, Nelson and Westland have potential for base metals (copper, lead, and zinc) but there is currently little prospecting. Iron ore, stibnite (antimony), orpiment (arsenic), chromite, monazite, nickel and rutile have been mined in the past. Tin is known from Stewart Island. Bauxite is present in Northland where reserves of 20 million tonnes have been identified. Molybdenite occurs widely throughout north-west Nelson but awaits full assessment. Cinnabar, the principal ore of mercury, was historically produced in limited quantities from sinter deposits in Northland.

Non-metallic minerals


Aggregates are the product of a variety of rocks, gravels and sands used in road works and construction. Suitable rock for aggregate productio