New Zealand Official Yearbook 1993

Te Pukapuka Houanga Whaimana o Aotearoa


Philippa Blair, Life Tree, 1983.
Acrylic on canvas, 181 × 154 cm.
Collection of Citibank, Private Bank, New York.

Philippa Blair's “Life Tree” (half open).

New Zealand Official Yearbook
Cat. no. 01.001
ISSN 0078-0170

Recommended retail price: $59.95 (incl. GST)

Published by the Department of Statistics.

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The Department of Statistics has an information desk at every office. In answer to a letter, visit, or telephone call, information officers can provide statistical information, or tell you more about the department's other services, including access to statistics on the INFOS computer database.

Suffrage logo

The purple and gold ribbons of the women's suffrage logo incorporate a number of ‘significant messages’.

The flowing ribbons express freedom, and the winning of the vote for women; while the shape implies the strength of advancement. The direction of the ribbons represent the past, the present, and a dynamic move into the future.

The two ribbons are intertwined but also flow independently, representing the linking of cultures as they work together in harmony towards a common goal. These interweaving lines also reflect the importance of communication and networking to women, and recognise that while women are independent they are also part of the whole—the whanau.

Purple and gold were selected as they are internatioanlly recognised suffrage colours. The gold is derived from the sunflower, and signifies enlightenment. The purple, white and gold combination symbolises loyalty, purity and hope.

It was felt that the ribbon theme was particularly appropriate as the white ribbon is an enduring symbol of the New Zealand Women's Christian Temperance Union which fought so strongly for women's suffrage more than a century ago.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


This edition of the New Zealand Official Yearbook commemorates 100 years of women's suffrage.

The point of observing this centenary is to remind us that women's suffrage was the first step on a journey that we have yet to complete. This journey is the attainment of truly equal opportunity for New Zealand women and men; in the terminology of the last decade, a level playing field.

For many years, the events leading up to the changes of 1893 were almost forgotten. So were the people who led or resisted those changes. But starting about 20 years ago, those names began to be heard again — Kate Sheppard, Sir John Hall, Lavinia Kelsey, Learmonth Dalrymple, Helen Nichol, Amey Daldy and Alfred Saunders. A little research also reveals the antiquity of the arguments against equal opportunity, as expounded by suffrage opponents like Henry Fish, Richard Seddon and Thomas Bracken.

The lasting effect of the 1993 celebration of 100 years of women's suffrage in New Zealand should be the continuing assessment of our country by ourselves — our future will be shaped by our present understanding of the past. What is that understanding? What 1893 preconceptions about the roles of men and women turned out to be true? What views were mere sentimental nonsense? What do the results of the 1893 reform teach the New Zealanders of 100 years later.

Together with many special events scheduled for the coming year, the 1993 New Zealand Official Yearbook documents the way our lives and our country have changed. This knowledge can only improve our understanding of the present and then help us guide ourselves into our next century.

Governor-General of New Zealand

The New Zealand coat of arms

New Zealand has had its own coat of arms since 1911. Prior to that the United Kingdom coat of arms (featuring a lion and a unicorn on either side of a shield and crown) was used. This design still adorns the top of the pediment on the Old Government Buildings in Wellington, which were built in 1875 to house the colony's public service.

One of the few specific changes to flow on from the granting of dominion status in 1907, was the right for New Zealand to have its own coat of arms. The design was approved by royal warrant on 26 August 1911. It appeared in the 1912 Yearbook in colour, along with a written description in full heraldic jargon. The coat of arms also appeared in the 1990 sesqui-centennial edition of the Yearbook.

The coat of arms was revised in 1956. This time in the wake of further constitutional changes which saw the country become the ‘Realm of New Zealand’ instead of ‘Dominion’. Accordingly, the British lion holding aloft the Union Jack was replaced by St Edward's Crown, which had been worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation.

At that same time the dress of the figures at the side of the shield was revamped, some Victorian-looking scroll work at the base of the design was replaced by two ferns, and the motto ‘onward’ was replaced by ‘New Zealand’. The new coat of arms appeared in full colour at the beginning of the 1963 and subsequent Yearbooks, and is reproduced below.


Table of Contents

1893 was an eventful year in the history of New Zealand. Two events occurred which are reflected in this 1993 edition of the New Zealand Official Yearbook—women gained the right to vote, signalling the start of a century when the status of women would become an issue of significance to New Zealanders, and the first New Zealand Official Yearbook was published. The legal, institutional and demographic changes of the ensuing century have been documented in annals of the Yearbook.

The Yearbook itself, as public record, reflects changes current to New Zealand society. Its origins can be traced back to 1875 with Julius Vogel's Official Handbook of New Zealand. This Handbook was very much a prospectus for intending settlers and investors, promoting lucrative possibilities amongst lush descriptions of New Zealand's landscape and lifestyle.

In 1893 the first New Zealand Official Yearbook appeared. With statistics, special articles and detailed descriptions of the districts, it offered the first statement on ourselves as a nation. From this foundation the Yearbook has developed to be an effective and enviable source of public information.

The Yearbooks' style and content have changed often since that first edition, with the latest change in concept occurring only in the last two editions. The intention is to provide an historical volume every fifth year, with annual reviews in the interim. This programme enables the Yearbook, as a series, to provide up-to-date analyses of contemporary information and issues and also to supply a chart of New Zealand's course in the historical perspective.

This very special edition celebrates the centennial of women's suffrage, and in it we are presenting over 90 profiles of New Zealand women, both historical and contemporary. The women selected for inclusion in the Yearbook reflect those who have been successful in their chosen fields, have attained national prominence or have brought about significant changes through their work in both community and national affairs. The monitoring of success is a very subjective task; there are many more women who merit inclusion in the Yearbook, but to have covered them all would have been impossible.

With each passing Yearbook the number of contributors involved in the preparation of material for both the text and special articles grows. The department gratefully appreciates the time and effort of the people who have given of their time, and the goodwill extended in supplying the information. Finally, I would like to express my thanks to the editor, Jane Evans, the department's graphic design and other editorial staff and GP Print for the production of this 1993 Yearbook.

Government Statistician

March 1993.


The 1993 Yearbook was produced by the Publications and Media Services Division of the Department of Statistics, with the assistance of many individuals and organisations—these are listed in the ‘Contributors’ section at the end of each chapter, but the department wishes to record its thanks here.

Manager: Kevin Eddy.

Editor: Jane Evans.
With assistance from: Vivien Pullar; Deborah Willett.
Editorial assistant: Patrick Hudson.
Maps and diagrams: Peter McGrath.
Photograph editor: Athol McCredie.
Proofreading: Jane Hunt; Myra Page; Carla Linnell.


Individual photographs are credited separately, usually at the bottom right-hand corner. ‘ATL’ denotes the Alexander Turnbull Library as the source of the photograph; wherever known the name of the individual collection is also included (e.g., ATL, Auckland Star refers to the Auckland Star Collection within the Alexander Turnbull Library).

The editors record their thanks to the many individuals and institutions who made photographs available.


A number of sources have been consulted in the preparation of the special articles for the 1993 Yearbook. The texts most frequently used are listed below.

Book Of New Zealand Women, The, eds Macdonald, Penfold and Williams, Bridget William's Books Limited, 1991.

Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, An, ed McLintock, Government Print, 1966.

New Zealand Book of Events, The, ed Fraser, Reed Methuen Limited, 1986.

New Zealand Encyclopedia, ed McLauchlan, 3rd edition, David Bateman Limited, 1992.

New Zealand Famous Firsts and Related Records, Allan Sutherland, Universal Printers, 1961.

Who's Who In New Zealand, ed Lambert, 12th edition, Reed Books, 1991.

How to use the 1993 Yearbook

As a new reader of the New Zealand Official Yearbook you may be surprised at the range of information within its pages. But, like any other reference work, the Yearbook is only as effective as its information is accessible. The following notes are therefore included to familiarise you with the book.

What is the Yearbook?

As noted the aims and functions of the New Zealand Official Yearbook have changed with the times. Today, its editors publish with two main purposes in mind. Firstly, it is a compendium of facts and figures on New Zealand. Secondly, it is an annual describing major changes in New Zealand's administrative framework for the year preceding publication.

The Yearbook does not usually contain the latest or most detailed statistics on particular topics, but it does tell its readers where the latest or more detailed figures or information are available.

Finding your way

There are two likely ways you will look for information.

If your question is general, for example ‘How is New Zealand governed?’, then you will probably refer firstly to the table of contents (beginning overleaf), which lists not only chapter headings but major sections within chapters. In approaching the book this way it is worth bearing in mind that the 26 chapters follow a ‘logical’ progression. The first few chapters describe the physical setting as well as New Zealand's system of government and international relations. A description of its people comes next, followed by social framework and institutions. Chapters 1221 describe New Zealand's work-force and industries, while the final chapters of the book discuss the nation in broad economic terms.

Throughout the book cross references are made, usually by reference to numbered sections within chapters (which appear at the head of each right-hand page).

If, on the other hand, your question is more specific, for example ‘How many people drown while boating each year?’, then the book is thoroughly indexed, and a brief note on the system used can be found at the beginning of the index.

Deadline for statistics

Because the Yearbook covers such a broad range of subjects, few of its statistics are being published for the first time. Many statistics from government departments and other organisations have been published late in the year preceding publication. For this edition the figures published are the latest available at 1 December 1992.


If the source of a particular table is other than the Department of Statistics, then it is noted at the base of the table. Tables are usually for the year ended 31 March, or for the calendar year. Most tables indicate the months in which the years end, and where a single year is indicated and no month is mentioned the figures can be assumed to be for the calendar year. Where two years are given together, e.g., 1989–90, and no month is mentioned, it can be assumed the figures are for the year ended 31 March.

The following symbols are used in all the tables:

xrevised figure or figures
nil or zero
..figures not available
 not yet available—space left blank
not applicable
--amount too small to be expressed
n.e.c.not elsewhere classified
n.e.s.not elsewhere specified

Figures are often rounded-off to the nearest thousand or some convenient unit. Sometimes this rounding results in tables with totals which disagree slightly with the total of the individual items shown.

Statistics from Censuses of Population and Dwellings have been subject to a process of random rounding, whereby all cell values, including row and column totals, have been rounded. Individual figures will therefore not necessarily add up to the stated totals. Weights and measures, and a glossary of statistical terms used, are given at the back of the book.

Chapter 1. Geography

Albatross chick tests its wings before leaving Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross Colony, Dunedin.

1.1 Physical features

New Zealand lies in the south-west Pacific Ocean and consists of two main, and a number of smaller islands, whose combined area of 270 500 square kilometres 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 kilometres wide. They lie on an axis running from north-east to south-west, except for the low-lying Northland peninsula. The administrative boundaries of New Zealand extend from 33° to 53° south latitude, and from 162° east to 173° west longitude. In addition to the main and nearby islands, New Zealand also includes the following small inhabited outlying islands: the Chatham Islands, 850 kilometres east of Christchurch; Raoul Island in the Kermadec Group, 930 kilometres north-east of the Bay of Islands; and Campbell Island, 590 kilometres south of Stewart Island. New Zealand also has jurisdiction over the territories of Tokelau and the Ross Dependency, which are described in chapter 3.


Land areaSize

* These figures were current at 1 December 1989. These areas may be adjusted as more precise boundary definitions are made.

† Includes islands in territorial local authorities.

‡ Excluding islands in territorial local authorities.

Source: Department of Survey and Land Information.

 sq. km.
North Island115 777
South Island151 215
Offshore islands833
Stewart Island1 746
Chatham Islands963
           Total270 534

New Zealand is more than 1600 kilometres long and 450 kilometres wide at its widest part, and has a long coastline for its area. The coast is very indented in places, providing many natural harbours. The country is also very mountainous, with less than a quarter of the land less than 200 metres above sea level. In the North Island the main ranges run generally north-east to south-west, parallel to the coast, from East Cape to Cook Strait, with further ranges and four volcanic peaks to the north-west. The South Island is much more mountainous than the North Island. A massive mountain chain, the Southern Alps, runs almost the length of the island. There are many outlying ranges to the Southern Alps in the north, and the south-west of the South Island. There are at least 223 named peaks higher than 2300 metres. There are also 360 glaciers in the Southern Alps. The largest are, on the east, the Tasman (length 29 kilometres), Murchison (17 kilometres), Mueller (13 kilometres), Godley (13 kilometres) and the Hooker (11 kilometres), and, on the west, the Fox (15 kilometres) and the Franz Josef (13 kilometres).


Mountain or peakElevation

* Since 1986 both the Maori and European names of this mountain have had official recognition.

† Peaks over 3000 metres.

Source: Department of Survey and Land Information.

North Island—
      Ruapehu2 797
      Taranaki or Egmont*2 518
      Ngauruhoe2 290
      Tongariro1 968
South Island
Southern Alps
      Cook3 754
      Tasman3 497
      Dampier3 440
      Silberhorn3 279
      Lendenfeldt3 201
      Hicks (St David's Dome)3 183
      Torres3 163
      Teichelmann3 160
      Sefton3 157
      Malte Brun3 155
      Haast3 138
      Elie de Beaumont3 117
      Douglas3 085
      La Perouse3 079
      Heidinger3 066
      Minarets3 055
      Aspiring3 030
      Glacier Peak3 007

New Zealand's rivers are mainly swift and difficult to navigate. They are important as sources of hydro-electric power and artifical lakes have been created as part of major hydro-electric schemes.



* Over 150 kilometres in length from the mouth to the farthest point in the river system irrespective of name, including estimated courses through lakes.

Source: Department of Survey and Land Information.

North Island—
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean
Flowing into the Tasman Sea
South Island—
Flowing into Cook Strait
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean
Flowing into Foveaux Strait
Flowing into the Tasman Sea



* Over 20 square kilometres in area.

Source: Department of Survey and Land Information.

 sq. km
North Island—
South Island—
      Te Anau344
      Benmore (artificial)75
      Aviemore (artificial)29
      Mahinerangi (artificial)21

1.2 Geology

New Zealand is in an area of the world characterised by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. The ‘ring of fire’, as this area is known, forms a belt that surrounds the Pacific Ocean and is the surface expression of a series of boundaries between the plates that make up the earth's crust.

The boundary between the Indo-Australian plate and the Pacific plate runs through New Zealand, and the processes from their collisions have had a profound effect on New Zealand's size, shape and geology.

Rock formations, Wairarapa coast

Rock types

The oldest rocks in New Zealand are found in Nelson, Westland and Fiordland. They have been dated back to the Paleozoic era about 570 million years ago.

Almost three-quarters of New Zealand is covered by sedimentary rocks, created by the interplay of the earth movement and erosion. The most common forms of sedimentary rocks in New Zealand are sandstone, mudstone, greywacke, conglomerate and limestone. As well as the sedimentary rocks of various ages, New Zealand incorporates in its complex structure metamorphic rocks (schist, gneiss and marble), and intrusive igneous rocks (granite, gabbro, diorite and serpentine). Volcanic rocks (basalt, andesite, rhyolite and ignimbrite), are the products of the many volcanic eruptions that have characterised New Zealand's geological history.


Apparent in the New Zealand landscape today is the evidence of episodes of intense mountain building of between six million and one million years ago. During this period the mountain chains were pushed up and there was movement and displacement of the earth's crust along faults. Due to this activity well-preserved tilted fault blocks bounded by fault scarps (steep faces hundreds or even thousands of metres high) are visible in the landscape of some regions. Fault movements continue to the present day and have accompanied several major earthquakes of the past century.

Erosion has transformed the landscape during this time, carving detailed patterns of peaks, ridges, valleys and gorges. The deposition of debris has built up alluvial plains, shingle fans and other construction forms. At the coast, waves have eaten back the headlands and built beaches, spits and bars. Glaciers carved the fiords of Fiordland and the valleys occupied by most of the South Island lakes. Sea-level changes accompanied the formation, and later melting, of global glacial ice. These changes affected the erosion and deposition of the rivers and were responsible for the formation of many prominent river terraces.

Volcanic activity over the past few million years has played an important part in shaping the landscape. The largest volcanic outpourings of late geological times were in the region between Tongariro National Park and the Bay of Plenty coast. The most recognisable volancoes in New Zealand now occur in the North Island, where a number are still active. They include Ruapehu, Tongariro, Ngaurahoe, White Island and Mount Tarawera. Others such as Mount Taranaki (or Egmont), and Rangitoto may be considered dormant at present although they are still regarded as significant hazards.


Compared with some other countries lying in the almost continuous belt of earthquake activity around the rim of the Pacific—such as Japan, Chile and the Philippines—the level of seismic activity in New Zealand is moderate, although earthquakes are common. A shock of Richter magnitude 6 or above occurs on average about once a year, a shock of magnitude 7 or above once in 10 years, and a shock of about magnitude 8 perhaps once a century.

Within New Zealand at least two separate systems of seismic activity can be distinguished. The Main Seismic Region covers the whole of the North Island except Northland peninsula, and the part of the South Island north of a line roughly passing between Banks Peninsula and Cape Foulwind. The Southern, or Fiordland, Seismic Region includes southern Westland, western Southland, and western Otago. Less clearly defined activity covers the remainder of the two main islands, and extends eastwards from Banks Peninsula to include the Chatham Islands.

Shallow earthquakes, which are the most numerous, originate within the Earth's crust, which in New Zealand has an average thickness of some 35 kilometres. These shocks are responsible for almost all damage to property, and are widely scattered throughout the country.

The most important system of deep shocks in New Zealand lies in a well-defined zone beneath the Main Seismic region, stretching from the Bay of Plenty to Nelson and Marlborough. The maximum depth of occurrence is about 400 kilometres at the northern end, and decreases evenly to a depth of about 200 kilometres before the southern boundary of the region is reached.

In geophysically disturbed regions (those with both volcanic and earthquake activity), large earthquakes are rare, although small earthquakes usually accompany volcanic eruptions. Regions of active volcanism are also subject to periodic outbreaks of small earthquakes, very numerous and all of similar magnitude. These are known as ‘earthquake swarms’ and although the number of shocks may cause alarm, it is unusual for even minor damage to result.

Earthquakes 1992. The pattern of earthquakes in New Zealand during 1992 was a little unusual, in that the latter half of the year was very quiet. There were 13 shocks of magnitude 5.0 or greater during the year: only four of these were in the July-December period, and the largest was only 5.4. In contrast, the nine shocks in the first half of the year included one of magnitude 6.4 and four others of 5.5 or greater.

The largest earthquake of the year occurred on 28 May, and was centred 30 km southwest of Blenheim. Its magnitude was 6.4, larger than those in March 1987 near Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty (6.1) and in May 1990 near Dannevirke (6.2). However, the effects were not as severe as either of these, because the focal depth was 84 km. Deep events like this, being further from the earth's surface, cause less motion there. It was felt from Huntly in the north to Dunedin in the south, most strongly in Nelson and Blenheim where many shops had goods thrown from shelves and there were some instances of minor damage. In Wellington it caused a swaying motion which persisted for a long time, especially in tall buildings where the movement was noticeable for a minute or more. While this motion is disconcerting to those experiencing it, the tall slender buildings are behaving as they were designed to do, swaying and flexing instead of sustaining damage.

On 2 March there was an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 in southern Hawke's Bay, between Weber and Porangahau, then another on 1 August, of magnitude 5.2 and centred between Weber and Pahiatua. They were felt strongly in Hawke's Bay and as far afield as Wanganui and Wellington. These shocks appear to be part of a continuing series which began with two in 1990, in February and May, which caused damage in Dannevirke and the nearby area. The series has continued since then, but mostly at a low level with only the occasional shock being felt. This series is somewhat unusual in its length, especially as the 1992 events were two years after the main shock. The Seismological Observatory is continuing surveillance of the area with its permanent network of seismographs.

Other shallow earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 and greater occurred near White Island on 26 March (5.4), and 22 June (5.6, 5.1), all felt strongly in Tauranga; near Arthur's Pass on 30 March (5.5); and near Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast on 17 May (5.3). All were felt sharply nearby, but not severely.

Deep earthquakes exceeding magnitude 5.0 occurred near Te Kuiti at a depth of 233 km on 15 January (5.1), 30 km south-west of Hawera at 122 km on 18 February (5.5), 296 km deep below Tauranga on 10 August (5.1), 167 km below Rotorua on 29 September (5.2), just west of National Park on 12 December at a depth of 167 km (5.4) and 276 km deep beneath Tauranga on December 27 (6.0). These earthquakes were all felt as slight jolts and vibrations, with no damage reported and none expected because of the focal depths.

The concentration of earthquakes in the first half of the year is interesting. There is little or no regularity in the way earthquakes occur, and while long term average rates have been established, the variation about these averages is quite substantial. This means that no particular significance can be attached to the quiet period we have been experiencing. It is true that periods of quiescence have been observed before large earthquakes, but this phenomenon is not well understood and it is the judgment of Seismological Observatory research staff that this current quiet period is simply an illustration of the sporadic nature of earthquakes.

Magnitudes 4.0 and greater

Storm, Moa Point, Wellington.

Weather 1992

1992 was a very significant year for weather in New Zealand. It was very cold, with south-westerlies for much of the year. Easterlies prevailed from September. These, together with more frequent low pressure systems east of the North Island, produced especially cloudy weather over much of the North Island and northern South Island.

The national average temperature of 11.7°C (0.8°C below average) was the lowest since 1945. This was particularly noticeable after the 1984–1990 period which was very warm. Temperatures were 1.5°C below those of 1990 and 0.7°C below those of 1991.

