New Zealand Official Yearbook 2000

Te Pukapuka Houanga Whaimana o Aotearoa


Shelley Watson/Sublime Design

Statistics New Zealand

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Te Hakituatahi o Aotearoa
The first flag of New Zealand 1835

For a detailed history of Te Hakituatahi o Aotearoa, see section 3.5: National emblems and anthems.

Heraldic description: on a white field, a red St George's Cross; in the upper canton, next to the staff on a blue field, a smaller St George's Cross in red, severed from the blue by a fimbriation of black, half the width of the red and in the centre of each blue quarter a white eight-point star.

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 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.

The coat of arms was revised in 1956 following further constitutional changes when 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’.

New Zealand Official Yearbook 2000

ISSN 0078 0170

ISBN 1-86953-465-4

This book is copyright. Except for the purpose of fair review, no part may be stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including recording or storage in any information retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publishers. No reproduction may be made, whether by photocopying or by any other means, unless a licence has been obtained from the publisher or its agent.

Copyright © Statistics New Zealand 2000.

Published in 2000 by David Bateman Ltd, 30 Tarndale Grove, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand. Printed by PrintLink, Wellington, New Zealand.

Table of Contents

List of Tables


For over 100 years Statistics New Zealand has produced the New Zealand Official Yearbook. Each edition has faithfully balanced the essential facts and figures of New Zealand life with a snapshot of the year's events and achievements. This is the 102nd edition of the Yearbook and while it continues in this time-honoured tradition it also recognises the change to a new century by touching on the important events of the last 100 years.

A number of major articles have been commissioned to explore this year's theme, “New Zealand in the 20th century and beyond: a statistical history of our century and future prospects”. These explore many major social and political events that have taken place and highlight the impact of the past 100 years of change. The articles can be found in the relevant areas of the book. In addition, there are a number of articles scattered throughout the book celebrating the lives of famous New Zealanders and recalling the events that shaped New Zealand as we know it today.

The new century also brings change for the Yearbook. This edition is the first published by Statistics New Zealand in conjunction with David Bateman Ltd. From this year, the New Zealand Official Yearbook will be published as a book every two years. Options for the in-between years are still being explored but the Statistics New Zealand website now contains a wealth of material to complement the traditional range of published material. The website content includes a condensed version of the Yearbook with links to the latest Statistics New Zealand figures and a range of other websites.

There are many people who have worked on the Yearbook whom I would particularly like to thank. First among them are those who generously supplied us with information. At last count there were around 400 contributors whose goodwill supplied the bulk of this Yearbook's data. I would also like to thank the authors of the commissioned articles and the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Finally, a special acknowledgement to the Statistics New Zealand publishing team and the typesetting team at PrintLink for all their hard work.

Dianne Macaskill
Acting Government Statistician
June 2000


The 2000 Yearbook was produced by the Publishing and Library Services Division of Statistics New Zealand, with the assistance of many individuals and organisations — these are listed in the ‘Contributors’ section at the end of each chapter. The department wishes to record its thanks to them and to the following.

Divisional manager: Helen Stott
Publishing operations manager: Jim Hutchison / Michelle Fry
Editorial team leader: Kirsten Wong
Editors: Julie Baga, Emma Turrell (with project management responsibilities)
Editorial assistance: Megan Hutchison, Tim Barlow, Shirley Dixon, Kathy Smith, Jane Williams
Special articles compiling editor: Patrick Ongley
Contract editors and writers: Nicky McCreanor, Megan Huber, Roger Christensen
Bibliographic checking: Brett Russell, Beryl Anderson
Photographs and illustrations: Vicki Robson and Ngaio Double (editors), Kathy Smith, Judy Lyons
Maps and diagrams: Peter McGrath, Maureen Metcalfe, Merran Plunket
Indexer: Alison Lipski

Oral history: Rosemary Goodyear
Biographies: Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Special historical articles:

New Zealand in the 20th century: David Green, Historical Branch, Department of Internal Affairs

Population: Gillian Smeith, Michael Ryan, Ian Richards and Mansoor Khawaja, Demography, Statistics New Zealand

Social framework: Kate Lang and Patrick Ongley, Social Policy, Statistics New Zealand

Maori: E M K Douglas, Maori Studies, University of Auckland

Communications: Marianne Doczi, Andrew McCallum, Anthony Morris, Mark Holman and Frank March, Ministry of Economic Development

Employment: Dr John E Martin, Department of History, Victoria University of Wellington

The environment: Rosemary Goodyear and Blair Cardno, Regional and Environmental Statistics, Statistics New Zealand

The economy: Professor Gary Hawke. School of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington

Transport: Dr James Watson, School of History, Philosophy and Politics, Massey University

PrintLink: Shelley Tildesley and Lisa Wright (typesetting), Jon Hartstone (output) and Sharon Marson (scanning).

How to use the 2000 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 included to familiarise you with the book.

What is the Yearbook?

The New Zealand Official Yearbook is published with two main purposes in mind. Firstly, it is a compendium of facts and figures on New Zealand. Secondly, it describes major changes in New Zealand's administrative framework for the year preceding publication.

The Yearbook contains the most currently available statistics for the 1999 year on particular topics. It also tells its readers where 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 Contents (overleaf), which lists chapter headings and major sections within chapters. In approaching the book this way it is worth bearing in mind that the 28 chapters follow a ‘logical’ progression. The first few chapters describe the physical setting as well as New Zealand's history, system of government and international relations. A description of its people comes next, followed by social framework and institutions. The second section of the Yearbook begins with an overview of New Zealand's work force and moves to a discussion of the nation in broad economic terms. Then follow descriptions of each of the constituent sectors, ending with a chapter on public sector finances.

Throughout the book cross references are made, usually by reference to numbered sections within chapters (which appear in the headline 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. 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 Yearbook publication.

For this edition the figures published are the latest available at 26 October 1999, although some were collected up until early in 2000.


The source of a particular table is noted at the foot of the table. The following symbols are used in all the tables:

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.

A glossary of statistical terms used is given at the back of the book.


Statistics New Zealand has made every effort to obtain, analyse and edit the information and statistics used in the Yearbook. However, Statistics New Zealand gives no warranty that the information or data supplied contains no errors, and shall not be liable for any loss or damage suffered consequent on the use, directly or indirectly, of the material contained in the Yearbook.

Looking through the 20th century

By Len Cook, Government Statistician, 1991—2000

We start the 21st century with some of our path ahead strongly foreshadowed by how we have arrived at our current state.

Economic, social, political and technological changes and advancements over the last quarter-century have wrought a distinctively New Zealand people from global origins, ideas and forces.

These influences are becoming more distinct, but also increasingly interconnected, not only to trends here in New Zealand, but in the world we trade with. The resulting changes in the face of our world are too complex to be canvassed in one article; however, here are some of the issues that face New Zealand in its global future.


New Zealand's population will continue to grow, although at a slowing rate, until deaths exceed births in some 40 years’ time. Declining fertility, rising life expectancy and the ageing of the post-war baby boomers will all contribute to this. Each of New Zealand's significant ethnic groups reflects this trend differently, but the demographic position of each will probably converge in the very long term.

Maori will experience the current European/Pakeha age distribution in about 40 years’ time. The fastest growth in population will probably be experienced by the Pacific Islands communities, whose higher fertility will lead to a doubling from 6 to 12 percent in their share of the total population. At present, the Asian population is relatively young and is projected to grow at a faster rate than the total population, although future government immigration policies may impact on this. The increasing number of births to these ethnic groups raises education, social policy, health and labour force considerations that government advisers, education providers, business leaders and the wider population need to recognise.

Added to this is the reality of an ageing population. The implications for health, housing, communities and their infrastructures, technology, social policy, and economic development are diverse but connected.

Social framework

New Zealand, with the rest of the world, is sharing the effects of a number of social, cultural and political revolutions. Increased living standards were associated with much of the social change that occurred after World War II. Living conditions of poorer households in the 1950s and 1960s improved, but more recently, change has involved more reallocation rather than growth in the redistributive capacity of the state.

The last 25 years have seen much social change. Living standards for many in New Zealand have declined and the traditional ages of transition, like labour force entry and retirement, are changing. We have seen a significant and continuing shift in the educational, economic and employment position of women. Increases in crime, changes in workforce expectations, the increased need for higher educational qualifications, altered leisure habits, technological change, and many other factors are both drivers and symptoms of these revolutions.

Changes in the economic policies practised by successive governments have also impacted significantly on New Zealand's social policy framework and may have far-reaching effects. Most obviously, the ability of the state to directly provide for citizens has diminished as the public sector competes less successfully with internationally competitive commercial infrastructures, citizens’ rights expand, paternalism lessens and the capacity to tax declines.

However, global calls for reduced government involvement in the lives and business of citizens have at times been at odds with the needs and expectations of New Zealanders. Community organisations now face increasing demand for their services whatever the level of government involvement. Among Maori, community and cultural organisations may have more significance, particularly because they attempt to relieve the effects of less access to paid employment and the unevenness of outcomes in health care, education and other government-directed processes.

Education, crime, health, care and welfare of all people in a community — particularly those most at risk — are just some of the social issues impacting on communities today and leading to major social issues in the future. Stresses on the family, and in certain communities, have sometimes reached crisis point, and the country needs to consider and plan for the kind of social environment we want in the future.


The past 100 years for Maori have been a time of change, uncertainty, and struggle against strong and competing forces. It is probable that of all groups. Maori have faced the most challenge. They have not only survived the threat of extinction due to the onslaught of war, disease and other results of colonisation; they have emerged as a strong, vibrant and contributing force to the success of this country.

Population growth, reduced mortality rates and an increasing life expectancy have gone hand in hand with a cultural renaissance that has seen a resurgence of te reo and nga tikanga Maori, and increasing participation by Maori in government and public sector affairs, business and education and all aspects of life.

Discrepancies still remain, however, when the development and participation of Maori in New Zealand is compared with non-Maori. The benefits of improving Maori health and life expectancy, educational achievement, employment rates and participation in Government and policy making are beyond doubt. The successes achieved so far by Maori and non-Maori in these areas show the value and positive outcome of a combined focus. The risks to the community of not working with Maori to deal with historical issues still affecting them, such as land confiscation, over-representation in the criminal justice system, and reliance on welfare, will impact on New Zealand as a whole.

The future holds great potential as well as major hurdles for Maori to face. For example, the rapidly increasing age of the workforce over the next 10 years comes at a time of growth in the knowledge economy. This creates new opportunities for educated young Maori and Pacific Islands men and women, particularly in the ever-growing city of Auckland. At the same time escalating technological advances may add barriers to opportunities if Maori are not resourced to learn about and use technology. There are also risks of failure by the education system to adequately provide for the needs of Maori.

New Zealand and its people are continuing to mature and develop, redefining themselves and their place in the world. Globalisation will challenge and also reinforce the identity of New Zealanders, as we come to value the qualities that are distinctly our own. Maori have shown an ability to adapt to significant change, something the rest of New Zealand will face more as time goes by.


Information and communications technology have created huge opportunities to change the way in which information is gathered, used and disseminated. Technology such as the Internet, initially the preserve of a select few groups, has moved towards being both a tool and a driver of business and social interaction. The capacity to deconstruct, analyse and synthesise minute, seemingly immeasurable phenomena and processes leads us to genetic engineering, robotics, satellite technology and many other technological and biological advances. These changes not only empower our leaders but revolutionise the processes used in every form of endeavour and the expectations of individuals in almost every stage of life.

The beneficiaries of these new tools are as diverse as their uses for them. Increased understanding and empowerment of users will help to drive development, much as the visionaries of computer technology saw that the development of powerful software would push the development of supporting hardware.

As development continues to impact on our social and economic environment, New Zealand and other countries need to ensure there are adequate opportunities for all members of society to learn about and grow with these advances. A particular issue for New Zealand must be the currently bridgeable gap between those who have the access to the technology and those who haven't, particularly Maori and Pacific Islands peoples and other minority ethnic groups. Understanding of and access to technology is essential if people are to participate equally in our society.


Work has underpinned economic and social policy in New Zealand for over a century, from the 1893 legislation on industrial stabilisation, through to the creation of Work and Income New Zealand in 1998. We continue to have expectations based on the wealth of the 1950s, yet since then we have experienced a continuing relative decline in the level of GDP growth. Future working lives and income levels for all age groups may continue to change, perhaps challenged by a shorter working life, but its quality increased by better education and health.

The quality of working life was originally judged by access to full-time jobs, although the spread of working hours, the nature of new jobs and their locations, occupational safety and the need for equal employment policies have been added to the equation. Our quality of working life may also be judged by access to work-based training. This may shape our adaptation to the emerging information society.

From our historical mainstays of agricultural production and manufacturing, we are moving towards an emphasis on a knowledge economy. Offset against this is the increasing number of low-paid, low-skilled service industries. Employment in New Zealand is evolving at a pace reflected by the trends in the global economy.

Developing the capacity of the New Zealand workforce to meet the needs of a knowledge economy, and also to compete in global labour markets, requires quality outcomes from our education system. At present we may be losing ground.

For women, a huge educational shift has occurred over recent decades. Increasing numbers of young women are entering the workforce with higher levels of education, but older women without qualifications may, like older men, face limitations on access to future employment.


The importance of the environment and its contribution to wealth, through tourism, lifestyle and ecological balance, is now being recognised by orthodox economies. There is also recognition that, as in the past, current wealth creation is often stimulated by use of non-renewable resources, which has indirect costs in addition to the cost of their depletion.

Around the globe people are becoming aware of the effects of the last century, in particular on the environment in which we live and on which we depend for our very existence. There is more international travel and trade, a common dependence on the limited resources the earth provides, increased local and international research into the impacts of human activities on our environment and the ability to broadcast information about these impacts around the world in a short space of time.

The balancing of the interests of current and future generations is difficult, and many of these issues need to be, and are, considered on a global scale. When considering the future we can be better informed, however, by statistical evidence of current environmental change and the environment's response to influences from human endeavour.

Economy and industry

Global organisations today operate in far wider financial, capital and labour markets. Globalisation of industry has been made possible by huge declines in transport and communications costs, convergence towards common global institutional structures, and the knowledge economy with its new organisational forms and infrastructures. Government reflects this, with treaties, alliances and involvement of regional governments ebbing and flowing as the market dictates.

The diminishing costs of trade, capital and production resources in local and international markets are features of contemporary globalisation. The consequences are many and can be viewed by a community as positive or negative, depending on their impact.

Individual regions may face reduced access to and involvement in economic opportunities and employment, as well as a reduced ability to absorb and deal with change. Economic development and its impact on communities, cultures and the environment are also issues that may affect individual communities, countries and even global regions.

Global issues in trade, resource management and security require governments to take an international perspective. New Zealand's export penetration has risen over the last two decades. As a small dependent economy. New Zealand now faces large, coincident fluctuations in its commodity demand, capital base, and its main productive factors. All have become increasingly mobile. The capacity of the state to operate countercyclical policies, for example increased state spending during low points in business cycles, is quite small, as public investment has reduced and operations of the public and private sectors have become significantly integrated.

Forty years ago New Zealand was a trading nation with a single dominant partner, the United Kingdom. We now have many partners, have experienced less growth in exports than many similar countries, and are still predominantly an exporter of farm products, in various processed forms. We import the lion's share of our new investment capital, and continue to export a significant part of each year's new graduates. We have seen tourism emerge as a strong income earner, and seen our do-it-yourself attributes give us a good start in the new knowledge economies. Services have also increased strongly over the last half-century, as manufacturing and agriculture have declined.

The public, household and business savings trends in New Zealand show very high savings volatility. Households invest considerably in housing although there is a trend towards lower rates of home ownership among younger age groups. Apart from this, New Zealand has very low levels of investment compared with other OECD countries, and private investment is particularly poor. Some of this may be a logical consequence of a growing share of New Zealand's large firms being part of internationally networked organisations that have centralised research elsewhere in the globe. One main growth sector, tourism, has few investment benefits, limited capital, and less human capital, consistent with a knowledge economy.

New Zealand's production and income have shown different rates of growth over the last few years with national income rising by less than gross domestic product (GDP). This is the result of increasing payments of dividends and interest etc to the rest of the world. In other words, a growing proportion of the income generated by New Zealand's economic activity is flowing overseas. This has also contributed to New Zealand's balance of payments deficit increasing every year since 1994.


New Zealand's isolation from the rest of the world, and the challenges the country's geography created for its inhabitants, has meant we have embraced new and improved modes of transportation. Developments in this area have affected the nature of work, travel, leisure and tourism. Our economy is unavoidably linked with our ability to transport people, livestock, agricultural, pastoral and manufactured products both within the country and overseas.

The motor vehicle has taken on an important role in New Zealand life. In the last 50 years it has opened up access to remote parts of the country and enabled us to live and work in quite separate areas. As with other forms of transportation, our love affair with these vehicles have downsides, including increased pollution levels and the frequent traffic jams that have become a regular part of commuter life.

Increased international travel has made New Zealand a more cosmopolitan society. Our perishable goods — such as cut flowers, chilled meat and seafood and fresh soft fruits — have added to our export earnings, and we are able to host significant international events in spite of our relative isolation.

From a society dependent on horse, bullock and sail, the rise of steam and the development of an extensive rail system began a transition to easier methods of personal travel. Adoption of other mechanised transportation systems such as steam ships, motor vehicles and aircraft has meant travel, transport and a more mobile lifestyle today are beyond anything envisaged by the average New Zealander at the beginning of the last century.

The future

While we cannot be certain what the future will hold, it is part of our essential humanity to wonder. There are certain statistical trends that we predict will continue: the number of births will continue to decline and our population will feature a much larger proportion of elderly than now. Maori, Pacific Islands and other ethnic groups will continue to grow as a proportion of total population. We are seeing the emergence of a broad-based inclusive ‘kiwi’ identity, resulting from the mixing of all ethnicities, at the same time as their distinctiveness is more clearly reflected in our cultural base and attitude.

Our economy, culture, public institutions and processes are increasingly converging with those of Australia. As the trans-Tasman links increase, migrating New Zealanders move overseas rather than to Auckland, challenging historical patterns. Could this be a sign of an increasing partnership between two nations which have historically had a healthy competition? Will New Zealand's environment retain its international ‘clean and green’ image and how will we use this to our benefit? Can Auckland's infrastructure and environment cope as it continues to expand? How will we meet the educational and welfare needs of our young people? Can our economy lead the way in an increasingly globalised world? Will our fisheries survive the impact of global overfishing, warming and pollution?

There is an interdependency of the issues we focus on in the special articles of the Official New Zealand Yearbook 2000. Population, social framework, Maori, communications, employment, environment, economy and industry, and transport — the developments and contractions in one are reflected in and influenced by issues in the others. As development in transport has made fundamental changes in our economy and industry, these in turn have made a huge impact on our environment. Employment, or the lack of it, impacts on our social framework and our ability to participate at an equal level in all aspects of the community.

Despite their apparent precision, statistical trends allow us to build only a partial picture of what might result long after the 20th century from demographic, social, environmental and cultural change we have already experienced.

Chapter 1. Geography

Rubble resulting from erosion, Wellington, 1974.

1.1 Physical features

New Zealand lies in the south-west Pacific Ocean and comprises two main and a number of smaller islands. Their combined area of 270,500 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 20km 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 160° 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, 850km east of Christchurch; Raoul Island in the Kermadec Group, 930km north-east of the Bay of Islands; and Campbell Island, 590km south of Stewart Island. New Zealand also has jurisdiction over the territories of Tokelau and the Ross Dependency, which are described in chapter 4.


Land areaSize

1Includes all internal waterways (lakes and rivers).

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

Source: Land Information New Zealand

 sq km
North Island113,729
South Island150,437
Offshore islands21,065
Stewart Island1,680
Chatham Islands963
Raoul Island34
Campbell Island113

New Zealand is more than 1,600km long and 450km 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: under a quarter of the land is 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 2,300 metres. There are also 360 glaciers in the Southern Alps. The largest are, on the east, the Tasman (length 29km), Murchison (13km), Mueller (13km), Godley (13km) and the Hooker (11km), and, on the west, the Fox (15km) and the Franz Josef (13km).


Mountain or peakElevation

1Since 1986 both the Māori and European names of this mountain have had official recognition.

2Peaks over 3,000 metres.

3Since 1998 both the Māori and European names of this mountain have had official recognition.

Source: Land Information New Zealand

North Island
    Taranaki or Egmont12,518
South Island2
    Aoraki or Cook33,754
    Hicks (St David's Dome)3,198
    Malte Brun3,155
    Elie de Beaumont3,117
    La Perouse3,079
    Glacier Peak3,007

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



1Over 150km in length from the mouth to the farthest point in the river system irrespective of name, including estimated courses through lakes.

Source: Land Information New Zealand

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


LakeMaximum depthArea

1Over 20 square kilometres in area.

Source: Land Information New Zealand and NIWA

 msq km
North Island –
South Island –
    Te Anau417344
    Benmore (artificial)12075
    Aviemore (artificial)6229
    Dunstan (artificial)7027
    Mahinerangi (artificial)3121

1.2 Geology and soils

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 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.


Soil is a product of its environment: its composition depends on the parent ingredient, the climate, the length of time it has weathered, the topography, and the vegetation under which it has formed. The complex soil pattern of New Zealand is a result of the many different kinds of rock, and the various conditions under which the soils have formed. Climate varies from such extremes as the subtropical climate of North Auckland to the cold uplands of the alpine regions and the semi-arid basins of Central Otago. The country's topography is equally varied, with 50 percent of the land classifiable as steep, 20 percent as moderately hilly, and only 30 percent as rolling or flat. The natural vegetation ranges from kauri forest to subalpine scrub, and from tussock grassland to broadleaf forest. Occasionally, occurrences such as river floods on alluvial plains, sand drifts, or a volcanic ash eruption interrupt and alter the pattern of soil development.


Apparent in the New Zealand landscape today is the evidence of episodes of intense mountain building that occurred 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 volcanoes in New Zealand now occur in the North Island, where a number are still active. They include Ruapehu, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, 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 6.0 or above occurs on average about once a year, a shock of magnitude 7.0 or above once in 10 years, and a shock of about magnitude 8.0 perhaps once a century.

The Dominion
A farmer surveys his ravaged land, August 1998, during one of New Zealand's worst droughts.


RegionSoilsVegetation and land use
North Auckland Peninsula and Auckland regionLarge areas of infertile gumland soils formerly covered with kauri; granular, oxide and ultic soils from volcanic rocks and weathered sandstone.Patchy land use. Exotic forests on lowland country and remnant kauri forest on uplands. Intensive dairying on rolling lands around Kaipara Harbour, Whangarei, Kaikohe and Dargaville. Sheep and beef on hill country.
Bay of Plenty-Waikato-Thames-Hauraki PlainsVolcanic ash covers much of the area, giving rise to deep, granular soils with good physical properties. Peaty and gley soils with high ground water on Hauraki Plains and parts of Waikato Basin.Predominantly pastoral farming (mostly dairying), exotic forestry and several large tracts of indigenous forest. Kiwifruit along coastal Bay of Plenty. Scattered maize cropping.
Volcanic PlateauPumice soils, lacking in some essential trace elements, but mostly deep, friable and highly suited to tree growth.Important watershed with large areas protected as native forest. Extensive exotic forests. Topdressing of former scrub areas with trace elements has allowed widespread farming.
East Coast-WairarapaBrown soils. Significant areas of recent alluvial soils on Gisborne and Heretaunga Plains. Pallic soils on rolling land south of Hawke's Bay.Semi-extensive sheep farming (wool and store sheep) on dry hill country. Intensive lamb production on flat to rolling plains. Market gardens and orchards near Gisborne, Napier, and Hastings. Important pip-fruit production. Vineyards. Pockets of dairying close to main ranges from Norsewood south.
TaranakiVolcanic ring plain consists of allophanic soils, usually from deep volcanic ash, but stony in west. Soft-rock uplands in east Taranaki.Distinct contrast between intensive dairying on ring plain, and severely eroded inland hill country, with many steep ridges covered in second-growth forest or dense gorse.
Manawatu-HorowhenuaSand dunes and swampy hollows common along coast. Loess-covered terraces and river flats inland. Pallic soils on drier terraces with sand soils near coast and organic and recent alluvial soils on lower plains.Intensive sheep production and cropping on the terrace country; semi-intensive sheep and beef in hill country of Rangitikei. Exotic forestry on coastal sand country.
Marlborough Sounds-NelsonPockets of fertile, recent alluvial soils on Waimea and Motueka Plains. Large areas of steepland soils and stony soils on Moutere Gravels.Intensive orchard and market gardens. Exotic forests in Marlborough Sounds and Moutere Gravels.
Marlborough-Kaikoura CoastPallic soils and brown soils with pockets of recent alluvial soils.Intensive sheep farming and cropping on river terraces, semi-intensive sheep and beef on hill country. Vineyards in lower Wairau Valley.
West CoastExtensive gleyed podzols and organic soils, with recent soils on alluvial flats.Indigenous forestry declining; national parks and reserves; exotic forestry on hill country of north Westland. Dairying on river flats.
CanterburyVery thick layer of gravel covered by variable thicknesses of fine material. Pallic soils and associated stony soils.Intensive cropping for cereals and fodder crops. Intensive sheep production, with widespread irrigation of pasture.
OtagoHigh-country brown soils on ranges, pallic soils at intermediate altitudes and semi-arid soils (often stony), in basins.Extensive sheep and beef farming in uplands. Intensive orcharding in Central Otago basins, especially for stonefruit; irrigation necessary. Market gardening in lower Taieri.
SouthlandSouthland Plain mainly deposits of gravel and silt. Brown soils and recent alluvial soils. Pallic soils inland in drier areas.Semi-intensive sheep and beef farming in rolling areas inland, and intensive fattening on plains. Dairying on plains near Invercargill.
YearLocation (eruption)Cause – hazardFatalities
1846Waihi (Lake Taupo)Debris avalanche/mudflow from thermal areac 60
1886Tarawera RiftLarge volcanic eruption108
1903Waimangu (Tarawera)Hydrothermal explosion4
1910Waihi (Lake Taupo)Debris avalanche/mudflow from thermal area1
1914White IslandDebris avalanche from crater wall11
1917Waimangu (Tarawera)Hydrothermal explosion2
1953Tangiwai (Ruapehu)Lahar and flood from crater lake151
FactorsLarge eruptionsEarthquakesFlooding
Duration of hazardsDays to decadesSeconds to minutesHours to weeks
Areas affectedLocal to nationalLocal to regionalLocal to regional
Duration of precursorsDays to yearsNilHours to days
Warning timeDays to monthsNoneHours
Planning for eventsDifficultFeasibleFeasible
HazardThreat to lifeThreat to propertyAreas affected
Ash and pumice fallGenerally low, except close to ventVariable, depends on thicknessLocal to national
Ash and pumice currentsExtremely highExtremely highLocal to regional
LavasLowExtremely highLocal
Lahars/floodingModerateHighLocal to regional
Gases/acid rainLowModerateLocal to regional

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 35km. 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 400km at the northern end, and decreases evenly to a depth of about 200km 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.