The weather was cooler due to the El Niño weather pattern (which was present during the first part of 1992) and the effects of the ash from the Mt Pinatubo volcanic eruption (still present) back in June 1991. There were also more south-easterly airstreams over New Zealand, which always bring cooler conditions. Very cold winter weather in inland South Island areas had temperatures as low as −15°C measured at Ranfurly in Central Otago on 19 June. The highest temperature of the year was 34°C at Alexandra on 11 March.

Figure 1.2. WEATHER
Sunshine hours (annual average to 1990)

A blanket of snow covering farm machinery at Pukehiki Church, Dunedin.

Winter snowstorms. Snow occurred in Otago and Canterbury on 9–11 May, then heavy snowfalls occurred in Otago and Southland for much of the week from 16 June which gave record low day and night time temperatures. More heavy snow occurred in Canterbury and inland Marlborough from 8–11 July. Later, very cold south-easterlies brought the most severe snowstorms since 1939 along the east coast of the South Island from 27–29 August.

Floods. Severe flooding occurred in Northland, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa from 21–23 July. Waitohora, Wairarapa measured rainfall totalling 195 mm for the 48–hour period to 9 am on 23 July, with numerous slips and road closures throughout the region.

The southern oscillation and El Niño

When the air pressure is abnormally high in the Indonesian region, it is correspondingly low in the South Pacific and vice versa. This phenomenon is called the ‘southern oscillation’. When southern oscillation episodes occur, the usual weather patterns in the southern Pacific, including New Zealand, are significantly altered.

An index, called the southern oscillation index, has been constructed using pressure recordings from Tahiti and Darwin. Usually there is a lag of some months between a major excursion of the oscillation, either positive (La Niña) or negative (El Niño), and a characteristic weather regime developing. The period of the southern oscillation is very irregular, varying between about two and 10 years with an average period of three to four years. However, once established, significant El Niño and La Nina episodes can persist for six to 12 months.

In general, very negative values of the oscillation index (El Niño's) are associated with an increase in the frequency of southerly winds over New Zealand in winter, and southwesterly winds during spring and summer.

The most significant El Niño this century occurred over the spring and summer of 1982–1983, when the oscillation index reached its largest negative value this century and rainfall was well below average in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay.

The latest El Niño event (autumn 1991 through winter 1992) contributed to very low rainfall along the West Coast and inland South Canterbury (from May through July 1991 and again from April through June 1992).

1.4 Vegetation and wildlife

Uniqueness is a feature of the natural life of New Zealand. Most notable is the absence—apart from two species of bat—of native land mammals. Many flightless birds and insects have evolved. The most remarkable birds were some 12 species of moa, forest and shrub browsers that took the place of large herbivores in other parts of the world. Moa became extinct in pre-European times, but other flightless birds remain, including kiwi, kakapo (a nocturnal parrot—the largest in the world), and weka (a scavenging rail). Flightless insects are numerous, including many large beetles and cricket-like weta.

The absence of mammals also meant that birds became important as seed-dispersing agents. As a result most forest plants bear small berries, including the giant conifers (podo-carps), the smaller canopy trees, and even some forest-floor herbs. Some alpine plants produce berries, dispersed by the New Zealand pipit and the kea (mountain parrot).

As a consequence of the great physical and climatic upheavals which New Zealand has undergone the forest has been influenced by extinction. Coconut palms once occurred in New Zealand, and fossil remains of kauri, now limited to the northern North Island, have been found south to Canterbury. Some tropical plant groups are represented by a single species, surviving only on protected islands, or in the far north.

Although many New Zealand plants and animals occupy very specialised habitats, droughts, high winds, floods, and erosion mean that many species need to be highly adaptable. Accordingly, many insects, such as native bees, gather food from a wide variety of sources, and some forest species, like beech, regenerate best after the parent forest has been destroyed (by volcanic eruption for example).

However, the overwhelming character of the land-based wildlife is its dependence on forest, and its vulnerability to introduced predators such as rats. The forests and natural grasslands have also been severely modified by introduced browsers such as possums, deer and goats, and some introduced plants, like marram grass, have taken over the places where native species would normally grow.

A vast proportion of the native animals and plant species are found only in New Zealand. Virtually all native insects, spiders and snails, and all native earthworms are restricted to New Zealand, as are most native birds and plants, most local freshwater fish (27 species), and all native reptiles (38 species).

The new species of giant weta discovered by a Victoria University search party in the Southern Alps in 1992. The new weta is quite different from the seven recognised species of giant weta; it is plain brown in colour, with big spiny rear legs and a wide shield behind the head. It grows up to 7 centimetres in length and 12 grams in weight.


GroupNumber of speciesPercentage endemic*

* Native species not found anywhere else.

† Estimated.

Source: Department of Conservation.

Marine algae (seaweeds)390043
Ferns and allies2016341
Flowering plants1 7001 81384
Spiders/harvestmen602 50090
Insects1 1009 46090
Freshwater fish232785

Introduced vegetation and wildlife. The New Zealand landscape is now dominated by introduced animals and plants. Over 1500 exotic plants grow wild, some (like rye-grass, browntop, gorse and sweet briar), over large areas. Although introduced plants have seldom colonised extensive areas of native vegetation, wild animals (deer, pigs, goats, possums, stoats and rats) are widespread, and some introduced birds, such as blackbirds, occur everywhere. Urban vegetation is largely exotic and domestic stock dominate agricultural areas through the lowlands.

Introduced plants and animals have greatly increased the diversity of species in New Zealand. However, their increase has been associated with a decrease in the area dominated by native species. Today a large number of native species are very rare and seldom seen. In recent years the urgency for measures to ensure the survival of endangered species has become a world-wide concern.

1.5 Time zone

One uniform time is kept throughout mainland New Zealand. This is the time 12 hours ahead of Co-ordinated Universal Time, and is named New Zealand Standard Time (N.Z.S.T.). It is an atomic standard, and is maintained by the New Zealand Time Service of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). One hour of daylight saving, named New Zealand Daylight Time, which is 13 hours ahead of Co-ordinated Universal Time, is observed from 2 a.m. (N.Z.S.T.) on the first Sunday in October, until 2 a.m. (N.Z.S.T.) on the third Sunday in March. Time kept in the Chatham Islands is 45 minutes ahead of that kept in New Zealand.


  • 1.1 Department of Survey and Land Information.

  • 1.2 Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

  • 1.3 National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited

  • 1.4 Department of Conservation.

  • 1.5 Department of Internal Affairs.

Special articles

Rae Julian (Lucy Moore), Pip Lynch (Jill Tremain), The Book of New Zealand Women, eds Macdonald, Penfold and Williams, Bridget Williams Books Limited, 1991.

Further information


New Zealand Atlas. Ward, I., ed. Government Printer, 1976.

The New Zealand Map Collection. Department of Survey and Land Information.


Gage, M. Legends in the Rocks—An Outline of New Zealand Geology. Whitcoulls, 1980.

Lillie, A. R. Strata and Structure in New Zealand. Tohunga Press, 1980.

Riddolls, P. M. New Zealand Geology—Containing Geological Maps of New Zealand 1: 2000000. DSIR, Science Information Publishing Centre, 1987.

Searle, E. J. City of Volcanoes. 2nd edition. Longman Paul, 1981.

Smith, I. E. M., ed. Late Cenozoic Volcanism in New Zealand. Bulletin 23, Royal Society of New Zealand, 1986.

Soons, J.; Selby, M., eds. Landforms of New Zealand. Longman Paul, 1982.

Speden, I. G.; Keyes, I. W. Illustrations of New Zealand Fossils. DSIR Information Series 150, 1981.

Stevens, G. R. Lands in Collision: Discovering New Zealand's Past Geography. DSIR Information Series 161, 1985.

Stevens, G. R. New Zealand Adrift: The Theory of Continental Drift in a New Zealand Setting. A. H. and A. W. Reed, 1980.

Stevens, G. R. Rugged Landscape. A. H. and A. W. Reed, 1974.

Suggate, R. P.; Stevens, G. R.; Te Punga, M. T., eds. The Geology of New Zealand. 2 vols. Government Printer, 1978.

Thornton, J. Field Guide to New Zealand Geology. Reed Methuen, 1985.

Williams, G. J. Economic Geology of New Zealand. AusIMM Monograph Series 4, 1974.


An Encyclopedia of New Zealand. McLintock, A. H., ed. Government Printer, 1966.

Johnson, K. F. Bibliography of New Zealand Meteorological Service Publications 1892–1985. New Zealand Meteorological Service, 1986.

New Zealand Atlas. Ward, I., ed. Government Printer, 1976.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Environmental Data Division) publishes monthly summaries of:

Climate Observations and Rainfall Observations. NIWAR also produces regional climatologies (Misc. Pub. 115), maps and holds other publications.

Vegetation and wildlife

Enting, B.; Molloy, L. The Ancient Islands. Port Nicholson Press, 1982.

Kuschel, G., ed. Bio-geography and Ecology in New Zealand. W. Junk, 1975.

Salmon, J. J. The Native Trees of New Zealand. Reed Methuen, 1980.

Stevens, G. R. Lands in Collision: Discovering New Zealand's Past Geography. DSIR, 1985.

Chapter 2. Government

A meeting between the Minister of State-owned Enterprises and the chairmen of the SOEs.

2.1 Constitution

New Zealand's constitutional history can be traced back to 1840 when by the Treaty of Waitangi the Maori people exchanged their sovereignty for the guarantees of the treaty and New Zealand became a British colony. New Zealand is an independent state; a monarchy with a parliamentary government. Queen Elizabeth II has the title Queen of New Zealand.

A constitution is concerned with the establishment and composition of the legislative, executive, and judicial organs of government, their powers and duties, and the relationship between these organs. 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. The Act deals with the principal components of New Zealand's statutory constitutional provisions: the Sovereign, the Executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

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.

These Acts are listed and defined in the Imperial Laws' Application Act 1988.

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 majority party in Parliament to form a government. Almost all the powers of the Governor-General are now statutory.

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.


Vice-regal representative*Assumed officeRetired

* Honours are specified only if held on retirement from office.

Viscount Cobham, G.C.M.G., T.D.5 Sep 195713 Sep 1962
Brigadier Sir Bernard Fergusson, G.C.M.G, G.C.V.O., D.S.O., O.B.E.9 Nov 196220 Oct 1967
Sir Arthur Espie Porritt, Bt. G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., C.B.E.1 Dec 19677 Sep 1972
Sir (Edward) Denis Blundell, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.D., K.B.E., Q.S.O.27 Sep 19725 Oct 1977
Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, K.G., G.C.M.G., C.H., Q.S.O.26 Oct 197727 Oct 1980
Hon. Sir David Stuart Beattie, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., Q.S.O., Q.C.6 Nov 198010 Nov 1985
His Excellency The Most Reverend Sir Paul Alfred Reeves, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O.20 Nov 198529 Nov 1990
Her Excellency Dame Catherine Tizard, G.C.M.G., D.B.E.13 Dec 1990 

Parliamentary tradition

A feature of New Zealand's constitution is that, although it is a monarchy in form, it operates democratically because of a long political tradition of parliamentary government and a network of constitutional principles. The Government cannot act effectively without Parliament, because it cannot raise or spend money without parliamentary approval, and for most categories of expenditure this approval takes the form of an annual vote of funds to the Government. Parliament therefore has to be assembled regularly and has the opportunity to hold the Government to account. Under the two-party system, however, the Government effectively controls proceedings in Parliament and cases of Government members voting with the Opposition are uncommon.

Recent constitutional reform

The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. This Act protects certain fundamental rights and freedoms in New Zealand. These rights include freedom of religion, speech and assembly and the right to protection against discrimination as well as fundamental principles of criminal procedure such as the right of access to lawyers and the right to a fair trial.

The rights and freedoms in the Act are not absolute and may be subject to justified limitations. But the Act provides that any limitations must be reasonable, prescribed by law, and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Unlike some similar documents in other countries the Act is not supreme law. Rather, it is an ordinary statute which can be amended or repealed by simple majority in Parliament. Nor do the Courts have the power to strike down legislation on the basis that is inconsistent with the rights set out in the Act.

However, this does not mean that the Act is a mere statement of rights. The Attorney-General is charged under the Act with the responsibility of alerting Parliament when any provision in a bill before Parliament is inconsistent with those rights. And where the interpretation of a statutory provision is ambiguous, the Courts are required to interpret the provision in a manner consistent with the rights and freedoms in the Act. The Act came into force on 25 September 1990.

Electoral reform. The Electoral Referendum Act 1991 provided for an indicative referendum on electoral reform. The referendum was divided into two parts. The first part asked voters to choose between electoral reform or maintaining of the present first past the post system. The second part of the ballot asked voters to indicate which of four options for electoral reform they preferred: supplementary member, single transferable vote, mixed member proportional and preferential voting.

The referendum was held on 19 September 1992. Of the 1 217 284 people who voted (roughly 55 percent of the electorate) 1 031 257 or 84.7 percent, voted for change. A clear preference was shown for mixed member proportional representation which received 70.5 percent of the votes for change. The single transferable vote system got 17.4 percent of the votes, the preferential voting system 6.6 percent and the supplementary member system 5.6 percent of the votes. A second referendum will be held in conjunction with the 1993 general election where voters will choose between the present first past the post system and mixed member proportional representation.

Chief electoral officer pointing out the final vote of 70.3 percent for the mixed member proportional voting system on the screen after the electoral referendum.

Privacy of information. In August 1991, the Government introduced the Privacy of Information bill. The bill is currently being studied by a select committee of Parliament. Its purpose is to promote and protect individual privacy in general accordance with the 1980 OECD guidelines on the protection of Privacy and Transborder flows of Personal Data.

The bill provides that requests by natural persons for information about themselves are to be dealt with in accordance with the new Act rather than the Official Information Act when the relevant sections of the new Act come into force. These sections which are modelled on Part IV of the Official Information Act extend entitlements to access to personal information to information held by private sector agencies. The right of review by the Ombudsmen in respect of refusal of personal information requests is to be replaced by a complaints procedure involving the new office of the Privacy Commissioner. If settlement of the complaint cannot be secured by the Commissioner proceedings may be taken to the Equal Opportunities Tribunal, renamed the Human Rights Tribunal. The Official Information Act is amended accordingly in the bill.

The Privacy Commissioner Act 1991 established a privacy commissioner with the functions of overseeing compliance by the government agencies involved in the matching of government information with the statutory controls; and of performing a general watchdog role in relation to privacy. The Privacy Commissioner has no jurisdiction to deal with complaints by individuals that the statutory controls have been breached. The controls consist of requirements such as notice to the affected individual before action can be taken on the basis of a successful match, observation of time limits on the commencement of action after a successful match, and the establishment of technical standards for the conduct of matching programmes. The information that may be matched with the beneficiary records of the Department of Social Welfare and the Accident Compensation Corporation covers information relating to prison inmates, people arriving in and departing from New Zealand, illegal immigrants, taxpayers, recipients of student allowances and records of births, deaths and marriages.

2.2 Parliament and the Cabinet

House of Representatives

At the heart of the parliamentary system lies the power to make laws that is vested by the Constitution Act 1986 in the Parliament of New Zealand, which consists of the Sovereign in right of New Zealand (normally represented by the Governor-General) and an elected House of Representatives.

The principal functions of Parliament are to enact laws, supervise the Government's administration, vote supply, provide a government, and redress grievances by way of petition.

The Constitution Act 1986 forbids the House to allocate public funds for any purpose unless first recommended by the Crown. Although the reasons for this provision are historical, it is also used by governments to defeat legislation brought forward by individual members which ministers are unwilling to support or adopt. On the other hand, the law forbids the Crown to tax citizens without express parliamentary approval.

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. Sessions of Parliament are marked by a formal opening when the Government's legislative programme is described in the Speech from the Throne, read by the Governor-General in the absence of the Sovereign, and a closing prorogation by proclamation.

Because control of the House's business lies with the Government, many of the rules and customs of the House are designed to ensure that members are given a full opportunity to debate any aspect of government proposals. A central figure in Parliament is the Speaker, who is elected to act as an impartial chairman when the House is in session. The Speaker controls debates and the conduct of members, and ensures the Standing Orders are complied with. The Speaker is assisted by the Clerk of the House of Representatives who notes all proceedings of the House and of any committee of the House, and provides advice on parliamentary law and custom.

New Zealand's first woman Cabinet minister, Mabel Howard.

Parliamentary opposition. As the name suggests, it is the job of the opposition party with the highest number of seats to oppose the Government. Its role is to present itself to the people as an alternative government. It will attack government policy and attempt to demonstrate inefficiency, and government or departmental mismanagement. The party system means it is unlikely that the Opposition could bring down a government by a no-confidence vote—there has been no instance of a successful no-confidence vote in the New Zealand Parliament since 1928.

The House of Representatives is characterised by having two large, dominant parties, with the majority party forming the Government and the minority party forming the Opposition. In recent years, however, members of a third party have been elected to Parliament, and from time to time members have left one of the parties and have continued to sit as independent members. Because of the growth of a largely two-party system and the importance that the parties have assumed within the political framework, 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.



* Social Credit/Democrats.

† New Labour.

‡ Reduced to 65 in 1991 when two members left and became New Zealand Liberal, increasing “Others” to three.

Source: Department of Justice.


Process of legislation. Proposed laws are placed before the House in the form of draft laws known as ‘bills’. There are three types of bill: public bills, which deal with the most important subjects of a public and general nature (most public bills are introduced by the Government); local bills, which are promoted by local authorities to give themselves special powers or validate unlawful action they may have taken; and private bills, which are promoted by private individuals or companies also to give themselves special powers.

The procedure for passing a public bill in the House of Representatives is for it to receive a first reading, which is a formal introductory stage, allowing a maximum debating time of two hours. Almost all bills are then sent to a select committee. Detailed scrutiny of legislation and facets of executive activity, e.g., expenditure of public money, is carried out by select committees which consist of a small number of members, and report their findings and recommendations to the House. Since 1980 all Government bills are referred to a select committee unless they are certified by the Speaker as ‘money bills’ (or are particularly urgent). This procedure enables the public and interested bodies to make submissions, in the expectation that better laws will result. Following its deliberations the select committee will report the bill back with any proposed amendments.

On the second reading the formal debate will occur on the principles of the bill. Following this the bill is considered by the whole House ‘in committee’, clause by clause. This may involve considerable debating time. The entire bill is considered in this way and formally reported back to the House for its third reading, with any amendments that have been agreed.

Debate may also take place on the bill's third reading, after which it is forwarded to the Governor-General for approval. On receiving the Royal assent the bill becomes an Act of Parliament and part of the law of New Zealand.

The various stages of the bill do not always follow any set time pattern. Weeks or even months can elapse between readings. Local and private bills pass through similar stages to those for a public bill, however, in these two types of bills the person or body promoting the bill must also advertise the bill before it can be introduced.

Sessions of Parliament. The first session of the 43rd New Zealand Parliament was called following the General Election of 27 October 1990 and sat from 28 November 1990 to 19 December 1990. The first session concluded when Parliament was prorogued on 18 January 1991, and a new session was called to discuss the outbreak of hostilities in the Gulf. New Zealand's first female Governor-General, Her Excellency Dame Catherine Tizard, delivered the speech from the Throne at the opening of the second session of the 43rd Parliament on 22 January 1991. The House had, on 19 December 1990, adjourned until 19 February 1991. As no power was then vested in the Speaker (or in anyone else) to appoint an earlier meeting time while the House stood and adjourned, the only way in which an accelerated meeting could be effected was by the Crown proroguing Parliament and summoning it to meet in a new session.

One hundred and twenty nine public Acts were passed during the second session of the 42nd Parliament and nine during the first session of the 43rd Parliament.


Parliament Period of session
Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Fortieth7 April 1982–17 December 1982
7 April 1983–16 December 1983
31 May 1984–14 June 1984
Forty-first15 August 1984–12 December 1985
26 February 1986–21 July 1987
Forty-second16 September 1987–12 December 1989
14 February 1990–6 September 1990
Forty-third29 November 1990–18 January 1991
22 January 1991–



* First session, Forty-second Parliament.

† Second session, Forty-second Parliament.

‡ First session, Forty-third Parliament.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Sitting days1845610
Public bills introduced by Government1804312
Public bills referred to select committees150339

Parliamentary Service. (Te Ratonga Whare Paremata.) The Parliamentary Service provides administrative and support services to the members of Parliament and the House of Representatives. The service is not a department of the executive government nor is it responsible to a minister. It is controlled by the Parliamentary Services Commission which consists of the Speaker of the House of Representatives as chairperson, and six members, three of whom are members of the Government and three from the Opposition.

Among the services provided by the Parliamentary Service are:

  • personal staff to assist members of Parliament in Parliament House and in the electorate;

  • the Parliamentary Library—to provide library, information and research facilities to members of Parliament;

  • catering services (Bellamys) for members, staff and guests;

  • security, messenger and other services needed for the day-to-day running of Parliament; and

  • personnel, finance and administrative services to members of Parliament and other agencies operating within Parliament House, including the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Parliamentary Counsel Office.

The Parliamentary Service is also responsible for managing the major project to strengthen and refurish Parliament House and the Parliamentary Library. The project began in August 1992 and will be completed, at an estimated cost of $164 million, in time for members to occupy the restored building for the 1996 parliamentary year.

Salaries and allowances of parliamentarians. These are set out in table 2.5 below. An electorate allowance is also paid at a rate dependent on the nature of each member's electorate, e.g., urban, rural, or semi-rural, and ranges from $7,600 to $18,600. A day allowance of $52 is payable where indicated for each day on which a member attends a sitting of Parliament or a committee, and a night allowance of up to $118 for each night a member requires overnight accommodation away from home by reason of such attendance. Instead of receiving night allowances for each night spent in Wellington on parliamentary business, a member may elect to receive a Wellington Accommodation Allowance to cover costs incurred in retaining or maintaining accommodation. The maximum amount that can be claimed in a period of six months is $12,400.


 Annual salary or allowance payable from 1 July 1990*

* Carried forward unchanged from 1 July 1991.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Members of the Executive
Prime Minister162,000
Deputy Prime Minister127,000
Minister of the Crown113,000
Minister of the Crown without portfolio91,500
Parliamentary under-secretary88,000
Officers of the House of Representatives
Chairman of Committees90,500
Deputy Chairman of Committees68,500
Leader and Deputy of the Opposition
Leader of the Opposition113,000
Deputy Leader of the Opposition88,000
Senior Government Whip78,000
Senior Opposition Whip78,000
Junior Government Whip73,500
Junior Opposition Whip73,500
Members of Parliament
Member of Parliament63,500
Prime Minister29,500
Deputy Prime Minister13,000
Minister of the Crown12,000
Minister of the Crown without portfolio9,500
Parliamentary under-secretary9,500
Minister of External Relations and Trade (additional)6,000
Speaker—basic expenses allowance12,000
      (additional allowance (plus day, travelling and house and garden maintenance allowances)8,500
Chairman of Committees—basic expenses allowance9,500
      (additional allowance (plus day and night allowances7,500
Deputy Chairman of Committee—basic expense allowances6,200
      (additional allowance (plus electorate, day and night allowances675
Leader of the Opposition—basic expenses allowances (plus house, house and grounds maintenance, day, night and travelling allowances)12,000
Deputy Leader of the Opposition—basic expenses allowances6,200
      (additional allowance (plus day and night allowances)4,800
Members—basic expenses allowances (plus electorate, day and night expenses6,200


Members of Parliament. Table 2.6 shows the percentage of women members of Parliament, and members of both sexes of various ages elected in the 1990 general election compared to the voting population.


 Percentage of total members of Parliament*Percentage of total voting-age population

* As at 1 November 1991.

† 1986 Census figures.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Age groups, both sexes—
      18–29 years3.128.4
      60 years and over3.121.1

Table 2.7 lists members of the House of Representatives at the end of August 1991. The final results of the 1990 general election were printed in the report The General Election (printed as Parl. paper E.9).

Elizabeth Reid McCombs, the first woman to win a seat in Parliament.


            Prime Minister—Rt. Hon. J. B. Bolger.
            Leader of the Opposition—Rt. Hon. Mike Moore.
            Speaker—Hon. Robin Gray.
            Chairman of Committees—R. J. Gerard.
            Clerk of the House—D. G. McGee.
Member of Parliament*Year of birthPrevious occupationElectoral district

* Names are given in the form in which individual members prefer to be addressed.

† Government member.

‡ Resigned 1 December 1991; died 5 August 1992.

§ Won Tamaki by-election 14 February 1992.

Resigned. Chris Laidlaw elected in by-election, 12 December 1992.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Anderson, Robert1,936FarmerKaimai
Anderton, Jim1,938Company directorSydenham
Armstrong, John1,935Company directorNew Plymouth
Austin, Hon. Margaret1,933TeacherYaldhurst
Banks, Hon. John1,946RestaurateurWhangarei
Birch, Rt. Hon. W. F.1,934Consultant surveyor-engineerMaramarua
Blincoe, John1,952Research officerNelson
Bolger, Rt. Hon. J. B.1,935FarmerKing Country
Bradford, Mr Max1,942Secretary-General and consultantTarawera
Braybrooke, Geoff1,935Sales managerNapier
Burdon, Hon. Philip1,939Company directorFendalton
Campion, Cameron1,943FarmerWanganui
Carter, John1,950Local government officerBay of Islands
Caygill, Hon. David1,948Barrister and solicitorSt Albans
Clark, Rt. Hon. Helen1,950LecturerMt Albert
Cliffe, Bruce1,946Managing directorNorth Shore
Cooper, Hon. Warren1,933MotelierOtago
Creech, Hon Wyatt1,946AccountantWairarapa
Cullen, Hon. Dr Michael1,945LecturerSt Kilda
Dalziel, Lianne1,960Trade unionistChristchurch Central
Davies, Sonja1,923Vice-president of Federation of LabourPencarrow
Dunne, Hon. Peter1,954Deputy chief executive officerOhariu
East, Hon. Paul1,946Barrister and solicitorRotorua
Elder, Jack1,949TeacherWest Auckland
English, Bill1,961FarmerWallace
Falloon, Hon. John1,942Farm management consultantPahiatua
Fletcher, Chris1,955Dairy farm managerEden
Gerard, Mr1,937FarmerRangiora
Graham, Hon. D. A. M.1,942Barrister and solicitorRemuera
Grant, Jeff1,958FarmerAwarua
Gray, Hon. Robin1,931FarmerClutha
Gregory, Dr Bruce1,937Doctor of medicineNorthern Maori
Gresham, Peter1,933AccountantWaitotara
Hancock, Hamish1,947LawyerHorowhenua
Hasler, Marie1,945Retail managerTitirangi
Hawkins, George1,946TeacherManurewa
Hilt, Peter1,942Company directorGlenfield
Hodgson, Peter1,950VeterinarianDunedin North
Hunt, Rt. Hon. Jonathan1,938TeacherNew Lynn
Kelly, Graham1,941Trade unionistPorirua
Kidd, Hon. Doug1,941Barrister and solicitorMarlborough
Kimber, Wayne1,949Surveyor/plannerGisborne
Kyd, Warren1,939Barrister and solicitorClevedon
Lange, Rt. Hon. David1,942Barrister and solicitorMangere
Laws, Michael1,957Public relations consultantHawke's Bay
Lee, Hon. Graeme1,935Company directorCoromandel
Luxton, Hon. John1,946FarmerMatamata
McCardle, Peter1,951Public servantHeretaunga
McClay, Hon. Roger1,945TeacherWaikaremoana
McCully, Hon. Murray1,953Public relations consultantEast Coast Bays
McIntosh, Ms Gail1,955AccountantLyttelton
MacIntyre, Hamish1,951DoctorManawatu
McKinnon, Rt. Hon. Don1,939Real estate agentAlbany
McLauchlan, Joy1,948Executive officerWestern Hutt
McTigue, Hon. Maurice1,940FarmerTimaru
Maharey, Steve1,953University lecturerPalmerston North
Marshall, Hon. Denis1,943Farmer and company directorRangitikei
Matthewson, Hon. Clive1,944Civil engineerDunedin West
Maxwell, Hon. R. F. H.1,941FarmerTaranaki
Meurant, Ross1,947Police inspectorHobson
Moir, Margaret1,941Company directorWest Coast
Moore, Rt. Hon. Mike1,949Freezing workerChristchurch North
Muldoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert, G.C.M.G., C.H.1,921AccountantTamaki
Munro, R. J. S.1,946Barrister and solicitorInvercargill
Myles, Gilbert1,945Company directorRoskill
Neeson, Brian1,945Real estate agentTe Atatu
Neill, Alec1,950Barrister and solicitorWaitaki
O'Regan, Hon. Katherine1,946FarmerWaipa
Peters, Ian1,941Real estate agentTongariro
Peters, Winston1,945Barrister and solicitorTauranga
Prebble, Hon. Richard1,948Barrister and solicitorAuckland Central
Reeves, Graeme1,947Barrister and solicitorMiramar
Revell, Ian1,948Police officerBirkenhead
Richardson, Hon. Ruth1,950Legal adviser/farmerSelwyn
Robertson, H. V. Ross1,949Industrial engineerPapatoetoe
Robertson, John1,951AccountantPapakura
Rogers, Mr Trevor1,943ImporterOtara
Ryall, Tony1,964AccountantEast Cape
Shipley, Hon. Jenny1,952FarmerAshburton
Simich, Clem1,939General managerTamaki§
Smith, Dr Lockwood1,948Managing directorKaipara
Smith, Nick1,964EngineerTasman
Sowry, Roger1,958Retail managerKapiti
Steel, Tony1,941TeacherHamilton East
Storey, Hon. Rob1,936President of Federated FarmersWaikato
Sutherland, Larry1,951Trade unionistAvon
Swain, Paul1,951Trade unionistEastern Hutt
Tapsell, Hon. Dr Peter M.B.E.1,930Doctor of medicineEastern Maori
Tennet, Elizabeth1,953Trade unionistIsland Bay
Thomas, Grant1,941Company directorHamilton West
Thorne, Grahame1,946Television producerOnehunga
Tirikatene-Sullivan, Hon. Mrs T. W. M.1,932Political scientistSouthern Maori
Tizard, Judith1,956Electorate secretaryPanmure
Upton, Hon. Simon1,958Student/teacherRaglan
Wetere, Hon. K. T.1,935FarmerWestern Maori
Whittaker, Jeff1,940PharmacistHastings
Wilde, Hon. Fran1,948JournalistWellington Central
Williamson, Hon. Maurice1,951Planning analystPakuranga

Executive government

The executive government of New Zealand is carried out on behalf of the Sovereign by the ministers of the Crown, who make up the members of the Cabinet and the Executive Council. Ministers are responsible to Parliament for their official actions by constitutional convention, and are required to be members of Parliament by the Constitution Act 1986.

After a general election the Governor-General invites the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives to accept office as Prime Minister, and form a government. On the new Prime Minister's advice the Governor-General appoints a number of members of Parliament as ministers, generally with responsibilities for various areas of government administration (portfolios). The Governor-General may also appoint parliamentary undersecretaries, who are not ministers and not members of the Executive Council, to assist ministers.

Cabinet and the Executive Council. The Cabinet and the Executive Council have separate functions. All members of Cabinet are members of the Executive Council, as are the ministers not in the Cabinet.

The Executive Council is a formal body with formal functions, whereas the Cabinet is an informal body with deliberative functions; the Executive Council tenders advice to the Governor-General on the basis of policy formulated in the Cabinet. The council is established under Clause VII of the Letters Patent and is the main legal vehicle for promulgating government decisions that will form part of the law, such as statutory regulations, which are made by Order-in-Council.

The Cabinet is in effect, the highest council of Government. It is the main vehicle by which the executive decides on major policy issues and legislative proposals, and it coordinates the work of ministers. The Cabinet has a system of committees which can examine subjects in detail and recommend specific policy measures to Cabinet.

The proceedings of the Cabinet are informal and confidential, and decisions are usually made by consensus. By constitutional convention the Cabinet accepts collective responsibility for its decisions, which ensures that ministers will have the support of the Government as a whole in Parliament for their legislative and other proposals. The Cabinet Office provides services for the Cabinet and its committees. The current Secretary of the Cabinet is also the Clerk of the Executive Council.

Table 2.8. PRIME MINISTERS 1960–1991

Prime Minister* Term(s) of office

* Honours are specified only if held on retirement from office.

Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, G.C.M.G., C.H.National12 Dec 1960–7 Feb 1972
Rt. Hon. John Ross Marshall (later Sir)National7 Feb 1972–8 Dec 1972
Rt. Hon. Norman Eric KirkLabour8 Dec 1972–d31 Aug 1974
Rt. Hon. Wallace Edward Rowling (later Sir)Labour6 Sep 1974–12 Dec 1975
Rt. Hon. Sir Robert David Muldoon, G.C.M.G., C.H.National12 Dec 1975–26 Jul 1984
Rt. Hon. David Russell LangeLabour26 Jul 1984–8 Aug 1989
Rt. Hon. Geoffrey Winston Russell Palmer (later Sir)Labour8 Aug 1989–4 Sep 1990
Rt. Hon. Michael Kenneth MooreLabour4 Sep 1990–2 Nov 1990
Rt. Hon. James Brendan BolgerNational2 Nov 1990–            

Sir Robert Muldoon.


Source: Cabinet Office.
Her Excellency Dame Catherine Tizard, G.C.M.G., D.B.E.
Official Secretary: Ken Richardson, Q.S.O.
Executive Council
Membership of the Executive Council comprises all ministers with the Governor-General presiding. The Clerk of the Executive Council is Marie Shroff.
The Cabinet
Rt. Hon. Jim Bolger, Prime Minister.
Rt. Hon. Don McKinnon, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of External Relations and Trade, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Pacific Island Affairs.
Rt. Hon. Bill Birch, Minister of Labour, Minister of State Services, Minister of Employment, Minister of Immigration.
Hon. Ruth Richardson, Minister of Finance.
Hon. Paul East, Attorney-General.
Hon. John Falloon, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Forestry.
Hon. Doug Kidd, Minister of Maori Affairs, Minister of Fisheries.
Hon. Phillip Burdon, Minister of Commerce.
Hon. Simon Upton, Minister of Health, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Minister of Crown Research Institutes.
Hon. John Banks, Minister of Police, Minister of Tourism, Minister of Recreation and Sport.
Hon. Jenny Shipley, Minister of Social Welfare, Minister of Women's Affairs.
Hon. Warren Cooper, Minister of Defence, Minister of Local Government.
Hon. Doug Graham, Minister of Justice, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Minister of Cultural Affairs.
Hon. Dr. Lockwood Smith, Minister of Education.
Hon. Maurice McTigue, Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Minister of Railways, Minister of Works and Development.
Hon. Rob Storey, Minister of Transport, Minister of Lands, Minister for the Environment.
Hon. Denis Marshall, Minister of Conservation.
Hon. John Luxton, Minister of Housing, Minister of Energy.
Hon Wyatt Creech, Minister of Revenue, Minister for Senior Citizens.
Hon. Maurice Williamson, Minister of Communications, Minister of Broadcasting, Minister of Statistics.
Ministers not in Cabinet
Hon. Katherine O'Regan, Minister of Consumer Affairs.
Hon. Roger McClay, Minister of Youth Affairs.
Hon. Graeme Lee, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Civil Defence.
Hon. Roger Maxwell, Minister of Business Development.
Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Customs.
Other responsibilities
Ministers with other vote or statutory responsibilities are indicated below. Statutory titles are shown in italics.
Rt. Hon. Jim Bolger, Minister in Charge of the New Zealand Security Service.
Hon. Bill Birch, Accident Compensation Corporation.
Hon. Ruth Richardson, Earthquake and War Damage Corporation, National Provident Fund.
Hon. Paul East, Serious Fraud Office, Leader of the House, Audit Department, Minister of Crown Health Enterprises.
Hon. John Falloon, Minister for Racing.
Hon. Phillip Burdon, Minister for Industry, Associate Minister of External Relations and Trade, Minister for Trade Negotiations.
Hon. Warren Cooper, Minister in Charge of War Pensions, Television New Zealand Ltd, Radio New Zealand Ltd.
Hon. Dr. Lockwood Smith, Education Review Office, National Library.
Hon. Maurice McTigue, Associate Minister of Finance, Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited, Coal Corporation of New Zealand Limited, Electricity Corporation of New Zealand Ltd, Forestry Corporation of New Zealand Limited, GCS Limited, Government Property Services Limited, Land Corporation Limited, New Zealand Post Limited, New Zealand Rail Limited, New Zealand Timberlands Limited, Timberlands Westcoast Limited, Works and Development Services Corporation (NZ) Limited.
Hon. Rob Storey, Minister of Survey and Land Information, Minister in Charge of Valuation Department.
Hon. Denis Marshall, Associate Minister of Agriculture, Associate Minister of Employment.
Hon. John Luxton, Associate Minister of Maori Affairs, Associate Minister of Education.
Hon. Wyatt Creech, Associate Minister of Finance, Associate Minister of Social Welfare, Government Superannuation Fund, Minister in Charge of the Public Trust Office.
Hon. Maurice Williamson, Associate Minister of Health, Associate Minister of Research, Science and Technology.
Hon. Katherine O'Regan, Associate Minister of Women's Affairs, Associate Minister of Health.
Hon. Roger McClay, Associate Minister of Education, Associate Minister of Social Welfare, Associate Minister of Pacific Affairs.
Hon. Roger Maxwell, Associate Minister of Employment, Associate Minister of Immigration.
Hon. Murray McCully, Associate Minister of Tourism.

Parliamentary elections

Persons 18 years and over have the right to vote in parliamentary elections. Enrolment as an elector is compulsory, but voting is not. To qualify for enrolment persons must (i) be at least 18 years old; (ii) be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents; (iii) have lived continuously in New Zealand for at least a year at some time; and (iv) have last lived continuously for one month in the electorate they are to be enrolled in. Maoris, including persons of Maori descent, may choose to enrol for either a Maori or general electorate, but may make the choice only at certain times. The electoral rolls are maintained by New Zealand Post.


Percentage of enrolled electors voting at general elections

Voting. The conduct of polls is the responsibility of the Department of Justice, and is controlled by a returning officer in each electorate, who arranges voting facilities and staff, conducts the election, supervises counting of votes, and declares the result. Generally only persons 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.

Table 2.1. VOTING PATTERNS: 1981–1990

YearElectors on Master RollValid votesInformal votesSpecial votes disallowedVotes cast to electors on Master Roll
Source: Department of Justice.
1,9812 034 7471 801 3038 99850 26391.44
1,9842 111 6511 929 2017 56542 03293.71
1,9872 114 6561 831 77711 18440 43389.06
1,9902 202 1571 824 09210 18042 84385.24

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. The candidate with the most votes is elected member of Parliament for the electorate concerned.

Electoral boundaries. The boundaries of electorates are revised every five years after the Census of Population and Dwellings, and the new boundaries come into effect at the expiry of the parliamentary term during which the revision is finalised. The Department of Statistics supplies figures for revision purposes on the general electoral population. This is defined as the total electoral population except: (a) the Maori electoral population. (This is the number of adult Maoris enrolled in the four Maori electorates, adjusted to include children. Maoris have been defined since 1980 as persons of the Maori race of New Zealand including any of their descendants.); and (b) some temporary residents of various kinds.


New Zealand's first female Deputy Prime Minister (Labour, 1989–90), Helen Clark.

The Representation Commission is responsible for defining the boundaries of electorates based on the population census. The commission has seven members. Four are officials, the Surveyor-General, the Government Statistician, the Chief Electoral Officer and the Chairman of the Local Government Commission (the latter cannot vote). Two members are nominated by the House of Representatives to represent the Government and Opposition respectively, and the final member is appointed to chair the commission on the nomination of the other members. The appointments of the unofficial members lapse at the next census.

In determining the boundaries of the Maori electoral districts, the commission's membership is supplemented by the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Maori Development and two nominations from the House of Representatives (one each from the Government and the Opposition) and appointed by the Governor-General. These additional members to the commission must be Maori.

The number of general electorates is based on a formula that allocates 25 electorates to the South Island. The general electoral population of the South Island is divided by 25, and the population quota for each South Island electorate is divided into the general electoral population of the North Island to give the number of electorates required in the North Island. In addition there is a fixed number of four Maori electorates.

Provisional boundaries are then settled, maps drawn up and the availability of boundary details announced in the New Zealand Gazette. Any objections and counter-objections to the provisional electoral boundaries are then considered by the Representation Commission, which makes a final decision on the boundaries that define the new electoral districts.



Political partyValid votesPercentage of total valid votes

* Includes adjustments consequent upon the Wairarapa Election Petition Judgment dated 12 July 1988.

† Excludes special votes disallowed.

Source: Department of Justice.

Democrats372 056147 162105 09130 45520.657.635.741.67
Green124 9156.85
Labour702 630829 154878 448640 91539.0142.9847.9635.14
Mana Motuhake8 3325 9899 78910 8690.460.310.530.6
National698 508692 494806 305872 35838.7835.8944.0247.82
New Labour94 1715.16
Others19 77718 01726 83850 4091.100.941.462.76
      Total valid votes1 801 3031 929 2011 831 7771 824 092100.00100.00100.00100.00
Informal votes8 9987 56511 18410 180............
      Total1 810 3011 936 7661 842 9611 834 272............


Political partySeats contested

* All those contesting one seat only.

Source: Department of Justice.

New Labour93
Social Credit68
McGillicudy Serious60
Christian Heritage18
Communist League10
New Zealand5
Mana Motuhake4
People's Party4
Blokes Liberation Front3
Legalise Marijuana2
N.Z. Representative2
      Total candidates677

General Licensing Poll. In 1990 the national triennial liquor licensing poll was abolished.

Term Poll. A term poll was held in conjunction with the 1990 General Election. The voting issue was the length of the parliamentary term. The two options offered were either a continuation of the three year term or an extension of the term to four years. The voting was approximately 70 percent in support of retaining a three year term.

Table 2.14. RESULTS OF TERM POLL 1990

Voting issue1990Percentage of vote
Source: Department of Justice.
For a 3 year parliamentary term1 258 01869.33
For a 4 year parliamentary term556 55930.67

New stamp issue from NZ Post celebrating the centenary of women's suffrage.

Royal commissions and commissions of inquiry

The Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908, provides that the Governor-General may, by Order-in-Council, appoint any person or persons to be a commission to inquire into and report upon any question arising out of, or concerning: (a) the administration of the Government; (b) the working of any existing law; (c) the necessity or expediency of any legislation; (d) the conduct of any officer in the service of the Crown; (e) 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; and (f) any other matter of public importance.

A royal commission is appointed by the Governor-General or by the Governor-General in Council or the Administrator of the Government, pursuant to the Letters Patent, but in other respects derives its powers from the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908. Royal commissions are generally regarded as having greater 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.

Amendments to the legislation in 1980 conferred new rights to appear and be heard at an inquiry upon any person if he or she is a party to the inquiry or satisfies the commission that he or she has an interest in the inquiry apart from any interest in common with the public. In addition, any person who satisfies the commission that any evidence may adversely affect his or her interests has a right to be given an opportunity to be heard in respect of the matter. Usually such terms of reference for a commission are quite specific. It does not confer the right on almost anyone to become a party or participant in the inquiry.