Principal earthquakes in New Zealand in 1999. New Zealand experienced another relatively quiet year for earthquakes in 1999. While over 130 earthquakes were felt in various parts of the country during the year, only three were larger than magnitude 6.0 on the Richter scale, and all of these were deep, so caused little damage. While we expect one large shallow damaging earthquake each year in New Zealand, it is not unusual to get periods when there are none because earthquake occurrence is not uniform. Also, given that nearly two-thirds of our earthquakes are deep, it is not unusual to get large deep events as was the case in 1999.

The most significant event during the year occurred on 26 October at a depth of 177km under Taupo. It was of magnitude 7.0 and was felt widely in the North Island, from Tauranga to Wellington, and as far south as Christchurch. It did not cause a significant amount of damage.

On 18 May a deep magnitude 6.5 earthquake occurred under the central North Island. This event caused mild shaking that was felt from Gisborne to Christchurch.

A 156km deep magnitude 6.0 earthquake, located 112km north-east of Whakatane on 18 August, was felt in Opotiki, Whakatane and Gisborne, and was sufficiently strong to shake goods off shelves in Opotiki. The Bay of Plenty is one of the more seismically active regions of the country, so earthquakes like this are quite common.

Various smaller earthquakes were felt throughout the country. A 57km deep magnitude 5.5 earthquake, located 33km north-west of Wellington on 3 January was felt as far away as Christchurch and caused minor damage in the Wellington region. On 21 May a shallow magnitude 4.3 earthquake caused minor damage near Omarama. The damage was quite localised because the earthquake was very shallow. On 27 August a shallow magnitude 5.5 earthquake located 134km east-north-east of Whitianga was felt in the Coromandel and in Auckland.

On 14 and 19 September two swarms of earthquakes occurred within a few kilometres of Rotorua. The largest event was only of magnitude 3.2, but events of this size can cause significant shaking because they are usually very shallow (in this case about 3km deep).

While 1999 was a quiet year for New Zealand, this was not true globally. Large devastating earthquakes occurred in Turkey, Taiwan, and Mexico. An examination of catalogues of global earthquakes shows that large earthquakes were no more frequent in 1999; it is just that some occurred by chance in populated areas.

Earthquake risk. The Earthquake Commission engaged Works Consultancy Services (WCS) to study the results of the worst foreseeable disaster that could reasonably be anticipated within a generation. WCS confirmed that this event was a 7.5 Richter scale earthquake along the Wellington fault line within the city limits. It has a probability of occurring within the next 50 years of between 8 and 11 percent, and would affect 150,000 residential properties from Palmerston North to Nelson as well as infrastructure (roads, bridges and services).

The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (IGNS) Seismological Observatory is part of a global earthquake data exchange network. IGNS routinely reports all arrival times of earthquake waves from New Zealand and elsewhere in the world, and it calculates the locations for regional earthquakes. This information is sent to the International Seismological Centre in England and the National Earthquake Information Centre in Colorado, USA. IGNS receives from the US centre by Internet, within an hour or two, the preliminary locations of large New Zealand earthquakes.

1.3 Climate

New Zealand is a long, narrow, mountainous country surrounded by a large expanse of ocean. The nearest major land mass is Australia some 1,600km to the west.

The climate of New Zealand is largely influenced by:

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

  • Its oceanic environment.

  • Its mountains, especially the main mountain chain which modifies the weather systems as they pass eastwards, and also provides a sheltering effect on the leeward side of the mountains. Local orography is the cause of a number of different ‘micro-climates’ in a given region.

The day-to-day weather is mostly determined by a series of anticyclones and troughs of low pressure in the westerlies. Consequently New Zealand weather is changeable, typically with short periods of a few days of settled or unsettled weather. At times the westerly regime breaks down and there are cold southerly outbreaks (with snow in winter and sometimes spring), or northerly intrusions of warm, moist air when tropical depressions move southwards into New Zealand latitudes in the summer.

The main mountain chain which extends much of the length of the country is a major barrier to weather systems approaching from the west. Consequently there is a marked contrast between the climates of regions west and east of the mountains, and this is much greater than north-south climatic differences.

The surrounding ocean means that New Zealand largely has a ‘marine’ climate – except in Central Otago, which most nearly approaches a ‘continental’ climate (dry with hot summers and cold winters).

Many parts of the country are subject to extremes of wind and rain, occasionally giving rise to wind damage to buildings and forests, and flooding as depressions with their fronts pass close to or over the country. The rugged terrain is an important factor in the enhancement of the wind strength and/or rainfall.

Temperature extremes are mainly confined to places east of the main ranges. High temperatures usually occur in warm north-westerly wind conditions due to the so-called föhn effect. These high temperatures are often followed by sudden falls in temperature as a cold front moves up the east coast of both islands.

The Dominion
Pedestrians battle with Wellington's wind, which gusted to 135km/hr on 28 October 1998.

Weather in 1999

1999 was notable for extreme variations and for being the second warmest year since records began in the mid-1850s. Climatic extremes included severe drought in Otago, Canterbury and Southland last summer, and heavy flooding in Northland in January and in the Southern Lakes/Central Otago region in November.

It was the most anticyclonic year on record. More anticyclones than normal occurred over the South Island and to the east of New Zealand resulting in few characteristic ‘roaring forties’ westerly gales and more frequent easterlies over the North Island.

The year started with a strong La Niña climate pattern, which continued through autumn, and then became weak through winter and early spring, only to strengthen again towards the end of the year. However, as the year progressed warm seas around New Zealand and more anticyclonic conditions were the most important features determining New Zealand's winter and early spring climate.

Rainfall. 1999 was one of the driest years since records began in 1932 in parts of Buller and south Canterbury, with rainfall totals about 80 percent or less of normal. It was also very dry in parts of western Bay of Plenty. Other drier than average areas were Auckland, Coromandel, Gisborne, Westland, and coastal Otago. These areas all recorded less than 90 percent of normal rainfall. Arapito, on the north-western corner of the South Island, registered its lowest rainfall since records began (in 1979), with only 73 percent of its average rainfall recorded in 1999.

In contrast it was wetter than average in northern areas of Northland, scattered parts of Hawke's Bay, north Canterbury, Southern Lakes, and the far south-west of the South Island. Rainfall in these regions ranged from 105 to 115 percent of normal.

Of the four main centres, Dunedin was the driest with 591mm, and Wellington was the wettest with 1,273mm. Auckland received 1,191mm, and Christchurch 675mm. Alexandra in Central Otago was the driest location the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA) measured in New Zealand, with only 408mm. North Egmont was the wettest location in 1999 measuring 6,909mm.

Temperatures. The national average temperature, calculated by NIWA, was 13.3° C, which was 0.8° C above normal. 1999 was the second warmest year since recordings began in 1853. Other unusually warm years were 1998 with 13.4° C, 1971 with 13.3° C, and 1989 and 1990 both with 13.2° C.

Mean temperatures were between 0.5 and 0.9° C above average throughout much of the South Island, as well as many northern, western, and southern areas of the North Island. There was record warmth in the west and south of the South Island, with mean temperatures at least 1.0° C above average. The warmest centre nationally was Kaitaia, with a mean temperature for 1999 of 16.3° C.

Alexander Turbull Library Observing a weather balloon, Meteorology Office, Wellington, 1948.


Temperatures were nearer normal, however, in the central North Island, and many eastern regions from Gisborne to north Canterbury.

February through March, and May through July periods, were much warmer than average. Warmer than normal sea surface temperatures persisted throughout the year in the mid and north Tasman Sea, contributing to the very warm conditions.

The highest extreme temperature for the year was 37.0° C recorded at Alexandra in hot north westerly conditions on 8 February. The lowest recorded temperature for the year was minus 9.8° C, measured at Tekapo on the morning of 6 July.

Sunshine. 1999 had more than normal sunshine in many southern arid western areas, with hours between 105 and 115 percent of normal. In contrast, below average sunshine hours occurred from the Waikato north. Invercargill had its sunniest year, since records began in 1932, with 278 hours more than average.

Nelson was the sunniest centre in 1999, recording 2,540 hours, followed by Blenheim with 2,477 hours, and Tauranga with 2,427 hours. Of the four main centres, Wellington was the sunniest with 2,161 hours, and then Christchurch with 2,037 hours.

Table 1.6. SUNSHINE HOURS 1999

CityTotal hoursNormal (hours)Departure from normal (hours)Comments

1Estimated from solar radiation.

Source: NIWA

Auckland1,9132,035-122Below average
Wellington2,1732,049+124Above average
Christchurch2,0372,057-20Near average
Dunedin11,6611,613+48Above average

Floods and storms. There were at least 16 flood-producing events during 1999, some of which were severe.

Rainfall totalled almost 100mm at Napier Airport (with higher totals at some inland sites) in the 18-hour period to 9am on 18 January, resulting in surface flooding in some areas. Rainfall was also heavy in Dargaville with thunderstorms and surface flooding.

High intensity rainfall in parts of Northland resulted in severe flash flooding in a number of Hokianga settlements, such as Panguru and Omapere on 21 January. Rainfall totalling 211mm was reported in five hours at Opononi. Flood waters were extensive, with massive land slips, and many roads and bridges washed out. The same weather system also produced extremely high intensity rainfall and serious flooding in Pukekohe, where rainfall totalled 135mm in four hours, and as much as 50mm in an hour that night. About 80 elderly residents were evacuated.

Thunderstorms with lightning affected parts of Wellington and Wairarapa during the evening of 12 March, with surface flooding overnight at some Hutt Valley and Kapiti Coast locations.

A mix of high intensity rainfall in the Dargaville catchment, combined with low pressure and a very high tide on 17 April resulted in severe flooding in the township and local farmland.

Extremely high rainfall lashed parts of the Northland region again on 25–26 April, with flash flooding, landslips, and widespread flooding in some low-lying areas. The Kaeo area of the Bay of Islands was severely affected, with rainfall totals of more than 200mm in 48 hours.

A low to the west of northern New Zealand produced further high intensity rainfall in northern New Zealand on 30 April. Some locations in Whangarei had rainfall totals of 120mm in three hours.

Extremely heavy rainfall deluged Rotorua on 1 May. Rainfall totalling 214mm fell in the 12-hour period to 1pm (with 47mm in one hour). This flooded low-lying areas of the city as well as causing slips and washing out roads around the lake. There was also severe lightning and surface flooding that evening in parts of Auckland. The thunderstorms produced localised downpours, with firefighters called out to pump water from 60 flooded basements.

Further heavy rainfall occurred in the Wanganui high country on 16 May, with the Whanganui River in flood, running 6m above normal, as well as surface flooding slips in some areas, including the Awakino Gorge and Uruti. Rainfall totalling 470mm was recorded in the 72 hours to 5pm at the North Egmont Visitor Centre.

Heavy rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms occurred in Hawke's Bay during the night of 4–5 June, with 100mm reported in parts of the Heretaunga Plains over a few hours. Napier City recorded 70mm in the 24 hours to 9am on 5 June, with surface flooding in many suburban streets. Water lapped at doorsteps in parts of Havelock North. Ohiti, at Roy's Hill recorded 120mm between midnight and 9am.

Significant rainfall occurred throughout Banks Peninsula, and north Canterbury on 17 July, with rainfall totalling 122mm at Le Bons Bay in the 24 hours to 9am on 18 July, and 51mm in Christchurch City during the same period. The Avon River overflowed in some areas. The heavy rain and an unusually high tide resulted in some streets in Kaiapoi being under a metre of water, but no houses were evacuated.

Significant rainfall occurred in Buller on 5 October with some slips and flood damage in the region. Rainfall in the 24-hour period was as high as 142mm at Westport Airport.

Heavy rainfall totalling more than 200mm occurred at The Hermitage, Mt Cook Village, between 9pm 31 October and 3pm 1 November.

The Dominion Floodwaters swamp a house and car at Waimana, Whakatane, 3 July 1998.

Further high rainfall occurred in Northland on 3 November and then in Auckland, Coromandel, and Bay of Plenty on the 4–5 November, with a 2-day rainfall total of 182mm measured at Waihi, and 100mm in other areas.

Additional rainfall occurred on 10–11 November totalling 50 to 60mm in many parts of Northland, Coromandel, and Bay of Plenty, with surface flooding in many areas. The worst affected areas were the Hokianga township of Panguru, and eastern Bay of Plenty's Waimana (where rainfall was much higher, and at least nine farms were flooded). High rainfall also drenched Golden Bay, with a total of 170mm measured at Upper Takaka on 10 November.

Moist northwesterlies and continuous electrical storms produced torrential rainfall in Fiordland, south Westland, and the Southern Alps from 14–16 November with rainfall totalling 400mm at the Homer Tunnel, and at least 100mm in Queenstown in the 48 hours to 9am on 16 November. The Queenstown total of 205mm over a three-day period was the highest in records going back to 1871. Southern Lake levels ran extremely high, with Lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka both flooding their foreshores. Lake Wakatipu reached its highest level on record since Pākehā settlement, and Lake Wanaka since September 1878. The flood waters from these lakes and surrounding rivers caused the Clutha River to be in high flood (flowing at six times its normal volume). The Mataura River, in Southland, was also in flood.

A mix of high rainfall and high tidal conditions resulted in further surface flooding, this time from south Taranaki to Manawatu, (including Wanganui) from 27–29 November, with rainfall between 75 and 100mm in many areas, and more than 150mm around Normanby. The flooding was worst in the Kopane area, where the Oroua River breached its banks.

Cyclones. Unlike some La Niña years, 1999 was relatively ‘quiet', with only one cyclone of tropical origin just brushing the country. The remains of tropical cyclone ‘Frank’ brought rainfall to many areas on 26–27 February. Rainfall totals ranged from 20 to 80mm in Canterbury, providing temporary relief from very dry conditions.

Snowfalls. Bitterly cold southerlies brought snowfalls to high country regions (including Te Anau and Porters Pass) on 16–17 April and resulted in a temporary closure of the North Island's Desert Road.

Cold southerlies brought low temperatures to eastern regions on 5 May and snowfall to the North Island's Desert Road (resulting in its closure between Waiouru and Rangipo). Snow also covered the ranges about Hawke's Bay, and fell in the Rimutakas.

The western Otago/Southern Lakes region experienced the heaviest snowfalls on record on 2–3 July. More than a metre of snow was measured at Coronet Peak, with depths to 40cm reported in some low-lying rural areas. A large number of residents were without power.

Cold southerlies brought snow to low levels in the south and east of the South Island from 26 July. Snow depths of 2.5cm occurred in Christchurch. Depths up to 25cm were reported in parts of Southland and Otago. Showers of sleet and hail (with some isolated heavy falls) occurred in the south of the North Island, with heavy snowfalls in the Wairarapa high country. The Ruapehu area received its first significant snowfall of the winter, with the Desert Road closed by snow and ice from 26–29 July. Snow also settled on the Rimutaka Hill road north of Wellington.

Bitterly cold southerlies occurred on 17–18 August with snowfall in high country areas of the South Island, and significant falls in most North Island ski areas.

Snow fell to low levels on Banks Peninsula (up to 7cm depth in hilly areas), leaving some vehicles stranded for a period.

Hailstorms. A thunderstorm with marble-size hailstones occurred just before the Ruapuna tornado. Thunderstorms with hail reached Hawke's Bay on 13 May and damaged apple orchards.

Severe hailstorms hit parts of Auckland and Waikato. Snow-like drifts of hail lay for some time in Panmure and Mt Wellington and several buildings in Auckland were flooded. Hail was especially heavy about Te Awamutu and SH5 on the Mamaku Plateau where it lay up to 7cm in depth.

SOUTHERN OSCILLATION INDEX Air pressure recordings from Tahiti and Darwin

Hail occurred during thunderstorms in Coromandel from 4.20pm on 28 November, with hail still lying on the ground at 9pm.

Tornadoes, gales and high winds. A tornado was seen near Te Aroha, in the Waikato, on 17 January during the afternoon.

A tornado, with a diameter of about 100m, was reported at about 2.30pm on 11 March in the Ruapuna district (west of Ashburton). This lifted an apple tree, dropping it some distance away.

Gale-strength northwesterlies buffeted eastern regions of the South Island on 16 May, being particularly severe in parts of Banks Peninsula, causing a number of trees to fall, and power outages.

Hurricane-force northwesterlies affected the south-west of the country on the 26 May, with gusts to 172km/h recorded at both Puysegur Point and South West Cape.

On 6 May gale-force southerlies and high seas affected Wellington and Cook Strait (where 165km/h winds were reported), with swells averaging 6m, and peaking at 11m, resulting in the cancellation of Cook Strait ferry crossings. In Wellington a container ship broke its moorings.

Severe, damaging northwesterlies occurred on the morning of 2 July. Violent wind gusts to 150km/h were reported in the Tuatapere and Middlemarch areas, with significant property damage. Gusts to 133km/h were recorded at Lauder (near Alexandra).

1.4 Wildlife and vegetation

The islands of New Zealand separated from their nearest neighbours over 80 million years ago. Some of the original inhabitants endured times of turbulent change and violent upheaval, evolving and adapting to become part of a unique natural biota (or region). Other species died out (either nationally or regionally), unable to compete or survive environmental disturbances such as ice ages. For example, coconut palms were once found in New Zealand, and kauri, now confined to the north of the North Island, used to grow as far south as Canterbury. Over the years the earliest inhabitants were joined by other plants and animals carried across the oceans by wind and current.

This pre-human community was notable for the absence of snakes, land mammals (save three species of bat) and many of the flowering plant families. Whole orders and families are endemic (found only in New Zealand): tuatara, moa and kiwi, all of the native lizards, and all the native earthworms (nearly 200 species), to name just a few. Many remarkable plants, insects and birds evolved to fill the ecological niches normally occupied by mammals. Others diversified to fill the new territories created by sea-level fluctuations and land uplift. With no mammalian predators on the ground but avian predators everywhere, flightlessness was not a handicap nor was greater size. Moa (11 species, some up to 3m tall) became extinct in pre-European times, but many other large flightless birds still remain including kiwi, the nocturnal kākāpō (the only flightless parrot in the world), and weka (of the rail family). Flightless insects are numerous including many large beetles and 70 or so endemic species of the cricket-like weta.

New Zealand has the most diverse seabird fauna of any country (87 species). Almost half of all the native bird species depend on the ocean for food – the feeding zones of some extending as far south as the Antarctic continent. The extensive coastline and many islands offer a huge variety of habitat, from estuary and mud-flat to rocky cliffs and boulder bank. The ocean itself is marvellously rich – there are about 400 different marine fish resident in the waters around New Zealand as well as various species of seal, dolphins and porpoises. Thirty-two species of whale have been recorded and three of the largest (sperm, humpback and right) regularly migrate here in spring and autumn.


GroupNumber of speciesPercentage endemic1

1Native species not found anywhere else.

2 Estimated.

Source: Department of Conservation

Marine algae322900243
Ferns and allies2618946
Flowering plants184221,81384
Land snails/slugs12520299
Freshwater fish2322785

Alexander Turnbull Library
Takahē were thought to be extinct until Dr Geoffrey Orbell (right) discovered a small colony of the flightless birds in the Murchison Monutains in 1948.

The most widespread and complex type of forest in New Zealand is a podocarp (conifer) broadleaf association. It is generally found at lower altitude and is characterised by a variety of species, a stratified canopy and an abundance of vines and epiphytic plants. Beech and kauri forests, in contrast, are much simpler in structure. New Zealand's beech species have close relatives in Australia and South America and the five different types of species here have exploited habitats from valley floor to mountain tops. Kauri, true forest giants, dominate only in the warmer climes to the north.

Some of the most specialised plants are those occupying the alpine zone. A remarkable 25 percent of all New Zealand's plants can be found above the treeline. Ninety-three percent of all the alpine plants are endemic (compared with 80 percent for the rest of the higher plants). Snow tussock herb-fields are one of the most distinctive elements in this cold, windswept environment. Remarkably long-lived, larger specimens may be several centuries old. Like beech trees, they seed infrequently but in profusion.

A definitive feature of New Zealand's land-based plants and animals is their degree of specialisation and narrow habitat requirements (e.g. takahē/tussock grasslands; blue duck/fast flowing rivers and streams), and their evolution in the absence of mammalian predators (birds) or browsers (plants). This specialisation, and the adaptations which make New Zealand's wildlife so unique, render them extremely vulnerable to introduced predators (such as rats and cats) and competitors (such as deer and possums) and loss of habitat.

Introduced vegetation and wildlife

The arrival of people in Aotearoa/New Zealand heralded times of rapid change. The introduction (intentionally or accidentally) of exotic plants and animals and the modification of habitat radically affected populations of native species. In the pre-1800 period following the arrival and expansion of Māori, forest cover was reduced and some 34 species became extinct including moa, the adzebill and the flightless goose. In the much shorter post-1800 period of European settlement the area of forest was further reduced to around 25 percent of the land, nine more birds became extinct and many more are threatened. Many new species were introduced (since 1840 over 80 species of mammal, bird and fish and more than 1,800 plant species), in many places totally changing the landscape and ecology.

1.5 Time zone

One uniform time is kept throughout mainland New Zealand. This is the time 12 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), and is named New Zealand Standard Time (NZST). It is an atomic standard maintained by the Measurement Standards Laboratory, a part of the Crown Research Institute, Industrial Research Limited. One hour of daylight saving, named New Zealand Daylight Time (NZDT), which is 13 hours ahead of UTC, is observed from 2am (NZST) on the first Sunday in October, until 2am (NZST) on the third Sunday in March. Time kept in the Chatham Islands is 45 minutes ahead of that kept in New Zealand.


  • 1.1 Land Information New Zealand, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWA); New Zealand Speleological Society.

  • 1.2 Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited; Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd.

  • 1.3 NIWA.

  • 1.4 Department of Conservation.

  • 1.5 Industrial Research Limited.

Special articles

Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (IGNS); MetService Ltd; NIWA.

Further information


Trotter, M and McCulloch, B 1996. Digging up the past: New Zealand's archaeological history. Viking.


Johnson, KF 1986. Bibliography of New Zealand Meteorological Service publications 1892–1985. New Zealand Meteorological Service.

Sturman, A and Tapper, N 1996. The weather and climate of Australia and New Zealand. Oxford University Press.

NIWA operates an extensive climatological database and publishes the Monthly Climate Digest, as well as regional climatologies, maps and other publications.


Bateman, D and McKinnon, M (eds) in association with Historical Branch, Department of Internal Affairs 1997. Bateman New Zealand Historical Atlas: Ko Papatuanuku e takoto nei. Bateman.

Wards, I 1976. New Zealand Atlas. Government Printer.

Topographical maps of the whole country can be obtained from Terralink Ltd.


Aitken, JJ and Lowry MA 1995. More Earthquakes Explained. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.

Aitken, JJ 1996. Plate tectonics for curious Kiwis. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.

Brazier, R, Keyes, I and Stevens, G, 1990. The great New Zealand fossil book: Pictures of ancient life in an evolving land. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.

Forsyth, PJ and Aitken, JJ 1995. New Zealand minerals and rocks for beginners. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.

Gregory, J 1988. Ruamoko's heritage: Volcanoes of New Zealand (video and kit). Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.

Precious land: Protecting New Zealand's landforms and geological features. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.

Thompson, B, Brathwaite, B and Christie, T 1995. Mineral wealth of New Zealand. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.

The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences publishes geological and geophysical maps covering all New Zealand, plus bulletins, reports, and popular guidebooks and handbooks.

Vegetation and wildlife

Bishop, N and Gaskin, C 1992. Natural history of New Zealand. Hodder and Stoughton.

Dawson, J 1988. Forest vines to snow tussocks: The story of New Zealand plants. Victoria University Press.

Heather, BD and Robertson, HA 1996. The field guide to the birds of New Zealand. Viking.

King, CM 1984. Immigrant killers. Oxford University Press.

Meads, M. 1990. Forgotten fauna.DSIR.

Molloy, L and Cubitt, G 1994. Wild New Zealand: The wild landscapes and wildlife of New Zealand. New Holland.

Salmon, JT 1980. The native trees of New Zealand. Reed.

Salmon, JT 1992. A field guide to the alpine plants of New Zealand. Godwit.

Chapter 2. History

Crowd at Parliament Buildings hears the declaration of war with Germany, 1914.