The Department of Internal Affairs administers the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908 and provides basic services to commissions. These inquiries are not part of the justice system, nor are they part of the conventional administrative bureaucracy. The department retains important constitutional responsibilities, and is held responsible to ensure that complete independence and impartiality of the investigations is maintained.

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.

2.3 State sector

The state sector is responsible for putting the policies of the Government into effect. It comprises government departments, crown-owned entities, and state-owned enterprises. The state sector is commonly distinguished from the public sector which is made up of public service departments covered by, and listed in, the First Schedule of the State Sector Act 1988.

At 30 June 1992 the number of staff employed in public service departments was 42 894—this compares with 58 038 at 30 June 1989. Much of the decrease in staff levels is due to agencies being converted from departments (as defined in the State Sector Act 1988) to other forms of state sector agency.

Government departments may, and often do, work with and through local authorities, statutory boards and government-sponsored organisations operating under various degrees of government control. A change of government does not necessarily affect the general functions of government departments, although a radical change in policy may be accompanied by organisational change. Departments are required to produce an annual report for parliamentary and public scrutiny.

State sector reform

Over the last seven years Government has reformed the machinery of government, across both the state sector and, in particular, departments and agencies. The management reforms contained in the State Sector Act 1988 and the Public Finance Act 1989 are now consolidating. The new emphasis on outputs, rather than on inputs, has focussed decision making on reaching the goals of the Government. The new financial reporting requirements provide much better information for those making decisions.

The process of state sector reform is continuing. The effectiveness of the reforms to date, in improving performance in the public sector, is the subject of a review completed by the State Services Commission in November 1991. The review produced recommendations, which are currently being actioned, in the areas of:

  • Information for Parliament.

  • The roles and responsibilities of the central agencies.

  • Senior Public Service management development.

  • The fine tuning of the financial management reforms.

The establishment of Crown Research Institutes in July 1992 saw the completion of structural reforms in the area of science and technology. The institutes have a strong commercial orientation towards the long term technological needs of industry.

The New Zealand Meteorological Service is the latest government department to have been turned into a state-owned enterprises. Structural reform continues to reflect the Government's policy of separating the funder from the provider. The Housing Corporation of New Zealand has recently been split into two organisations: the Ministry of Housing, which provides policy advice on housing issues; and Housing New Zealand which provides rental services. Structural reform is now focussed on the health sector and affects the Department of Health and Area Health Boards. Work is continuing on establishing, by July 1993, Regional Health Authorities and Crown Health Enterprises. Regional Health Authorities will be responsible for the purchase of health services for provider organisations. Crown Health Enterprises will supply health services. A Public Health Commission is being formed to monitor and analyse the state of public health in New Zealand and advise on public health goals and objectives.

Ratio of male to female staff

The ministry services the portfolios of Commerce, Communications, Consumer Affairs, Energy, Tourism, Industry and Business Development.

Conservation, Department of. (Te Papa Atawhai.) The department is responsible for the management of much of New Zealand's natural lands and water, as well as historic places and wildlife. In addition to managing national parks and reserves, forest farm and parks, the coastal marine area (in partnership with regional councils) and marine reserves, the department is also the Government's advocate in conservation issues. See chapter 14, Land and environment.

Crown Law Office. The Crown Law Office is the legal adviser to, and provides counsel in court for, the Government and ministers in matters affecting the Crown and government departments. The Solicitor-General, who heads the office, performs most of the statutory and ex-officio duties of the Attorney-General and is entrusted by statute with various specific rights, duties and functions. The range of the Crown Law Office's legal work corresponds with the activities of the Government itself.

Cultural Affairs, Ministry of. (Te Manatū Tikanga-ā-Iwi.) The aim of the ministry is to maximise understanding, appreciation, access and participation in New Zealand arts and culture both in New Zealand and overseas, and to promote the enhancement of New Zealand's cultural identity.

The ministry provides advice to Government and the Minister of Cultural Affairs on cultural matters and discharges services relating to the Cultural Affairs portfolio.

Customs Department. (Te Mana Arai O Aotearoa.) The department is charged with the administration of border control and some indirect taxation, and the tendering of advice to the Government on these and associated matters. The department performs a number of roles under the Customs Acts and other enabling legislation. These include: the administration of the tariff at the border; protecting New Zealand's borders by exercising the required control over the export and import of goods and international passengers in accord with the immigration, emigration, quarantine, and other statutory and government policy requirements (with particular attention to controlled drugs); and providing a service to commerce through the effective administration of customs procedures, and the facilitation of cargo movements. See section 22.1, Administration and development of trade.

Defence, Ministry of. (Te Manatū Kaupapa Waonga.) The Ministry of Defence is the Government's principal source of advice on defence policy. It also carries out audits and assessments on the performance of the defence organisations and manages procurement projects which entail a significant change to New Zealand's defence capability. In many matters the ministry works jointly with the New Zealand Defence Force.

Education, Ministry of. (Te Tahuhu o te Matauranga.) The ministry is responsible for providing policy advice to the Minister of Education on all aspects of education from early childhood to tertiary; overseeing the implementation of approved policies and ensuring the optimum use of resources devoted to education. See chapter 8, Education.

Education Review Office. (Te Tari Arotake Matauranga.) The general purpose of the Education Review Office is to provide regular, independent, high quality evaluative reports for the Minister; the governing authorities and managers of schools and early childhood centres; and all those with an interest in the performance of the education sector and the educational achievements of learners.

Environment, Ministry for the. (Te Manatū mō te Taiao.) The role of the Ministry for the Environment is to provide policy advice to the Government that promotes sustainable management of the environment; and to encourage sustainable management of the environment through the administration of environmental statutes, advocacy, education and advice.

The Environment Act 1986 defines environment as emcompassing ecosystems and their constitutent parts, all natural and physical resources (including buildings and man-made structures), and the social, economic, aesthetic and cultural conditions which affect the environment or which are affected by changes to the environment.

To carry out its role, the ministry gathers information and may conduct and commission research necessary for formulating advice to the Government. It also provides the Government, its agencies, and other public authorities, with advice on: the application, operation, and effectiveness of legislation relevant to achieving the objectives of the Environment Act; procedures for assessing and monitoring environmental impacts; pollution control and the management of pollutants; identification and likelihood of natural hazards, and the reduction of their effects; and the control of hazardous substances, during the management of their manufacture, storage, transport, and disposal.

As well, the ministry works towards the resolution of conflicts relating to policies and proposals which may affect the environment. It also provides and disseminates information on environmental policies.

Besides the Environment Act 1986, the ministry administers the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941, the Ozone Layer Protection Act 1990 and the Resource Management Act 1991, plus it also has responsibility for regulations made pursuant to the Resource Management Act. See section 14.2, Environmental and resource management.

External Relations and Trade, Ministry of. (Te Manatū Āhuatauga Tāwāhi, Tauhoko.) The Ministry of External Relations and Trade conducts the Government's business with foreign countries and their governments, and with international organisations.

It advises the Government on where New Zealand's advantage lies in relation to other countries. On behalf of the Government, it intervenes with other governments to promote New Zealand's interests.

It looks at New Zealand's relations with other countries as a whole. It draws together the various aspects of New Zealand's national interests including relevant domestic interests to achieve most benefit for New Zealand in relation to the Government's security, political, trade and economic objectives.

The ministry maintains posts overseas to transact official business and support the international operations and initiatives of the Government. In addition the ministry is responsible for management and support of New Zealand operations in the Antarctic through the New Zealand Antarctic Programme.

Forestry, Ministry of. (Te Manatū Ngāherehere.) The Government's forestry agency is responsible for facilitating the optimal contribution from forestry and forestry products for New Zealand's sustainable development and economic growth. This is achieved by providing information and advice to Government; communicating and managing the implementation of government policies; representing Government's interests in New Zealand and internationally; ensuring the Crown's obligations are met; and ensuring that authoritative information is available on the sector.

Government Superannuation Fund Department. (Te Pūtea Penihana Kāwanatanga.) The function of the department is to provide professional management of superannuation schemes constituted under the Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956.

Health, Department of. (Te Tari Ora.) The Department of Health is the Government's principal agent and adviser on health. The principal functions of the department are: (a) to provide the Minister of Health with analysis of health issues and expert advice on health problems; (b) to develop and promulgate health policy; (c) to administer health legislation, regulations and the public funding of health programmes; (d) to ensure the provision of essential health services; (e) to encourage positive interaction between the funders, providers and users of health services; (f) to fund programmes which promote health and prevent disease; (g) to collect and disseminate health information; (h) to monitor and review the outcome of health policies and programmes; and (i) to oversee the effective and efficient provision of health services to ensure that public funds are used appropriately and to best advantage to achieve the outcomes which the Government is seeking. See chapter 7, Health and safety.

Housing, Ministry of. The ministry's main functions are the provision of: high quality and timely policy advice on housing to the Government; and efficient and effective tenancy bond and dispute resolution services across New Zealand. See section 19.4, Reform of housing assistance.

Inland Revenue Department. (Te Tari Taake.) The main function of the Inland Revenue Department is to assess and collect various taxes and duties. The principal tax is income tax, which is collected in part by pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) deductions from salaries and wages, in part by the payment of provisional tax during the year of derivation of income, and in part by an end-of-year assessment. Of the other revenues collected the most significant are goods and services tax, stamp duty, estate and gift duties, fringe benefit tax, and totalisator duty. From 1992 the department collects Child Support and Gaming Duty payments. The department also collects accident compensation levies on behalf of the Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance Corporation. See section 25.2, Taxation.

Internal Affairs, Department of. (Te Tari Taiwhenua.) The mission of the department is to deliver excellent services relating to the nation's identity, heritage and administration of value to the Government and community. It provides services that: (a) protect and develop essential aspects of the nation's character, identity and heritage, including the public record and citizenship rights; (b) support the Crown and Government agencies, taking into account the provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi, and including the establishment and nurture of new agencies; (c) provide the link between central and local government; (d) help people to develop their communities; (e) safeguard the public interest in certain leisure activities; and (f) protect people against disaster, and promote fire and building safety.

Justice, Department of. The department has a wide variety of functions including: administration of courts; registration of land transactions, births, deaths and marriages; control of prisoners, people on community based sentences and parolees; law reform; commercial affairs (including administration of the Companies Act 1955); electoral work; and administrative work for the many authorities and tribunals. The tribunals, authorities, and committees serviced by the department help administer Acts, or advise the Government. The Department of Justice is responsible for the administration of about 160 Acts of Parliament.

Labour, Department of. The principal responsibilities of the Department of Labour are to promote full employment through the provision of an employment service; to ensure, through the work of its field staff, that workers are employed under safe and healthy working conditions; to assist and promote good industrial relations; and to administer immigration legislation. Among the most important legislation administered are the Employment Contracts Act 1991, the Factories and Commercial Premises Act 1981, the Construction Act 1959 and the Immigration Act 1987.

Maori Development, Ministry of. (Te Puni Kokiri.) The ministry began operation on 1 January 1992, taking over the residual functions of the Ministry of Maori Affairs and the Iwi Transition Agency (both of which were disestablished on 31 December 1991). This new specialist agency has a narrower focus than previous similar departments, with the main initiatives being the improvement of Maori education, health, employment and economic opportunities.

The broader functions of the ministry include: policy advice to Government on matters affecting Maori; brokerage services to Maori people and agencies, to maximise access to resources in social services and economic resource development; monitoring the performance of other government agencies in meeting Maori needs; and maintaining existing programmes pending their successful placement in mainstream departments or agencies by 30 June 1993.

There are four units within the ministry: the Education Commission, the Health Promotion Unit, the Training Unit and the Economic Resource Development Unit. See section 5.4, Maori society.

National Library of New Zealand. (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa.) The Library's functions are to: co-ordinate the New Zealand network of libraries and provide collections to ensure there is sufficient depth in the country's collections to satisfy users' needs and that information is accessible and available; compile and make available in New Zealand and overseas bibliographic records of all published New Zealand material; advise the minister on all issues relating to libraries and library development; and to be the principal New Zealand link in international and co-operative library development. See section 10.3, Books and libraries.

National Provident Fund. The National Provident Fund comprises 17 superannuation schemes and a Global Asset Trust through which the schemes' assets are managed. The superannuation schemes are provided to individuals, employees of private sector businesses, employees of local authorities, area health boards, and other governmental and quasi-governmental entities. See section 21.3, Insurance and superannuation.

Pacific Island Affairs, Ministry of. This small group advises the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, while providing administrative back-up and co-ordination of the above council and other programmes. The ministry establishes and maintains liaison with and between Pacific Island communities in New Zealand and government agencies; monitors, reports and promotes issues related to the communities; and is developing a resource base on Pacific Island matters. See section 5.5, Pacific Island Polynesian population.

Police, New Zealand. (Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa.) The mission of the police is to contribute to the provision of a safe and secure environment where people may go about their lawful business unhindered. The aim of the police is to establish and maintain a partnership between themselves and the communities they serve; maintain public safety, order and the rule of law; retain public confidence and satisfaction in the services they provide; minimise the incidence and effects of crime; and provide community support and protection during disasters and emergencies. The New Zealand Police is a state agency. See section 9.4, Police.

Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of the. The department provides policy advice to the Prime Minister; constitutional advice and secretarial services to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet; support services to the Governor-General; communications services; and management for the Vice-Regal residences. The department consists of: the Policy Advisory Group, the Cabinet Office, which includes the Honours Secretariat; the Domestic and External Security Secretariat; the Communications Unit; Government House; and the External Assessments Bureau, which provides intelligence assessments to the Government on developments overseas.

Following the 1991 Budget announcements on health reforms, Cabinet decided that the implementation units would be based in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. There are three units involved: the National Interim Provider Board which advises the government through the Minister for Crown Health Enterprises on the establishment of the new health provider organisations; the Health Reforms directorate which provides policy, regulatory, and implementation advice to the Government through the Minister of Health on the purchase of health services; and a Co-ordination and Communications Unit which involves communication and consultation with the health sector and the general public on health reform issues. The Prime Minister has delegated full management responsibility of the Health Reforms directorate and the Co-ordination and Communications Unit to the Minister of Health, and the National Interim Provider Board to the Minister of Crown Health Enterprises.

In December 1991, Cabinet agreed that the Special Committee on Nuclear Propulsion be established to review the safety, environmental, and other issues relating to nuclear-powered ships and their entry into New Zealand ports. The committee draws secretariat support from the department.

An important function of the department is to help co-ordinate the work of the Government across departmental lines, to test the quality of advice coming from departments and to act as an ‘honest broker’ where there are conflicts over policy advice being offered by different parts of the bureaucracy.

Public Trust Office, The. The Public Trust Office provides a wide range of services as trustee, executor, manager, and attorney. It also acts as sinking fund or depreciation fund commissioner for many local authorities when so appointed, and additionally holds other funds on their behalf. It is also required to provide a number of statutory services irrespective of whether these are income earning.

Research, Science and Technology, Ministry of. (Te Manatū Putaiao.) Established in October 1989, the ministry's primary role is to provide advice to government on the development of research, science and technology policy including science priorities and funding. It is also involved in the broad review of Crown-funded science, the establishment of an information base on science and technology, and the administration of international science agreements. See section 13.1 Organisation of science.

Scientific and Industrial Research, Department of. The DSIR and other government departments, which provide scientific research services, have been reshaped into 10 Crown Research Institutes. See section 13.2, Organisation of science.

Serious Fraud Office. The Serious Fraud Office, which became operational on 26 March 1990, is primarily an operational department whose role is to detect and investigate cases of serious or complex fraud and expeditiously prosecute offenders. Based in Auckland, the office is the only government department to have its Head Office outside Wellington. See section 21.2, Commercial framework.

Social Welfare, Department of. (Te Tari Toko i te Ora.) The principal functions of the Department of Social Welfare are (a) to administer Parts I and III of the Social Security Act 1964, the Social Welfare (Transitional Provisions) Act 1990, the Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act 1975, the Children and Young Persons and their Families Act 1989, the Social Security (Reciprocity with Australia) Act 1987, the Social Security (Reciprocity with the United Kingdom) Act 1983 and the War Pensions Act 1954; (b) to advice the Minister on the Development of Social Welfare Policies for New Zealand; (c) to provide such welfare services as the Government may from time to time require; (d) to maintain close liaison with and encourage 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; (e) to undertake and promote research into aspects of social welfare; (f) to provide such administrative services as the Minister may from time to time direct to such boards, councils, committees, and agencies as he or she may direct; (g) to receive and disburse maintenance payments and enforce maintenance orders and registered agreements under the Family Proceedings Act 1980, and (h) under the Civil Defence Welfare Plan, in time of disaster—to make relief payments authorised by government to the homeless, and—to make payments authorised by government for hosts for billeting evacuees from a disaster area.

State Services Commission, (Te Kōmihana o ngā Tari Kāwanatanga.) See ‘State Services Commissioner’ above.

Statistics, Department of. (Te Tari Tatau.) The main functions of the department are: (a) to provide a statistical service relevant to the needs of governmental and community users, covering economic, demographic, and social activity; (b) to advise the Minister of Statistics on statistical policy matters; (c) to define and promote standard concepts, procedures, definitions, and classifications for use in official statistics; (d) to examine proposals by government departments for commencing or commissioning new statistical surveys, and to prepare submissions to the Minister of Statistics for approval or otherwise; (e) to review the collection, compilation, analyses, abstraction, and publication of official statistics produced in both the department and other government departments; and (f) to maintain liaison with international organisations or agencies requiring or making use of New Zealand official statistics.

Survey and Land Information, Department of. (Te Puna Kōrero Whenua.) The department is the principal government (civil and military) survey and mapping, and land information agency. Through the Office of Crown Lands the department is also the government's principal Crown land administering agency. The department's work includes control surveys as the basis for cadastral surveys and basic topographic mapping, land title surveys, investigations into the status of Crown land and Maori land, large scale topographical surveys for engineering and management purposes, land development servicing, fixing of marine and air navigation aids, aerodrome obstruction surveys, earth deformation studies, environmental planning of land, and a graphic support for the electoral system.

The main acts administered by the department are the Survey Act 1986, Public Works Act 1981, Land Settlement Promotion and Land Acquisition Act 1952, Land Act 1948, the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946 and Crown Grants Act 1908. In addition in excess of 50 other statutes empower the department with specific responsibilities for land transactions. Proposals for the Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Bill are also collated by the department. See section 14.1, Land resources and ownership.

Tourism, Ministry of. This ministry operates from within the Ministry of Commerce, providing policy advice to, and representing, the Minister of Tourism and the Government on policy issues relevant to the tourism sector. It advises the Government on the outputs it purchases from the New Zealand Tourism Board, manages government grant schemes relating to the tourism sector, manages land at Rotorua and the Wairakei Tourist Park, and is responsible for the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute Act 1991.

Tourism Board, New Zealand. The main functions of the New Zealand Tourism Board are to: ensure that New Zealand is developed and marketed as a distinct and competitive visitor destination overseas; promote and progress New Zealand's tourism development and intiate programmes to foster this development; administer jointly-funded public and private sector marketing programmes; undertake research of visitor arrivals, overseas tourism markets and regional tourism; take a leadership role in achieving industry unity. The New Zealand Tourism Board is headed by a nine member private sector executive board. The board has 14 overseas marketing offices. See Section 11.6, Leisure.

Trade Development Board (TRADENZ), New Zealand. The role of Tradenz (The New Zealand Trade Development Board) is to help New Zealand business increase foreign exchange earnings. Tradenz does this by working with New Zealand exporters to identify and capitalise on market opportunities and by improving companies' ability to compete profitably overseas.

Transport, Ministry of. (Te Manatū Waka.) The Ministry of Transport promotes safe and efficient transport that is environmentally sustainable and provided at reasonable cost. The ministry is responsible for administering about 20 principal Acts including the Civil Aviation Act, the Shipping and Seamen Act and the Transport Act.

The ministry has two operating divisions dealing with land and maritime transport and a small corporate office.

Treasury, The. The principal functions of Treasury are to: provide the Government with independent economic and financial advice; implement the Government's economic and financial policies; control and account for the receipt and payment of government finances; and to provide financial information on the operations of the Government. It also includes the Government Actuary's Office.

Valuation New Zealand. The major activity of the department is to prepare valuation rolls for all districts in New Zealand, to keep these rolls up to date with changes in property holdings, ownership, occupancy, and development, and to revise the values at not more than five-yearly intervals. Since 1988 the department has been progressively introducing a three-yearly cycle. Between the five-yearly general revaluations, current market values of individual properties are assessed as required. Values set by the department are used by other authorities to levy rates, land tax, estate, stamp and gift duties, and also by most government departments and agencies involved in land transactions.

The department does research work on real estate markets and compiles house and rural price indexes. It provides an advisory service to local authorities on all matters relating to rating. The department's extensive property record system is used to furnish data for land use, town planning and similar surveys both to local authorities and other public sector organisations. See section 14.1, Land resources and ownership.

Women's Affairs, Ministry of. (Te Minitatanga mō ngā Wāhine.) This ministry was established in 1984 to assist the Government to improve the status of women and to work towards the achievement of equality in all spheres of social, political and economic activity. The ministry's primary function is to advise the Minister of Women's Affairs. In carrying out this function the ministry provides specialist advice on legislative and other policy matters affecting the status of women and undertakes educational and information programmes designed to increase women's knowledge of and familiarity with the scope and processes of public policy-making. See section 5.3, Human rights, immigration and citizenship.

Youth Affairs, Ministry of. (Te Tari Taiohi.) This ministry was established to represent the youth of New Zealand; to ensure that the concerns of the young people (defined as people from the ages of 12 to 25) of New Zealand are heard by the makers of policies, services and legislation, and to allow young people to make a contribution to the cultural, social and economic development of this country.

The ministry works through three main areas; policy advice to the Minister of Youth Affairs and Government, liaison services gathering input from young people and youth networking, and administering the Conservation Corps programme, which provides young people with opportunities for employment, training and personal development through conservation activities of benefit to local communities.

Non-departmental public bodies

In addition to the state service organisations there is a multitude of advisory bodies, statutory corporations, companies, councils, commissions, committees, tribunals and other organisations loosely connected to the Government.

Crown-owned entities. These organisation are defined in the Public Finance Amendment (No. 3) Act 1992. “Crown-owned entity” means a body or statutory officer named in the Third or the Fourth Schedule of the Public Finance Act and describes entities owned by the Crown which are not departments, Offices of Parliament or state-owned enterprises.

State-owned Enterprises. State-owned enterprises are companies established by the Government to manage its trading activities. The principle objective of every state-owned enterprise is to operate as a successful business and, to this end, to be:

  • As profitable and efficient as comparable businesses that are not owned by the Crown.

  • A good employer.

  • An organisation that exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so.

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

The Controller and Auditor-General is an officer of the Crown appointed by the Governor-General under the Public Finance Act 1977. The position is independent of the executive government and only the Governor-General, upon an address from the House of Representatives, can end the tenure. The Controller and Auditor-General and the persons acting under his or her delegation are collectively called ‘the Audit Office’.

The constitutionally important role of the Audit Office, as set out in the Public Finance Act, 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 has to be satisfied that all issues from the Crown Bank Account for the government's expenditure requirements are within the appropriations and other authorities granted by Parliament. This role is crucial to the ability to Parliament to control the supply of funds to the Crown, and in certain circumstances the Audit Office may prevent the issue of money.

The Audit Office audits the financial statements of government departments, local authorities, and most government-controlled corporations, boards and companies. The office plays a key part in the accountability by these organisations. It also conducts periodic reviews of financial control systems, selected programmes or operations to ascertain whether resources have been applied effectively and efficiently in a manner consistent with the policies of the governing bodies.

Considerable emphasis is placed on reporting the results of this work. The most visible results are their financial audit reports tabled in Parliament each year.

If shortcomings are discovered during an audit, the principal recourse of the Audit Office is to report to the management of the organisation, to a minister, or to Parliament and its select committees. If there is a deficiency in money or stores, the Auditor-General has the power to surcharge the persons involved to recover the amount. This power is rarely used.

Official information

The Official Information Act 1982 is based on to the principle that information shall be made available unless there is good reason for withholding it. The purposes of the Act are: to provide proper access to official information to the people of New Zealand, to encourage their participation in the making and administration of laws and policies; to promote the accountability of ministers and officials; and to protect official information consistent with the public interest and the preservation of personal privacy.

With the exception of the Parliamentary Service, the Official Information Act covers all government departments, state-owned enterprises, and a range of statutory bodies. It does not include courts, tribunals (in relation to their judicial function), or some judicial bodies. All local authorities and statutory boards are covered under either the Official Information Act 1982 or the Local Government Official Information and Meetings 1987.

The Acts provide special rights of access to personal information. The definition of a ‘person’ can include a sole corporation and a body of persons. The protection of the privacy of natural persons is an important issue, however, this consideration may be overturned if it is in the public interest to make the information available.

Among the criteria to be considered, when judging whether information should be withheld, are that if the information is released will it prejudice the security, defence, or economic international relations of New Zealand; the maintenance of law and order; the effective conduct of public affairs; trade secrets and commercial sensitivity; personal privacy and the safety of any person.

Ombudsmen can review a decision to refuse information; the investigation is private and free of charge. The formal recommendation of an Ombudsman is binding unless overridden by a minister in accordance with a formal procedure.

An information guide concerning access to personal and official information is available from the Department of Justice. In order to provide sufficient data to ease the identification of material and assist in the lodging of requests, reference can be made to the Directory of Official Information. Published every two years, the Directory is a comprehensive guide to all the organisations covered by the Act including their structure, functions, policies, documents held, contact officers and other listings which facilitate the access of information.


The principal function of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Investigations (Ombudsman) is to enquire into complaints relating to administrative decisions of government departments and related organisations, education boards and all local authorities. Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975 there is provision for the appointment of a Chief Ombudsman and one or more other ombudsmen, in either temporary or permanent positions.

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. At the local government level, the ombudsman reports the finding to the organisation, and provides a copy of his report to the 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, sub-committee, officer, employee, or member. It is also the responsibility of the Ombudsmen to investigate any complaints on decisions for the request of official information.

Ombudsmen have no authority to investigate complaints against private companies and individuals, decisions of judges, complaints directed at ministerial decisions, or at the full council of local government. They can also decide that certain complaints, although within their sphere, are better suited to other available avenues of administrative redress.


Action on complaintOmbudsmen Act 1975Official Information Act 1982Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

* Year ended 30 June.

Source: Office of the Ombudsmen.

Declined, no jurisdiction24712
Declined or discontinued section 174091141
Resolved in course of investigation22123950
Resolved informally10716412
Sustained, recommendation made38238
Sustained, no recommendation made51141
Not sustained52520127
Formal investigation not undertaken, explanation, advice, or assistance given7179514
Still under investigation as at 30 June50034533
      Total2 8151 207146

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

This parliamentary office was established in 1987 as part of the restructuring of the government's administration of the environment. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (Te Kaitiaki Taiao a Te Whare Pāremata) was also 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.

Authority for the appointment of the Commissioner and the functions, powers and duties exercised by the Commissioner are set out in the Environment Act 1986. 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.

The Commissioner is also responsible for carrying out inquiries requested by the House of Representatives and for providing reports on proposed legislation, petitions and other matters of environmental significance under consideration by the House. Among the other powers of the Commissioner are the publishing of reports and the advising of the House on findings of reviews and investigations. With the exception of requests and directions made by the House of Representatives, the Commissioner has discretion to determine action on reviews and investigations carried out by the office.

The Environment Act sets out matters for the Commissioner to consider when exercising the functions of the office. The matters are diverse, including the maintenance and restoration of important ecosystems, the protection of the heritage of the tangata whenua, the prevention of pollution and the effects on communities of actual or proposed changes to natural and physical resources.

Helen Hughes, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

2.4 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. Many territorial authorities contain one or more communities administered by community boards, but these are not separate local authorities.

The Local Government Act 1974 is the statute constituting regional councils and territorial authorities. Their boundaries are usually defined by the Local Government Commission. They have their own sources of income independent of central government, and 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). Rates are set by the local authorities themselves, subject to the Rating Powers Act 1988. The six special purpose authorities are constituted under their own Acts.

Several important statutes apply not only to local authorities as defined in the Local Government Act, but to a wider range of public bodies. These include: the Local Authorities Loans Act 1956; the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987; the Local Authorities (Members' Interests) Act 1968; and the Local Elections and Polls Act 1976.

Local authorities derive their functions and powers not only from the local government legislation as such, but from numerous other Acts, such as the Resource Management Act 1991, the Transit New Zealand Act 1989, and the Building Act 1991.

Under Parliamentary Standing Orders, local authorities can promote legislation about matters affecting areas within their jurisdiction which they are not empowered to deal with already. Where permanent or major additional powers are sought, a local bill must be prepared for the consideration of Parliament. If this is enacted it becomes a local Act, and applies only to the body or bodies which promoted it.

Local authorities are answerable above all to their electorates, through triennial general elections. Legislation includes numerous provisions for local authorities to give public notice and receive public submissions before making certain important decisions. The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 promotes open conduct of local authority meetings and sets out rights of access to official information. Local authorities may also come under the scrutiny of the Ombudsman, the Controller and Auditor-General and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Under a 1992 amendment, the Minister of Local Government may appoint a review authority, where it is considered there has been serious mismanagement, and may require the local authority to implement the review authority's recommendations. Any decision by a local authority may be reviewed by appeal to the High Court, and decisions under the Resource Management Act 1991 may be appealed to the Planning Tribunal.

Local government organisation

The structure of local government was thoroughly reorganised in 1989. There are now:

  • 12 regional councils.

  • 74 territorial authorities.

  • 155 community boards.

  • 6 special authorities.

In 1989 a statement on the purposes of local government was included in the Local Government Act 1974. This holds as central the recognition of the existence of different communities in New Zealand, and their separate identities and values; and the effective participation of local persons in local government. Also included was an accountability scheme, whereby local authorities are required to conduct their affairs in an open and proper manner, separate their regulatory and non-regulatory activities, and adequately inform local communities of their activities. Emphasis was placed on setting objectives and measuring performance.

Local authorities are encouraged to corporatise or privatise their trading activities (aside from airports, seaports and energy supply operations which are covered by separate legislation). The Act requires territorial authorities to corporatise or establish as a business unit any of their operations carrying out subsidised road construction work and corporatise any public transport undertaking. Local authorities are required to consider putting out the delivery of all services to competitive tender.

Regional councils

The regional councils are directly elected, set their own rates and have a chairperson elected by their members. Their main functions 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.

Some regional councils also have other functions, such as those formerly undertaken by land drainage boards.

In 1989 regional councils in Auckland and Wellington inherited a number of public utilities and trading activities: in Auckland trunk sewerage, bulk water supply, rubbish disposal, buses, forestry, regional parks and regional roads; in Wellington bulk water supply, forestry and regional parks.

In 1992 the law governing the councils was extensively amended to clarify the role of regional councils as regulatory authorities concerned with resource management and related functions, including public passenger transport planning in Auckland and Wellington. The differentiation between regional councils and territorial authorities is not so much hierarchial as functional, and that the range of regional council functions is not open ended.

Also in 1992 the various services of the Auckland Regional Council were transferred to a new body, the Auckland Regional Services Trust. However, Auckland and Wellington both retain administration of regional parks and reserves.

With effect from 1 July 1992

Prison inmates painting booth signs for the September 1992 electoral referendum.

Local government elections and membership

Local government elections are held on the second Saturday in October every third year. The next elections will be held in 1995. All regional council, territorial authority, special purpose local authority and community board elections are conducted at the same time.

In the year before an election regional and territorial authorities are normally required to review the number of members and the number and size of their electorates. In 1991 local authorities had the option of not conducting a review but keeping existing membership and the wards or constituencies until 1995.

Electorates are known as wards in the case of territorial authorities and constituencies in the case of regions. Territorial authorities had the option of deciding whether members would be elected by the electors of the district as a whole. Regions must be divided into constituencies.

The purpose of the review was to give effective representation to communities of interest and fair representation to electors. The review process provided for objections and appeals by the public and where necessary the final decisions were made by the Local Government Commission.

Voting procedures. Any territorial authority may decide whether an election is to be conducted by attendance at a polling booth or by post; however, postal voting was almost universal by 1992. The method of 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.

Local authority franchise. 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.

Ratepayer voting was re-introduced by the Local Government Amendments Act 1991. This entitles ratepayers who are not residents to enrol and vote in any region, district or community in which they pay rates. Rolls are compiled by territorial authorities, who usually compile the rolls and conduct the elections for other authorities as well. The information for the residential electoral roll is obtained from the parliamentary electoral database and the ratepayer roll is compiled from nomination forms sent to ratepayers.

Membership of local authorities. Any person who is a parliamentary elector may be elected to a regional council or territorial authority or community board. In 1992 a prohibition was introduced on a person being a candidate for both a regional council and a territorial authority or community board within that region. Vacancies may be filled either by an election or by appointment, depending upon the type of council, the circumstances of the vacancy and the wishes of the electors.

Remuneration of members. Most boards and councils pay their chairperson or mayor an annual salary, while other members are paid a combination of a daily meeting allowance and an annual salary. Rates of remuneration payable to members are determined by the Minister of Local Government. Maximum and minimum salary and allowance levels are set, allowing the council or board the discretion to decide the actual rate within the prescribed limits.

Local Government Commission

The present (eighth) Local Government Commission comprises three members appointed by the Minister for Local Government. The commission has two major functions. Firstly, as a quasi-judicial appeal authority to hear and determine:

  • Appeals against decisions on objections to draft reorganisation schemes.

  • Appeals and counter-objectives relating to ward and membership proposals of a local authority, following its triennial review of representation and membership.

  • Proposals for the constitution of communities.

  • Proposals for the reorganisation, or abolition, of communities where there is disagreement between a community board and its parent authority.

Also, in accordance with amendments to the Local Government Act 1992, the commission assumed new responsibilities relating to the preparation and processing of reorganisation proposals for:

  • New districts with a population of more than 10 000 persons.

  • New regions with a population of more than 50 000 persons.

In addition to the above roles, the commission is the determining authority for matters still requiring resolution following the implementation of the major local government reorganisation in 1989. In particular the commission may investigate property dealings of former authorities, and also approve changes in use of the special funds of former authorities.

2.5 National emblems and anthems

New Zealand Flag

Under the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 the flag, previously known as the New Zealand ensign, was declared to be the national flag of New Zealand. It is the symbol of the realm, Government and people of New Zealand. The basis of the New Zealand Flag is the Union Flag (Jack) in the upper left quarter, and on a blue ground to the right the Southern Cross is represented by four five-pointed stars with white borders.

New Zealand coat of arms

The coat of arms is protected under the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981, and its lawful use is confined to official purposes.

National anthems

God Defend New Zealand, the words written by Thomas Bracken and the music composed by John J. Woods, was first performed in public in 1876 and adopted formally as the New Zealand national hymn in 1940. God Defend New Zealand, and the traditional God Save The Queen are the national anthems of New Zealand, both being of equal status as national anthems appropriate to the occasion.


1. God of nations at Thy feet
    In the bonds of love we meet.
    Hear our voices, we entreat,
    God defend our free land.
    Guard Pacific's triple star
    From the shafts of strife and war,
    Make her praises heard afar,
    God defend New Zealand.
1. E Ihoa Atua,
    O nga Iwi! Matoura,
    Ata whaka rongona;
    Me aroha roa.
    Kia hua ho te pai;
    Kia tau to atawhai;
    Manaakitia mai
2. Men of ev'ry creed and race
    Gather here before Thy face,
    Asking Thee to bless this place,
    God defend our free land.
    From dissension, envy, hate,
    And corruption guard our state,
    Make our country good and great,
    God defend New Zealand.
2. Ona mano tangata
    Kiri whero, kiri ma,
    Iwi Maori Pakeha,
    Repeke katoa,
    Nei ka tono ko nga he
    Mau e whakaahu ke,
    Kia ora marire
3. Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
    But, should foes assail our coast,
    Make us then a mighty host,
    God defend our free land.
    Lord of battles in Thy might,
    Put our enemies to flight,
    Let our cause be just and right,
    God defend New Zealand.
3. Tona mana kia tu!
    Tona kaha kia u;
    Tona rongo hei paku
    Ki te ao katoa
    Aua rawa nga whawhai,
    Nga tutu a tata mai;
    Kia tupu nui ai
4. Let our love for Thee increase,
    May Thy blessings never cease,
    Give us plenty, give us peace,
    God defend our free land.
    From dishonour and from shame
    Guard our country's spotless name,
    Crown her with immortal fame,
    God defend New Zealand.
4. Waiho tona takiwa
    Ko te ao marama;
    Kia whiti tona ra
    Taiawhio noa.
    Ko te hae me te ngangau
    Meinga kia kore kau;
    Waiho i te rongo mau
5. May our mountains ever be
    Freedom's ramparts on the sea,
    Make us faithful unto Thee,
    God defend our free land.
    Guide her in the nation's van,
    Preaching love and truth to man,
    Working out Thy glorious plan.
    God defend New Zealand.
5. Tona pai me toitu;
    Tika rawa, pono pu;
    Tona noho, tana tu;
    Iwi no Ihoa.
    Kaua mona whakama;
    Kia hau te ingoa;
    Kia tu hei tauira;


  • 2.1 Department of Justice.

  • 2.2 Clerk of the House of Representatives; Parliamentary Service; Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Department of Justice; Department of Internal Affairs.

  • 2.3 State Services Commission; government departments as listed; New Zealand Planning Council; Audit Office; Office of the Ombudsmen; Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner of the Environment.

  • 2.4 Department of Internal Affairs; Local Government Commission.

  • 2.5 Department of Internal Affairs.

Special articles

Department of Justice; Government House; State Services Commission; WEL (NZ); Nga Tohu o Te Tiriti Making a Mark, Miria Simpson, National Library of New Zealand, 1990; Supplement to Ministers and Members in the New Zealand Parliament, GA Wood, Tarkwode Press, 1992; Who's Who in the New Zealand Parliament, Parliamentary Service, 2nd edition, 1990.

Further information


Introduction to the New Zealand Legal System. Mulholland, R. D., Butterworths, 6th ed., 1985.

New Zealand: The Development of its Laws and Constitution. Robson, J. L. and others. Stevens, 2nd ed., 1967.

The New Zealand Constitution. Scott, K. J., Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1962.

Parliament and the Cabinet

Parliamentary Bulletin. GP Print (weekly when the House of Representatives is sitting).

Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand. McGee, D. G., Government Printer, 1985.

Report of Cabinet Office (Parl. paper G. 47).

Report of the Department of Internal Affairs (Parl. paper G. 7).

Report of the Royal Commission on the Electoral System; Towards a Better Democracy. (Parl. paper H. 3, 1986).

Standing Orders of the House of Representatives. GP Print, 1992.

Who's Who in the New Zealand Parliament. Parliamentary Service, 1990.

New Zealand Politics in Perspective. Gold, Hyam (editor), Longman Paul, 3rd ed., 1992.

The Dilemma of Parliament. Jackson, Keith, Allen and Unwin, 1987.

An Introduction to New Zealand Government. Ringer, J. B., Hazard Press, 1991.

State sector

Directory of Official Information. Department of Justice (biennial).

Reports of the Controller and Auditor-General (Parl. paper B. 28).

Reports of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (Parl. paper C12).

Report of the Ombudsmen (Parl. paper A. 3).

Report of the State Services Commission (Parl. paper G. 3).

Tables of New Zealand Acts and Ordinances and Statutory Regulations in Force. Government Printer (annual).

All government departments and statutory organisations publish annual reports in the parliamentary paper series.

Local government

Report of the Department of Internal Affairs (Parl. paper G. 7).

Report of the Local Government Commission (Parl. paper G. 9).

Statement on Reform of Local and Regional Government by Minister of Local Government. Local Government Commission, 1988.

The first page of the suffrage petition as presented to Parliament in 1893.

Chapter 3. International relations and defence

Women's National Service Corps on parade, Auckland.

3.1 Relations with other countries

Independent New Zealand foreign policy dates from 1935. In 1943 the Government established a career foreign affairs service, and began to station its own diplomatic representatives overseas. New Zealand has 42 diplomatic and consular posts located in 37 countries and territories. Multiple accreditation allows some New Zealand representatives to cover other countries from their bases. In 1992 a new embassy in Madrid was opened.

The Ministry of External Relations and Trade has responsibility on behalf of the Government for all major policy functions related to New Zealand's external relations. The ministry's work involves management of New Zealand's political, security, trade and economic relations with other countries and management of New Zealand's interests in international organisations. Other functions include management of New Zealand official development assistance, consular services to New Zealanders abroad, provision of operational and administrative support services to other New Zealand Government agencies overseas, and management of the New Zealand Antarctic Programme.

The ministry is the official channel of communication between the New Zealand Government and other governments. It also undertakes external affairs and defence functions for the Cook Islands and Niue, after consultation with their respective heads of government, and administers Tokelau.

The ministry consults closely with other government departments and agencies on domestic and international developments and their interrelationships. The New Zealand Trade Development Board is a particularly important partner in programmes to promote foreign exchange earnings.

In addition, it is responsible for operating and administering the network of diplomatic and consular posts which represent and pursue New Zealand's interests overseas. The posts also perform services overseas on behalf of all government departments and offer assistance to New Zealanders overseas, whether travelling in official or private capacities, and are responsible for the overseas issue of passports and visas.

For the addresses of New Zealand's overseas posts, and for information on diplomatic, consular and other representation in New Zealand refer to the 1988–89 Yearbook. More recent information can also be found in the publications Overseas Posts, and the Diplomatic List: Diplomatic and Consular Representatives in New Zealand.

South Pacific

New Zealand has diplomatic missions in most of the countries of the South Pacific and maintains regular contact on a range of bilateral and regional issues. Over 60 percent of bilateral development assistance is directed to the South Pacific.

A special relationship exists between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, and Niue. The Cook Islands became a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand in 1965, and Niue in 1974. Both governments have full legislative and executive competence, and can conduct their own external relations and enter into international agreements. But a constitutional relationship provides for the exercise by New Zealand of certain responsibilities for defence and external relations. This does not confer any rights of control. Cook Islanders and Niueans are New Zealand citizens. The relationship between the Cook Islands and New Zealand was elaborated in 1973 as ‘one of partnership, freely entered into and freely maintained’. Tokelau is described in section 3.3, New Zealand territories.

The region (not including Australia) is of growing importance to New Zealand, with exports of $630 million in 1992. Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the French Territories are the most important markets. Imports, amounting to about $125 million, came principally from Fiji and Nauru. New Zealand has taken special measures to foster trade with these countries and New Zealand investment in the region. A regional trade agreement, South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (SPARTECA), provides unrestricted duty-free access to New Zealand (and Australia) on a non-reciprocal basis for all of the products exported by island countries. The Pacific Islands Industrial Development Scheme (PIIDS) provides financial assistance and incentives for joint ventures between New Zealand companies and Pacific Island companies, developing approved manufacturing operations in selected Pacific countries. Its objective is to foster economic development and employment opportunities there.