New Zealand in the 20th century

In 1900 New Zealand was a self-governing colony of the United Kingdom, which had reassumed sovereignty in 1840 after Captain James Cook had claimed it in 1769. Since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi the numbers of Māori, a Polynesian people who began to settle the main New Zealand islands after 1000 AD, had fallen by about half to 46,000, while the number of Pākehā (non-Māori, at this time overwhelmingly British settlers and their descendants) had risen from a couple of thousand to three-quarters of a million. Growing numbers of New Zealanders were of mixed ethnicity.

After successful schemes for organised British settlement began in the late 1830s Aotearoa became European-dominated New Zealand. In 1800 Māori lived in mainly small communal groups, growing Polynesian crops which survived in a cooler climate, hunting birds, fish and small animals, and gathering the resources of forest and ocean. By 1900 Māori had lost most of their land through military conquest and a sale process carried out with varying degrees of unfairness. Much of the once predominantly forested landscape gave way to pasture on which grazed domesticated animals that supplied the British imperial centre with food (aided by new technologies such as refrigeration) and other raw materials. The European population of this ‘Britain of the South’ lived on large sheep runs, smaller cropping and dairy farms, or (mostly) in towns and cities. These serviced the hinterlands and manufactured goods for local consumption. Thanks to the spread of dairy farming and the growth of suburban Auckland and Wellington, the population of the North Island exceeded that of the South for the first time since the gold rushes of the 1860s.

Far from the centres of culture and knowledge (even after New Zealand and the United Kingdom were linked via Australia by an undersea telegraph cable in 1876), ‘Maorilanders', as latter 19th century white New Zealanders fondly called themselves, prided themselves on their adaptability and resourcefulness. Most of their innovations, such as mechanised ways of separating cream from milk, were motivated by pragmatism. The imagination of the South Canterbury farmer Richard Pearse, who is believed to have flown before the Wright brothers, was exceptional. New Zealanders also recognised that resourcefulness had its limits. Concern for the welfare of ageing ‘pioneers’ led to the introduction of old-age pensions for the ‘deserving poor’ in 1898; they were to be joined over the next 40 years by other worthy but narrowly defined groups, including war veterans and widows.

Although it was not fully independent, since Great Britain retained responsibility for foreign policy, New Zealand was one of the world's most ‘democratic’ countries in 1900. It was granted self-government in the mid-1850s, and by the turn of the century almost all adult citizens were entitled to vote in elections for the House of Representatives. Māori were restricted to four dedicated parliamentary seats; this number was then roughly in proportion to the Māori share of the population. Women had won the vote in 1893 but were not to be allowed to stand for Parliament until 1919. Also around the turn of the century New Zealanders reiterated their growing sense of identity by spurning an offer to join the new Australian federation.

A resolutely populist government was entrenched in office in 1900. ‘King Dick’ Seddon's Liberals were then halfway through two decades of uninterrupted power, having defeated the ‘continuous ministry’ of the conservative elite in 1890. They shared the prevailing New World belief that the state's role was to assist the ‘ordinary working man’ and his family onto the land. This offered both physical and mental health and the promise of prosperity denied in the Old World. Land was made available by buying up some of the ‘great estates’ acquired by the nineteenth-century squattocracy, and by enthusiastic purchasing of the remaining Māori-owned land. Technological advances in refrigeration and the mechanisation of farming enabled diversification away from pastoralism and allowed family-run farms to increase in size.

Alexander Turnbull Library Women in New Zealand won the vote in 1893, but only won the right to stand for Parliament in 1919.

The Liberal coalition of ‘small men’ was inherently unstable, and it began to unravel during the first decade of the new century. Farmers helped onto the land with cheap government loans and long-term leases, and helped to prosper by state-run railways, roads and shipping, now sought freehold titles, higher prices for their production, and the ability to employ labour as cheaply as possible. This cut across the interests of urban workers who had been placated by the introduction of compulsory arbitration and an award-based wage-setting system in the 1890s. While farmers joined forces with urban employers in a Reform Party led by William Massey, militant unionists increasingly withdrew from the arbitration system and the ‘Liberal-Labour’ alliance.

Social tensions came to a head in 1912–13, when Reform replaced the Liberals in power and crushed strikes led by mining and transport unions combined in a ‘Red’ Federation of Labour. As in other settler societies, class war seemed imminent. But the threat subsided by the time a world war broke out in August 1914. In October that year the main body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force left to train in Egypt. One-tenth of New Zealand's population of one million served in the Great War; one in six of these were killed, and many more came home as invalids. At the end of the war, another 8,000–9,000 (including 2,000 Māori) were to die within the few months of the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic.

New Zealand's troops mostly served alongside the British armies on the Western Front. By chance, however, they participated in two of the turning points of the war. On 8 August 1915, the Wellington Regiment captured the summit of Chunuk Bair on the Gallipoli Peninsula, the key to forcing the Dardanelles, defeating Turkey and allowing aid to reach Russia. British commanders missed the opportunity to reinforce them, and the commanding heights were lost. The abandonment of Gallipoli saw the New Zealand Division redeployed in France, where many were killed on the Somme and at Passchendaele. In April 1918, however, it played a significant role in blunting the German offensive which threatened to capture Paris. New Zealand's mounted riflemen were also an important part of the British force which wore down the Turkish army in the Near East after 1916. The battlecruiser New Zealand, paid for by the Dominion's taxpayers, was one of the few British warships to take part in all three major clashes between the British and German battlefleets.

It was not the first time New Zealand had gone to war alongside Britain. Consistent with its self-image of being better Britons than the British, New Zealand was the first colony to send troops to support Britain when the South African War broke out in 1899; 6,500 men served there. In 1901 it acquired its own mini-empire of the Cook Islands and Niue and it moved quickly in 1914 to occupy German-controlled Western Samoa, which it continued to rule under an international mandate until 1962. (The Tokelau Islands were to be acquired from Britain in 1924.)

During the 1914–18 war, New Zealand enjoyed guaranteed markets in Britain for all the primary produce it could export. Afterwards, many returning servicemen were resettled on poor farming land in the backblocks. Their marginal status mirrored that of the whole country in the 1920s. Still tied firmly to Britain's imperial apron-strings, New Zealand's economy was buffeted by volatile world commodity prices. Working-class aspirations found a political voice in the Labour Party, which became an increasingly powerful opposition during the decade. After Massey's death in 1925 Reform reinvented itself under the energetic Gordon Coates, who was responsible, among other things, for the creation of producer boards to coordinate the marketing of New Zealand's major exports, state housing, and the construction of a countrywide hydro-electric system. An economic downturn saw the Liberal Party (renamed United) regain office in 1928 under the leadership of the septuagenarian Joseph Ward, who had previously succeeded Seddon as Prime Minister in 1906. The Government failed to cope with the Great Depression which struck in 1930, and from 1931 a coalition of the two parties retrenched government activity and cut wages.

Coates became the Coalition's Minister of Finance and introduced more innovations, including the government-run Reserve Bank and a Mortgage Corporation. But as elsewhere in the Western world, fiscal orthodoxy ruled: the state's books had to be balanced. While relief work was provided for many of the unemployed, who numbered up to 100,000 in the depths of the Depression, much of it was soul-destroyingly pointless activity providing only sustenance. There was less revolutionary political activity than in more industrialised societies: the riots of 1932 were expressions of anger rather than harbingers of class war. The Communist Party, formed after the Great War, failed to prosper. The beneficiaries of ‘The Slump’ were the Labour Party, many of whose leaders had been ‘Red Feds’ but who now sought change by constitutional means. Labour won office in 1935, by which time economic conditions were much improved.

Labour also sought to improve the living conditions of Māori, many of whom supported the party after it formed a political alliance with the Ratana church. While the Māori population had doubled since the turn of the century, infant mortality remained significantly higher and life expectancy lower than that of the general population. Public health officers worked to upgrade sanitation and housing, and welfare benefits became more available to Māori. Most still lived in rural areas, where land development schemes initiated by āpirana Ngata provided a sounder economic basis for many communities. The loss of land in the 19th century was a continuing grievance, although compensation was paid to some iwi following official enquiries in the 1920s.

The first Labour Government was genuinely reformist. After enacting progressive industrial legislation (a minimum wage, a standard 40-hour working week, compulsory unionism) it introduced a comprehensive system of social security which provided a safety net ‘from the cradle to the grave’ for those who needed it. A substantial state housing programme employed many of the skilled workers made idle by the Depression. Labour also articulated New Zealand's first independent foreign policy, voting differently to the British in the League of Nations on issues such as the Spanish Civil War and the Italian invasion of Abyssinia. But there were limits to independence: a balance of payments crisis in 1938, when the terms of trade turned against New Zealand's still narrow range of exports, necessitated the introduction of import and financial controls. These did have the advantage of encouraging the growth of secondary industries to supply the local market.

The outbreak of World War II was an economic godsend: the United Kingdom guaranteed to buy everything New Zealand farmers could produce, at good prices. The Dominion once again ranged itself alongside Britain and placed military forces at the Empire's disposal for the duration of the conflict. But there were subtle differences from the 1914–18 relationship. The government insisted on consultation over the deployment of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force, of which Lieutenant-General Bernard Freyberg had independent command. In practice, however, these troops were again subject to strategic demands. Like their Great War counterparts, they were destined for Britain, but offloaded in Egypt before being thrown into a futile campaign in the Aegean. In this case it was the doomed defence of Greece against the German invasion of May 1941. They too returned to Egypt, but only after Crete was lost following some poor decisions by New Zealand officers.

These experiences, and subsequent training in Egypt and Syria, turned the New Zealand Division into a formidable fighting force which served alongside other Commonwealth units in the North African desert campaigns of 1941–43 against Italian and then German armies, and then in Italy until the end of the war. However, New Zealand's per capita World War II casualties were less than half those of the Great War. New Zealand itself seemed threatened by the lightning Japanese advances of 1941–42. Prime Minister Peter Fraser, unlike his Australian counterpart, resisted pressure to bring troops back for home defence. Instead, the country was garrisoned by United States forces who trained here in preparation for the bloody ‘island-hopping’ campaigns which turned the tide of war in the Pacific. Their social significance was equally great: for the first time in a century, a non-British culture made a substantial impression, not least on the female inhabitants. Aided by radio, the cinema and later television, the American invasion ensured that New Zealand would not simply remain an outlier of the British Empire.

During the war, Labour's technocrats (joined in a government of national unity by the ubiquitous Coates) regulated, ‘manpowered’ (both sexes), directed and controlled people and resources to an unparalleled degree. Māori supported the war with a unanimity lacking in previous conflicts. The Maori Battalion fought with distinction as part of the New Zealand Division, and a Maori War Effort Organisation tapped the resources of hundreds of marae. For the first time, Māori moved into the cities in significant numbers. This trend was not interrupted until the 1980s, when manufacturing employment plummeted and rural life once more seemed attractive. ‘Native’ replaced ‘Māori’ in all official usage in 1947, and successive governments worked to assimilate Māori into mainstream New Zealand life.

In 1947 New Zealand belatedly adopted the Statute of Westminster, which formalised the independence of the British Dominions within the Commonwealth. New Zealand, and especially Fraser, had been active in the post-war formation of the United Nations. But foreign policy independence was soon circumscribed by the outbreak of the Cold War, during which New Zealand supported the United States nearly as enthusiastically as it had supported Britain. The ANZUS Pact of 1951, and participation in the Korean War, set a pattern that was unbroken until the 1980s. New Zealand troops backed colonial and post-colonial Malay(si)a against domestic and then foreign insurgents. While subsequent military participation in the Vietnam War aroused significant opposition, politicians ensured that involvement was on a relatively small scale and casualties were few.

As the Cold War intensified in the late 1940s, Labour was replaced in office by a National Party formed by the defeated conservative coalition partners in 1936. Like Reform, the new government began by crushing a waterfront strike, this time in 1951. Also like Reform, National in office proved ambivalent about rolling back the innovations of its activist predecessor. Some state houses were sold to their tenants; import controls were loosened. The policy of recruiting skilled immigrants introduced in the late 1940s continued. The new settlers were still mostly British, leavened by Dutch and other Europeans. New Zealand remained a largely monocultural society influenced on its margins by Māori values.

A Labour Party led by the ageing Walter Nash regained office for a single three-year term in the late 1950s. Apart from this irregularity, New Zealand politics in the third quarter of the century was dominated by National, which held power until 1972. Keith Holyoake's successful campaign slogan, ‘You’ve never had it so good', reveals much about this period. New Zealand's terms of trade soared with the demand for wool sparked by the Korean War, and were not to decline significantly until the 1970s. Technological innovations, some homegrown, intensified production of the narrow range of exports that had sustained New Zealand since 1900: wool, meat and dairy products. In this period these were supplemented only by exotic trees which had first been planted in significant quantities by Depression-era relief workers. The exporting of untreated logs, wood pulp and paper was extolled as evidence of diversification. New Zealand had one of the world's highest standards of living, but this depended on continued high prices for its largely unprocessed primary products. Domestic manufacturing expanded thanks to the continued protection of secondary industries from foreign competition.

Children and ‘teenagers’ (a new concept) made up a higher proportion of the population in the baby-boom years after 1945. Young people who grew up with British and American music, fashions and television chafed within the social confines set by the war and Depression generations. While there were jobs, homes, education and health care for all, some consumer goods remained subject to import licensing: the waiting list for new cars was years long. Family life in the postwar suburbs which had transformed areas such as West Auckland and the Hutt Valley was both satisfying and stultifying. Wider choices did become available. The ready availability of contraceptive pills and mind-altering alternatives to alcohol in the late 1960s offered the promise of new freedom and experiences. The ideas of ‘second-wave’ feminists and the need to enlarge the paid workforce combined to open up new opportunities for women. At the same time, the expansion of virtually free tertiary education opened new intellectual and employment horizons for many children of working-class parents.

The new generation flexed its muscles with the election of the third Labour Government in 1972. It was ‘time for a change', not least in New Zealanders’ attitude to their environment. Since the beginning of settlement the land's resources had been extracted enthusiastically. New knowledge and technologies were used to increase output, with little regard to long-term consequences. By the 1960s some consequences were becoming unavoidable. A century of deforestation had transformed much steep hill country into grassland for which it was ill-suited. Frequent storms saw much of this pasture and soil washed down to the lowlands, where it increased the severity of floods and clogged the artificial lakes required for hydro-electric power generation. It was demand for electricity which provoked the country's most intense environmental debate, when the Electricity Department proposed raising the level of the remote and pristine Lake Manapouri to increase output. The resulting controversy assisted the victory of Labour, which promised to abandon this scheme.

Labour was more tolerant of social diversity than National, implementing a more independent foreign policy, developing close contacts with post-colonial Africa and sending warships to protest against French nuclear testing in Polynesia. It also developed ambitious plans to control the sprawl of the main cities (Auckland's population had reached two-thirds of a million) by constructing satellite centres. But hopes of building a more flexible yet stable society were stymied by international economic forces. Britain's belated entry into the European Economic Community in 1973 foreshadowed the end of guaranteed markets for New Zealand's major exports. The Arab-Israeli war of the same year led to the creation of an effective cartel of most oil-producing countries which drove energy prices relentlessly upwards. New Zealanders suffered the first restrictions on the use of their family cars for three decades. More significantly, the terms of trade had turned against most primary products: the country could no longer ride to prosperity ‘on the sheep's back'. Full employment disappeared; it was not to return.

Both Labour and the National administration which swept into office in 1975 attempted to mitigate the new economic realities. National's most ambitious means was the ‘Think Big’ projects intended to increase the country's energy self-sufficiency. Planned hurriedly when a second ‘oil shock’ struck at the end of the 1970s, some of these were ill-conceived, others too ambitious, and all proved too expensive when oil prices soon fell and remained low. Prices for farm production did not recover, and it became harder to sell unprocessed products on increasingly open world markets. By its last three-year term National was propping up the rural sector with an unsustainable system of guaranteed minimum prices. Manufacturing boomed in the 1970s, but largely sheltered behind tariff and other barriers. The tyranny of distance made effective competition in world markets difficult, although the Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia did enable New Zealand to trade with its nearest neighbour on more or less equal terms. Australia became New Zealand's largest trading partner.

In 1981 National was narrowly re-elected after a South African rugby tour divided the country. Sports grounds were invaded by protesters, and matches were played behind barbed wire with the assistance of paramilitary police squads. Increasing attention to the rights of black South Africans accompanied a renewed focus on the place of Māori. Having suffered disproportionately when full employment ended, Māori continued to fall behind Pākeha in education, health and other social indicators. (They were joined in relative poverty by many of the Pacific migrants who met the demand for unskilled labour in the 1960s-70s and tended to live in state housing areas such as Manukau city.) Many Māori saw a cultural renaissance as the key to empowerment: independent schools in which teaching was carried out in Māori sprang up from 1981, and Māori-language radio stations soon followed.

Māori also confronted the dominant culture more directly. Early in the century many Pākehā expected Māori to die out altogether; through its middle years both official policy and popular belief was that they would be integrated into the general population through miscegenation, speeded by an improvement in their economic and social status. Neither outcome eventuated. In 1975 long-standing grievances over the loss of land sparked a march which generated much support as it travelled the length of the North Island. In the same year, one of the Labour government's last acts was to establish a statutory tribunal to investigate breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. Iwi won compensation in several high-profile claims relating to the pollution of natural resources by industrial development. They also occupied land they claimed had been taken unjustly by the Crown, notably on Auckland's Bastion Point in 1977–78 and at Raglan in 1981. The faces of protest were increasingly brown faces.

In its last term Robert Muldoon's government forced through legislation for the construction of a high dam on the picturesque Clutha River with minor-party support, and introduced a comprehensive wage and price freeze in an effort to curb rampant inflation. Led by the ebullient David Lange, and helped by a new free-market party which attracted many former National supporters, Labour regained office in 1984 with a broad but diffuse mandate for change. The economic and social transformation which followed was more sweeping than even most of its advocates had envisaged.

Muldoon had called the election because he was unsure of defeating a bill to make New Zealand nuclear-free. Labour's insistence on this soon led to the effective suspension of the ANZUS alliance, which for three decades had been seen as the cornerstone of New Zealand's security. An even more pressing problem confronted the new administration. Muldoon refused to devalue the New Zealand dollar, which was fixed against other currencies. The resulting outflow of capital led him to suspend foreign currency transactions, which only worsened the problem. The new Minister of Finance, Roger Douglas, accepted the inevitable; soon, the currency was allowed to find its own level, and Muldoon's price and wage controls were abandoned. Other financial controls soon followed, New Zealand's finance sector was deregulated to an unprecedented degree and the sharemarket boomed.

The next stage of reform was the restructuring of a public sector seen as being too dominant in both economy and society. The group of influential Cabinet ministers led by Douglas saw the role of the state as assuring citizens’ physical safety, providing a basic social welfare safety net, and light-handed economic regulation that did not interfere unduly with market forces. The other traditional functions of the New Zealand state, notably the provision and maintenance of the country's economic infrastructure, and employment creation, could be done better by the private sector, and should be. The results of this approach were dramatic. The wealthy, skilled and adaptable prospered as the top rate of personal income tax was halved from 66 percent. A Goods and Services Tax of 10 (later 12.5) percent on most purchases had a disproportionate impact on the poor.

Labour removed agricultural and consumer subsidies, import licences and export incentives. The government departments which ran railways, forests, farms, coal mines and power stations were turned into state-owned commercial enterprises which pursued profits and made many of their employees redundant. The social welfare system was refocused to target those in greatest need. After Labour's re-election just before the sharemarket bubble burst in October 1987, it turned to the reconstruction of the welfare state, which (including health and education) absorbed more than half of all government expenditure. Business-style management was introduced in the health sector, the control of schools was devolved to elected boards of trustees, and fees for tertiary education were greatly increased. Government superannuation payments were subjected to a means test. Many of the corporatised state agencies, including the Think Big projects, were sold into private (generally overseas) ownership, but in some cases at what were perceived to be discounted prices. The operations of both central and local government were reorganised with a view to making them more ‘businesslike'. Price inflation was curbed, but one in ten of the labour force were now unemployed.

The pain it had inflicted ensured Labour's comprehensive defeat in 1990. National promised a ‘decent society', but pursued this by continuing to implement Labour's agenda. The Employment Contracts Act, which restricted the rights of workers to bargain collectively and to strike, overturned a century of industrial legislation. Many of the state's remaining assets were sold. The separation of funding from the provision of services was extended to the health sector, in which hospitals became ‘Crown health enterprises’ run by boards of directors. State house mortgages were sold off, and entitlements to no-fault accident compensation under a world-leading scheme introduced in the 1970s were reduced. Core social welfare benefits were also reduced, medical prescription fees increased, and the cost of tertiary education soared. By 1993 the country's economic fortunes had improved sufficiently for National to narrowly win re-election. But by now many citizens felt betrayed by both major parties, which had in the last decade made radical changes for which they had received no clear electoral mandate. In 1993 voters seized an opportunity to restructure the politicians: the long-standing ‘first-past-the-post’ electoral system was rejected in favour of a mixed member proportional system, under which only about half the MPs would represent geographical constituencies, and all parties with significant support would be represented in the House in proportion to their share of the total vote.

During the 1993–96 Parliament, the politicians prepared themselves for the new system. Two minor parties already had seats: Alliance, comprising mainly left-wing groups hoping to roll back the post-1984 changes, and the populist New Zealand First Party, supported mainly by the elderly and Māori. Other groupings sought to occupy the centre ground which overseas experience suggested would hold the key to power. In the event, significant representation was achieved only by the four parties which had won seats in 1993, and the ACT Party, which advocated maintaining the impetus of Douglasite reform. New Zealand First ended Labour's 50-year grip on the Māori seats, and held the balance between right and left. After two months of negotiations, it formed a coalition government with National.

The proponents of proportional representation argued it would enhance democracy by encouraging diversity among MPs. This came about: women, Māori and other minorities were represented in unprecedented numbers among the 120 members of the 1996–99 Parliament. However, the party lists which ensured proportionality had been drawn up on the basis of many conflicting factors, and there was a perception that some of the party list MPs were unsuited to parliamentary life. A trickle of defections became a flood after the National/New Zealand First coalition broke up in 1998. The country's first woman Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley, kept her minority National Government in power until the 1999 election by attracting enough disaffected MPs to command a majority.

One effect of this more complex political environment was a return to a more ‘normal’ pace of change. Interest groups which had been imperiously swept aside now had to be courted. Some of the post-1984 changes were socially progressive, New Zealand became more tolerant of diversity. The legalisation in 1986 of homosexual acts by consenting men was one measure of this; another was the reorientation of immigration policy away from those of British stock. An explosion in tourist numbers also brought many more Asian faces onto New Zealand streets, and exports to East Asia boomed. A distinctive New Zealand culture flourished as never before. Many of the mid-century social restrictions that had outgrown their usefulness were removed. Women now undertake paid work in unprecedented numbers. Māori entrepreneurship has flourished – the rate of self-employment among Māori has doubled since 1981 – and several major iwi have significant economic clout since receiving compensation for the loss of land and other grievances taken to the Waitangi Tribunal. By 1999 the value of non-housing commercial assets owned by Māori was estimated at more than $5 billion.

But the success of the economic experiment remains in doubt. The traditional goal of ‘full employment’ remains well out of reach. The pace of technological change, and the consequent decline in the need for unskilled labour, makes it unlikely to ever return. But there is also less demand for skilled labour now that New Zealand industry is fully exposed in the global marketplace. Local manufacturers cannot hope to compete with Third World prices. With more of the country's economic activity tied to overseas ownership, it is unclear how much freedom any administration will have to radically change direction. In late 1999 a minority coalition government of the Labour and Alliance parties assumed office under the leadership of New Zealand's first elected woman Prime Minister, Helen Clark. Its economic and industrial policies promise to ameliorate rather than overturn the reforms of the previous fifteen years.

In 2000, as in 1900, significant numbers of New Zealand troops are serving overseas. Those in 1900 fought in South Africa as part of a British force, whereas those in East Timor, 100 years later, are there as an independent component of a United Nations operation. Sometimes reluctantly, New Zealand became steadily more independent during the 20th century. In 2000 the possibility of the country becoming a republic with an elected president in place of the British monarch is being seriously debated. New Zealand has separated its honours system from that of the United Kingdom, and it seems only a matter of time before the ending of the right of appeal to the Privy Council in London. New Zealanders head both the World Trade Organisation and the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the country hosted the most recent meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation organisation. While they are more secure in their standing on the world stage, New Zealanders remain vulnerable to economic forces beyond their control and uneasy about relations between Māori and Pākehā. These two issues, along with constitutional arrangements, are likely to be key matters for debate early in the new century.

2.1 Chronology of main events in New Zealand history


Archaeological evidence indicates that Polynesian settlement was established by this date.


Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman discovers a land he calls Staten Landt, later named Nieuw Zeeland.


British explorer James Cook makes the first of three visits to New Zealand, taking possession of the country in the name of King George III.


Sealing, deep-sea whaling, the flax and timber trades begin, with some small temporary settlements. First severe introduced epidemic among Māori population.


First visit by a whaling vessel, the William and Ann, to Doubtless Bay.


First Pākehā women arrive in New Zealand.


British missionary Samuel Marsden makes first visit to New Zealand. Anglican mission station established. Sheep, cattle, horses and poultry are introduced.


Thomas Holloway King is the first Pākehā child born in New Zealand.


Raids on Taranaki and Te Whanganui-a-Tara regions by Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Toa people led by chiefs Patuone, Nene, Moetara, Tuwhare and Te Rauparaha.


Hongi Hika, Ngāpuhi chief, visits England, meets King George IV and secures supply of muskets.