Dovey Taiaroa and the Dalai Lama at welcome on Pipitea Marae, Wellington.

The forum established the Forum Secretariat, which is tasked with the implementation of forum decisions. It works on a broad range of economic and political questions. This agency is located in Suva. The forum also set up the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency to facilitate the rational utilisation and conservation of the region's marine resources. Its headquarters are in Honiara. Recently the forum encouraged the establishment of an autonomous regional environment agency—the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). This is located in Apia, Western Samoa.

The Pacific Forum Line (PFL) is another endeavour in South Pacific co-operative relations. Ten of the region's nations operate the shipping line; it charters three vessels and is based at Apia. Together with other governments in the region New Zealand has made additional contributions since the PFL began operations in 1978.

The South Pacific Commission is primarily a technical assistance organisation, and has accomplished much in promoting the economic and social welfare of the South Pacific peoples as well as in helping to build a sense of regional identity. Its annual budget is mainly funded from proportional contributions by member governments.


A diplomatic office was established in Australia in 1943 (trade posts had been established as early as 1906), and in 1944 the Australia-New Zealand Agreement (known also as the ANZAC Pact or the Canberra Pact) was signed. In 1983, the two countries concluded the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA or CER for short). Complete free trade in goods was achieved on 1 July 1990 providing for the progressive removal of obstacles to the flow of services and investment between the two countries. The agreement was reviewed again in 1992. See also section 22.2, Trading partners.

In matters of foreign policy, defence and economics, regular and increasingly frequent bilateral meetings take place with a minimum of formality covering almost all government activity. Australia is a major trading partner for New Zealand, which is in turn Australia's second largest single market for manufactured exports. In defence, the ANZAC partners continue to co-operate closely in force structure development, training, exercises and procurement under the aegis of Closer Defence Relations (CDR). In 1989, New Zealand agreed to acquire two replacement frigates through the joint ANZAC ship project with Australia. The Australia-New Zealand Foundation sponsors research projects and publications, as well as cultural exchanges. There is free movement of people under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.


New Zealand has become increasingly involved in developments in the Asia/Pacific region. Asia provides a market for over one-third of our exports and a source of almost a third of our imports. Is is a major source of investment and of trained migrants. Political relations with Asian nations are close, reinforced by high-level visits and regular consultations involving officials and Ministers. New Zealand maintains diplomatic missions in Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Jakarta and New Delhi and a trade and consular office in Shanghai.

New Zealand is one of the original dialogue partners of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and co-operates with ASEAN in a number of regional development and trade promotion activities. It has followed closely the peace settlement process in Cambodia and has contributed both military and civilian personnel to the United Nations' Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). The New Zealand Defence Force maintains defence co-operation programmes with the six ASEAN countries and works with Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei through the Five Power Defence Arrangements.

One of the founding members of the Asia/Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum, established in 1989, New Zealand plays an active part in APEC working groups. At the nongovernmental level, New Zealand also participates in the Pacific Economic Co-operation Council, which groups business people, academics and officials from all our major regional trading partners. Given the many mutual interests within the region, New Zealand also cooperates closely with the ASEAN nations and other regional partners in wider international forums, including the United Nations and the GATT.

Bilateral trade with all our main Asian trading partners is rising fast. The economic relationship with Japan is among our most important and Japan remains New Zealand's second largest export market. Trade is increasingly diversified, helped by the complementary nature of the Japanese and New Zealand economies, and tourism and investment from Japan are playing a key role in the development of New Zealand's economy. Accelerating economic reform in China is opening up exciting possibilities for New Zealand in Asia's largest market, with total trade in the year ended June 1992 exceeding $700 million. Two-way investment is also growing. Trade with South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong is also increasing and these markets offer excellent potential.

The rapid growth of the ASEAN economies, with Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia all experiencing consistent annual growth rates of around 9 percent, has contributed to this increase in trade. Singapore is now a major source of investment capital for New Zealand and rising incomes in South-East Asia are creating a demand for our high-quality food products and technology. ASEAN is also an important source of tourists, with direct aviation links now operating with Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The new Malaysian ambassador, dressed in national costume, arriving at Government House to present her credentials. Tunku Dato Nazihah is Malaysia's first woman ambassador and a career diplomat.


United States. New Zealand's relationship with the United States is one of the most significant, varied and co-operative that New Zealand maintains. Shared values underpin close governmental and private sector contacts across a broad range of bilateral and multilateral activities. The United States is one of New Zealand's three most important export markets and a major source of New Zealand imports. In the multilateral trade field, the two countries espouse similar open market philosophies. Co-operation is also close on international environmental matters and in Antarctic scientific research. Programmes for scientific, cultural and academic exchange maintain an awareness of New Zealand in the United States and promote the interchange of ideas and experience.

Canada. New Zealand and Canada have long enjoyed a positive and close relationship, based on shared bilateral Commonwealth, United Nations and Pacific Basin interests. Canada is an important market for our agricultural goods, particularly beef. The two countries work closely on a range of issues, including defence and security, environmental concerns, Asia-Pacific policies, and international economic matters, for example in the APEC forum and as members of the Cairns Group in the Uruguay Round of GATT multilateral trade negotiations.

The bilateral economic relationship is governed by the 1981 Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, which provides for regular consultations on trade and economic matters, as well as a framework for closer investment, joint venture and technology transfer activities.

Latin America and the Caribbean. New Zealand is represented in Latin America by embassies in Mexico and Chile. The Ambassador in Mexico is cross-accredited to Colombia and Peru, and the Ambassador in Chile to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The embassies' efforts are supported by honorary consular representatives in Bogota, Lima, Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo and Montevideo whose responsibilities also include the facilitation of trade. The High Commissioner in Ottawa is accredited to the Caribbean countries of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and there is an honorary consul in Port of Spain.

Trade is the primary focus of New Zealand's relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean, mainly exports of dairy products, agricultural machinery and meat. There are opportunities for New Zealand involvement in agricultural, forestry and energy technology. New Zealand provides a modest amount of economic and social development assistance to the region. New Zealand's interests in international issues coincide with those of a number of Latin American and Caribbean countries in areas such as international trade, environment, Antarctica, disarmament and Pacific regional co-operation.

Western Europe

The European Community (EC), which is New Zealand's second largest market, becomes a Single Market on 1 January 1993. This will assist New Zealand exporters by encouraging community-wide distribution of goods and by obviating the need to observe multiple standards and import requirements.

New Zealand's relationship with the twelve-member EC is very important. An agreement that New Zealand should have regular Ministerial-level consultations with the Presidency of the EC was reached in 1990, and the first meeting was held during the Luxembourg Presidency in 1991. In 1992 the Minister of External Relations and Trade had meetings with the Portuguese and British presidencies. Close contact is maintained with the European Commission in Brussels, and with member states, on a range of political and trade issues.

Negotiations on agricultural access are an important part of New Zealand's dealings with the EC. Pending the establishment of long-term access agreements under the GATT, restrictions exist on access to the EC for dairy products, and difficulties also arise with the sheepmeat trade. Other New Zealand primary products, such as apples, kiwifruit, fish and timber have largely unrestricted access.

These European countries are also partners in investment, in new technology and expertise. They are a source for tourists and entrepreneurial migrants. In May 1991 a Science and Technology Arrangement with the European Commission was signed. It is hoped that this step will bring about further areas of useful co-operation.

The new Mongolian ambassador, dressed in national costume, arriving at accreditation at Government House.

In 1992 agreement was reached on the establishment of a European Economic Area covering most trade (though not in agriculture) between the European Community and the countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland have applied to join the community and Norway could follow suit. The accession of most of the EFTA countries within a few years could further increase the economic and trading importance to New Zealand of the EC.

During 1992 a new diplomatic post was opened in Madrid. The small posts in Athens and Vienna were closed, and their responsibilities transferred to Rome and Bonn respectively.

Central Europe

Developments over the last two years have changed the face of Central Europe. The former German Democratic Republic has been reunited with the Federal Republic of Germany. The overthrow of Communist regimes and the holding of free elections in many of the countries in the region has brought to power governments committed to political pluralism and economic reform. All are moving from centrally planned to market economies, and are looking to strengthen their links with Western Europe and particularly with the European Community.

New Zealand is offering assistance to the political and economic reform of Central Europe. Funds have been contributed for technical assistance, vocational and agricultural training, and the promotion of the business ventures between New Zealand and Central European companies. A number of joint ventures, mainly in the field of agricultural technology, have been established in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

New Zealand is also a participant in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development established to assist the economic rehabilitation of Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Responsibility for New Zealand's relations with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia has been transferred to the embassy in Bonn.

Former Soviet Union

Fifteen independent states now replace the former Soviet Union. These are: Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Estonia; Georgia; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lithuania; Moldova; Russia; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; and Uzbekistan. Eleven of these (the exceptions are Estonia, Georgia, Latvia and Lithuania) maintain co-operation in certain areas as a “Commonwealth of Independent States”.

Trade remains the central component of New Zealand's economic relations with the states of the former Soviet Union, although in 1992 exports declined to $99 million (mainly dairy products and wool). The involvement of Russian and Ukranian fishing vessels had added a $100 million to the value of the economic relationship. Trade has been disrupted by delays in payment caused by a shortage of hard currency. Exporters are seeking new methods of securing contracts, including building relationships with the increasingly autonomous regional executives. International financial assistance to the new independent states, combined with the implementation of market-based reforms will lay the foundation for higher levels of trade in the medium-term.

Middle East

New Zealand has significant economic interests in the Middle East. Its oil-rich economies are important importers of New Zealand agricultural exports. New Zealand has embassies in Tehran and Riyadh and accreditations to many other Middle Eastern countries. New Zealand has also been involved in international peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East for a number of years.

In 1990–1991, the Gulf War was the predominant factor in the region. New Zealand supported United Nations Security Council resolutions from the outset of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. New Zealand was an active participant in the multinational force which, in accordance with those resolutions, liberated Kuwait from Iraq. New Zealand's participation was based on the international principles at stake: support for UN-authorised action to resist an attempt by one state to extinguish the independent existence of another, a fellow member of the United Nations.

After Kuwait's liberation, New Zealand was closely involved in the international post-war humanitarian and reconstruction efforts. New Zealanders served on a personal basis in the UN's demarcation of the Kuwait/Iraq border. The Government made available military medical personnel to serve with UNSCOM—the international operation designed to find and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and of chemical warfare. New Zealand's embassy in Iraq was evacuated during the crisis; it has not resumed activities.

The Gulf War opened up a possibility of all-party negotiations leading to long term settlement of the Arab/Israel dispute. New Zealand has maintained an evenhanded policy on the Arab/Israel issue for more than 40 years, consistently upholding the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and, equally consistently, Israel's right to exist within secure borders. Since 1982 New Zealand has contributed a contingent to the Sinai Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) based on the Egypt/Israel border in the Sinai.


In recent years there has been increased contact between New Zealand and Africa. New Zealand has received visits by the Foreign Ministers of Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.

New Zealand's diplomatic coverage in Africa has expanded with the Harare High Commission, in Zimbabwe, now accredited to Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, and Namibia. New Zealand posts in London, Paris and Riyadh are accredited to Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt respectively.

New Zealand has had a long standing involvement in development co-operation in Africa. It also contributes to Commonwealth and other multilateral programmes. New Zealand has also contributed to international relief appeals.

The Emir of Kuwait inspecting an air force guard of honour, Wellington. The emir visited in September 1992 to thank New Zealand for its contribution to the Gulf War.

In the international arena New Zealand is active on the issue of apartheid. New Zealand has implemented all economic and other measures against South Africa recommended by the United Nations and the Commonwealth and supports the Commonwealth's programmed management approach to sanctions and the policy of selective sporting contacts. New Zealand does not have diplomatic relations with South Africa.

Total trade with African countries accounts for only a small percentage of New Zealand's global trade. The major exports to the region are dairy products, fish, wool, textiles and electrical equipment. Imports from Africa include cocoa, coffee, sisal and tobacco. Algeria is New Zealand's most important market in the continent.

The Africa Information Centre, in Wellington, serves as a source of information on Africa and African issues for New Zealanders. African countries supply the centre with information material.

Assistance to developing countries

New Zealand's Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme is managed by the Development Co-operation Division of the Ministry of External Relations and Trade in Wellington in conjunction with New Zealand's diplomatic posts overseas. New Zealand views its ODA programme as a co-operative process and as a partnership of the peoples and countries involved. In carrying out its work, the ministry's development expertise and experience is complemented by that of a wide range of New Zealanders drawn from both private and public sectors, as well as counterparts in the partner countries.

New Zealand's ODA programme follows a set of nine guiding principles, which were most recently revised in April 1992. These include the recognition that an effective and appropriate programme of co-operation with developing countries is in the long term political and economic interests of all the partner countries involved, including New Zealand, and contributes to stability and harmony in the international community. The principal purpose of New Zealand's ODA is to help promote sustainable economic and social progress and justice in developing countries.

For financial and administrative purposes the NZODA programme is divided into two broad schedules of activities—bilateral and multilateral. The bilateral schedule encompasses New Zealand's development co-operation with over 40 other countries. The main focus, however, is on the more extensive co-operation programmes under way with around 20 major partner countries in the South Pacific and South-East Asia.

The bilateral schedule is dominated by direct assistance on a one-to-one country-to-country basis, comprising in most cases a wide range of developmental projects. Direct bilateral assistance of this kind accounts for over half of New Zealand's total ODA spending. In addition, a number of regional programmes which serve groups of bilateral partner countries are also included on the bilateral schedule of NZODA. For example, New Zealand promotes development of the South Pacific region as a whole with contributions to the Pacific Forum Secretariat, the South Pacific Commission, the Forum Fisheries Agency, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the University of the South Pacific, and the Pacific Islands Industrial Development Scheme. Another large component of the bilateral schedule is funding of tuition fees scholarships for partner country citizens to study and train independently in New Zealand, in addition to those students fully funded under the individual country programmes.

Substantial bilateral ODA funding is also directed to emergency and disaster relief operations, both government-to-government and through established disaster relief organisations and international agencies (see section 3.2, Humanitarian relief).

Support for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with established track records in assisting developing countries is another important component of the bilateral schedule of NZODA. This currently takes the form of annual grants to Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) and the NGO umbrella group, the Council for International Development (CID). In addition, the Voluntary Agency Support Scheme (VASS) helps fund NGO programmes in developing countries all over the world. Recommendations for VASS funding are made by a project selection committee including three members elected by the New Zealand NGO community.

The multilateral schedule of the ODA programme comprises New Zealand's contributions to the major international development organisations. These fall into four broad categories—international financial institutions, United Nations agencies, Commonwealth agencies, and various other multilateral development and humanitarian organisations, such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Participation in institutions such as the International Development Association, the Asian Development Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation gives New Zealand a hand in international efforts to alleviate poverty through development at the global and trans-regional level. These multilateral institutions are especially helpful in directing assistance to regions where New Zealand is not widely represented at the bilateral level.

The new ambassador for Myanmar (Burma), dressed in national costume, arriving at Government House accreditation.


Bilateral schedule $(000) 
Source: Ministry of External Relations and Trade.
      Cook Islands14 604  
      Niue9 541  
      Western Samoa5 386  
      Tokelau6 522  
      Papua New Guinea5 072  
      Fiji4 666  
      Tonga5 184  
      Other Pacific Island Countries11 127  
      South Pacific Regional Programmes9 937       
            Subtotal  72 042
ASEAN countries  8 013
Other country programmes  3 946
Relief operations, voluntary agencies, etc.12 788  
Education and training27 311  
            Subtotal  52 058
            Total bilateral schedule  124 045
Multilateral schedule
      Commonwealth agencies  1 479
      United Nations agencies  5 731
      International financial institutions  14 725
      Other organisations  830
            Total multilateral schedule  22 766
Supplementary estimates and transfers  193
            Total official development assistance  147 004

3.2 International organisations

United Nations

New Zealand was a founding member of the United Nations organisation in 1945 and successive governments have strongly supported it as a major instrument for maintaining peace and security, developing friendly relations among countries, encouraging international co-operation aimed at solving economic and social problems, and promoting respect for human rights. Over the years the range and complexity of functions of the United Nations (UN) and its specialised agencies have steadily grown. New Zealand concentrates on areas where it can play a useful role in matters directly affecting its interests.

During 1991–92 New Zealand strengthened its firm commitment to UN peacekeeping by increasing the number of its personnel involved in peacekeeping operations. By the middle of 1992, New Zealand had over 120 personnel serving in the Middle East (UNTSO and UNSCOM), Angola (UNAVEM11), Cambodia (UNTAC) and Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR). In addition to the provision of personnel New Zealand, as a United Nations member, is legally obliged to contribute financially to the cost of UN peacekeeping operations. In 1991–92 New Zealand's share of these costs amounted to $12.09 million.

Humanitarian Relief. New Zealand contributed over $8.9 million to humanitarian relief work in 1991–1992 with $6.9 million going to relieve the destruction and hardship caused by Cyclone Val which struck Western Samoa in December 1991.

Support worth $100,000 was provided to the United Nations Border Relief Operation to assist Cambodian refugees located in camps on the Thai border and another $200,000 was given to various UN relief agencies for work inside Cambodia. The Government also contributed $600,000 to the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1991–1992, half for core budget activities and half for general relief work. Other contributions were made to specific UNHCR programmes in the Middle East and Indochina. An annual grant of $850,000 was made to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). A special contribution of $200,000 was made to Save the Children Fund for work in Sudan. During 1991–92 New Zealand contributed, to 15 UN agencies, a total of $6.83 million.

In addition to its contributions to the humanitarian work of the UN and its agencies New Zealand provided a voluntary contribution to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) of $300,000. Additional contributions were made to China and Cambodia for flood relief, to the Philippines for typhoon relief and to the International Committee of the Red Cross for relief work in the former Yugoslavia.

In May the Government also provided assistance ($250,000) to Save the Children Fund for its operations in Somalia and in July for Southern Africa drought relief ($250,000).

Human rights. Human rights issues, including United Nations measures to eliminate torture, discrimination against women, and racism and racial discrimination, remain an important concern. New Zealand campaigned successfully for the election in 1992 of the Chief District Court Judge, Dame Silvia Cartwright, to a four-year term on the UN Committee which monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. New Zealand increased its financial support of the UN's voluntary funds to promote and protect human rights, contributing to the separate funds to assist victims of torture, for advisory services, and for indigenous populations.

School children with their coin trail, raising money for Somalia's starving people, Trentham.

New Zealand also gave strong support to Commonwealth efforts in the field of human rights. The Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Harare in October 1991 adopted the Harare Declaration which accords priority to human rights, and reaffirmed the Commonwealth's commitment to equality for women through its Plan of Action for Women and Development. In addition, New Zealand made a financial contribution to the operations of the Commonwealth Secretariat's Human Rights Unit in 1991. New Zealand's Human Rights Commission provided a representative to attend a Commonwealth Human Rights Workshop to design training programmes for public servants which was held in Western Samoa in July 1992.

New Zealand continued to support balanced resolutions at the Commission on Human Rights and in the Third Committee (which deals with human rights matters) at the General Assembly, particularly those in support of the United Nations human rights instruments and the effective functioning of the monitoring bodies they have established.

New Zealand is involved in preparations for the second World Conference on Human Rights, planned for June 1993 in Vienna, and has contributed to a voluntary fund in order to assist South Pacific countries which have UN Least Developed Status to attend the Vienna meeting.

New Zealand also plays a full part in all aspects of international economic and development activity, not only in the United Nations agencies but also in the annual meetings of the IBRD (World Bank) and the IMF, and in Commonwealth and regional groupings that seek to stabilise international trade and finance. New Zealand continues to emphasise the special requirements of the South Pacific island countries, some of which are not represented at the UN. New Zealand also contributes to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The specialised agencies. The United Nations system encompasses 16 autonomous organisations, known as the specialised agencies, and a large number of additional bodies with their own secretariats, budgets and operations. Among the largest of these is the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) which aims to raise levels of nutrition and global living standards, to promote agriculture and food security, and to expand the world economy. Similarly the World Health Organisation (WHO) seeks ‘the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health’, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) seeks to improve working and living conditions and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) seeks to increase international co-operation through education, science and culture.

Four agencies participate in efforts to promote the international flow of capital for productive purposes and facilitate the economic development of less developed countries. These are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, or the World Bank), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Development Association (IDA).

Other UN special agencies of which New Zealand is a member, are concerned with civil aviation (ICAO), agricultural development (IFAD), maritime safety (IMO), telecommunications (ITU), postal services (UPU), patents and trademarks (WIPO), and climate and weather (WMO) and industrial development (UNIDO).

Contributions to United Nations. Contributions to the United Nations budget are based on members' capacity to pay. In 1991 New Zealand's assessed contribution rate was again set at 0.24 percent of the regular budget, resulting in annual dues of $4.1 million. Contributions to the budgets of specialised agencies are fixed according to a scale of assessment agreed by the membership as a whole.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Begun in 1947 as a framework for negotiations to achieve substantial reductions in tariffs and other barriers to trade, GATT's world membership has expanded from 23 original member countries (which included New Zealand) to 103 parties. The GATT membership represents over 80 percent of world trade. The Secretariat for GATT is a United Nations specialised agency, based in Geneva.

The GATT has been founded on the principle of non-discrimination amongst contracting parties, embodied in the most-favoured nation (MFN) obligation. The MFN principle is particularly important to countries such as New Zealand, since it ensures that larger nations cannot exert economic influence through discriminatory trade policies.