Musket wars begin with raids by Hongi Hika and Te Morenga on southern iwi and continue throughout the decade.


Ngāti Toa migration south to Cook Strait region, led by Te Rauparaha, begins.


Jurisdiction of New South Wales courts is extended to British citizens in New Zealand. Wesleyan Missionary Society mission established. First Church of England marriage between Philip Tapsell and Māori girl, Maria Ringa.


Te Heke Niho-Puta migration of Taranaki iwi to the Kapiti Coast. Rawiri Taiwhanga in Bay of Islands sells dairy produce and other food supplies to visiting ships.


Te Rauparaha's invasion of the South Island from Kapiti begins.


First acorn planted at Waimate North where agricultural mission and school established.


Whaling stations established at Tory Channel and Preservation Inlet.


James Busby, appointed British Resident in New Zealand, arrives at the Bay of Islands.


United Tribes’ flag adopted by some 25 northern chiefs at Busby's suggestion.


Declaration of Independence by the ‘United Tribes of New Zealand’ signed by 34 northern chiefs.


New Zealand Association formed in London, becoming the NZ Colonisation Society in 0838 and the NZ Company in 1839, under the inspiration of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. William Colenso completes printing the New Testament in Māori, the first book printed in New Zealand.


Bishop Pompallier founds Roman Catholic Mission at Hokianga.


William Hobson instructed to establish British rule in New Zealand, as a dependency of New South Wales. Colonel William Wakefield of the New Zealand Company arrives on the Tory to purchase land for a settlement.


New Zealand Company settlers arrive at Port Nicholson, Wellington. Treaty of Waitangi signed at Bay of Islands and later over most of the country. British sovereignty proclaimed. French settlers land at Akaroa. Hobson becomes first Governor and sets up executive and legislative councils.


European settlements established at New Plymouth and Wanganui. Capital shifted from Kororareka to Auckland.


Main body of settlers arrive at Nelson.


Twenty-two European settlers and four Māori killed at a confrontation at Tua Marina, near the Wairau, in Marlborough. Robert FitzRoy becomes Governor.


Hone Heke begins the ‘War in the North'. New Zealand Company suspends its colonising operations due to financial difficulties.


George Grey becomes Governor.


War in the North ends with capture of Ruapekapeka. First NZ Constitution Act passed. Heaphy, Fox and Brunner begin exploring the West Coast. First steam vessel, HMS Driver, arrives in New Zealand waters.


Settlement founded by Scottish Otago Association. Provinces of New Ulster and New Munster set up under 1846 Act. Coal discovered at Brunner on the West Coast. Earthquake in Marlborough damages most Wellington buildings.


Canterbury settlement founded.


Second NZ Constitution Act passed creating General Assembly and six provinces with representative government.


Idea of a Māori King canvassed by Tamihana Te Rauparaha and Matene Te Whiwhi.


First session of the General Assembly opens in Auckland.


Governor Thomas Gore Browne, appointed in 1854, arrives. Severe earthquake on both sides of Cook Strait. Adhesive, imperforate postage stamps on sale.


Henry Sewell forms first ministry under responsible government and becomes first Premier. Edward Stafford forms first stable ministry.


New Provinces Act passed. Te Wherowhero installed as first Māori King, taking name Potatau I.


First session of Hawke's Bay and Marlborough provincial councils. Gold discovered in Buller River. New Zealand Insurance Company established.


Waitara dispute develops into general warfare in Taranaki.


Grey begins second governorship. Gold discovered at Gabriel's Gully; Otago goldrushes begin. First session of Southland provincial council. Bank of New Zealand incorporated at Auckland.


First electric telegraph line opens – from Christchurch to Lyttleton. First gold shipment from Dunedin to London.


War resumes in Taranaki and begins in Waikato when General Cameron crosses the Mangatawhiri stream. New Zealand Settlements Act passed to effect land confiscation. First steam railway in New Zealand opened.


War in the Waikato ends with battle of Orakau. Land in Waikato, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay confiscated. Gold discovered in Marlborough and Westland. Arthur, George and Edward Dobson are the first Pākehā to cross what becomes known as Arthur's Pass.


Seat of government transferred from Auckland to Wellington. Native Land Court established. Māori resistance continues. Auckland streets lit by gas for first time.


Cook Strait submarine telegraph cable laid. Christchurch to Hokitika road opens. Cobb and Co. coaches run from Canterbury to the West Coast.


Thames goldfield opens. Four Māori seats established in parliament. Lyttleton railway tunnel completed. Armed constabulary established.


Māori resistance continues through campaigns of Te Kooti Arikirangi and Titokowaru. New Zealand's first sheep breed, the Corriedale, is developed.


New Zealand's first university, the University of Otago, is established.


The last imperial forces leave New Zealand. Vogel's public works and immigration policy begins. New Zealand University Act passed, establishing a federal system which lasts until 1961. Vogel announces national railway construction programme; over 1,000 miles constructed by 1879. First rugby match. Auckland to San Francisco mail service begins.


Deer freed in Otago.


Te Kooti retreats to the King Country and Māori armed resistance ceases. Telegraph communication links Auckland. Wellington and southern provinces.


New Zealand Shipping Company established.


First New Zealand steam engine built at Invercargill.


Abolition of the provinces and establishment of local government by counties and boroughs. New Zealand-Australia cable established.


Education Act passed, establishing national system of primary education.

The Albion Line's sailing shipDunedinleaving Port Chalmers, 15 February 1882, with the first shipment of New Zealand meat under refrigeration.


Completion of Christchurch-Invercargill railway.


Triennial Parliaments Act passed. Vote is given to every male aged 21 and over. Kaitangata mine explosion; 34 people die. Annual property tax introduced.


Parihaka community forcibly broken up by troops. Te Whiti, Tohu Kakahi and followers arrested and imprisoned. Wreck of SS Tararua; 131 people die. Auckland and Christchurch telephone exchanges open.


First shipment of frozen meat leaves Port Chalmers for England on the Dunedin.


Te Kooti pardoned, Te Whiti and other prisoners released. Direct steamer link established between New Zealand and Britain.


King Tawhiao visits England with petition to the Queen and is refused access. First overseas tour by a New Zealand rugby team, to New South Wales. Construction of King Country section of North Island main trunk railway begins.


Mt Tarawera erupts and the Pink and White Terraces are destroyed; 153 people die. Oil is discovered in Taranaki.


New Zealand's first national park, Tongariro, is presented to the nation by Te Heuheu Tukino IV. Reefton becomes first town to have electricity. First inland parcel post service.


Birth of writer Katherine Mansfield.


Abolition of non-residential or property qualification to vote. First New Zealand-built locomotive completed at Addington.


Maritime Strike involves 8,000 unionists. ‘Sweating’ Commission reports on employment conditions. First election on a one-man one-vote basis.


John McKenzie introduces the first of a series of measures to promote closer land settlement. John Ballance becomes Premier of first Liberal Government.


First Kotahitanga Māori Parliament meets.


Franchise extended to women. John Ballance dies and is succeeded by Richard John Seddon. Liquor licensing poll introduced. Elizabeth Yates becomes first woman mayor, of Onehunga. Banknotes become legal tender.


Compulsory arbitration of industrial disputes and reform of employment laws. Advances to Settlers Act. Clark, Fyfe and Graham become the first people to climb Mt Cook. Wreck of SS Wairarapa.


National Council of Women is founded. Brunner Mine explosion; 67 people killed. Census measures national population as 743,214.


First of series of colonial and later imperial conferences held in London. Apirana Ngata and others form Te Aute College Students’ Association.


Old Age Pensions Act. First cars imported to New Zealand.


New Zealand army contingent is sent to the South African war. First celebration of Labour Day.


Māori Councils Act passed. Public Health Act passed setting up Department of Public Health in 1901.


Cook and other Pacific Islands annexed. Penny postage first used.


Pacific cable begins operating between New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. Wreck of SS Elingamite.


Richard Pearse achieves semi-controlled flight near Timaru.


New Zealand rugby team tours England and becomes known as the All Blacks. Old Age Pension increases to £26 per year, however eligibility tightened.


Seddon dies and is succeeded by Joseph Ward as Premier.


New Zealand constituted as a Dominion. Fire destroys Parliament buildings.


Auckland to Wellington main trunk railway line opens. Ernest Rutherford is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. New Zealand's population reaches one million.


‘Red’ Federation of Labour formed. SS Penguin wrecked in Cook Strait; 75 people die. Compulsory military training introduced. Stamp-vending machine invented and manufactured in New Zealand.


Halley's Comet sighted in New Zealand.


William Massey wins vote in the House and becomes first Reform Party Prime Minister. Waihi miners strike.


Waterfront strikes in Auckland and Wellington.


World War I begins and German Samoa is occupied. New Zealand Expeditionary Forces are despatched to Egypt. Huntly coal mine disaster; 43 people die.


New Zealand forces take part in Gallipoli campaign. Reform and Liberal parties form National War Cabinet. Britain announces its intention to purchase all New Zealand meat exports during war.


New Zealand troops transfer from Western Front. Conscription introduced. Labour Party formed. Lake Coleridge electricity supply scheme opened.


Battle of Passchendaele – 3,700 New Zealanders killed. Six o'clock public house closing introduced. Lord Liverpool becomes first Governor-General.


New Zealand Division in the Battle of the Somme. End of World War I. Influenza epidemic in which an estimated 8,500 die. Creation of power boards for electricity distribution. Prohibition petition with 242,001 signatures presented to Parliament.


Women eligible for election to Parliament. Massey signs Treaty of Versailles. First official airmail flight from Auckland to Dargaville.


Anzac Day established. New Zealand gets League of Nations mandate to govern Western Samoa. First aeroplane flight across Cook Strait.


New Zealand Division of Royal Navy established.


Meat Producers’ Board placed in control of meat exports.


Otira tunnel opens. Ross Dependency proclaimed. Death of Katherine Mansfield.


National public broadcasting begins under auspices of Radio Broadcasting Co. Ltd.


New Zealand Summer Time introduced. General election won by new United Party. Kingsford-Smith completes first flight across Tasman sea.


Depression deepens. Severe earthquake in Murchison-Karamea district; 17 people die. First health stamps issued.


Unemployment Board set up to provide relief work.


Newly formed Coalition Government under George Forbes wins general election. Hawke's Bay earthquake; 256 die. Substantial percentage reductions in public service wages and salaries. Airmail postage stamps introduced.


Compulsory arbitration of industrial disputes abolished. Unemployed riot in Auckland, Dunedin and Christchurch. Reductions in old-age and other pensions.


Elizabeth McCombs becomes first woman MP. Distinctive New Zealand coins first issued.


Reserve Bank and Mortgage Corporation established. First trans-Tasman airmail.


First Labour Government elected under Michael Joseph Savage. Air services begin across Cook Strait.


Reserve Bank taken over by State. State housing programme launched. Guaranteed prices for dairy products introduced. National Party formed from former Coalition MPs. Inter-island trunk air services introduced. Jack Lovelock wins New Zealand's first Olympic gold. Jean Batten's record flight from England. Working week reduced from 44 to 40 hours.


Federation of Labour unifies trade union movement. RNZAF set up as separate branch of armed forces.


Social Security Act establishes revised pensions structure and the basis of a national health service. Import and exchange controls are introduced.


World War II begins. Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force formed. Bulk purchases of farm products by Great Britain. HMS Achilles takes part in Battle of the River Plate.


Michael Joseph Savage dies and is succeeded by Peter Fraser. Sidney Holland becomes Leader of Opposition. Conscription for military service. German mines laid across Hauraki Gulf.


Japan enters the war. Māori War Effort Organisation set up. Pharmaceutical and general practitioner medical benefits introduced.


Economic stabilisation. New Zealand troops in Battle of El Alamein. Food rationing introduced. Mobilisation of women for essential work.


New Zealand troops take part in invasion of Italy.


Australia-New Zealand Agreement provides for cooperation in the South Pacific.


War in Europe ends on 8 May and in the Pacific on 15 August. New Zealand signs United Nations charter. Māori Social and Economic Advancement Act passed. National Airways Corporation founded.


Family benefit of £1 per week becomes universal. Bank of New Zealand nationalised.


Statute of Westminster adopted by New Zealand Parliament. First public performance by National Orchestra. Mabel Howard becomes first woman cabinet minister. Fire in Ballantyne's department store, Christchurch; 41 people die.


Protest campaign against exclusion of Māori players from rugby tour of South Africa. Polio epidemic closes schools. Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe erupt. Meat rationing ends.


Referendum agrees to compulsory military training. National Government elected. New Zealand gets first four navy frigates.


Naval and ground forces sent to Korean War. Legislative Council abolished. Wool boom.


Prolonged waterfront dispute – state of emergency proclaimed. ANZUS Treaty signed between United States, Australia and New Zealand. Māori Women's Welfare League established.


Population reaches over two million.


First tour by a reigning monarch. Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first to climb Mount Everest. Railway disaster at Tangiwai; 151 people die. World sheep-shearing record set by Godfrey Bowen.


New Zealand signs South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty. Gains seat on United Nations Security Council. Social Credit gets 10 percent of vote in general election, but no seat in Parliament.


Pulp and paper mill opens at Kawerau. Rimutaka rail tunnel opened.


New Zealand troops sent to Malaya. Roxburgh and Whakamaru power stations in operation.


National loses election; Walter Nash leads second Labour Government. Last hanging. Scott Base established in Ross Dependency. Court of Appeal constituted. Dairy products gain 10 years of unrestricted access to Britain.


PAYE tax introduced. Arnold Nordmeyer's ‘Black Budget'. First geothermal electricity generated at Wairakei. First heart-lung machine used at Greenlane Hospital. Auckland.


Antarctic Treaty signed with other countries involved in scientific exploration in Antarctica. Auckland harbour bridge opened.


Regular television programmes begin in Auckland. National Government elected. Government Service Equal Pay Act passed.


New Zealand joins the International Monetary Fund. Capital punishment abolished.


New Zealand troops sent to Malaysia during ‘confrontation’ with Indonesia. Western Samoa becomes independent. Sir Guy Powles becomes first Ombudsman. New Zealand Māori Council established. Cook Strait rail ferry service begins. Taranaki gas well opens. Peter Snell establishes mile and half-mile world running records.


Marsden Point oil refinery opens at Whangarei. Cook Strait power cables laid. Auckland's population reaches half a million.


NAF TA agreement negotiated with Australia. Support for United States in Vietnam; New Zealand combat force sent, protest movement begins. Cook Islands becomes self-governing.


International airport officially opens at Auckland. New Zealand labour force reaches one million. National Library of New Zealand created. Te Ata-i-rangi-kaahu becomes first Māori Queen.


Referendum extends hotel closing hours to 10pm. Decimal currency introduced. Lord Arthur Porritt becomes first New Zealand-born Governor-General. Breath and blood tests introduced for suspected drinking drivers.


Inter-island ferry Wahine sinks in severe storm in Wellington Harbour; 51 people die. Three die in Inangahua earthquake.


Vote extended to 20-year-olds. National Government wins fourth election in a row. First output from Glenbrook Steel Mill.


Natural gas from Kapuni supplied to Auckland.


New Zealand secures continued access of butter and cheese to the United Kingdom. Nga Tamatoa protest at Waitangi celebrations. Tiwai Point aluminium smelter begins operating. Warkworth satellite station begins operation.


Labour Government led by Norman Kirk elected. Equal Pay Act passed.


Great Britain becomes a member of the EEC. Naval frigate despatched in protest against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. New Zealand's population reaches three million. Rugby tour of South Africa cancelled. Oil price hike means worst terms of trade in 30 years. Colour TV introduced.


Prime Minister Norman Kirk dies. Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch.


Robert Muldoon becomes Prime Minister after National election victory. Māori land march protests against land loss. The Waitangi Tribunal is established. Second TV channel starts broadcasting.


Matrimonial Property Act passed. Pacific Island ‘overstayers’ deported. EEC import quotas for New Zealand butter set until 1980. Introduction of metric system of weights and measures. Subscriber toll dialling introduced.


National Superannuation scheme begins. New Zealand signs the Gleneagles Agreement. The 200-mile exclusive economic zone is established. Bastion Point occupied by protesters.


Registered unemployed reaches 25,000. National Government re-elected.


Air New Zealand plane crashes on Mount Erebus, Antarctica; 257 people die. Carless days introduced to reduce petrol consumption.


Social Credit wins East Coast Bays by-election. Saturday trading partially legalised. Eighty-day strike at Kinleith Mill.


South African rugby team's tour brings widespread disruption.


CER agreement signed with Australia. First kōhanga reo established. Year-long wage, price and rent freeze imposed – lasts until 1984.


Visit by nuclear-powered United States Navy frigate Texas sparks protests. Official Information Act replaces Official Secrecy Act. New Zealand Party founded.


Labour Party wins snap General Election. Finance Minister Roger Douglas begins deregulating the economy. New Zealand ratifies the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Te Hikoi ki Waitangi march and disruption of Waitangi Day celebrations. Auckland's population exceeds that of the South Island. Government devalues New Zealand dollar by 20 percent.


Anti-nuclear policy leads to refusal of a visit by the American warship, the USS Buchanan. Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior bombed and sunk by French agents in Auckland harbour. New Zealand dollar floated. Keri Hulme wins Booker Prize for The Bone People. First case of locally-contracted AIDS is reported. Waitangi Tribunal given power to hear grievances arising since 1840.


Homosexual Law Reform Bill passed. Royal Commission reports in favour of MMP electoral system. Jim Bolger becomes National Party leader. Soviet cruise ship, the Mikhail Lermontov, sinks in Marlborough Sounds. Goods and Services Tax introduced. First visit to New Zealand by the Pope.


Share prices plummet by 59 percent in four months. Labour wins General Election. Māori Language Act passed making Māori an official language. Anti-nuclear legislation enacted. First Lotto draw. New Zealand's first heart transplant is performed. New Zealand wins Rugby World Cup. Significant earthquake in the Bay of Plenty.

Survivors from the sinking of the ferry Wahine reach safety at Seatoun, 10 April 1968.


Number of unemployed exceeds 100,000. Bastion Point land returned to Māori ownership. Combined Council of Trade Unions formed. Royal Commission on Social Policy issues April Report. Gibbs Report on hospital services and Picot Report on education published. State Sector Act passed. Cyclone Bola strikes northern North Island. Electrification of North Island's main trunk line completed. New Zealand Post closes 432 post offices. Fisheries quota package announced for Māori iwi.


Prime Minister David Lange suggests formal withdrawal from ANZUS. Jim Anderton founds New Labour Party. Lange resigns and Geoffrey Palmer becomes Prime Minister. First annual balance of payments surplus since 1973. Reserve Bank Act sets Bank's role as one of maintaining price stability. First school board elections under Tomorrow's Schools reforms. First elections under revised local government structure. Sunday trading begins. Third TV channel begins. Māori Fisheries Act passed.


New Zealand celebrates its sesquicentennial. Māori leaders inaugurate National Congress of Tribes. Dame Catherine Tizard becomes first woman Governor-General. Geoffrey Palmer resigns as Prime Minister and is replaced by Mike Moore. National Party has landslide victory. Jim Bolger becomes Prime Minister. One and two cent coins are no longer legal tender. Commonwealth Games are held in Auckland. Telecom sold for $4.25 billion. Welfare payments cut. Big earthquake in Hawke's Bay.


First budget of new Finance Minister, Ruth Richardson. Welfare payments further reduced. The Alliance Party is formed. Employment Contracts Act passed. Consumers Price Index has lowest quarterly increase for 25 years. Number of unemployed exceeds 200,000 for the first time. New Zealand troops join multi-national force in the Gulf War. An avalanche on Mt Cook reduces its height by 10.5 metres.


Government and Māori interests negotiate Sealords fisheries deal. Public health system reforms. State housing commercialised. Watties Foods is bought by American company, Heinz. New Zealand gets seat on United Nations Security Council.


Centennial of women's suffrage celebrated. New Zealand First Party launched by Winston Peters. National wins election without majority – Opposition MP Peter Tapsell becomes Speaker of the House, thus giving the Government a majority. Referendum favours MMP electoral system. New Zealand film The Piano has international success.


Government commits 250 soldiers to front-line duty in Bosnia. Government proposes $1 billion cap in plan for final settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims. Sharemarket reaches highest level since 1987 crash. New Zealand's first casino opens in Christchurch. First fast-ferry passenger service begins operation across Cook Strait.


Team New Zealand wins America's Cup. Occupation of Moutua Gardens, Wanganui. Waikato Raupatu Claims Settlement Act passed. New political parties form: the Conservative, Christian Heritage and United New Zealand. Renewal of French nuclear tests results in New Zealand protest flotilla and navy ship Tui sailing for Mururoa Atoll. Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Auckland; Nelson Mandela visits. New Zealand contingent returns from Bosnia.


Imported pests – Mediterranean fruit flies and white-spotted tussock moths – cause disruption to export trade and to Aucklanders. Thirteenth National Park, Kahurangi, opens in north-west Nelson. Waitangi Tribunal recommends settlement of Taranaki land claims. First legal sports betting at TAB. A $170 million Ngāi Tahu settlement proposed. Government makes an offer to settle the Whakatōhea claim; debate continues. First MMP election brings National/New Zealand First coalition government.


The Winebox Inquiry concludes with a recommendation of tighter tax laws and the finding that all allegations of fraud raised in the inquiry were unable to be substantiated. Bic Runga becomes the first New Zealand woman to top the New Zealand album charts with her debut album Drive. Scenes of widespread grief in New Zealand after news of the death of Princess Diana. The Government is forced to legalise use of the rabbit-killing Calicivirus (RCD) after discovering it has been introduced illegally. The $170 million Ngāi Tahu settlement is signed. Jim Bolger resigns as Prime Minister after a National Party coup while he is overseas; he is replaced by New Zealand's first woman Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley. Taranaki farmers drive their tractors to Parliament to protest the passage of the Māori Reserved Land Amendment Bill.


Auckland city businesses are hit by a power cut which continues for over a month and results in an inquiry into Mercury Energy. The New Zealand women's rugby team, the Black Ferns, become the world champions. Mortgage rates and the New Zealand dollar both take a slide, leaving the NZ$1 below the US50c mark for the first time in 12 years. The Coalition Government is dissolved, leaving Prime Minister Jenny Shipley's National Party as a minority government. Several cases of tuberculosis are discovered in South Auckland in the worst outbreak for a decade. The Hikoi of Hope marches to Parliament calling for more support for the poor.


New Zealand sends peace-keeping troops to East Timor. Auckland hosts the APEC world leaders’ conference, attended by US President Bill Clinton, provoking anti free trade protests and traffic jams. Former Prime Minister Mike Moore becomes head of the World Trade Organisation. The country mourns the All Blacks’ semifinal loss to France in World Cup Rugby. The loss is said to contribute to the defeat of the minority National Government in the November election. Labour leader Helen Clark becomes first elected woman Prime Minister, in coalition with the Alliance party and with the support of the Green party. The Greens enter Parliament for the first time with seven seats. Frantic preventative measures are stepped up to fight the Y2K computer bug, which turns out to be a damp squib when not one fault is reported world wide on New Years Day 2000.

The 1998 Hikoi of Hope march to Wellington drew attention to growing poverty in New Zealand.


  • 2.1 Statistics New Zealand.

Special article

‘New Zealand in the 20th century', David Green, Historical Branch, Department of Internal Affairs

Further information

Bassett, J, Sinclair K, and Stenson, M 1985. The story of New Zealand. Auckland: Reed Methuen.

Bohan, E 1997. New Zealand: The story so far: a short history. Auckland: HarperCollins.

Brooking, TWH, and Enright, P 1988. Milestones: Turning points in New Zealand history. Lower Hutt: Mills Publications.

Cumberland K, 1981. Landmarks (series of video recordings). Wellington: Television New Zealand.

Keith, H 1984. New Zealand Yesterdays: A look at our recent past. Sydney: Reader's Digest Services.

McKinnon, M (ed) 1997. New Zealand historical atlas. Auckland: David Bateman in association with Historical Branch, Department of Internal Affairs.

Rice, G (ed) 1992. The Oxford history of New Zealand, 2nd edition. Auckland: Oxford University Press.

Sinclair, K 1998. A history of New Zealand, revised edition. Auckland: Penguin.

Sinclair, K (ed) 1990. The Oxford illustrated history of New Zealand. Auckland: Oxford University Press.

Chapter 3. Government

Government House, Wellington, 1912.

3.1 Constitution

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

MonarchAccessionDiedAgeReigned (years)
1Abdicated; reigned 325 days.
House of Hanover
House of Saxe-Coburg
Edward VII19011910689
House of Windsor
George V191019367025
Edward VIII119361972  
George VI193619525615
Elizabeth II1952   

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.

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.

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 controlled proceedings in Parliament and cases of Government members voting with the Opposition were uncommon.


Vice-regal representative1Assumed officeRetired
1Honours are specified only if held on retirement from office.
Captain William Hobson, RN30 Jan 18403 May 1841
Crown colony
Captain William Hobson, RN3 May 184110 Sep 1842
Captain Robert FitzRoy, RN26 Dec 184317 Nov 1845
Captain George Grey18 Nov 184531 Dec 1847
Sir George Grey, KCB1 Jan 18487 Mar 1853
Self-governing colony
Governors of New Zealand
Sir George Grey, KCB7 Mar 185331 Dec 1853
Colonel Thomas Gore Browne, CB6 Sep 18552 Oct 1861
Sir George Grey, KCB4 Dec 18615 Feb 1868
Sir George Ferguson Bowen, GCMG5 Feb 186819 Mar 1873
Rt Hon Sir James Fergusson, Bt14 Jun 18733 Dec 1874
Marquess of Normanby, GCB, GCMG, PC9 Jan 187521 Feb 1879
Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson, GCMG17 Apr 18798 Sep 1880
Hon Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon, GCMG29 Nov 188023 Jun 1882
Lieutenant-General Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois, GCMG, CB20 Jan 188322 Mar 1889
Earl of Onslow, GCMG2 May 188924 Feb 1892
Earl of Glasgow, GCMG7 Jun 18926 Feb 1897
Earl of Ranfurly, GCMG10 Aug 189719 Jun 1904
Lord Plunket, GCMG, KCVO20 Jun 19047 Jun 1910
Lord Islington, KCMG, DSO, PC22 Jun 19102 Dec 1912
Earl of Liverpool, GCMG, MVO, PC19 Dec 191227 Jun 1917
Governors-General of New Zealand
Earl of Liverpool, GCB, GCMG, GBE, MVO, PC28 Jun 19177 Jul 1920
Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Jellicoe, GCB, OM, GCVO27 Sep 192026 Nov 1924
General Sir Charles Fergusson, Bt, GCMG, KCB, DSO, MVO13 Dec 19248 Feb 1930
Viscount Bledisloe, GCMG, KBE, PC19 Mar 193015 Mar 1935
Viscount Galway, GCMG, DSO, OBE, PC12 Apr 19353 Feb 1941
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Cyril Louis Norton Newall, GCB, OM, GCMG, CBE, AM22 Feb 194119 Apr 1946
Lieutenant-General the Lord Freyberg, VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO17 Jun 194615 Aug 1952
Lieutenant-General the Lord Norrie, GCMG, GCVO, CB, DSO, MC2 Dec 195225 Jul 1957
Viscount Cobham, GCMG, TD5 Sep 195713 Sep 1962
Brigadier Sir Bernard Fergusson, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, OBE9 Nov 196220 Oct 1967
Sir Arthur Espie Porritt, Bt GCMG, GCVO, CBE1 Dec 19677 Sep 1972
Sir (Edward) Denis Blundell, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, QSO27 Sep 19725 Oct 1977
Rt Hon Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, KG, GCMG, CH, QSO26 Oct 197727 Oct 1980
Hon Sir David Stuart Beattie, GCMG, GCVO, QSO, QC6 Nov 198010 Nov 1985
Most Reverend Sir Paul Alfred Reeves, GCMG, GCVO, QSO20 Nov 198529 Nov 1990
Dame Catherine Tizard, GCMG, GCVO, DBE, QSO13 Dec 19903 Mar 1996
Rt Hon Sir Michael Hardie Boys, GNZM, GCMG21 Mar 1996 

Recent constitutional reform

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 the existing 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 registered electors) 1,031,257 or 84.7 percent voted for change. A clear preference was shown for mixed member proportional representation (MMP) which received 70.5 percent of the votes for change. 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.

In a second referendum held in conjunction with the 1993 general election, 1,917,883 voters (about 85 percent of the registered electors) chose between the first past the post (FPP) system and mixed member proportional representation. FPP received 884,964 votes (46.1 percent of the total vote) and MMP 1,032,919 votes (53.9 percent). Provision for that referendum was made in the Electoral Referendum Act 1993, and details of the MMP system are set out in that act.

Human Rights Act 1993. The Human Rights Act came into force on 1 February 1994. It amalgamated the Race Relations Act 1971 and the Human Rights Commission Act 1977 and added five new prohibited grounds of discrimination. There are now 13 prohibited grounds of discrimination: sex, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status and sexual orientation. The areas in which it is unlawful to discriminate are the same as in the former legislation: employment; access to places, vehicles and facilities; provision of goods and services; provision of land, housing and other accommodation; and access to educational establishments. The act also contains provisions relating to racial disharmony, sexual harassment, and racial harassment.

The act modified procedures to assist with the resolution of complaints. The Human Rights Commission was restructured to include a Complaints Division dealing specifically with complaints. After investigating a complaint the Complaints Division may call a compulsory conference in order to identify the matters in issue between the parties and to explore the possibility of reaching an amicable settlement. When a complaint cannot be settled and proceedings commence before the Complaints Review Tribunal, the chairperson of the tribunal has the power to make interim orders to preserve the position of the parties pending final determination of the proceedings. If a party is dissatisfied with the decision of the tribunal and appeals to the High Court, there is a further right of appeal to the Court of Appeal on a question of law.

The Chief Justices leave Parliament Buildings, 1953, after the official opening of Parliament.

3.2 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. The Parliament 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. At the same time, the law forbids the Crown to tax citizens without express parliamentary approval. Private members are now able under standing orders to initiate proposals involving expenditure or taxation; however the Government has an absolute right to veto such proposals if in its view they would have more than a minor impact on the Government's fiscal aggregates. Until the Constitution Act is amended, a positive recommendation from the Crown is required before the House may pass a bill making an appropriation.

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. The session is either discontinued without being dissolved, or terminated, as is now usually the case, directly by dissolution of the Parliament. Unless there is a new session, at the commencement of business in the second and third years of the parliamentary term, the Prime Minister's statement reviews public affairs and outlines the Government's legislative and other policy intentions for the year ahead.

The Speaker, elected by the House, is the principal presiding officer, maintaining order in proceedings and ensuring 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.

Standing orders. On 20 December 1995, the House of Representatives adopted new Standing Orders, or rules of procedure, and these were brought into force on 20 February 1996. The Standing Orders were adopted in anticipation of a House of Representatives to be elected under the mixed member proportional system (MMP) at the General Election of 1996. The background to the changes is set out in the Report of the Standing Orders Committee on the Review of Standing Orders (Parl paper I.18A, 1995). Amendments have subsequently been made in August 1996 (Parl paper I.18B, 1996) and in September 1999 (Parl paper I.18B, 1999).

Role of parties. It has traditionally been the role of the opposition party with the highest number of seats to present itself to the people as an alternative government, attacking government policy and attempting to demonstrate inefficiency, and government or departmental mismanagement. Under an electoral system providing majority governments it has been 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 has been characterised in the past by two large, dominant parties, with the majority party forming the Government and the minority party forming the Opposition. In recent years, however, members of other parties 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 or have formed new parties.

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


ElectionTotalLiberal ConservativeLabourACTNZ FirstAllianceGreenOthersIndependent

1Country Party.


3Social Credit/Democrats.

4New Labour.

5Includes Speaker of the House.


18907438 25      7
18937451 13      6
18967439 25      6
18997449 19      2
19028047 19      10
19058058 16      6
19088050 261     3
19118033 374     6
19148033 416     0
19198021 478     4
19228022 3717     4
19258011 5512     2
19288027 2719    116
193180 51 24    114
193580 19 53+22    214
193880 25 53     2
194380 34 45     1
194680 38 42      
194980 46 34      
195180 50 30      
195480 45 35      
195780 39 41      
196080 46 34      
196380 45 35      
196680 44 35    13 
196984 45 39      
197287 32 55      
197587 55 32      
197892 51 40    13 
198192 47 43    23 
198495 37 56    23 
198797 40 57      
199097 67 29    14 
199399 50 455 22   
1996120 445 3781713 16 
1999120 39 499510716 

Because of 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.

Party representation. The general election held on 12 October 1996, the first under MMP, did not produce an outright majority of seats for either of the two main political parties, National (previously in coalition with the United New Zealand party) or Labour. A coalition agreement was concluded between National and New Zealand First on 11 December 1996 and the new Ministry was sworn in on 16 December 1996. Following termination of the coalition agreement, a National-led Ministry was reconstituted on 31 August 1998.

In the first House of Representatives to be elected under the mixed member proportional system (MMP), there were: National 44 (30 electorate, 14 party list); Labour 37 (26 electorate, 11 party list); New Zealand First 17 (6 electorate, 11 party list); Alliance 13 (1 electorate, 12 party list); Act New Zealand 8 (1 electorate, 7 party list); and United New Zealand (1 electorate).

When Parliament dissolved on 18 October 1999 the state of the parties recognised for parliamentary purposes was:

National 44; Labour 36; Alliance 9; New Zealand First 9; ACT New Zealand 8; Mauri Pacific 5; Green Party 2; Christian Heritage 1; Mana Wahine Te Ira Tangata 1; Te Tawharau 1; United New Zealand 1; Independents 2; vacant (formerly Labour) 1.

The general election held on 27 November 1999 resulted in the formation of a minority coalition Government consisting of Labour and the Alliance. The new Ministry was sworn in on 10 December 1999.

In the second House of Representatives to be elected under MMP there are: Labour 49 (41 electorate, 8 party list); National 39 (22 electorate, 17 party list); Alliance 10 (1 electorate, 9 party list); ACT New Zealand 9 party list; Green 7 (1 electorate, 6 party list); New Zealand First 5 (1 electorate, 4 party list); United New Zealand (1 electorate).

Legislative procedures, Proposed laws are presented to the House of Representatives in the form of draft laws known as ‘bills'. Classes of bills are: Government bills, which deal with matters of public policy and which are introduced by a minister; Members’ bills, which deal with matters of public policy and which are introduced by a member of Parliament, who is not a minister; local bills, which are promoted by local authorities to give them special powers or validate unlawful actions they may have taken and which affect particular localities; and private bills, promoted by individuals or bodies (such as companies or trusts) for their particular interest or benefit.

All types of bills follow a similar procedure in the House, with every bill being required by the Standing Orders of the House to be ‘read’ three times. A local bill or a private bill must also comply with prescribed preliminary procedures, which entail advertising the bill before its introduction into the House. The number of members’ bills that may be introduced and proceed at any one time to first reading is limited to four, chosen by ballot.

Under the current Standing Orders, a Government bill is introduced by the Leader of the House informing the Clerk of the House on any working day or by 1pm on a sitting day of the Government's intention to introduce the bill. A member's bill or a local bill is introduced after notice of intention to introduce it is given and the bill's introduction has been announced to the House. A private bill is introduced by presentation of a petition for the bill to the House. The bill is then set down for first reading on the third sitting day following. Debate on the first reading is limited to 12 speeches in the case of a Government bill, or six speeches of 10 minutes each for other bills, and allowing the member in charge a five minute right of reply.

After its first reading a bill is referred to a select committee of the House for consideration unless it is an appropriation bill, an imprest supply bill, or a bill that has been accorded urgency for its passing. Government bills may be introduced on working days, as well as sitting days. Private, local and members’ bills in certain circumstances may be introduced while the House is adjourned, deemed read a first time and referred directly to a select committee for consideration.

Select committee consideration of bills provides an opportunity for the public and interested bodies to make submissions in the expectation that better law will result. Committees also carry out scrutiny functions in relation to such matters as estimates, financial reviews and petitions. A committee must finally report to the House on a bill within six months of the bill being referred to it, unless the House extends that time. In its report recommending amendments to a bill, the committee must distinguish between those adopted unanimously by the committee and those adopted by a majority.

Following presentation of a select committee report on a bill, the report is set down for second reading on the third sitting day following. At the conclusion of the debate on the report the House decides whether to agree to the amendments recommended by the select committee by majority. The House then decides whether the bill should be read a second time. The second reading of a bill is directed to the principles and objects of the bill.

A bill which the House gives a second reading is set down for consideration in a committee of the whole House next sitting day, unless the Business Committee decides that the bill does not require consideration in committee. ‘In committee’ the bill is considered clause by clause.

Once a bill has been fully considered by the committee it is reported to the House with any amendments that have been agreed to. The House having adopted the report, the bill is then set down for third reading next sitting day. Debate on the third reading is limited to 12 speeches of 10 minutes each.

After a third reading has been given, the bill that has been passed by the House is forwarded to the Governor-General for the Royal assent. The bill then becomes an Act of Parliament and part of the law of New Zealand.

Sessions of Parliament. The first session of the 46th New Zealand Parliament was called following the General Election of 27 November 1999, and began sitting on 20 December 1999.

The swearing-in of the new Cabinet, 1975.

Parliamentary Service: Te Ratonga Whare Pāremata. The Parliamentary Service provides administrative support services to members of Parliament and the House of Representatives, and is responsible to the Speaker as Chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission and Vote Minister. The Parliamentary Service is controlled by the Parliamentary Service Commission, but the role and function of this body is being reconsidered as part of the Parliamentary Service Bill which has been introduced in Parliament.

Under the current Parliamentary Service Act 1985 the Parliamentary Service Commission consists of: the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as Chairman; the Leader of the House of Representatives, or a representative; the Leader of the Opposition, or a representative; four other members of the House of Representatives agreed to by the House, of whom at least two shall be members of the Opposition; and two further members who are appointed as observers on behalf of other parties.

The services provided by the Parliamentary Service are:

  • Personal staff to assist Members of Parliament in the Parliamentary complex and in their out-of-Parliament offices.

  • Parliamentary information services – library services and computing facilities to members of Parliament and their staff.

  • Catering services (Bellamy's) for members, staff, and guests.

  • Buildings operations and maintenance and associated support services within the Parliamentary complex.

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

  • Administering the determinations of the Higher Salaries Commission as they relate to the salaries and allowances payable to members of Parliament.

  • Policy advice to the Speaker and to the Parliamentary Service Commission.

The Parliamentary Service is responsible for the funding and accommodation arrangements of the country's second MMP Parliament.


ParliamentPeriod of session
Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives
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 1991–30 September 1993
Forty-fourth21 December 1993–6 September 1996
Forty-fifth12 December 1996–18 October 1999


 Calendar year

1Second session, 42nd Parliament.

2First session, 43rd Parliament.

3Second session, 43rd Parliament.

444th Parliament.

545th Parliament.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives

Sitting days561022420399
Government bills
Referred to select committees339124117152
Members’ bills
Referred to select committees4-322926
Local bills
Referred to select committees5-25189
Private bills
Referred to select committees3-11117

Salaries and allowances of parliamentarians. These are set by the Higher Salaries Commission and are shown in table 3.5. A constituency allowance is paid at a rate dependent on the nature of each member's electorate, e.g. urban, rural, or semi-rural, and ranges from $8,000 to $20,000. Every member is paid an allowance of $7,000 per year. 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 $150 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 $8,500. Travel allowances are set out in the Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Determination 1999 (S.R. 1999/374), published in the statutory regulations series.


 Annual salary or allowance payable from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 20001

1Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Determination (S.R. 1997/306). In its explanatory note, the Higher Salaries Commission records that the ‘Commission is all too keenly aware that any increase in the salaries of parliamentarians could create a degree of public disapproval. It is possible that the performance of a few is at least partly responsible for a popularly held view that politicians should not get an increase.'

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives

Salaries -$
Members of the Executive
Prime Minister216,300
Deputy Prime Minister161,000
Minister of the Crown in Cabinet145,400
Minister of the Crown outside Cabinet129,250
Parliamentary Under-Secretary104,500
Officers of the House of Representatives
Deputy Speaker106,400
Assistant Speaker90,000
Chairpersons of Select Committees89,100
Leader of the Opposition and other party leaders -
Leader of the Opposition145,400
Leader of other parties (depending on number of MPs)90,000+
Deputy leader of party with 35 MPs or more99,500
Salaries -
Whips -
Senior Government Whip95,500+
Other Whips (depending on number of MPs)89,100+
Other Members of Parliament -
Member of Parliament83,000
Allowances -
Prime Minister29,500
Deputy Prime Minister13,000
Minister of the Crown12,000
Parliamentary Under-Secretary9,500
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade (additional)6,000
Speaker – basic expenses allowance12,000
additional allowance8,500
Deputy Speaker – basic expenses allowance9,500
additional allowance7,500
Assistant Speaker – basic expenses allowance7,000
additional allowance1,000
Leader of the Opposition – basic expenses allowance12,000
Leaders of other parties (depending on number of MPs)7,000–10,000
Deputy Leader – basic expenses allowance7,000
additional allowance2,000
Constituency Members – basic expenses allowance7,000
constituency allowance (depending on classification of electoral district)8,000–20,000
List Members7,000

Table 3.6 lists members of the House of Representatives during the 46th Parliament. The final results of the 1999 General Election are to be printed in the report The General Election (printed as Parl paper E.9).


Prime Minister – Rt Hon Helen Clark
Leader of the Opposition – Rt Hon Jenny Shipley
Speaker – Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt
Deputy Speaker – Geoffrey Braybrooke
Clerk of the House – D G McGee
Member*Year of birthPrevious occupationElectorate/listParty

*Names are given by which individual members prefer to be addressed.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives

Anderton, Hon Jim1938Company directorWigramAlliance
Ardern, Shane1960FarmerTaranaki/King CountryNational
Awatere Huata, Donna1949Māori development consultantlistACT
Barker, Rick1951Trade unionistTukitukiLabour
Barnett, Tim1958Vol. sector managerChristchurch CentralLabour
Benson-Pope, David  Dunedin SouthLabour
Beyer, Georgina  WairarapaLabour
Bradford, Hon Max1942Administrator, consultantlistNational
Bradford, Sue  listGreen
Braybrooke, Geoff1935Sales managerNapierLabour
Brown, Peter1939Company directorlistNZF
Brownlee, Gerry1956TeacherIlamNational
Bunkle, Phillida1944University lecturerlistAlliance
Burton, Mark1956Community educ. organiserTaupoLabour
Campbell, Kevin  listAlliance
Carter, Chris  Te AtatuLabour
Carter, David1952Businessman, farmerlistNational
Carter, John1950Local government officerNorthlandNational
Chadwick, Steve  RotoruaLabour
Clark, Rt Hon Helen1950University lecturerMt AlbertLabour
Cosgrove, Clayton  WaimakaririLabour
Creech, Rt Hon Wyatt1946AccountantlistNational
Cullen, Hon Dr Michael1945University lecturerlistLabour
Cunliffe, David  TitirangiLabour
Dalziel, Hon Lianne1960Trade unionistChristchurch EastLabour
Donald, Rod1957Vol. sector administratorlistAlliance
Donnelly, Hon Brian1949School principallistNZF
Dunne, Hon Peter1954Deputy chief executive officerOhariu/BelmontUnited
Duynhoven, Harry1955TeacherNew PlymouthLabour
Dyson, Hon Ruth1957Employment consultantBanks PeninsulaLabour
Eckhoff, Gerrard  listACT
English, Hon Bill1961FarmerClutha/SouthlandNational
Ewen-Street, Ian  listGreen
Field, Taito Phillip1952Trade unionistMangereLabour
Fitzsimons, Jeanette1945Organic farmer, environment consultantCoromandelGreen
Franks, Stephen  listACT
Gallagher, Martin  Hamilton WestLabour
Gillon, Grant1954EngineerlistAlliance
Goff, Hon Phil1953University lecturerMt RoskillLabour
Gordon, Liz1955University lecturerlistAlliance
Gosche, Hon Mark1955Trade unionistlistLabour
Harré, Hon Laila1966Barrister and solicitorlistAlliance
Hartley, Ann  NorthcoteLabour
Hasler, Marie1948BusinesswomanlistNational
Hawke, Joe1940Marae worker, housing consultantlistLabour
Hawkins, Hon George1946TeacherManurewaLabour
Heatley, Philip  WhangareiNational
Herlihy, Gavan1947FarmerOtagoNational
Hide, Rodney1956Economic consultantlistACT
Hobbs, Hon Marian1947TeacherWellington CentralLabour
Hodgson, Pete1950VeterinarianDunedin NorthLabour
Horomia, Hon Parekura  Ikaroa-RawhitiLabour
Hunt, Rt Hon Jonathan1938TeacherlistLabour
Hutchison, Dr Paul  Port WaikatoNational
Jackson, Willie  listAlliance
Jennings, Owen1945FarmerlistACT
Keall, Judy1942ConsultantOtakiLabour
Kedgley, Sue  listGreen
Kelly, Graham1941Trade unionistManaLabour
Kidd, Hon Doug1941Barrister and solicitorlistNational
King, Hon Annette1945Chief executive officerRongotaiLabour
Kyd, Warren1939Barrister and solicitorHunuaNational
Laban, Winnie  listLabour
Lee, Hon Sandra1952Local authority memberlistAlliance
Locke, Keith  listGreen
Luxton, Hon John1946FarmerKarapiroNational
Mackey, Janet1953Real estate agentMahiaLabour
McCully, Hon Murray1953Public relations consultantAlbanyNational
McKinnon, Rt Hon Don1939Real estate agentTe Tai HauauruNational
Maharey, Hon Steve1953University lecturerPalmerston NorthLabour
Mahuta, Nanaia1970Archivist librarianTe Tai HauauruLabour
Mallard, Hon Trevor1954Executive assistantHutt SouthLabour
Mapp, Dr Wayne1952Law lecturerNorth ShoreNational
Mark, Ron1954Businessman, ex army officerlistNZF
Neeson, Brian1945Real estate agentWaitakereNational
Newman, Dr Muriel1950Tertiary and secondary teacher, business managerlistACT
O'Connor, Damien1958Tourism operatorWest Coast/TasmanLabour
Okeroa, Mahara  Te Tai TongaLabour
Peck, Mark1953Trade unionistInvercargillLabour
Peters, Rt Hon Winston1945Barrister and solicitorTaurangaNZF
Pettis, Jill1952Education administratorWanganuiLabour
Power, Simon  RangitikeiNational
Prebble, Hon Richard1948Barrister and solicitorWellington CentralACT
Rich, Katherine  listNational
Ririnui, Mita  WaiarikiLabour
Robertson, H V Ross1949Industrial engineerManukau EastLabour
Robson, Hon Matt1950Barrister and solicitorlistAlliance
Roy, Eric1948Farmer/company directorlistNational
Ryall, Hon Tony1964AccountantBay of PlentyNational
Samuels, Hon Dover1939Company directorlistLabour
Scott, Lynda  KaikouraNational
Shipley, Rt Hon Jenny1952FarmerRakaiaNational
Shirley, Hon Ken1950Executive directorlistACT
Simcock, Bob1946Deer farmerlistNational
Simich, Hon Clem1939General managerTamakiNational
Smith, Dr the Hon Lockwood1948Managing directorRodneyNational
Smith, Hon Nick1964EngineerNelsonNational
Sowry, Hon Roger1958Retail managerlistNational
Steel, Tony1941TeacherHamilton EastNational
Sutton, Hon Jim1941FarmerAorakiLabour
Swain, Hon Paul1951Trade unionistRimutakaLabour
Tamihere, John  HaurakiLabour
Tanczos, Nandor   list Green
te Heuheu, Georgina1943Consultant, advocate Treaty issueslistNational
Tich, Lindsay  KarapiroNational
Tizard, Hon Judith1956Electorate secretaryAuckland CentralLabour
Tolley, Anne  listNational
Turia, Hon Tariana1944Iwi development workerlistLabour
Upton, Rt Hon Simon1958Student, teacherlistNational
Vernon, Belinda1958Financial controllerMaungakiekieNational
Webster, Penny  listACT
Williamson, Hon Maurice1951Planning analystPakurangaNational
Wilson, Margaret  listLabour
Wong, Pansy1955AccountantlistNational
Woolerton, R Doug1944FarmerlistNZF
Worth, Richard  EpsomNational
Wright, John1945Motor mechaniclistAlliance
Yates, Dianne1943Education officerlistLabour
Young, Annabel1956Business advisorlistNational

Hard on the heels of the triumphs for women's suffrage won at the 1893 General Election, the country's first elected woman mayor, Elizabeth Yates, won leadership of the Onehunga Borough council in December 1893.



NameElectorateDate electedAge when first elected PartyParty





5replaced MP who resigned.

Elizabeth McCombsLyttelton1933–35160Labour
Catherine StewartWellington West1938–43257Labour
Mary DreaverWaitemata1941–43254Labour
Mary (Grigg) PolsonMid-Canterbury1942–4345National
Mabel HowardChristchurch East/Sydenham1943–6949Labour
Hilda RossHamilton1945–59161National
Iriaka RatanaWestern Māori1949–6944Labour
Ethel McMillanNorth Dunedin/Dunedin North1953–7551Labour
Esme TomblesonGisborne1960–72243National
Rona StevensonTaupo1963–7252National
Whetu Tirikatene-SullivanSouthern Māori1967–96235Labour
Dorothy JelicichHamilton West1972–75244Labour
Mary BatchelorAvon1972–8745Labour
Marilyn WaringRaglan/Waipa1975–8423National
Colleen DeweLyttelton1975–78245National
Ann HercusLyttelton1978–8736Labour
Margaret ShieldsKapiti1981–90240Labour
Helen ClarkOwairaka/Mt Albert198131Labour
Fran WildeWellington Central1981–92332Labour
Ruth RichardsonSelwyn1981–94330National
Anne (Fraser) CollinsEast Cape1984–90232Labour
Judy KeallGlenfield/Horowhenua/Otaki1984–902, 199341Labour
Annette KingHorowhenua/Miramar/Rongotai1984–902, 199339Labour
Katherine O'ReganWaipa/List1984–99238National
Margaret AustinYaldhurst1984–96251Labour/United New Zealand
Sonja DaviesPencarrow1987–93463Labour
Jenny KirkBirkenhead1987–90243Labour
Jenny ShipleyAshburton/Rakaia198735National
Elizabeth TennetIsland Bay1987–96434Labour
Lianne DalzielChristchurch Central/List199030Labour
Christine FletcherEden/Epsom1990–99435National
Marie HaslerTitirangi/Waitakere/List1990–932, 199642National
Gail McIntoshLyttelton1990–93235National
Joy (McLauchlan) QuigleyWestern Hutt/List1990–9942National
Margaret MoirWest Coast1990–93249National
Judith TizardPanmure/Auckland Central199034Labour
Ruth DysonLyttelton/List/Banks Peninsula199336Labour
Pauline GardinerWellington-Karori1993–96246National/United New Zealand
Sandra LeeAuckland Central/List199341Alliance (Mana Motuhake)
Janet MackeyGisborne/Mahia199340Labour
Jill PettisWanganui/Whanganui199341Labour
Suzanne SinclairTitirangi1993–96247Labour
Jill WhiteManawatu/List1993–98352Labour
Dianne YatesHamilton East/List199350Labour
Donna Awatere HuataList199647ACT
Rev. Ann BattenList1996–99252NZ First/Independent
Jenny BloxhamList1996–99247NZ First
Phillida BunkleList199652Alliance (Green)
Pam CorkeryList1996–99440Alliance (NLP)
Jeanette FitzsimonsList/Coromandel199651Alliance (Green)/Green
Dr Liz GordonList199641Alliance (NLP)
Laila HarréList199630Alliance (NLP)
Marian HobbsList/Wellington Central199649Labour
Manu Alamein KopuList1996–99253Mana Wahine Te Ira Tangata, elected as Alliance (Mana Motuhake)
Robyn McDonaldList1996–99245NZ First
Nanaia MahutaList199626Labour
Deborah MorrisList1996–98326NZ First/Independent
Dr Muriel NewmanList199646ACT
Patricia SchnauerList1996–99454ACT
Georgina te Heu HeuList199653National
Tariana TuriaList199652Labour
Belinda VernonMaungakiekie199638National
Pansy WongList199641National
Annabel Young5List199740National
Helen DuncanList1998 Labour
Georgina BeyerWairarapa1999 Labour
Sue BradfordList1999 Green
Steve ChadwickRotorua1999 Labour
Ann HartleyNorthcote1999 Labour
Sue KedgleyList1999 Green
Luamanuvao Winnie LabanList1999 Labour
Katherine RichList1999 National
Lynda ScottKaikoura1999 National
Anne TolleyList1999 National
Penny WebsterList1999 ACT
Margaret WilsonList1999 Labour

New Zealand's first woman Member of Parliament, Elizabeth Reid McCombs, who was MP for Lyttelton from 1933 to 1935.