A series of multilateral trade negotiations has been held, with the aim of reducing obstacles to trade and refining the rules and disciplines. In 1986 member countries agreed to embark on an eighth round of negotiations, the “Uruguay Round”. This is the most ambitious set of negotiations yet, extending to 15 broad areas, many not previously covered by GATT rules. New Zealand's main priority continues to be to ensure that trade in agricultural products, which has never been fully integrated into the GATT system, is progressively liberalised and brought under effective rules and disciplines (for both barriers and subsidies). The Cairns Group of agricultural trade reformers, in which New Zealand is an active participant, is working to that end.

The Uruguay Round was scheduled to have been completed by the end of 1990. A Ministerial meeting was convened in Brussels in December 1990 to bring the negotiations to a conclusion but it failed to do so. The principal reason for the breakdown was failure to agree on a regime for agriculture.

The main negotiating groups engaged afresh in further talks throughout 1991. Finally, last December GATT Director-General Arthur Dunkel tabled his own “Draft Final Act”. This 400-page document remains the basis of ongoing work towards a settlement of the Uruguay Round. Agriculture remains one of the principal areas to be resolved; indeed, the success of the Uruguay Round, New Zealand's top foreign policy objective, hangs on resolution in this area.

Other UN bodies. In addition to the specialised agencies, many UN organisations help to seek solutions to international problems through diverse economic, development, humanitarian and technical activities. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) established ‘under the aegis of the United Nations’, supports peaceful uses of nuclear energy, while several bodies encourage economic development (UNDP, UNCTAD, IFAD), and others address issues as diverse and necessary as environmental protection, tourist promotion, drug abuse and population planning. Humanitarian concerns include the health and welfare of children (UNICEF), assistance to refugees (UNHCR and UNRWA) and the elimination of racism and of discrimination against women. Contributions are usually voluntary, and table 3.1 (above), includes New Zealand's contributions for 1991–1992.

World Bank

The World Bank is a multilateral lending agency consisting of four closely associated institutions—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The common objective of these institutions is to help raise living standards in developing countries by channelling financial resources from developed countries to them.

The IBRD currently lends about US$15 billion a year at market rates to developing countries with relatively high per capita income. The IDA provides interest-free loans worth about US$5 billion a year to the poorest of developing countries. The IFC promotes growth in the private sector of developing countries by lending or investing in business enterprises without government guarantees. MIGA has been recently created to insure investments in developing countries against political risks such as expropriation, war, civil disturbance and breach of contract.

New Zealand joined the World Bank in 1961 when higher income countries with active development programmes were eligible for IBRD loans. Between 1963 and 1971 New Zealand borrowed US$102 million to finance projects such as the Cook Strait transmission cable, the Marsden ‘A’ power station and the purchase of the ferry Aranui.

New Zealand has subscribed to a total of 5966 shares in the IBRD, which represents 0.47 percent of the total voting share. The shares have a total par value of US$720 million, although over 90 percent of this amount has not been called up but, together with the uncalled subscription of other member countries, acts as a guarantee for the bank's borrowing in the financial markets.

Since becoming a member of the IDA in 1975, New Zealand has committed US$75.3 million to IDA through periodic replenishments of its fund. New Zealand owns 2025 fully paid shares in the IFC which have a total par value of US$2,025 million.

The Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank's (ADB's) principal function is to promote and finance the economic and social advancement of its 32 developing member countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It has 36 member countries in the Asia-Pacific region and 16 member countries in Europe and North America.

New Zealand currently holds 35 214 shares, which make up about 2 percent of the bank's total share capital. The country also makes contributions to the periodic replenishment of the ADB's Asian Development Fund (ADF), the bank's facility for lending to its poorest developing member countries. The Government decided in 1991 that New Zealand should contribute NZ$18.98 million to the latest replenishment of the fund. That amounted to a 2.7 percent share of the total replenishment. It will be paid over a four year period from 1992.


The 50 members of the Commonwealth include countries in the six continents and the five oceans of the world. Two of the smallest member countries Nauru and Tuvalu have special membership status. The Cook Islands and Niue are not eligible for full membership because of their continuing constitutional association with New Zealand.

A permanent Commonwealth Secretariat is the main agency for multilateral communication between governments. The secretariat promotes consultation, disseminates information on matters of common concern, organises meetings and conferences, and co-ordinates a wide range of other activities.

Heads of government meet every second year. The most recent meeting was held in Harare in October 1991. Commonwealth finance ministers meet annually, and ministers of agriculture, labour, health, education and other portfolios also meet at varying intervals.

The Commonwealth's principal official development assistance programmes are financed by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation, to which New Zealand contributed $1 million in 1991–1992. New Zealand also takes part in the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, contributing about $705,000 in 1991–1992. Contributions are made to a range of other intergovernmental Commonwealth co-operative programmes, including, in 1991–1992, $50,000 to the Commonwealth fund for Mozambique and $50,000 for Commonwealth co-operation on distance education, and to agencies, including the Commonwealth Youth Programme, the Commonwealth Science Council, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation and the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau. In the non-governmental area, New Zealand's main contribution is to the Commonwealth Foundation, established to promote close links in the professions throughout the Commonwealth.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

The Paris-based OECD aims to foster intergovernmental co-operation amongst its 24 members on matters relating to economic and social policy.

Within the OECD, New Zealand's priorities have been economic, agricultural, and trade issues and, more recently environmental issues have been added. Other areas where New Zealand participates in OECD work include education, science, health, labour, financial and investment affairs, social policy and the organisation's increasingly important work with non-member countries particularly those from the dynamic Asian economies, and central and eastern Europe and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. The OECD exchanges, analyses and disseminates a wide variety of information, including the OECD forecasts (Economic Outlook) and reports on individual countries. The New Zealand economy is periodically subjected to a thorough review within the OECD system. Its development co-operation policy is reviewed regularly by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee.

An example of the benefits of OECD membership is the continuing conceptual work being done on the multilateral trading system in parallel to the current Uruguay Round under GATT. This has included work on protectionism in agricultural trade (initiated by New Zealand), subsidies and trade in services. A new focus of attention is work on the ‘New Generation’ issues of trade and the environment, trade and competition, trade and foreign direct investment and trade and technological developments.

New Zealand is also a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), an autonomous body of 23 member countries within the OECD framework. The IEA includes energy-related environmental issues in its overall programme of energy co-ordination, the aim of which is to promote co-operation between energy producing and consuming countries.

International Whaling Commission

New Zealand plays a leading role among the conservationist members of the International Whaling Commission. In recent years we have sought to persuade the IWC to maintain the moratorium on commercial whaling which was imposed in 1985–1986. For the moment the moratorium remains in force, but whaling countries are seeking to have it lifted. The most recent Annual Meeting of the IWC was held in Glasgow, Scotland, in June/July 1992.

3.3 New Zealand territories


A territory under New Zealand's administration since 1948, Tokelau is a scattered group of three atolls in the South Pacific with a total land area of about 12 square kilometres and a population of 1577 in 1991.

Administrative responsibility for Tokelau lies with the Administrator, Mr Brian Absolum. Many of his powers are delegated to the Official Secretary who heads the Office for Tokelau Affairs, based in Apia by agreement with Western Samoa.

New Zealand is committed to helping Tokelau towards greater self-government and economic self-sufficiency. Visiting missions from the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation have been advised by the people that they do not, for the time being, wish to review the existing ties between New Zealand and Tokelau. In a statement to the UN Special Committee in June 1992, Tokelau indicated that while it wishes to preserve the benefits of its current relationship with New Zealand, it is exploring ways of achieving greater political and administrative autonomy. New Zealand takes steps to ensure that the Tokelau public service meets Tokelau's administrative, social, economic and development requirements. The public service numbered 195 at 30 June 1991.

New Zealand provided $4.3 million of budgetary aid in the year ended 30 June 1991. Tokelau also receives considerable assistance from various international agencies, the UN Development Programme being the largest donor. Western Samoa gives much practical assistance, particularly medical.

Tokelau's economy is based on fishing, crops and livestock, although the soil is barren and resists fertilisation. The territory's size, isolation and lack of land-based resources give little scope for economic development.

Ross Dependency

The Ross Dependency consists of the land, permanent ice-shelf and islands of Antarctica between 160° east and 150° west. The land is almost all 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 at the Ross Dependency, with New Zealand operating Scott Base on Ross Island as a permanent base, and two seasonal bases. New Zealand is an original party to the Antarctic Treaty, which requires Antarctica to be used for peaceful purposes only and promotes international co-operation, freedom of scientific investigation, and exchange of information and scientific personnel. The 40 parties to the treaty meet regularly to consider questions within its framework.

3.4 Defence

The Governor-General as Commander-in-Chief is empowered to raise and maintain the New Zealand Naval Forces, the New Zealand Army, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. These forces, together with civilian employees, constitute the New Zealand Defence Force.

The Minister of Defence's power of control of the New Zealand Defence Force is exercised through the Chief of Defence Force. The Chief of Defence Force is the principal military adviser to the minister and responsible for the carrying out of the functions and duties of the Defence Force; the general conduct of the Defence Force; the management of the activities and resources of the Defence Force; and is convenor and chairman of a Chiefs of Staff Committee.

The Secretary of Defence, chief executive of the Ministry of Defence, is the principal civilian adviser to the minister. The secretary is responsible for formulating advice, in consultation with the Chief of Defence Force, on defence policy; the procurement, replacement or repair of defence equipment which has major significance to military capability; and assessment and audit of the Defence Force.

The former Defence Council was abolished in April 1990 with the passing of the Defence Act 1990.

1991 Defence white paper

The Government's white paper, The Defence of New Zealand 1991, provides the foundation for the longer term shaping of New Zealand's defence structure to support the country's security interests.

In updating New Zealand's defence policy the white paper adopts a new approach. It does not try and estimate the likelihood of future threats in the Asia/Pacific region. Instead it looks at the permanent features of New Zealand's geography and situation, the constants that change only slowly if at all, and which shape New Zealand's forces and the tasks they have to carry out.

The white paper acknowledges that the defence of New Zealand's territory is a low priority—there is no foreseeable direct threat—and stresses the importance of contributing to the defence of New Zealand's wider interests.

Based upon its assessment of New Zealand's strategic situation and interests, the white paper defines New Zealand's defence policy goals in the following terms:

  • To maintain the sovereignty of New Zealand.

  • To preserve the security of New Zealand, and its essential interests.

  • To maintain the sovereignty and security of the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau.

  • To contribute to the security of the South Pacific states with which New Zealand shares historical or other particular interests and to contribute generally to the security and stability of the South Pacific region.

  • To develop further the existing defence co-operation with Australia, including combined planning, operations, logistics and the industrial base.

  • To maintain and develop defence co-operation with ASEAN countries, and to preserve the partnership obligations of the Five Power Defence Arrangements.

  • To work to re-establish an effective defence relationship with New Zealand's other traditional partners, especially the United States and the United Kingdom.

  • To support the United Nations by contributing forces for peacekeeping or peacemaking duties.

  • To contribute forces to other collective endeavours where New Zealand's national interests are involved.

  • To ensure that the general purpose forces implied by these goals are capable of supporting non-military interests.

The strategy which the white paper concludes best meets New Zealand's defence goals is described as ‘Self Reliance in Partnership’. This strategy links the need for a self-reliant capability to handle immediate national tasks—the protection of New Zealand territory and sovereignty—with broader interests shared in partnership with Australia, the South Pacific and the countries beyond.

The white paper also defines the capabilities and funding methods needed to support New Zealand's national goals as economically as possible. It measures the existing Defence Force against the yardstick of the credible minimum force. Minimum because the force must be fiscally sustainable given New Zealand's current economic circumstances, credible because, even at a minimum level, it must meet the essential aims defined by successive governments, and reassure New Zealand's neighbours and allies that the Government has the resolve and the capability to do so.

The white paper signals the start of the process of reviewing defence. It provides the broad framework and guidance under which detailed planning will be carried out over the next few years.

International defence relationships

ANZUS. This security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States came into force in 1952. Each party recognised that an armed attack in the Pacific on any of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declared that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes. However, because of the dispute between New Zealand and the United States over the introduction of nuclear weapons into New Zealand ports and over visits of nuclear-propelled vessels, the ANZUS Council has not met since 1984. President Bush's September 1991 announcement of a decision to remove tactical nuclear weapons from United States Navy ships and submarines has removed a major obstacle to the restoration of New Zealand's role in ANZUS and has prompted the New Zealand Government to review the question of nuclear propulsion with the aim of determining whether a regime that fully met safety considerations could be instituted to allow visits by nuclear propelled ships. That examination was underway at the time this material was prepared.

The Five Power Defence Arrangements. The basis of the Five Power Defence Arrangements is not a formal treaty but a statement in the communiqué of the meeting of ministers of Britain, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in 1971. The focus of the arrangements is the action and support available to Malaysia and Singapore if either of these countries was under exernal threat. Only a small Defence Support Unit in Singapore now supports New Zealand's contribution to the arrangements. Their involvement takes the form of exercise participation, visits, and training assistance and co-operation.

Manila Treaty. Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and the United States signed the South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty, or the Manila Treaty, in 1954. Although the South-east Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) established under the treaty was phased out in 1977, the treaty was not repealed.

Co-operation with other countries. To facilitate exchanges on military matters, defence representatives are posted to New Zealand diplomatic missions in London, Canberra, Melbourne, Washington, Ottawa, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby. In addition, some members of these staffs are also accredited to other countries. The United Kingdom, Australia and Malaysia have service representatives attached to their respective High Commissions in Wellington and there are service attachés on the staffs of the French, Indonesian, and United States embassies in Wellington. Several other countries have service attachés accredited to, but not resident in, New Zealand.

Armed forces overseas

Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA). A small administrative element, known as the Defence Support Unit, remains in Singapore to support bilateral exercises under the FPDA and the Mutual Assistance Programme, continued single service deployments and training attachments. An RNZAF officer remains attached to the staff of the FPDA Integrated Air Defence System Headquarters at Butterworth, Malaysia.

Operation FRESCO. From December 1990 to April 1991 an RNZAF detachment consisting of 69 personnel and two Hercules aircraft was deployed to Riyadh Saudi Arabia as the New Zealand contribution to Desert Storm. While in theatre, the aircraft flew a total of 699 hours on strategic support missions.

United Nations observers. New Zealand has five observers in the Middle East with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation.

Sinai Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). This programme was established in April 1982 to verify compliance with the terms of the peace treaty concluded between Egypt and Israel on 26 March 1979. The operational headquarters of MFO is in El Gorah, in the Sinai. Ten countries contribute to MFO, including a 25-man New Zealand contingent, which includes a training and advisory team, a heavy transport section and engineers.

United Nations Transitional Assistance Group. This group was responsible for ensuring the early independence of Namibia through free and fair elections under the supervision and control of the United Nations. New Zealand contributed 14 Army engineers in late September 1989 for a period of six months. The main tasks of the unit were the removal of debris from transport routes, the construction and maintenance of electoral facilities, and assistance with community projects. The New Zealand Army personnel were located in seven different centres; they departed from Namibia in February 1990 on the termination of their mission.

United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM). New Zealand has contributed 12 officers to UNAVEM, which was established on 1 May 1991 to verify the cease-fire between the Angolan Government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The UNAVEM mandate will last until the day following the presidential and legislative elections which were held between 1 September and 30 November 1992. The New Zealand officers are based in the capital, Luanda, and deployed from there to monitoring sites throughout Angola for specific periods.

United Nations Protection Force Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR). In March 1992 the Government agreed to contribute observers to UNPROFOR. The New Zealand observer force consists of six officers; one Navy, two Air Force and three Army. The New Zealand officers are expected to serve in Yugoslavia for nine to 12 months.

United Nations Special Commission on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (UNSCOM). Following the 1991 Gulf War, the United Nations established a Special Commission to destroy, remove or render harmless weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile capabilities. UNSCOM is based in Bahrain, from where inspection teams (e.g. nuclear, biological, chemical or ballistic missile) visit Iraq to inspect specific installations. New Zealand contributes a 5-person Army Medical Team who provide pre-deployment training in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare protection and on-site medical coverage to the various inspection teams. New Zealand Defence Force also contributes two clerks to the UNSCOM Chemical Destruction Group (CDG). They are based in Bahrain but operate from Baghdad. The clerks compile the data relating to the destruction of the chemical weapons.

United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). On 21 October 1991, the Government agreed to a proposal that New Zealand participate in the United Nations Operation in Cambodia. The contribution is a mine awareness team of 25 New Zealand Army personnel. They have sole reponsibility within UNTAC for advising the civilian population in North West Cambodia on land mine awareness and disposal procedures. New Zealand Defence Force also contributes 41 Army personnel as part of the Force Communications Unit to UNTAC, and a 31 strong Naval detachment.

Mutual Assistance Programme. ASEAN and South Pacific countries participate in New Zealand's Mutual Assistance Programme. The programme is a practical demonstration of New Zealand's commitment to regional security. It contributes to the effectiveness of the armed forces in New Zealand's South Pacific neighbourhood and in South-east Asia through training and advisory assistance. It also assists in development projects utilising the armed forces engineering and trade skills. The most common forms of assistance are the provision of formal courses or on-the-job training attachments in New Zealand, the deployment of training and technical teams overseas, the attachment of military instructors to other armed forces for periods of up to two years, and civic action projects in the engineering and medical fields.

Antarctica Support. The 1991 RNZAF Antarctic Operation, nicknamed ICE-CUBE, marked the RNZAF's 27th year of operations to the Antarctic. Operation ICE-CUBE continued in 1991 with 12 return flights carrying 198 381 kgs of freight and 279 passengers. The 1992 operation began in November and was scheduled to complete 12 flights.

The RNZAF also stationed two Iroquois helicopters at McMurdo Base from November to December and one Iroquois helicopter from December to January to provide additional air support to the Antarctic programme. In 1991 this operation, nicknamed SNOWBIRD, flew 259 hours, carrying passengers and freight to sustain remote field science parties. All three services provided air cargo handlers at Harewood Airport (Christchurch) and McMurdo Base during the summer season, and specialist personnel supported the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme at both Scott and McMurdo bases. The New Zealand Army will contribute 22 personnel for the 1992–1993 season.

Exercises. STARFISH 91 and 92, attended by the Navy, the Air Force and IADS, an integrated air defence exercise, were conducted under the auspices of the Five Power Defence Arrangements.

The RNZAF regularly participates in VANGUARD, operating in support of the Five Power Defence Arrangements out of Singapore; FINCASTLE, an anti-submarine warfare competition between Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom (won by the RNZAF in 1992); BULLSEYE a tactical transport competition between Australia, New Zealand and Canada (also won by the RNZAF in 1992); and HELIMEET a series of helicopter competitions flown by most European nations and Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Commemorations. In August 1992 a 51-man tri-service guard attended the commemoration of the Battle of Guadalcanal. In October 1992 a 12-man guard and 100 veterans of the North African campaign, including Charles Upham VC and Bar, attended the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of El Alamein.

Community assistance

Hydrographic survey. The Navy is the sole authority for the production of nautical charts in New Zealand and operates a hydrographic survey ship, HMNZS Monowai and two inshore survey craft, HMNZ ships Takapu and Tarapunga. The Hydrographic Office also provides tidal analysis data and predictions. During 1991 Monowai carried out an updated survey of the Bay of Islands.

Fishery protection. Patrols of the New Zealand 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are conducted by ships of the RNZN and by RNZAF Orion aircraft. Surveillance patrols include fishery protection tasks, after which all information is passed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The RNZAF flew 352.6 hours in 1991 in the maritime surveillance role.

Wellington women taking part in the US Veterans' Parade.

Search and rescue. A search and rescue capability is maintained by the Navy and Air Force, with operational units maintained on a 24-hour stand-by. Both services have assisted in extensive sea rescues, including some that have ranged as far north as the Tokelau Islands and Vanuatu, and the Army has supported the Air Force in land searches. In 1991 the RNZAF flew 261.8 hours in 50 search and rescues. As well as search and rescue the RNZAF also flies emergency medical evacuation throughout New Zealand and the South Pacific comprising 21 flights in 1991. The Army routinely assists search and rescue operations when required.

New Zealand Cadet Forces. Cadet Forces comprise the Sea Cadets, Air Training Corps and New Zealand Cadet Corps. They are community-based youth training groups, and are supported by the Navy League, Air Cadet League, Returned Servicemens' Association, Army Association and schools.

As at 30 September 1992, there were a total 98 cadet units (18 Sea Cadet, 50 Air Training Corps and 30 Cadet Corps units). Cadet Forces strength at the same date was 406 officers and 4142 cadets.

Other assistance provided to the community included co-operation with the police (field catering and helicopter support). Fire departments (providing an aerial fire fighting platform) and the Departments of Internal Affairs, Conservation, Labour (including explosive ordnance disposal), Customs and Justice, and the Ministries of Civil Defence and Agriculture and Fisheries. In July 1992 in response to a request from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the RNZAF provided assistance to operation SNOWRAKE. Approximately 182 Iroquois hours were flown in North Canterbury and Fairlie to provide relief assistance for stranded stock.

Disaster relief

In April 1991 the RNZAF flew relief aid to Turkey and Iran for Kurdish refugees who had fled Iraq after the Gulf war. Two flights were conducted, one to northern Iran and a second to Eastern Turkey. In May 1991 the RNZAF also undertook a relief flight to Bangladesh in the wake of a cyclone that had ravaged the country.

In December 1991 a major relief operation was undertaken to Western Samoa as a result of cyclone Val. Eight Hercules flights carrying relief supplies were flown between New Zealand and Western Samoa. One helicopter was also deployed to Western Samoa to help distribute the relief supplies. A total of 166.4 flying hours were flown by the Hercules and Iroquois during this operation.