Premier/Prime Minister1Term(s) of office
1Honours are specified only if held on retirement from office.
Henry Sewell 7 May 1856–20 May 1856
William Fox 20 May 1856- 2 Jun 1856
12 Jul 1861– 6 Aug 1862
28 Jun 1869–10 Sep 1872
3 Mar 1873- 8 Apr 1873
Edward William Stafford 2 Jun 1856–12 Jul 1861
16 Oct 1865–28 Jun 1869
10 Sep 1872–11 Oct 1872
Alfred Domett 6 Aug 1862–30 Oct 1863
30 Oct 1863–24 Nov 1864
21 Apr 1882-25 Sep 1883
Frederick Aloysius Weld 24 Nov 1864–16 Oct 1865
George Marsden Waterhouse, MLC 11 Oct 1872- 3 Mar 1873
Sir Julius Vogel, KCMG 8 Apr 1873- 6 Jul 1875
15 Feb 1876- 1 Sep 1876
Daniel Pollen, MLC 6 Jul 1875–15 Feb 1876
1 Sep 1876–13 Sep 1876
Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, KCMG 13 Sep 1876–13 Oct 1877 (ministry reconstructed)
25 Sep 1883–16 Aug 1884
28 Aug 1884- 3 Sep 1884
8 Oct 1887–24 Jan 1891
Sir George Grey, KCB 13 Oct 1877- 8 Oct 1879
John Hall 8 Oct 1879–21 Apr 1882
16 Aug 1884–28 Aug 1884
3 Sep 1884- 8 Oct 1887
John BallanceLiberal24 Jan 1891-d 27 Apr 1893
Rt Hon Richard John SeddonLiberal1 May 1893-d 10 Jun 1906
Prime Ministers
William Hall-JonesLiberal21 Jun 1906- 6 Aug 1906
Rt Hon Sir Joseph George Ward, Bt, KCMGLiberal6 Aug 1906–28 Mar 1912
United10 Dec 1928–28 May 1930
Thomas MacKenizeLiberal28 Mar 1912–10 Jul 1912
Rt Hon William Ferguson MasseyReform10 Jul 1912–12 Aug 1915
National12 Aug 1919-d 10 May 1925
Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell, GCMG, KC, MLCReform14 May 1925–30 May 1925
Rt Hon Joseph Gordon Coates, MCReform30 May 1925–10 Dec 1928
Rt Hon George William ForbesUnited28 May 1930–22 Sep 1931
Coalition22 Sep 1931–6 Dec 1935
Rt Hon Michael Joseph SavageLabour6 Dec 1935-d 27 Mar 1940
Rt Hon Peter Fraser, CHLabour1 Apr 1940–13 Dec 1949
Rt Hon Sidney George Holland, CHNational13 Dec 1949–20 Sep 1957
Rt Hon Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, GCMG, CHNational20 Sep 1957–12 Dec 1957
12 Dec 1960- 7 Feb 1972
Rt Hon Walter Nash, CHLabour12 Dec 1957–12 Dec 1960
Rt Hon John Ross Marshall (later Sir)National7 Feb 1972- 8 Dec 1972
Rt Hon Norman Eric KirkLabour8 Dec 1973-d 31 Aug 1974
Rt Hon Wallace Edward Rowling (later Sir)Labour6 Sep 1974–12 Dec 1975
Rt Hon Sir Robert David Muldoon, GCMG, CHNational12 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 1990–12 Oct 1996
Coalition12 Oct 1996–8 Dec 1997
Rt Hon Jennifer Mary ShipleyCoalition8 Dec 1997–10 Dec 1999
Rt Hon Helen ClarkLabour10 Dec 1999-

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 party or parties with the confidence of 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 under-secretaries, 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 ministers are members of the Executive Council, but not all ministers are in 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 vehicle for law-making by the executive. The authority to make statutory regulations, for example, is delegated by Parliament to the Governor-General in Council.

Able to vote for the first time after reaching the age of 21, a young woman has her name checked on the electoral roll, 1930s.

Office of the Prime Minister Current and first elected woman Prime Minister Helen Clark.

The Cabinet is, in effect, the highest policy-making body 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 convention the Cabinet accepts collective responsibility for its decisions, which ensures that once a decision is made it will be publicly supported by all members of the Government. The Cabinet Office provides support services for the Cabinet and its committees. The current Secretary of the Cabinet is also the Clerk of the Executive Council.


Source: Cabinet Office
His Excellency The Rt Hon Sir Michael Hardie Boys, GNZM, GCMG (assumed office 21 March 1996). Official Secretary: Hugo Judd, cvo
Executive Council:
Membership of the Executive Council comprises all ministers with the Governor-General presiding. The Clerk of the Executive Council is Marie Shroff, cvo.
The Cabinet:
1 Rt Hon Helen Clark, Prime Minister, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services, Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence Service.
2 Hon Jim Anderton, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industry and Regional Development, Minister in Charge of the Public Trust Office, Minister in Charge of the Audit Department.
3 Hon Dr Michael Cullen, Treasurer, Minister of Finance [Includes responsibility for the Government Superannuation Fund], Minister for Accident Insurance, Minister of Revenue, Leader of the House.
4 Hon Steve Maharey, Minister of Social Services and Employment, Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education), Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector.
5 Hon Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Minister of Justice.
6 Hon Annette King, Minister of Health, Minister for Racing.
7 Hon Sandra Lee, Minister of Conservation, Minister of Local Government. Associate Minister of Māori Affairs.
8 Hon Jim Sutton, Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Trade Negotiations, Minister for Rural Affairs.
9 Hon Trevor Mallard, Minister of Education, Minister of State Services, Minister for Sport, Fitness and Leisure, Associate Minister of Finance, Minister Responsible for the Education Review Office, Minister for Adult and Community Education.
10 Hon Pete Hodgson, Minister of Energy, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Minister for Crown Research Institutes. Minister for Small Business, Associate Minister for Economic Development. Associate Minister for Industry and Regional Development, Minister Responsible for Timberlands West Coast Ltd.
11 Hon Margaret Wilson, Attorney-General, Minister of Labour, Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Associate Minister of Justice, Associate Minister of State Services.
12 Hon Dover Samuels, Minister of Māori Affairs, Associate Minister of Fisheries, Associate Minister of Tourism.
13 Hon Matt Robson, Minister of Corrections, Minister for Courts, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Official Development Assistance).
14 Hon Lianne Dalziel, Minister of Immigration, Minister for Senior Citizens, Associate Minister of Education.
15 Hon George Hawkins, Minister of Police, Minister of Civil Defence, Minister for Ethnic Affairs.
16 Hon Mark Burton, Minister of Defence, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister for SOEs, Minister of Tourism, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, Deputy Leader of the House.
17 Hon Paul Swain, Minister of Commerce, Minister of Communications. Minister for Information Technology, Minister for Land Information, Minister of Statistics, Associate Minister of Energy, Associate Minister of Justice.
18 Hon Marian Hobbs, Minister for the Environment, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Broadcasting [includes responsibility for Television New Zealand Ltd, Radio New Zealand Ltd, and NZ on Air], Minister Responsible for the National Library, Minister Responsible for National Archives, Associate Minister of Communications.
19 Hon Mark Gosche, Minister of Transport, Minister of Housing [includes responsibility for Housing New Zealand Ltd and Housing Corporation], Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Minister Responsible for Civil Aviation.
20 Hon Laila Harré, Minister of Women's Affairs, Minister of Youth Affairs, Associate Minister of Commerce, Associate Minister of Labour.
Ministers outside Cabinet:
21 Hon Judith Tizard, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Associate Minister of Transport, Minister assisting the Prime Minister on Auckland Issues.
22 Hon Ruth Dyson, Minister for Disability Issues, Associate Minister for Accident Insurance, Associate Minister of Health, Associate Minister of Social Services and Employment.
23 Hon Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Māori Affairs (Social Development). Associate Minister of Corrections, Associate Minister of Health, Associate Minister of Housing, Associate Minister of Social Services and Employment (Social Services).
24 Hon Phillida Bunkle, Minister of Customs, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Associate Minister for Economic Development, Associate Minister for the Environment. Associate Minister of Women's Affairs.
25 Hon Parekura Horomia, Associate Minister of Māori Affairs (Economic Development), Associate Minister of Social Services and Employment (Employment), Associate Minister of Education.

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. Māori and persons of Māori descent may choose to enrol for either a Māori or general electorate, but may make the choice only at certain times.

Māori may make the choice: (1) the first time they enrol or (2) the time of the five-yearly Māori Option Exercise, which occurs normally during the time of a census. There will be a Māori option exercise in 2001. At that time, all registered and identified Māori electors are sent a form for the purpose of exercising their choice. They have four months to make a change using the form at that time. The electoral rolls are maintained by the Electoral Enrolment Centre, a division of New Zealand Post.

Table 3.10. VOTING PATTERNS: 1981–1999

YearElectors on Master RollValid votesInformal votesSpecial votes disallowedVotes cast to electors on Master Roll

1Party votes rather than electorate votes.

2There were 2,047, 473 valid electorate votes cast in 1999, and 37,908 informal electorate votes.

Source: Ministry of Justice


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

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

Electoral boundaries. The boundaries of electorates are revised every five years 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 revision is based on figures for the electoral population provided by Statistics New Zealand.

The electoral boundaries are defined by the Representation Commission, which has seven members: a chairperson; four officials (the Surveyor-General, the Government Statistician, the Chief Electoral Officer, and the Chairman of the Local Government Commission); and two members nominated by Parliament to represent the Government and the Opposition.

When determining the boundaries of the Māori electoral districts, the commission is joined by the Chief Executive Officer of Te Puni Kökiri and two Māori who are not public servants and who are selected by the parties. These two individuals are nominated by Parliament to represent the Government and the Opposition.

After provisional boundaries are drawn up and published, objections and counter-objections are considered by the commission, which makes a final decision.


Political partyValid votesPercentage of total valid votes

1Party votes.

2Christian Conlition 1996.

Source: Ministry of Justice

Christian Heritage2--38,74989,71649,154--2.024.332.38
Mana Motuhake9,78910,869---0.530.60---
New Labour-94,171----5.16---
New Zealand First--161,481276,60387,926--8.4013.354.26
United New Zealand---18,24511,065---0.880.54
            Total valid votes1 8317771,824,0921,922,7962,072,3592,065,494100.00100.00100.00100.00100.00
Informal votes11,18410,18011,3648,18319,887     

Under the Electoral Act 1993, the South Island is allocated 16 general electorates. The numbers of North Island general and of Māori electorates are then calculated so that their electoral populations are approximately the same as those for South Island general electorates. The commission is also required to give consideration to community of interest, facilities of communications, topographical features, and any projected variation in the general electoral population of the electorates.

Based on the South Island general electoral population of 865.676, the South Island general electorate quota was 54,105, resulting in 45 North Island general electorates (quota 53,690) and 6 Māori electorates (quota 56,166). All electorates have an allowance of 5 percent above or below their electoral population quota.

General election results. A triennial election of members of Parliament was last held on 27 November 1999. The previous election was held on 12 October 1996. The total number of electors on the master roll for the 1999 election was 2,509,365. A total of 2,085,381 votes were cast, representing 84.7 percent of electors on the master roll.


A 1992 electoral referendum saw 70 percent of voters support changing the voting system to MMP.

General licensing poll. In 1990 the national triennial liquor licensing poll was abolished. Three local restoration poll votes were held at the same time as the 1999 General Election, in Eden, Roskill and Tawa. Local restoration received a majority in all three no-licence districts.


Political partyNumber of MPs

1The election dates were: 14 July 1984, 15 August 1987, 27 October 1990, 6 November 1993, 12 October 1996. 27 November 1999.

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

Source: Ministry of Justice

Green Party-----7
New Labour--1---
New Zealand First---2175
United New Zealand----11


 Constituency seats contestedParty list candidates
Source: Ministry of Justice
ACT New Zealand6165
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party1117
Freedom Movement540
Future New Zealand3625
Green Party5054
Labour Party6765
Mana Māori Movement528
Mana Wahine Te Ira Tangata12-
Mauri Pacific2022
McGillicuddy Serious1665
Natural Law Party3053
New Zealand First Party6740
National Party6564
United NZ1222
            Total candidates679760

Percentage of enrolled electors1 voting at general elections

3.3 State sector

The state sector includes the New Zealand Public Service, which is made up of 38 government departments, plus Crown entities and state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Certain agencies, notably the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Parliamentary Service, Office of the Clerk and the Parliamentary Counsel Office are departments in terms of the Public Finance Act 1989, but are not part of the Public Service under the State Sector Act 1998. Officers of Parliament – the Office of the Ombudsmen and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment – are not part of the Executive, although they report under the Public Finance Act 1989 as if they were departments. The Reserve Bank is another very significant organisation that lies within the broadest definitions of the state sector but is not a department under either act.

The Public Service is defined by section 27 of the State Sector Act 1988 as ‘. . . the Departments specified in the First Schedule to this Act'. New departments can be added to the schedule, by Order-in-Council, but may only be removed from the schedule (abolished) by legislation.

At 30 June 1999, the number of staff employed in the Public Service Departments (excluding therefore Crown entities and SOEs) was 29, 463 (calculated on a full-time equivalent basis). When the reform of the state sector began in the 1980s, about 70,000 people were permanent employees in government departments. Many of the jobs which were in government departments have shifted to Crown entities, SOEs, or the private sector. Today the Public Service is characterised by relatively small departments which have quite sharply defined roles in policy advice, service delivery, regulatory, or sectoral funding functions. Some bigger departments perform a combination of roles.

The State Services Commissioner and the State Services Commission

The State Sector Act 1988 provides for a State Services Commissioner, who shall be appointed by the Governor-General in Council on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Under the State Sector Act 1988 the State Services Commissioner is required to:

  • Review the machinery of government including the allocation of functions between departments, the need for new departments and the amalgamation or abolition of departments, and the coordination between departments.

  • Appoint chief executives of departments and negotiate their conditions of employment

  • Review the performance of departments and their chief executives.

  • Provide and maintain, in association with chief executives, a senior executive service for the Public Service.

  • Negotiate conditions of employment for Public Service employees.

  • Promote and develop personnel policies and standards of personnel administration for the Public Service.

  • Promote, develop and monitor equal employment opportunities (EEO) policies and programmes for the Public Service.

  • Advise on training and career development of public servants.

  • Provide advice on management systems, structures and organisations.

  • At the direction of the Prime Minister, exercise other functions in relation to the administration and management of the Public Service.

In a number of cases, the Commissioner has delegated authority to others to fulfil a particular responsibility. For example, negotiating conditions of employment for Public Service staff has been delegated to Public Service chief executives, and negotiating conditions of employment for education sector staff has been delegated to the Secretary for Education.

The State Services Commission exists to assist the State Services Commissioner to fulfil the commissioner's statutory functions.

The Commission:

  • Assists the State Services Commissioner in appointing Public Service chief executives, and operates the chief executive performance management system.

  • Provides advice and business analysis to the Minister of State Services and other ministers with ownership responsibilities in respect of public service departments.

  • Advises the Government about collective state sector ownership issues, including public management systems, the machinery of government and human resources requirements.

  • Promotes appropriate values and standards of behaviour for the Public Service.



1As at 1 March 2000.

Source: State Services Commission

Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry ofDirector-GeneralProf Bruce Ross
Audit DepartmentController and Auditor-GeneralDavid Macdonald
Child, Youth and Family Services, Department ofChief ExecutiveJackie Brown
Conservation, Department ofDirector-GeneralHugh Logan
Corrections, Department ofChief ExecutiveMark Byers
Courts, Department forChief ExecutiveWilson Bailey
Crown Law OfficeSolicitor-GeneralJohn McGrath QC
Culture and Heritage, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveMartin Matthews (Acting)
Customs Service, New ZealandComptrollerRobin Dare
Defence, Ministry ofSecretaryGraham Fortune
Economic Development, Ministry ofSecretaryPaul Carpinter
Education, Ministry ofSecretaryHoward Fancy
Education Review OfficeChief ExecutiveDr Judith Aitken
Environment, Ministry for theSecretaryDenise Church
Fisheries, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveWarwick Tuck
Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry ofSecretaryNeil Walter
Health, Ministry ofDirector-GeneralDr Karen Poutasi
Housing, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveDavid Smyth
Inland Revenue DepartmentSecretaryGraham Holland
Internal Affairs, Department ofSecretaryDr Roger Blakeley
Justice, Ministry ofSecretaryColin Keating
Labour, Department ofSecretaryJohn Chetwin
Land Information New ZealandChief ExecutiveDr Russ Ballard
Māori Development, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveDr Ngatata Love
National LibraryNational LibrarianChristopher Blake
Pacific Island Affairs, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveLes McCarthy
Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department ofChief ExecutiveMark Prebble
Public Trust OfficePublic TrusteeDavid Hutton
Research, Science and Technology, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveDr James Buwalda
Serious Fraud OfficeDirectorDavid Bradshaw
Social Policy, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveMargaret Bazley
State Services CommissionState Services CommissionerMichael Wintringham
Statistics New ZealandGovernment StatisticianLen Cook
Transport, Ministry ofSecretaryAlistair Bisley
The TreasurySecretaryDr Alan Bollard
Valuation New ZealandValuer-GeneralRob Hutchison
Women's Affairs, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveJudy Lawrence
Work and Income, Department ofChief ExecutiveChristine Rankin
Youth Affairs, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveAnne Carter (Acting)

Functions of government departments

The functions of central government are under a continual process of review. The following account of departments was correct at March 1999. Internet site addresses are given where available at the time of going to press.

Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of: Te Manatū Ahuwhenua, Ngaherehere. The new Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) came into being on 1 March 1998, following the merger of the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry. The core MAF consists of nine business groups: Policy. Operations, Forest Management, Corporate Services, Human Resources, Corporate Finance, Information Management, MAF Food Assurance Authority, MAF Biosecurity Authority.

MAF exists to create opportunity for, and manage risk to, New Zealand's food, fibre, forestry and associated industries. MAF's roles are: to provide policy advice on the trading environment, sustainable resource use and the regulation of product safety, biosecurity and related matters; to administer the regulation of product safety, biosecurity and related matters; to provide services where necessary.

MAF's programmes aim to protect New Zealand's competitive advantage as an export nation by monitoring and protecting its animals, plants, forests and seafood against the introduction of exotic pests and diseases. See chapters 18: Agriculture and 19: Forestry, []

Audit New Zealand: Te Mana Arotake. See ‘Controller and Auditor-General’ further on in this section. []

Child, Youth and Family: Te Tari āwhina I te Tamaiti, te Rangatahi, tae atu ki te Whānau. The department of Child, Youth and Family Services (Child, Youth and Family) has statutory responsibility for children and young people whose family circumstances put them at risk of abuse and neglect, offending behaviours and poor life outcomes.

The department was established on 1 October 1999 following the 1 January 1999 integration of two Department of Social Welfare business units: the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Service and the New Zealand Community Funding Agency.

Child, Youth and Family's statutory role is defined by the Children. Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 (CYP&F), the Adoption Act 1955, the Adult Adoption Information Act 1986, the Adoption (Inter-country) Act 1997, and the Guardianship Act 1968.

Child, Youth and Family provides direct services for children and young people in need of care and protection, who commit offences, or are involved in adoption processes. Child, Youth and Family also approves and contracts with community organisations for social services for the protection and well-being of children, young people and their families.

Commerce, Ministry of: Te Manatū Tauhokohoko. See Ministry of Economic Development.

Conservation, Department of: Te Papa Atawhai. The Department of Conservation (DOC) administers most of the Crown land in New Zealand protected for scenic, scientific, historic or cultural reasons, or set aside for recreation. This is almost a third of New Zealand's land area, including national, forest and maritime parks, marine reserves, nearly 4,000 other reserves, river margins, some coastline and many offshore islands.

Its aim is to conserve New Zealand's natural and historic heritage for the public to enjoy.

DOC's work with natural heritage includes saving threatened native species, managing threats like possums and weeds, ecosystem restoration, caring for marine life and protecting natural heritage with help from landowners. It also looks after historic heritage on public conservation land. Providing for recreation is a major part of DOC's core work and covers family picnic sites to rugged backcountry tracks. In all areas, DOC works with local communities, other organisations and iwi where it can. []

Consumer Affairs, Ministry of: Manatū Kaihokohoko. The purpose of the ministry is to promote a fair and informed marketplace for consumers so they can participate effectively in it. This is achieved by the provision of policy advice to the Government on issues affecting consumers in the marketplace; the provision of information and advice to consumers and traders; and the administration of consumer legislation for the benefit of consumers and traders. The ministry is organised into three sections: policy, consumer information service (incorporating consumer education programmes), and trading standards service (which is responsible for weights and measures and consumer safety).

The ministry's key priorities are:

  • A balance between the rights and interests of consumers and business.

  • Markets that operate under fair rules and ethical practices.

  • Redress and enforcement mechanisms that meet the needs of consumers and business.

  • Safe products and their safe use.

  • Appropriate, accurate and accessible information, education and advice for consumers and business.

  • Minimisation of transaction costs.

Corrections, Department of. The Department of Corrections manages all custodial and community-based sentences and orders imposed by the courts. This includes prison sentences, periodic detention, home detention, community service and supervision.

The Department of Corrections has over 4,500 full- and part-time staff responsible for managing offenders. The department's operations include providing work programmes and activities to help reduce re-offending; giving specialist psychological advice and assistance with offenders’ needs; providing information to judges to assist them in sentencing offenders; administering the Parole Board and District Prisons Boards; and providing advice to Government about the most effective policies for corrections services.

There are eight services and groups in the department working together to reduce re-offending: the Public Prisons Service; the Community Probation Service; the Psychological Service; the Service Purchase and Monitoring Group; the Strategic Development Group; the Finance Group, including Corrland (which manages farms and forests owned by the department); and the Internal Audit Group. See section 10.3: Corrections system. []

Courts, Department for: Te Tari Kooti. The Department for Courts was established on 1 July 1995. Its predecessor was the Courts and Tribunals Group of the Department of Justice.

The department has four operational units, namely Courts’ Business Unit (responsible for the administration of courts and tribunals and for providing support to the Judiciary); Collections (responsible for the enforcement of financial court orders); Māori Land Court (responsible for the administrative support of the Māori Land Court and the Māori Appellate Court and for the administration of Māori land records of ownership and title); and Waitangi Tribunal (responsible for administrative support to the Waitangi Tribunal). See chapter 10: Justice and law. []

Crown Law Office. The Crown Law Office is a government department providing legal advice and representation to government in matters affecting the Crown, and in particular, government departments. It has two primary aims. First, to ensure that the operations of executive government are conducted lawfully and second, to ensure that the government is not prevented, through the legal process, from lawfully implementing its chosen policies. The work of the Crown Law Office as a whole contributes to the government's current strategic goals of protecting the legal interests and supporting the responsibilities of the Executive Government and its agencies, maintaining law and order, and serving the interests of justice in the community. See section 10.1: Legal system. []

Culture and Heritage, Ministry for: Te Manatū Taonga. The ministry provides advice to the Government on culture and heritage matters and assists Government in its provision and management of cultural resources for the benefit of all New Zealanders. See chapter 12: Arts. []

Customs Service, New Zealand: Te Mana Arai O Aotearoa. The service is responsible for the policy, administration and enforcement of the Customs and Excise Act 1996, and for administering border-related policies prescribed by other legislation, relating to: facilitating the legitimate movement of goods, craft and people (see section 25.1: Customs and 13.2: Tourism); (see section 28.2: Taxation), []

Defence, Ministry of: 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. See section 4.4: Defence. []

Defence Force, New Zealand: Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa. The primary purpose of the New Zealand Defence Force is to protect the sovereignty and advance the well-being of New Zealand by maintaining a level of armed forces sufficient to deal with small contingencies affecting New Zealand and its region. The force must also be capable of contributing to collective efforts where our wider interests are involved. See section 4.4: Defence. [] [] []

Economic Development, Ministry of: On 29 February 2000, the Ministry of Commerce became the Ministry of Economic Development. This signals a change in focus for the ministry which will now play a more active role with government in fostering business and lifting the New Zealand economy. The ministry will be aided in this by the creation of Industry New Zealand, which will be a Crown entity to deliver industry and regional development policy. A private sector board will manage Industry New Zealand. The ministry continues to have advisory, programme and administrative functions in business development, competition policy, business and intellectual law, tariff policy, trade remedies, communications, regional development, energy and resources, and consumer affairs.

It services the portfolios of Economic Development (including Business Development), Industry and Regional Development, Government Superannuation Fund, Information Technology, Communications (including some broadcasting policy advice), Energy, Commerce, and Consumer Affairs. []

Education, Ministry of: Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga. The ministry is responsible for providing policy advice to the government on early childhood, compulsory and post-compulsory education, including employment-related education and training; ensuring the effective, efficient and equitable implementation of the government's policies; advising on the optimal use of resources allocated to education; and providing an education policy perspective to a range of economic and social policy issues. See chapter 9: Education. []

Education Review Office: Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga. The Education Review Office (ERO) reports publicly on the quality of education in all New Zealand schools and early childhood centres, including private schools, kura kaupapa Māori (Māori language immersion schools) and ngā kōhanga reo (Māori language early childhood groups). ERO actively supports and promotes high quality decision making on the education provided for New Zealand's young people. See section 9.1. []

Emergency Management, Ministry for: Te Rākau Whakamarumaru. In July 1998, the existing Ministry of Civil Defence and the Emergency Management Policy and Establishment Unit merged into one organisation following the appointment of a new Director of Emergency Management and Civil Defence. The Ministry for Emergency Management (MEM) was established with effect from 1 July 1999 and was formed out of the Ministry of Civil Defence. The new name is a clear indication of the Government's intention to provide strong leadership through the development of an integrated risk-based approach to emergency management in New Zealand. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is the ministry's host department, providing core administrative services. DIA's Chief Executive is the Secretary for Civil Defence.

EEO GroupsPublic Service (%)1Labour Force (%) 1999
19951996199719981999EmployedTotal (including Unemployed)

1Data on ethnicity and disability has not been recorded for all staff in the Public Service. Over the period covered in the table, there was ethnicity data for approximately 80 percent of staff and disability data for 60–75 percent of staff.

2Public Service EEO representation data allows for dual ethnicity, and this results in some double counting, e.g. a person who identifies as being Māori and Samoan will be counted in both the Māori and Pacific Islands peoples categories. HLFS data does not double count dual ethnicities but records them using a priority system with Māori given the highest priority.

3Data on staff of Asian ethnicity was not collected prior to 1998.

4This year for the first time the definition of disability used by Statistics New Zealand was adopted for the survey.

Sources: State Services Commission and Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) for June 1999

Ethnicity2 Pacific Islands4.
Disability People with Disabilities414.811.112.010.710.1--
Gender Women54.154.754.054.256.345.445.3

The Ministry for Emergency Management exists to promote a ‘resilient New Zealand’ with communities that are able to manage and reduce their vulnerability to hazards. This objective is directly connected to the government's overarching goal of ‘ensuring a strong foundation of safety and security from threats of harm'.

Environment, Ministry for the: Te Manatū mō te Taiao. The ministry advises the Government on the health of the environment and the way that laws and policies affect the environment. It also works with others to develop proposals and tools for achieving effective environmental management.

The ministry is responsible for government policies covering resource management; land, air and water quality; waste, hazardous substances and contaminated sites; protection of the ozone layer; and climate change. Local government, particularly regional councils, deals with most day-to-day environmental management. The ministry is working with other agencies, including local government, to develop a new system for reporting on the state of the environment.

Besides the Environment Act 1986 under which it was set up, the ministry is responsible for the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941, the Resource Management Act 1991, the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, and the Ozone Layer Protection Act 1996. See section 16.2: Environmental and resource management. []

Fisheries, Ministry of: Te Tautiaki i ngā tini a Tangaroa. The Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) is responsible for the sustainable use of fisheries. This involves managing the resource so that it provides for the social, economic and cultural well-being of New Zealanders. The ministry: advises the Government on the development of fisheries policies; develops laws to manage fisheries; administers the Quota Management System that regulates New Zealand's commercial fishing activity; gives effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi as they relate to fisheries. See section 19.3: Fisheries. []

Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of: Manatū Aorere. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade conducts the Government's business with other 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 influences other governments in New Zealand's favour.

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 operates some 48 posts overseas. Their primary task is to develop the official relationship between the New Zealand Government and the country or international organisation concerned, through discussions and contacts with local political leaders, officials, business executives and media representatives. See chapter 4: International relations. []

Health, Ministry of: Manatū Hauora. The ministry is the principal advisor to Government on health and disability. It provides advice on how to advance the health status of New Zealanders and reduce disparities in health status between Māori and other groups. It also administers health sector legislation and monitors the performance of the Health Funding Authority and other Crown agencies. The ministry advises on the protection and improvement of New Zealand's biosecurity and on the health impact of measures used to control biosecurity.

Building a new sewerage tunnel for the Auckland Metropolitan Drainage Board, c1913.

The ministry has five branches: The Policy Branch provides advice on issues relating to health sector strategy, funding and regulation. The Safety and Regulation Branch administers regulation and enforces health and safety legislation (including mental health) and biosecurity. It includes the Public Health Group which has statutory responsibilities of its own. The Māori Health Branch provides policy advice on the overall strategy for achieving improved Māori health. The Performance Management Branch manages the government's purchase and ownership interests in specific Crown entities, including the Health Funding Authority. The branch is responsible for accountability and performance in respect of these Crown entities. The Corporate Branch is concerned with the internal operation of the ministry and includes the business units – the New Zealand Health Information Service, the National Radiation Laboratory and Medsafe. The ministry is currently being restructured. See chapter 8: Health and safety. []

Housing, Ministry of: Te Whare āhuru. The ministry's main functions are the provision of efficient and effective tenancy bond and dispute resolution services across New Zealand. See chapter 22: Housing. []

Inland Revenue: Te Tari Taake. The main function of the Inland Revenue Department is to assess and collect various taxes and duties. Inland Revenue collects over 90 percent of the New Zealand Government revenue. Along with taxes such as income tax, goods and services tax, fringe benefit tax and resident withholding tax, Inland Revenue also collects levies and premiums from employers, self-employed and employees to fund aspects of the compulsory accident compensation scheme that continue to be administered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). Inland Revenue also administers the family assistance, child support and student loan repayment programmes. See section 28.2. Taxation. []

Internal Affairs, Department of: Te Tari Taiwhenua. The department develops policy and provides services which deal with: (a) strengthening national identity (includes – Births, Deaths and Marriages, National Archives, Passports, Citizenship, Translation Services, Historical Publications, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Heritage Property, NZ Gazette, Waitangi Day Commemorations and Tourism); (b) building stronger communities (includes – Ethnic Affairs, Emergency Management, Community Information, Community Grants, Censorship Inspection and Enforcement, Gaming and Racing Policy, Gaming Licensing and Enforcement, Casino Supervision and Inspection, Local Government, Local Government Commission, Lottery Grants, Policy for Buildings, Community, Emergency Services and Fire Prevention, and Sport, Fitness and Leisure); (c) supporting executive government (includes – Ministerial Services, Ministerial Information Technology, VIP Transport, Visits and Ceremonial, Administration of Commissions of Inquiry.) []

Justice, Ministry of: Te Manatū Ture. The ministry provides leadership across the justice sector, policy advice on various justice related matters for ministers and other departments, purchase advice during the Government's annual budget round, research and evaluation, and policy advice and negotiation on the settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims. Through the Chief Electoral Office, the ministry is responsible for the conduct of parliamentary elections and referenda. For the Attorney-General, the ministry provides advice on the consistency of proposed legislation with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, and provides advice on appointments to the judiciary. The ministry monitors and provides advice (including advice on appointments) to the Minister of Justice on the eight Crown entities and other bodies funded through Vote Justice. The ministry is also responsible for the administration of 140 acts and numerous regulations. See chapter 10: Justice and law. []

Labour, Department of: Te Tari Mahi. The department is the government's principal labour market agency which: provides analysis on the operation of the labour market; provides accident rehabilitation and compensation insurance policy advice; develops, implements, monitors and reviews the regulatory framework for industrial relations; develops a regulatory framework and delivers strategies to promote occupational safety and health; develops and implements immigration policy and legislation concerning the entry of migrants and visitors to New Zealand; and manages the government's relationship with the International Labour Organisation and other international institutions with an interest in the labour market.

Among the legislation administered by the department are the Accident Insurance Act 1998; Employment Contracts Act 1991; Equal Pay Act 1972; Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992; Holidays Act 1981; Immigration Act 1987; and Minimum Wage Act 1983. []

Land Information New Zealand: Toitū te whenua. This department, established in July 1996, is responsible for the land-related policy, regulatory and core government service delivery functions.

Land Information New Zealand advises the government, administers the Crown's interests in land and makes government-held information available to the public. Its areas of responsibility are land titles (land registration and search facilities), survey system (administration of the survey infrastructure), Crown property (administration of Crown land and disposal of surplus Crown land), topography/hydrography (provision of digital databases, core topographic mapping and hydrographic charts) and rating valuations (standard setting for rating valuations). See chapter 16: Land and environment. []

Māori Development, Ministry of: Te Puni Kōkiri. Te Puni Kōkiri was established as a policy ministry on 1 January 1992 and replaced Manatū Māori (the Ministry of Māori Affairs) and Te Tira Ahu Iwi (the Iwi Transition Agency). The ministry is the government's principal adviser on the Crown's relationship with iwi, hapu and Māori, and on key government policies as they affect Māori.

In carrying out this role Te Puni Kōkiri's functions are to: (a) provide strategic leadership advice on Māori development issues and on the Crown's relationship with iwi, hapū, and Māori; (b) provide advice on sectoral issues; (c) monitor the performance of mainstream government departments in addressing the parity gap between Māori and non-Māori; (d) facilitate consultation between the Crown, its agencies, and iwi, hapū and Māori, on policies affecting Māori, and the development of the relationship between the Crown and Māori. Te Puni Kōkiri is organised into eight branches: Treaty Compliance; Economic Development; Social Policy; Monitoring and Evaluation; Legal; Law Reform; Corporate Services; and Regional Development, which has a unit in the Wellington head office and 13 offices throughout the country. See section 6.4: Māori society. []

National Library of New Zealand: Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa. The unique role of the National Library is to collect and maintain literature and information resources that relate to New Zealand and the Pacific, to make this information readily available, and to preserve the documentary heritage of this country for future generations. The National Library creates better access to information for New Zealanders by supporting the activities of other New Zealand libraries, including public, university and school libraries, and by collecting and preserving the material which is the ‘memory’ of New Zealand. The library gives policy advice to the government on access to information in New Zealand. See section 12.3: Books and libraries. []

National Provident Fund. The National Provident Fund is New Zealand's largest superannuation fund and provides superannuation schemes both for employer/employee groups and for individual members. National Provident Fund has been closed to new members since 1991. The fund comprises 16 separate superannuation schemes.

Office of Treaty Settlements: Te Tari Whakatau Take e pā ana ki te Tiriti o Waitangi. The office provides policy advice to the government on issues concerning Treaty of Waitangi claims and on specific claims; negotiates Treaty claims; and implements settlements. It also acquires, manages, transfers and disposes of Crown-owned land for Treaty claim and related purposes. See section 6.4: Māori society.

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

It contributes to this through the provision of policy advice on significant issues; encouraging government agencies to take responsibility for meeting the aspirations of Pacific Islands peoples; influencing and monitoring the implementation of policies; and disseminating information and consulting with Pacific communities. See section 6.5: Pacific Islands population. []

Police, New Zealand: Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa. The Police serve the community by meeting the following strategic goals: to reduce the incidence and effects of crime; to reduce the fear of crime; to reduce the road toll; to reduce disorder and other threats to public safety; and to improve public trust and confidence in the police. They also strive to improve the way staff and resources are managed.

The Police's vision is “Safer Communities Together" which gives direction to the principal operational strategy of community-oriented policing for the delivery of policing services. The New Zealand Police is a state agency, which services all New Zealand. See chapter 10: Justice and law.

Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of the. The department provides advice to the Prime Minister on policy, constitutional and administrative issues and provides secretariat support to the Executive Council and Cabinet. It provides support services to the Governor-General and manages the Governor-General's residences. Through the External Assessments Bureau it provides intelligence assessments to the government on developments overseas.

The department contributes to the effective coordination of government across departmental lines, tests the quality of advice coming from departments and acts as an ‘honest broker’ where there are conflicts over policy advice being offered by different parts of the public sector.

The department from time to time undertakes special operational functions, such as the operation of the Crime Prevention Unit and Prime Ministerial Taskforce on the Year 2000. See section 3.2: Parliament and the Cabinet. []

Public Trust. The Public Trust Office (known as Public Trust) is a self-funding government department which provides a wide range of financial services and services as trustee, executor, manager, and attorney. It is also required to provide a number of statutory services. More information on this office appears further on in this chapter.

Research, Science and Technology, Ministry of: Te Manatū Pūtaiao. Established in October 1989, the ministry's primary role is to advise the government on the overall policy framework, priorities and funding for research, science and technology and to provide contract management services to the minister for the implementation of science funding. The ministry has a role in ensuring that the development of public policy is well informed by science and technology, and that science and technology interests are well coordinated and linked. It is also responsible for gathering and disseminating statistics and descriptive information on research, science and technology activities and for administering intergovernmental science relations. See chapter 15: Science and technology. []

Serious Fraud Office: Te Tari Hara Tāware. The Serious Fraud Office, which became an operational department on 26 March 1990, has the primary role of detecting and investigating cases of serious or complex fraud and expeditiously prosecuting offenders. Based in Auckland, the office is the only government department to have its head office outside Wellington. See section 24.2: Commercial framework.

Social Policy, The Ministry of: Te Manatū mō ngā Kaupapa Oranga Tangata. The ministry was formed on 1 October 1999 through the integration of the Department of Social Welfare's Corporate Office and the Social Policy Agency. On the same date, the department's other business unit, the Children Young Persons and Their Families Agency, became a stand alone Department of Child, Youth and Family Services.

Functions of the Ministry of Social Policy include: providing the Ministers of Social Services, Department of Work and Income, and Senior Citizens with strategic policy and independent purchasing and monitoring advice across a wide range of social policy, housing and social equity issues; liaison and cooperation with other organisations and individuals engaged in social services activities; responsibility for the management of the ministry's information technology infrastructure (used by the Department of Work and Income New Zealand and Child, Youth and Family Services). See chapter 7: Social welfare. []

State Services Commission: Te Komihana O ngā Tari Kāwanatanga. See ‘State Services Commissioner’ earlier in this section. []

Statistics New Zealand: Te Tari Tatau. The main function of the department is to provide and distribute statistical information about the economic, demographic, social and environmental circumstances of New Zealand. It also provides advice to the Minister of Statistics on statistical policy matters and on the relevance of official statistics. On behalf of the minister, the department ensures that the official statistical system is efficiently integrated and coordinated to cover all government departments which produce statistics. Regular reviews of official statistics are carried out to ensure their continued relevance to user needs.

Output from the organisation's databases is formatted into a range of products and services that are appropriate to the requirements of government as well as to the general public and commercial users. Cooperation with other national statistical offices and with international agencies fosters the availability of high-quality internationally comparable statistical information.

The department administers and operates under the Statistics Act 1975 which defines collection authorities as well as setting out confidentiality safeguards. []

Transport, Ministry of: Te Manatū Waka. The ministry's core functions are largely policy oriented – ensuring that the government receives high quality advice and information relating to the promotion of safe, sustainable transport at reasonable cost. As the Minister of Transport's agent, the ministry plays an important role in negotiating and monitoring contracts with the stand alone Civil Aviation, Maritime Safety and Land Transport Safety Authorities, the Aviation Security Service, Transit New Zealand, Transfund New Zealand and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission. It also monitors the government's contract for weather services with MetService New Zealand Limited and manages the Motor Vehicle Registry and Revenue Management business. Development of any legislation for the transport sector is the ministry's responsibility. Its other significant function is to formulate and implement policy relating to the development of New Zealand's international air transport links. It also advises the government in relation to the Crown's interests in joint venture airports operated in partnership with local authorities. See chapter 23: Transport.

Treasury, The: Kaitohutohu Kaupapa Rawa. The Treasury manages the Crown's finances and is the government's principal economic advisor. It manages the government's expenditure and revenue flows, including its borrowing requirements; disburses funds to other government departments and monitors their spending; monitors significant Crown assets; manages the Crown's public debt; advises on the Budget and prepares documents required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act; and produces the Crown financial statements. The Treasury also provides wide-ranging policy advice (including advice on tax policy), reports on most expenditure proposals being considered by the government, and monitors and analyses developments in New Zealand and international economies. See chapter 28: Public sector finance. []

Valuation New Zealand. Valuation New Zealand was replaced in July 1998 by the Crown entity Quotable Value New Zealand Ltd (see Section 16.1) and the Office of the Valuer General. The Office of the Valuer General is a statutory office of the Crown created under the Rating Valuations Act 1998. It is located within the structure of Land Information New Zealand (see Section 16.1 Land Information New Zealand). []

Women's Affairs, Ministry of: Te Minitatanga mō ngā Wāhine. The Ministry of Women's Affairs provides gender specific advice on social and economic issues affecting women. This includes advice on all aspects of policy development and implementation. Policy work includes: strategic policy; economic autonomy; safety-Justice; and well-being. The Ministry also administers a nominations service which recommends suitably qualified women for positions on government-appointed boards, with the aim of increasing the number of women in decision making roles. See chapter 6: Social framework. []

Mabel Bowden Howard became the first woman Cabinet minister in 1947.

Work and Income, Department of: Te Hiranga Tangata. Established on 1 October 1998, the Department of Work and Income promotes independence through supporting people into work and providing income support.

It aims to increase the wealth and well-being of New Zealanders and to support the strengthening of families and communities by working to:

  • Enable independence through work.

  • Break the cycle of disadvantage.

  • Close the social and economic gap of Māori through work, education and training.

  • Increase the department's ability to address immediate and future challenges.

For more information see the department website

Youth Affairs, Ministry of: Te Tari Taiohi. Established in 1989, the ministry informs government on its involvement with young people aged 12 to 25 years. In supporting this task it provides policy advice and has operational roles.

The ministry aims to facilitate the direct participation of young people in New Zealand life and to promote opportunities where they may actively and responsibly contribute to the cultural, social and economic policies and services affecting the development of their country.

Youth Affairs promotes the development of young New Zealanders by providing policy advice, by showing how to involve young people in decisions that affect their lives, and by promoting the Youth Services Corp and the Conservation Corps development programmes, in partnership with other organisations.

Non-departmental public bodies

Crown entities are organisations or offices listed in the Fourth Schedule of the Public Finance Act 1989. The Fourth Schedule can be amended to add, remove, or change the name of a Crown entity by Order-in-Council.

The Public Finance Act establishes financial management and accountability provisions for the array of bodies set up by the Government or by legislation that depends wholly or partly on public funds. There are about 3,000 Crown entities, including school and reserve boards.

Crown entities generally have regulatory, purchasing and service provision functions. Most are run by boards, which appoint chief executives with responsibility for settling terms and conditions for employees.

Some Crown entities are companies and are subject both to the Companies Act 1993 and to monitoring on the Government's behalf by the Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit (CCMAU).

See the separate article for a list of Crown entities from the Fourth Schedule of the Public Finance Act 1989 and for known website addresses (Crown research institutes; fish and game councils; hospital and health services; reserve boards; school boards of trustees; tertiary institutions; and transferee companies are not listed separately). See also the New Zealand Government's Internet address

State-owned enterprises. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are Government-owned organisations operating on commercial lines and are companies under the Companies Act 1993. They are required under statute to operate as successful businesses and, to this end, to be as profitable and efficient as comparable businesses in the private sector. The Government's interest in these is substantially in their ownership. The Government may purchase services from SOEs, but generally will do so on the same basis as other purchasers.

The State Owned Enterprises Act 1986 specifies principles governing the operation of SOEs, authorises the formation of companies, and establishes accountability requirements. The Government's shareholding interests are supported by CCMAU which is part of Treasury. SOEs are named in the First Schedule to the Act. Since 1986 there have been numerous changes to the First Schedule as new SOEs have been added and as others have been sold. See the separate article for a list of SOEs as at 1 November 1999 and known website addresses (see also

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.

CCMAU. The increasing number and diversity of limited liability companies owned by the Crown led it to establish the Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit (CCMAU) as a centre of expertise in the monitoring of these entities. CCMAU advises and supports primarily the:

  • Minister for State-owned Enterprises

  • Minister for Crown Research Institutes

  • Minister of Health (in relation to the Crown's ownership interests in Hospital and Health services).

The shareholding ministers of other Crown companies (such as Radio New Zealand, Housing New Zealand, Animal Control Products, and the airport companies) receive advice from the unit in their role as monitors of the Crown's ownership interest, as does the Minister of Finance, who as a shareholding minister receives unit advice via the responsible minister and in joint reports from the unit and the Treasury.

CCMAU was established on 1 July 1993 from its predecessor organisations the State-owned Enterprises Advisory Unit and the Crown Research Institutes Implementation Steering Committee. On 1 October 1993 it incorporated the Crown Health Enterprise Monitoring Unit.

CCMAU's mission is ‘to provide high quality advice that enables the shareholding ministers to hold boards of Crown companies accountable for their performance in maintaining and enhancing shareholder value and meeting the other objectives and requirements of the empowering acts'.

One of the unit's chief functions is the provision of advice to shareholding ministers relating to the performance of Crown companies against their objectives and associated statement of corporate intent/statement of intent targets (including market, financial, investment and enterprise-specific objectives) and the appropriateness of those objectives and targets.

Other functions include the provision of administrative support, including:

  • Analytical and administrative support for external advisors.

  • Facilitation of information flows between the shareholding ministers and Crown company boards.

  • Coordination of the Crown company monitoring regime, including operating processes and facilitating the contribution of advice by other advisors.

The unit, while independent for advice purposes, is attached to the Treasury for administrative purposes. Its executive director is accountable to the Treasurer, through the Secretary of the Treasury, for the management of the unit, and appointment, remuneration and performance of staff.


1Crown Health Enterprises (CHEs) became Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) in 1998.

Some of the principal issues facing the unit are:

  • The need for advice from a commercial perspective to assist ministerial decision making in relation to Crown companies.

  • Issues of shareholder and director accountability.

  • Changes in information management and monitoring methodologies.

  • The long-term creation of shareholder value.

  • Pressures from Crown companies to expand or change their activities and, as a consequence, changing the Crown's ownership risk profile.

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 Government has announced its intention to introduce legislation to establish the Auditor-General as an officer of Parliament.

The constitutionally important controller function of the Audit Office, as set out in the Public Finance Acts 1977 and 1989, 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 of 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 ensuring adequate accountability by these organisations. It also conducts periodic reviews of financial control systems and of 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 the 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.

The Controller and Auditor-General uses a mix of his own staff and private sector auditors to carry out individual audits in accordance with requirements laid down by him. By June 1999 approximately 81 percent (by audit hours) of the annual audit portfolio was subject to tendering out on a competitive basis between private sector auditors and the operational arm of the Audit Office.

David Lange, Prime Minister, 1984 to 1989.

Official information

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

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

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

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

With the exception of the Parliamentary Counsel 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 Act 1987.

These acts provide special rights of access by bodies corporate to personal information about themselves. Access by individuals to information about themselves is now governed by the Privacy Act. The definition of ‘person’ includes a corporation sole and a body of persons whether corporate or unincorporate. Therefore, requests for access to official information can be made by such bodies. 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 whether if the information is released it will 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 the Governor-General by Order-in-Council.

An information guide concerning access to personal and official information is available from the Ministry 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 ombudsmen is to enquire into complaints relating to administrative decisions of government departments and related organisations, hospital and health authorities. Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975 there is provision for the appointment of a Chief Ombudsman and one or more ombudsmen, in either temporary or permanent positions. Sir Brian Elwood CBE was appointed Chief Ombudsman on 14 December 1994 and Judge Anand Satyanand was appointed as an Ombudsman in February 1995.

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


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

1Year ended 30 June.

Source: Office of the Ombudsmen

Declined, no jurisdiction106161
Declined or discontinued (section 17)69711010
Resolved in course of investigation23829062
Sustained, recommendation made473
Sustained, no recommendation made2071
Not sustained19321118
Formal investigation not undertaken, explanation, advice, or assistance given183642384
Complaints transferred to:
    Privacy Commissioner6482
    Health & Disability Commissioner7--
Police Complaints Authority33--
Still under investigation as at 30 June42526529
Total 19983,7161435203

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.

Privacy Commissioner

The functions of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner: Te Mana Matapono Matatapu, are set out in the Privacy Act 1993. The office is independent of the Executive and of Parliament. One of the main purposes of the act is the promotion and protection of individual privacy, in general accordance with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) 1980 Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data. The act established 12 information privacy principles and four public register privacy principles. Both sets of principles are subject to any other law on the matters covered, and apply to both the public and private sectors.

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

The four public register privacy principles place some controls on the availability of public register information and its subsequent use. The Domestic Violence Act provides rights for some victims of domestic violence to have their whereabouts held confidentially on public registers, with the Privacy Commissioner having an oversight function.