In January 1992 after cyclone Betsy caused damage to Vanuatu, an Andover was deployed to assist with relief operations in that country. A total of 23.8 Andover hours were flown distributing relief supplies throughout Vanuatu during this operation.

Defence expenditure

About 90 percent of Vote: Defence is spent on personnel and operating and capital costs. There is a policy to encourage greater logistic sufficiency, both within New Zealand and in conjunction with Australia.


ItemYear ended 31 March
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Operating expenses862,946828,144
Purchase of fixed assets147,816204,296
GST outputs to Crown186,188176,479
Payments on behalf of Crown195,373214,194
      Sale of fixed assets5045
      Supply of outputs to other parties27,58524,905
      Receipts on behalf of Crown101,357153,549
Total net expenditure1,263,3311,244,614

From 1 July 1990 Defence funding was disaggregated to two government departments: the NZ Defence Force (NZDF) under the Chief of Defence Force (CDF), and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) under the Secretary of Defence (Secretary). The Secretary is responsible for policy formulation, major capital procurement and performance audit. CDF is responsible for all operational activities. At the same time, financial management reform within the New Zealand Public Service was changing the department's accounting procedures from simple cash processing to accrual accounting.


11th Frigate Squadron.Fleet tanker Endeavour  Survey ship Monowai  Research ship Tui  Patrol craftHawea
First New Zealand Patrol
Craft Squadron.Inshore survey craftTakapu
  RNZNVR inshore patrol craftMoa
Second New Zealand Patrol Craft Squadron.Diving support vessel Manawanui  Training tender Kahu  Dockyard service craft Arataki  

Shore establishments. The naval base at Devonport, Auckland, consists of the office of the Commodore Auckland (the operational authority of the RNZN), HMNZS Philomel (the naval barracks and base support establishment), the Royal New Zealand Naval Hospital, the Naval Supply Depot, and the dockyard. The dockyard is capable of refitting all units of the Navy. HMNZS Tamaki is the naval training establishment at Narrow Neck, Devonport, Auckland. The RNZN Armament Depot is situated at Kauri Point and the RNZN Hydro-graphic Office is at Takapuna. HMNZS Irirangi is the naval radio receiving and transmitting station at Waiouru. HMNZS Wakefield is the administrative unit for RNZN personnel in the Wellington area.


CategoryAt 31 March
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Regular forces
      Officers (male and female)377384393429
      Ratings (male and female)2 1982 0832 1732 117
            Total2 5752 4672 5652 546
Non-regular forces
      Royal New Zealand Naval Reserve (officers)1111
      Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (all ranks)508497498512
      Emergency list of Officers of the Naval Reserves84....27
      Royal New Zealand Naval Fleet Reserve (ratings)703......
            Total1 296498499540

Heaving on a line aboard the survey ship HMNZS Monowai. Women have been going to sea in non-combatant ships of the Royal New Zealand Navy since February 1987.

Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve—There is a division of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve in each of the four main centres where reservists are given basic naval training.

New Zealand Army

The Army comprises regular, territorial, and reserve elements and is structured to provide the following operational options:

  1. A Ready Reaction Force based on an infantry battalion group consisting of Regular Force personnel.

  2. A deployable brigade group comprising Regular and Territorial Force personnel.

  3. Force troops, such as the Special Air Service, Force Intelligence Group and Signals to operate with or independently of the Ready Reaction Force and the deployable Brigade group.

Command and administration. The Chief of General Staff commands the Army, supported by the Army General Staff. The Army has the following structure:

  1. Headquarters Land Force Command is responsible for the two operational components of the Army, namely: the Ready Reaction Force, and the Force troops.

  2. Headquarters Support Command is responsible for the provision of individual training, static support and facilities, and base support.


Army unitsRegular Force unitsMajor integrated units
Regular and territorial unitsMajor weapons and armoured fighting vehicles
Source: New Zealand Defence Force.
Infantry battalions26 
Armoured squadron12 
Field artillery battery15 
Engineer squadrons12 
Signals squadrons13 
SAS group 1 
Transport squadrons 2 
Field workshops11 
Base workshop12 
Supply companies1  
Base supply battalion1  
Field hospital 1 
Combat reconnaissance vehicles (tracked)  26
M113 armoured personnel-carrier family of vehicles  78
105 mm guns/howitzers  44


CategoryAt 31 March

* Class A and class B reserves.

Source: New Zealand Defence Force.

Regular forces
      Officers (male and female)814752662677
      Other ranks (male and female)4 9044 4284 2264 135
            Total5 7185 1804 8884 812
Non-regular forces
      Territorial Force (all ranks)6 0505 6275 1384 578
      Officers Reserve120119122141
      Other ranks*1 2221 3291 5301 787
            Total7 3927 0756 7906 506

Royal New Zealand Air Force

Command and administration. The RNZAF is structured to provide forces for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance, offensive air support and air transport in New Zealand's area of interest.

The Chief of Air Staff commands the Royal New Zealand Air Force supported by the Air Staff.

Organisation. The RNZAF in New Zealand is organised into two functional groups: Operations Group, with its headquarters at RNZAF Base Auckland, is responsible for all operational functions and operational flying training; Support Group, with its headquarters at RNZAF Base Wigram, is responsible for all recruitment, basic flying training and ground trades training as well as certain support functions such as supply and depot level maintenance. RNZAF Base Shelly Bay acts as the administrative and domestic base for all RNZAF personnel assigned to Wellington for duty in Air Staff and Defence Force Headquarters. Operational flying units are based at RNZAF Base Auckland, RNZAF Base Ohakea and a Detachment of Iroquois helicopters at RNZAF Base Wigram. The RNZAF Museum is located at RNZAF Base Wigram.

Engineering. Aircraft technical services are co-ordinated by Air Staff with specific levels of aircraft maintenance assigned to the bases and squadrons. The overhaul, repair and some manufacturing of aeronautical equipment is carried out at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. A proportion of repair and overhaul work is contracted to the private sector in New Zealand and overseas.


Operational units role Aircraft Location
Source: New Zealand Defence Force.
Maritime6 Orions
2 Boeing 727s
9 Andovers
5 Hercules
Helicopters10 Iroquois
7 Wasps (operated by RNZN)
Attack/close Air support20 skyhawks (including 6 based at NAS Nowra, NSA)RNZAF Base Ohakea
Advanced flying training and attack transition training 9 Strikemasters
9 Aermacchi
Flying training4 Air tourers
14 Air trainers
5 Sioux helicopters
RNZAF Base Wigram
Helicopter support 4 Iroquois  


CategoryAt 31 March
Source: New Zealand Defence Force.
Regular forces
      Officers (male and female)542643654634
      Airmen and airwomen3 5303 4223 4253 223
            Total4 0724 0654 0793 857
Non-regular forces
      Territorial Air Force224227237219
      Active Reserve902696948
      General Reserve203156134120

Flying Officer Sarah Nicholson, a navigator in the RNZAF, at work on an Orion.

Security Intelligence Service

Subject to the control of the Minister in Charge of the Security Intelligence Service, the functions of the service are to obtain, correlate, and evaluate intelligence relevant to security and to advise ministers on security matters. The Security Intelligence Service does not enforce security measures. Nor does it institute surveillance of any person or class of persons by reason only of his, her, or their involvement in lawful protest or dissent in respect of any matter affecting the constitution, laws, or government of New Zealand.

During the year ended 31 March 1992, 2 interception 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). The average term of each warrant was 2 months and 21 days. The method of interception used was listening devices.


Year ended 31 MarchGross expenditureIncrease over previous year

* Year ended 30 June.

Source: Security Intelligence Service.



  • 3.1–33 Ministry of External Relations and Trade.

  • 3.4 Ministry of Defence; New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.

Special articles

Ministry of Defence; Ministry of External Relations and Trade.

Further information

Diplomatic List. Diplomatic and Consular Representatives in New Zealand. Ministry of External Relations and Trade (twice-yearly).

External Relations and Trade—a Guide to the Ministry and its Work. Ministry of External Relations and Trade.

Information Bulletins (including an annual bulletin on disarmament and arms control). Ministry of External Relations and Trade.

Overseas Posts, a List of New Zealand Representatives Abroad. Ministry of External Relations and Trade (twice-yearly).

Report of the Ministry of Defence (Parl. paper G. 4).

Report of the Ministry of External Relations and Trade (Parl. paper A. 1).

New Zealand External Relations and Trade Record. Ministry of External Relations and Trade (Monthly except January).

Chapter 4. Population

One year old's birthday party, Dunedin.

The demography of New Zealand has changed dramatically in the past hundred years. The nation has passed through a ‘demographic transition’ similar to those experienced by most western countries, and despite continued reliance on agricultural exports, has become highly urbanised.

Family formation patterns have changed radically, the divorce rate has soared, and de facto unions have become common. The average family size has shrunk to less than half of what it was and is now at a historic low. Substantial reductions in mortality mean that New Zealanders now expect to live, on average, over 20 years longer than they did a century ago.

The population age structure has also undergone profound changes, largely as a result of peaks and troughs in the birth rate. The number of elderly New Zealanders has increased over 20-fold since 1876, and the population is ageing—a process that is expected to hasten when the ‘baby boom’ generation reaches retirement age after the turn of the century. Low birth rates, recent emigration levels and the ‘greying’ of population have raised the prospect of a future slow growth or no growth environment.

The following discussions on population issues cover only the years since World War II, and more particularly the past 30 years. The aim is to highlight modern trends in New Zealand's demography and present those population changes from over the last half century which have affected, and continue to affect, the general development of the country.

4.1 Population growth

The dramatic changes in the first 150 years of European settlement in New Zealand were frequently consistent with, and indicative of, international social and economic trends. In a nation of New Zealand's size and youth however, the results of these trends often had a profound effect and impact. The almost cyclic nature of depression and recovery, along with the arrival of gold rushes, world wars and assisted immigration schemes saw New Zealand's population growth rates fluctuate regularly.

The population of New Zealand reached 500 000 in 1880 boosted by the introduction of government-assisted immigration. The first million was surpassed in 1908 following the economic recovery from the Depression of the 1880s and 1890s. In the aftermath of World War II the growth rate climbed dramatically (in comparison to a stagnation in the early 1930s) as the baby-boom and increased immigration made their impact. The second million of population was reached in 1952, 44 years after the first million with the third added, only 21 years later, in 1973. Almost one-fifth of this population growth came from net immigration. Since 1973 New Zealand's population has increased by just under one-half of a million to reach 3.45 million at December 1991.

Over the past 20 years there have been significant fluctuations in the population growth rate caused by wide swings in the level and direction of the external migration balance. In absolute terms, New Zealand's population grew by a record 266 752 during 1971–76, only 46 354 over 1976–81, 131 347 during 1981–86 and 127 866 over the latest intercensal period, 1986–91.

The decline in population growth during the 1970s and 1980s was again a noticeable international trend. A number of other developed countries, including Denmark, France, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, have all experienced reduced growth rates during this period.


Census*Total populationIntercensal increase
NumberPercentAnnual average (percent)

* Omits censuses of 1861, 1864, 1867 and 1871 as censuses of Maori population were not taken in these years.

1858, 24 December115 462.........
1874, 1 March344 984.........
1878, 3 March458 007113 02332.767.33
1881, 3 April534 03076 02316.605.10
1886, 28 March620 45186 42116.183.07
1891, 5 April668 65148 2007.771.49
1896, 12 April743 21474 56311.152.13
1901, 31 March815 86272 6489.771.89
1906, 29 April936 309120 44714.762.75
1911, 2 April1 058 312122 00313.032.52
1916, 15 October1 149 22590 9138.591.50
1921, 17 April1 271 668122 44310.652.27
1926, 20 April1 408 139136 47110.732.06
1936, 24 March1 573 812165 67311.771.13
1945, 25 September1 702 330128 5188.170.83
1951, 17 April1 939 472237 14213.932.37
1956, 17 April2 174 062234 59012.102.31
1961, 18 April2 414 984240 92211.082.12
1966, 22 March2 676 919261 93510.852.11
1971, 23 March2 862 631185 7126.941.35
1976, 23 March3 129 383266 7529.321.80
1981, 24 March3 175 73746 3541.480.29
1986, 4 March3 307 084131 3474.140.82
1991, 5 March3 434 950127 8663.870.77

Table 4.2. POPULATION, 1939–1991

YearTotal population at 31 DecemberMean population for year ended 31 December
R Revised.
1,9391 641 600  1 628 500  
1,9401 633 600  1 637 300  
1,9411 631 200  1 630 900  
1,9421 636 400  1 639 500  
1,9431 642 000  1 635 600  
1,9441 676 300  1 655 800  
1,9451 727 800  1 694 700  
1,9461 781 200  1 759 600  
1,9471 817 500  1 798 300  
1,9481 853 900  1 834 700  
1,9491 892 100  1 871 700  
1,9501 927 700  1 909 100  
1,9511 970 500  1 947 600  
1,9522 024 600  1 996 200  
1,9532 074 700  2 048 800  
1,9542 118 400  2 094 900  
1,9552 164 800  2 139 000  
1,9562 209 200  2 182 800  
1,9572 262 800  2 232 500  
1,9582 316 000  2 285 800  
1,9592 359 700  2 334 600  
1,9602 403 600  2 377 000  
1,9612 461 300  2 426 700  
1,9622 515 800  2 484 900  
1,9632 566 900  2 536 900  
1,9642 617 000  2 589 100  
1,9652 663 800  2 635 300  
1,9662 711 300  2 682 600  
1,9672 745 000  2 727 700  
1,9682 773 000  2 753 500  
1,9692 804 000  2 780 100  
1,9702 852 100  2 819 600  
1,9712 898 500  2 864 200  
1,9722 959 700  2 915 600  
1,9733 024 900  2 977 100  
1,9743 091 900  3 041 800  
1,9753 143 700  3 100 100  
1,9763 163 400  3 131 800  
1,9773 166 400  3 142 600  
1,9783 165 200  3 143 500  
1,9793 163 900  3 137 800  
1,9803 176 400  3 144 000  
1,9813 194 500  3 156 700  
1,9823 226 800  3 180 800  
1,9833 264 800  3 221 700  
1,9843 293 000  3 252 800  
1,9853 303 100  3 271 500  
1,9863 313 500R3 277 000R
1,9873 342 100R3 303 600R
1,9883 345 200R3 317 000R
1,9893 369 800R3 330 200R
1,9903 410 400R3 362 500R
1,9913 449 700  3 406 200  


Percentage annual increase

4.2 Distribution of population

Three major trends stand out prominently in the geographic distribution and redistribution of New Zealand's population over the last 150 years. The first is an increasing proportion of the people living in the north of the country. The second is a tendency for the people to move from the south to the north. The third is for an increasing degree of urbanisation and in particular, a concentration of people in the main urban centres.

North and South Islands

Following the end of the gold boom in the South Island in the 1870s the proportion of the total population living in the South Island began to steadily decrease. From the 1896 census onward the population of the North Island has exceeded that of the South.

Since that time the North Island's population has continued to expand at a greater rate, and its share of the total population has continued to grow. In 1951, 68 percent of the population resided in the North Island, by 1971 this figure has risen to almost 72 percent and in 1991 was at 74 percent.

Auckland is a key region in internal migration patterns, accruing population at the expense of most other regions. The second major region for receiving migrants was Waikato.

In most cases population flows favoured regions to the north. Thus, Southland lost population to Otago, Otago to Canterbury, Canterbury lost to Wellington and Wellington lost to Auckland.

The significance of the ‘drift north’, however, must be put in perspective. Internal migration is not a one-way process. Typically, for each migration stream moving in one direction there is an opposing counter stream. Further, a sizeable proportion of internal migration occurs between adjacent regions. The major flows over long distances, however, are mainly between major urban areas.

The balance of urban and rural components of population is another major feature of New Zealand's changing demography.


CensusNorth IslandSouth IslandTotal population
1,9361 018 038555 7741 573 812
1,9451 146 292556 0061 702 298
1,9511 313 869625 6031 939 472
1,9561 497 364676 6982 174 062
1,9611 684 785730 1992 414 984
1,9661 893 326783 5932 676 919
1,9712 051 363811 2682 862 631
1,9762 268 393860 9903 129 383
1,9812 322 989852 7483 175 737
1,9862 441 615865 4693 307 084
1,9912 553 413881 5373 434 950

Many influences have contributed to the persistence and amplification of the population differential between the two islands. The North Island has had a higher birth rate, a lower mortality rate and, as a result, a higher rate of natural increase. The bulk of overseas migrants settle in the North Island and people are also gained internally from the South Island.

Internal migration

The movement of people within and between regions is an important determinant of New Zealand's population distribution. Overall, New Zealanders are a mobile people and, while the majority of movement is within regions, there is a significant traffic of people between regions. These latter flows have the greater impact on regional populations. In addition to affecting the size of the population of different regions, inter-regional migration also influences age structures, fertility levels and population growth rates.

For the last hundred years the trend has been for a northward drift of people. 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 over this period being Auckland and Bay of Plenty in the North Island and Nelson-Marlborough and Canterbury in the South Island.

Figure 4.1. URBAN DRIFT
Ratio of urban to rural population

91 year old Dorothy Strong presenting a bouquet to Dame Catherine Tizard, Dunedin.


Territorial authority*Census of Population 1986Census of Population 1991Estimated at 31 March 1992

* Boundaries as at 5 March 1991.

† Figures have been rounded. Because of rounding the individual figures do not always sum to the stated totals.

‡ Includes persons on shipboard and the populations of Campbell, Kermadec, Mayor and Motiti Islands (not within city, county or district boundaries).

      North Shore144 149152 134153 300
      Waitakere122 581136 716139 700
      Auckland301 428315 668316 900
      Manukau206 741226 147229 800
      Hamilton95 388101 448102 500
      Napier52 51251 64551 500
      Palmerston North66 82170 31872 300
      Porirua45 66346 60147 000
      Upper Hutt37 29037 09237 000
      Lower Hutt95 34294 54094 500
      Wellington149 868150 301150 100
      Nelson35 91937 94338 300
      Christchurch286 601292 858293 700
      Dunedin114 349116 577117 100
            Subtotal, cities1 754 6521 829 9881 843 700
      Far North47 91251 56852 000
      Whangarei62 54262 64462 800
      Kaipara17 20017 32517 350
      Rodney45 88355 78457 700
      Papakura32 76536 55337 200
      Franklin37 32842 19343 300
      Thames-Coromandel21 71525 03725 600
      Hauraki15 90416 92117 150
      Waikato36 47537 55637 800
      Matamata-Piako29 40929 40829 400
      Waipa35 55337 03137 300
      Otorohanga9 2829 2319 230
      South Waikato28 26626 18625 800
      Waitomo10 52210 0749 960
      Taupo29 02730 72130 900
      Western Bay of Plenty26 91230 13730 800
      Tauranga60 19467 33368 700
      Rotorua62 91265 09665 100
      Whakatane31 18532 11232 300
      Kawerau8 3118 1358 110
      Opotiki8 1348 6768 850
      Gisborne45 75844 36144 300
      Wairoa10 68010 37110 350
      Hastings64 37164 69364 800
      antral Hawke's Bay13 05412 59012 550
      New Plymouth66 87867 95168 200
      Stratford10 0869 8469 780
      South Taranaki30 77029 51929 300
      Ruapehu19 46118 10418 050
      Wanganui44 01945 08245 300
      Rangitikei17 69916 67616 450
      Manawatu25 82627 18227 400
      Tararua19 88419 48219 450
      Horowhenua28 85829 47629 600
      Kapiti Coast29 75435 30936 300
      Masterton22 50822 94723 000
      Carterton6 3366 9137 030
      South Wairarapa8 7479 0379 120
      Tasman33 72936 41636 700
      Marlborough34 85436 76537 100
      Kaikoura3 5293 7113 720
      Buller11 15110 94110 950
      Grey14 30013 74213 600
      Westland9 5199 2509 020
      Hurunui9 2809 5699 620
      Waimakariri25 40027 86228 300
      Banks Peninsula7 2327 6397 660
      Selwyn20 52021 35921 500
      Ashburton24 85524 43524 400
      Timaru43 39443 20842 400
      Mackenzie4 8665 0574 220
      Waimate8 2347 7937 740
      Waitaki23 26822 99122 900
      Central Otago16 80515 69615 650
      Queenstown-Lakes12 02415 12314 400
      Clutha19 20118 30318 150
      Southland34 57033 68133 100
      Gore13 87713 59613 550
      Invercargill57 04256 14855 900
            Subtotal, districts1 549 7701 602 5451 608 900
      Chatham Islands County775760760
      Population outside territorial authority areas1 8871 657..
            Total, New Zealand3 307 0843 434 9503 454 900


RegionCensus of Population 1991Estimated at 31 March 1992Estimated population change 1991–92

* Boundaries as at 5 March 1991.

† Includes Kermadec Islands and oil rigs.

‡ Includes Chatham Islands County and Campbell Island.

North Island  numberpercent
Northland131 620132 3007000.5
Auckland953 980966 30012 3001.3
Waikato338 959341 2002 2000.7
Bay of Plenty208 163210 5002 3001.1
Gisborne44 38744 300−100−0.2
Hawke's Bay139 479139 400−100−0.1
Taranaki107 222107 200----
Manawatu-Wanganui226 616228 8002 2001.0
Wellington402 892404 2001 3000.3
Remainder North Island95100----
            Subtotal, North Island2 553 4132 574 30020 9000.8
South Island
Nelson-Marlborough113 487114 4009000.8
West Coast35 38035 100−300−0.8
Canterbury442 392442 200−200..
Otago186 067185 600−500−0.3
Southland103 442102 500−900−0.9
Remainder South Island769800----
            Subtotal, South Island881 537880 600−900−0.1
            Total, New Zealan