The Privacy Commissioner has the power to issue codes of practice which may modify the information privacy principles by prescribing different standards or by exempting one of their actions. Codes of practice can also prescribe how any of the information privacy principles are to be applied or complied with. Codes replace the principles in particular contexts. The most important code issued by the commissioner is the Health Information Privacy Code 1994, which provides stringent controls on the collection, use and disclosure of medical and health information by agencies throughout the health sector.

The Privacy Act also lays down information matching rules controlling statutory matching programmes in the public sector. Information matching involves one government department comparing personal information collected for specific purposes with databases of personal information in another government department held for different purposes. The primary purpose of information matching is to deter and detect welfare fraud or abuse. An example is the matching of social welfare beneficiaries’ records with information lists of people departing from New Zealand. The act requires notice to be given to the affected individual before adverse action is taken on the basis of the successful match.

During 1997–98 the Privacy Commissioner considered a new information matching programme involving the matching of names and addresses between the Department for Courts and the Inland Revenue Department in order to trace fines defaulters. He also drew attention to the problem of inaccuracies in the list of overstayers used in the Electoral Act information match in a report to the Minister of Justice.

The Privacy Commissioner investigates complaints alleging the breaches of the principles, codes of practice and information matching rules. The investigation process emphasises conciliation, the success of which can be seen in the large number of complaints which are resolved without a final opinion.

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

In 1997–98 the Privacy Commissioner referred seven complaints to the Proceedings Commissioner. Eleven complainants commenced proceedings on their own initiative.


 Year ended June
Source: Office of the Privacy Commissioner
New complaints received12001082
Complaints current at start of year604790
Number of complaints under process18041872
Number of complaints closed during year870804
No jurisdiction1839
Complaints resolved without final opinion719644
Final opinion (substance 28 – no substance 93)133121

The Privacy Commissioner performs a general ‘watch-dog’ role over privacy. In 1998 he made a number of reports to the Minister of Justice and public statements on a range of issues affecting individual privacy. The commissioner peruses new legislation and prepares reports on privacy issues. He also appears before Parliamentary Select Committees considering bills.

In 1997–98, the Privacy Commissioner reported to the Minister of Justice on a number of bills including the Taxation (Remedial Provisions) Bill, the Interpretation Bill, the Radiocommunications Amendment Bill, the Health Occupational Registration Bill, and the Land Transport Bill relating to photo driver licences.

Dame Cath Tïzard, Governor-General 1990 to 1996.

Submissions were made on the Harassment and Criminal Associations Bill, the Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Amendment Bill, and the Rating Valuations Bill.

The Commissioner provided comment to the Ministry of Justice on the disclosure of executive remuneration, on sentencing policy and guidance, on criminal disclosure, and on telephone analysers and call data warrants. He commented to the Law Commission on insurance law reform, to the Inland Revenue Department on simplifying taxpayer requirements, and to the Ministry of Transport on electronic road tolls.

The Official Information Act 1982 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 require the ombudsmen to consult with the Privacy Commissioner in relation to review of official information access requests where privacy is a possible ground for withholding information. During the 1997–98 year 77 formal consultations under the two acts were completed.

The commissioner hosts an annual Privacy Issues Forum attracting both local and overseas speakers and registrants.

The website for the Privacy Commissioner is

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 Office of 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. The commissioner's reports of investigations are published, the House advised of findings, and advice is given to public authorities on ways to improve environmental management. With the exception of requests and directions made by the House of Representatives, the commissioner has the discretion to determine which reviews and investigations are conducted.


Source: Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Investigation reports66333458
Information transfer papers or presentations414387278306

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 significant 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.

During 1998–99 investigations were initiated on issues related to local government environmental management and to environmental management overviews of the urban and marine environments.

Three investigations on national issues were initiated: marine environmental management, energy efficiency and renewable energy; and urban water management. One environmental management audit was completed: Side Agreements in the Resource Consent Process: Implications for Environmental Management; and another was close to completion at the end of the financial year: Local Government Environmental Management – A Study of Models and Outcomes. There was one major citizen's concern investigation undertaken on sand extraction and four evaluations of the success of previous investigations. Reports for these are titled Timberlands West Coast Ltd Beech Management Prescriptions; The Management of Urban Vegetation in North Shore City; Public Response to the 1993 Water Supply Grading System; and Pasture Irrigation in Northland.

The commissioner also initiated a new category of output during the 1998–99 year – the environmental management audit. This year there were seven items within this category, including the reports Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD) Saga and Towards Sustainable Development – the role of the RMA, as well as involvement in a number of workshops, strategy planning sessions and responses to policy statements.

The Commissioner gave considerable assistance to parliamentary select committees during 1998–99, in particular the Transport and Environment Committee, offering advice on the Energy Efficiency Bill, assisting the committee during an inquiry into the environmental effects of road transport and offering advice on petitions.

During 1998–99 the commissioner responded to a total of 364 communications from citizens, non-governmental organisations, select committees, public authorities and international correspondents, requesting the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's assistance to resolve an environmental issue or provide information.

Public Trust

Public Trust, the first of its kind in the world, was launched in 1873 by an act of Parliament. It is a self-funding government department now operating under the Public Trust Office Act 1957. The Public Trustee is a Corporation Sole.

Public Trust was created to provide all New Zealanders with the opportunity to write a will (thereby decreasing the number of intestacies) and to provide executor and trustee services. At the time it began, amongst other issues, problems arose from unscrupulous individuals cheating beneficiaries out of their inheritances.

With more than 40 outlets around the country, Public Trust administers around 50,000 estates, trusts, funds and agencies. On behalf of individuals it has a trustee role in relation to approximately $2 billion of assets, of which $ 1 billion is managed funds. In the corporate trustee area. Public Trust has a supervisory or trustee responsibility in relation to approximately $10 billion of assets. Public Trust's Common Fund stands at about $420 million, its Group Investment Funds at around $300 million and the retail Public Trust Investment Funds at about $280 million.

Public Trust also holds the statutorily-required deposits of insurance companies. Most of Public Trust's activities are commercial in nature but it is also required to provide a number of statutory services which may not be income earning. These are of a regulatory, quasi-judicial, trustee of last resort, trustee-guardian and representative (that is, in the case of legal incapacity) nature.

3.4 Local government

New Zealand has a system of local government that is largely independent of the central executive government. This system 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 and one (Infrastructure Auckland) is constituted under the Local Government Act.

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 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. When 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.

Last meeting of the Legislative Council, Wellington, 1950.

Under a 1992 amendment, the Minister of Local Government may appoint a review authority when 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 Environment Court.


Local government organisation

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

  • 12 regional councils

  • 74 territorial authorities

  • 147 community boards

  • 7 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 permitted to corporatise or privatise their trading activities. Local authorities may consider putting out the delivery of all services to competitive tender as an alternative to using in-house business units.

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.


RegionCouncil members1

1Based on October 1998 elections.

Source: Local Government New Zealand

North Island
Bay of Plenty11
Hawke's Bay9
South Island
West Coast6

Territorial authorities

The 74 territorial authorities consist of:

  • 15 city councils

  • 58 district councils

  • the Chatham Islands Council.

Territorial authorities in New Zealand are directly elected, set their own rates, and have a mayor elected by the people. They have a wide range of functions including land use consents under the Resource Management Act 1991; noise control; litter control; roading; water supply; sewage reticulation and disposal; rubbish collection and disposal; parks and reserves; libraries; land subdivision; pensioner housing; health inspection; liquor licensing; building consents; parking controls; and civil defence.

New cities can now only be constituted by a reorganisation scheme where a new district is formed and that district: has a population of at least 50,000; is predominantly urban; and is a distinct entity and a major centre of activity within the region.

Unitary authorities

These are territorial authorities, which also have regional powers. The 1989 reform legislation prevented any unitary authorities being established other than in Gisborne. However, the 1992 amendment not only created three more unitary authorities (Marlborough District, Tasman District and Nelson City) but made it possible for others to be created through proposals submitted to the Local Government Commission.


Cities/districtsCouncil members'

1 Includes regional council chairs but not mayors. Based on October 1998 elections.

2 Unitary authority.

Source: Local Government New Zealand

North Island
North Shore City16
Waitakere City15
Auckland City20
Manukau City21
Hamilton City14
Napier City13
Palmerston North City16
Porirua City14
Upper Hutt City11
Hutt City13
Wellington City19
Far North District11
Whangarei District14
Kaipara District11
Rodney District13
Papakura District13
Franklin District15
Waikato District15
Waipa District13
Otorohanga District8
Waitomo District11
Thames-Coromandel District10
Hauraki District13
Matamata-Piako District12
South Waikato District11
Taupo District13
Tauranga District14
Western Bay of Plenty District13
Rotorua District13
Whakatane District16
Kawerau District9
Opotiki District11
Gisborne District215
Wairoa District11
Hastings District15
Central Hawke's Bay District11
New Plymouth District17
Stratford District12
South Taranaki District13
Ruapehu District14
Wanganui District13
Rangitikei District12
Manawatu District14
Horowhenua District11
Tararua District9
Kapiti Coast District14
Masterton District11
Carterton District9
South Wairarapa District10
South Island
Nelson City213
Christchurch City25
Dunedin City15
Invercargill City13
Tasman District214
Marlborough District213
Kaikoura District8
Buller District12
Grey District9
Westland District13
Hurunui District10
Waimakariri District15
Selwyn District14
Banks Peninsula District10
Ashburton District13
Timaru District13
Mackenzie District11
Waimate District12
Waitaki District16
Queenstown-Lakes District12
Central Otago District14
Clutha District15
Southland District13
Gore District12
Chatham Islands Council8

Community boards

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

Community boards are partly elected by the community and partly appointed by the territorial authority from among its own members, or are entirely elected. Community boards can be established anywhere in New Zealand to serve any number of inhabitants, they may be established upon the initiative either of a given number of electors or of the territorial authority, or as provided in a reorganisation scheme. Community boundaries often coincide with those of wards (divisions of the district for electoral purposes). These boards have between four and 12 members each.

Special purpose local authorities

In 1989 the number of special purpose local authorities was greatly reduced. Catchment boards, harbour boards, pest destruction boards and land drainage boards (among others) disappeared, with their functions reallocated either to regional councils or, to a lesser extent, to territorial authorities. The categories remaining include scenic and recreation boards. There are also a few one-off authorities including: the Aotea Centre Board of Management; the Canterbury Museum Trust Board; the Council of the Auckland Institute and Museum; the Marlborough Forestry Corporation; the Otago Museum Trust Board; the Masterton Lands Trust; the Greytown Lands Trust; and Infrastructure Auckland.

Infrastructure Auckland. This replaced the Auckland Regional Services Trust on 1 October 1998 and was created to help address the Auckland Region's land and passenger transport and stormwater problems. As successor to the Trust, Infrastructure Auckland inherited all the assets of the trust except Watercare Services Ltd which was transferred to Auckland local authorities. Infrastructure Auckland's assets are estimated to be worth around $900 million and include 80 percent of the shares in Ports of Auckland Limited and 100 percent of America's Cup Village Limited and Northern Disposal Systems Limited. The mandate for this wealth as defined by legislation is to benefit the community as a whole by making grants to land and passenger transport and stormwater projects.

Jenny Shipley, New Zealand's first woman Prime Minister 1997 to 1999.

With effect from 1 July 1992

With effect from 1 July 1992

When Infrastructure Auckland was initially set up it was controlled by nine members; six were former members of the Auckland Regional Services Trust, and three were appointed by the Electoral College. From 1 July 1999 that number was reduced to seven members and from 1 January 2000 the Electoral College has had sole power to appoint all members and the Chairperson. The Electoral College consists of eight members made up of one member from each of the seven territorial authorities in the Auckland region and one from the Auckland Regional Council. Both members representing Manukau and Auckland City Councils have three votes and both members representing Waitakere and North Shore City have two votes with the other four council representatives each having one vote. Apart from appointing (and discharging) the members and chairperson of Infrastructure Auckland they must also, amongst other things, monitor Infrastructure Auckland's performance.

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 2001. 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 required to review the number of members and the number and size of their electorates.

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

The purpose of the review is to give effective representation to communities of interest and fair representation to electors. The review process provides for objections and appeals by the public and when necessary final decisions are 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 is now universal. 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 Amendment 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 enrolment forms received from ratepayers.

Membership of local authorities. Subject to meeting certain residency and citizenship requirements, any person who is a parliamentary elector may be elected to a regional council or territorial authority or community board. 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 Local Government Commission comprises three members, one of whom is the chairperson, appointed by the Minister of Local Government. The commission has two major functions. Firstly, as a quasi-judicial appeal authority to hear and determine:

  • Appeals against decisions of local authorities on proposed boundary alterations.

  • Appeals and counter-objections 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.

Secondly, the commission has responsibilities relating to the consideration and processing of reorganisation proposals for the union or constitution of districts or regions.

The commission may also carry out investigations of particular matters affecting local government and reports on them to the Minister of Local Government.

3.5 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

New Zealand has two national anthems: ‘God Defend New Zealand’ and ‘God Save the Queen'. ‘God Defend New Zealand’ is a poem written by Thomas Bracken and set to original music composed by John J Woods. It was first performed in public on Christmas Day 1876 and formally adopted as national hymn in 1940. In 1977, with the permission of Her Majesty the Queen, the Government adopted both ‘God Defend New Zealand’ and the traditional ‘God Save the Queen’ as national anthems of equal status in New Zealand to be used in the order appropriate to the occasion. (Refer to supplement to New Zealand Gazette published Monday 21 November 1977.)


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 ngā Iwi! Matoura, Ata whakarongona; Me aroha roa. Kia hua ko te pai; Kia tau to atawhai; Manaakitia mai Aotearoa.
2. Men of every 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 Māori Pākehā Repeke katoa, Nei ka tono ko ngā he Mau e whakaahu ke, Kia ora marire Aotearoa.
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 ngā whawhai. Ngā tutu a tata mai; Kia tupu nui ai Aotearoa.
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 Aotearoa.
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; Aotearoa.

Election night 1931, Willis Street, Wellington.


  • 3.1 Ministry of Justice.

  • 3.2 Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives; Ministry of Justice; Cabinet Office; Department of Internal Affairs; Land Information New Zealand.

  • 3.3 State Services Commission; government departments as listed; Office of the Controller and Auditor-General; Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit; Office of the Ombudsmen; Office of the Privacy Commissioner; Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment; Public Trust; Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit.

  • 3.4 Local Government Commission; Department of Internal Affairs; Local Government New Zealand.

  • 3.5 Department of Internal Affairs.

Special articles

Ministry of Justice; Cabinet Office; Clerk of the House of Representatives; State Services Commission; Department of Internal Affairs; Dr Henare Broughton; Ko Huiarau (The United Tribes of New Zealand and Crown of England), Puriri Press, 1991.

Further information


Burrows J F 1999. Statute Law in New Zealand. Butterworths.

Chen M and Palmer G 1993. Public Law in New Zealand: Cases, Materials, Commentary and Questions. Oxford University Press.

Harris P and Levine S 1994. The New Zealand Politics Source Book. 3rd ed, Dunmore Press.

Joseph P A 1993. Constitutional and Administrative Law in New Zealand. Law Book Company.

Joseph P A ed. 1995. Essays on the Constitution. Brooker's.

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

Palmer Geoffrey and Palmer Matthew 1997. Bridled Power: New Zealand Government under MMP. Oxford University Press. Auckland.

Parliament and the Cabinet

Cabinet Office 1996. The Cabinet Office Manual. Wellington.

Electoral Commission December 1997. The New Zealand Electoral Compendium. (includes detailed 1996 election results).

General Election, The. (Parl paper E.9).

Law Commission 1996. The Law of Parliamentary Privilege in New Zealand: A reference paper. Miscellaneous Paper 5. Wellington.

McGee, David 1994. Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, 2nd edition, Wellington, GP Publications.

McLeay, E 1995. The Cabinet and Political Power in New Zealand. Oxford University Press.

Miller, Raymond (ed) 1997. New Zealand Politics in Transition. Oxford University Press, Auckland.

Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives 1997: Booklets on select committees (3) and on petitioning Parliament.

Parliamentary Bulletin. Compiled in the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Legislation Direct (weekly when the House of Representatives is sitting).

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

Report of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Parl paper G.48).

Report of the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives (Parl paper A.8).

Report of the Parliamentary Service Commission (Parl paper A.2).

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

Report of the Standing Orders Committee on the Review of Standing Orders, 1995 (Parl paper I 18.A).

Standing Orders of the House of Representatives. September 1999.

State Services Commission 1995. Public Service Principles. Conventions and Practice.

State Services Commission 1995. Working Under Proportional Representation: A Reference for the Public Service.

Tables of New Zealand Acts and Ordinances and Statutory Regulations in Force. Parliamentary Counsel Office (annual).

State sector

Anderson, A 1990. The quest for efficiency: The origins of the State Services Commission. State Services Commission, Wellington.

Bassett, M 1997. The mother of all departments. AUP and Historical Branch, Department of Internal Affairs.

Boston, J et al 1996. Public Management: The New Zealand Model. Oxford University Press.

Boston, J (ed) 1995. The State Under Contract. Bridget Williams Books.

James, Colin 1997. Under New Sail: MMP and Public Servants. Institute of Policy Studies, Wellington.

Reports of the Controller and Auditor-General (Parl paper B.28 and B.29 series).

Reports of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (Parl paper C.12).

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

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

The New Zealand Government Directory. February 2000. Ministry of Justice.

Treasury 1995. Fiscal Responsibility Act 1994: An Explanation. Wellington.

Treasury. Putting it Simply: an Explanatory guide to Financial Management Reform. Wellington.

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

Local government

Bush G 1995. Local Government and Politics in New Zealand (2nd edition). Auckland University Press.

Hammond J 1997. Local government in New Zealand. Enterprise Trust.

Howell R et al 1996. The unfinished reform in local government. Massey University.

Kelly J and Marshall B 1996. Atlas of New Zealand boundaries. Auckland University Press.

Local authority election statistics 1998. 1999. Department of Internal Affairs.

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

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

Chapter 4. International relations and defence

A young casualty of Papua New Guinea's 1998 tsunami receives medical care from a Kiwi army medic.

4.1 Relations with other countries

In 1943 the New Zealand Government established the then Department of External Affairs and a career foreign service, and began to station its own diplomatic representatives overseas. Today. New Zealand has 47 diplomatic and consular posts located in 41 countries and territories, and 46 honorary consulates. Multiple accreditation allows New Zealand representatives to cover 76 other countries from their bases.

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

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

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 developing and implementing programmes to promote foreign exchange earnings.

The ministry also operates and administers the diplomatic and consular posts that represent and pursue New Zealand's interests overseas. The posts perform services overseas on behalf of all government departments and offer assistance to New Zealanders overseas, whether travelling in official or private capacities, and issue passports and visas overseas.

For the addresses of New Zealand's overseas posts, and for information on diplomatic, consular and other representation in New Zealand, refer to the ministry's publications Overseas Posts, and the Diplomatic and Consular List.

This and more information can be found on the ministry's website at

South Pacific

New Zealand enjoys a close association with South Pacific nations, with 10 diplomatic missions in the region and accreditation to a further eight Pacific Islands countries. A special relationship exists between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau. The Cook Islands became a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand in 1965, and Niue in 1974. Tokelau is a non self-governing territory of New Zealand under the purview of the United Nations Committee on Decolonisation. Cook Islanders, Niueans, and Tokelauans are New Zealand citizens.

Trade with the South Pacific, though small in comparison to other regions, is important to New Zealand. Exports to the region totalled $662 million for the year ending June 1999, and imports for the same period amounted to $124 million. Imports from South Pacific countries have duty-free and unrestricted access on a non-reciprocal basis to the New Zealand and Australian markets under the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA).

New Zealand has developed extensive links with regional organisations. New Zealand was a founding member of the South Pacific Forum, formed in 1971 to promote regional cooperation, particularly in trade and economic development. Renamed in 1999, the Pacific Island Forum now comprises 16 Pacific countries, and provides an opportunity to discuss other issues of relevance to island nations such as the environment, climate change, fisheries and economic development. An important aspect of the forum's work is the annual Forum Economic Minister's Meeting (FEMM). Since the first meeting in 1995, ministers have agreed on an action plan covering accountability principles, public sector reform initiatives, tariff reform and investment reform. The 1999 Forum endorsed a proposal for a free trade area (FTA) between Forum Island Countries.

Some other regional organisations of which New Zealand is a member include the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), which assists members with the management and conservation of the region's marine resources; the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), which focuses on the protection and management of environment resources; the Pacific Forum Line (PFL), which facilitates regional trade through improved shipping links; the Pacific Community which is primarily a technical assistance organisation that helps promote the economic and social welfare of the South Pacific peoples; and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), which assists countries in the assessment, exploration and development of mineral and other non-living resources.

New Zealand has other links with the South Pacific covering Official Development Assistance, Defence and Disaster Coordination. The France, Australia, New Zealand Agreement (FRANZ) is an important element in the provision of rapid emergency assistance to the region in the event of a natural disaster such as a tropical cyclone.


New Zealand has been represented in Australia since 1880. The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement enables New Zealand citizens to travel to live and work in Australia, and Australian residents to receive reciprocal access to New Zealand. There are at present over 300,000 New Zealanders living in Australia, and 50,000 Australians resident in New Zealand. Well over one million Australians and New Zealanders cross the Tasman in short term visits each year.

Australia is New Zealand's most important trading partner and New Zealand is in turn Australia's largest market for manufactured exports. The Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA or CER for short), signed in 1983, is the main instrument governing trade and economic relations between the two countries. Complete free trade in goods was achieved five years ahead of schedule on 1 July 1990. CER also includes a range of non-tariff measures such as customs issues, standards and business law. In 1995 the Joint Food Standards Treaty was signed, heralding a third generation of CER issues in the regulatory area. In 1996, CER was further expanded to include the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement, the Arrangement on Food Inspection Measures and arrangements for a single aviation market.

Australia is also New Zealand's closest and most important security partner. Our alliance with Australia, founded in the Canberra Pact (1944) and formalised in the ANZUS Treaty (1952), remains central to New Zealand's defence policy. Both countries have been involved for some two years in the Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group and more recently in the Coalition of Cooperation in East Timor.


New Zealand has strong links with the countries of Asia and with regional organisations. New Zealand maintains missions in Bangkok, Beijing, Ha Noi, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, New Delhi, Osaka, Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo.

New Zealand is one of the original dialogue partners of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Cooperation with ASEAN is maintained in a range of regional trade facilitation and economic development activities. New Zealand also takes part in the ASEAN Regional Forum, which provides ministers from throughout the Asia Pacific region with a unique opportunity to focus collectively on regional security issues. The New Zealand Defence Force has defence cooperation programmes with a number of ASEAN countries. The Five Power Defence Arrangements bring together Malaysia, Singapore, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

When the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was established in 1989, New Zealand was one of its founding members, and plays an active part in meetings. New Zealand hosted APEC in 1999. At the non-governmental level, New Zealand participates in the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council which brings together business people, academics and officials from all the region's main trading partners. Shared economic interests provide a basis for New Zealand to cooperate with Asian countries in international bodies, including the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the specialised agencies of the United Nations (UN).

The growth in bilateral trade with Asian economies through the 1990s was affected by the economic crisis of 1997–98. New Zealand took part in international efforts to respond to the crisis, including a loan offer to Korea and technical assistance to Thailand. A fall in New Zealand's exports, particularly to Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, was offset by an increase in sales to North America and Europe. In the year to June 1999, Asian markets accounted for 33 percent of exports (down from 35 percent in the year to June 1998) and 31 percent of imports. On the other hand, Asian economies still rank in the top twenty New Zealand export destinations, with Japan in third place, Korea fourth and China sixth. Asia remains an important source of tourists, migrants and investment.

New Zealand's long-term commitment to the Asian region was demonstrated in 1991 with the establishment of the Asia 2000 Programme, which became the Asia 2000 Foundation. It aims to increase the familiarity of New Zealanders with Asia, so that the political, economic and cultural relationship can grow and flourish. The Foundation has a network of ‘honorary advisers’ in the region and receives support from both the public and private sectors. Its major activities in 1999 included the Festival of Asia and an Asia Forum which brought a range of experts on Asia to New Zealand.


United States. New Zealand's relationship with the United States is one of our most important. Shared values underpin close governmental and private sector contacts across a broad range of bilateral, regional and multilateral activities. The United States is a key economic partner. It is one of New Zealand's three most important export markets and a major source of imports and investment. In the multilateral trade field, the two countries espouse similar open market philosophies. Cooperation is also close on international environmental matters and Antarctic scientific research. Programmes for scientific, cultural and educational exchange maintain an awareness of New Zealand in the United States and promote the interchange of ideas and experience.

Canada. New Zealand and Canada enjoy a positive and close relationship, based on shared bilateral Commonwealth, UN and Asia Pacific interests. The two countries cooperate closely on a range of issues, including disarmament, international peacekeeping and security, Asia Pacific policies and international economic matters. Canada is an important market for our agricultural goods, particularly beef. Bilateral trade and economic relations are conducted under the umbrella of the 1981 Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (TEC) which provides for, among other things, regular consultation on trade issues.

Latin America and the Caribbean. New Zealand has embassies in Latin America in Mexico, Chile and Argentina. The ambassador in Mexico is cross-accredited to Venezuela and Guatemala. The ambassador in Santiago is accredited to Peru and Colombia and the ambassador in Buenos Aires is accredited to all of the Mercosur group (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay). In addition to honorary consuls in Bogota, Lima, Caracas and Montevideo a New Zealand Consulate General was opened in Sao Paulo in 1999. The High Commissioner in Ottawa is accredited to the Caribbean countries of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Trade and investment is the primary focus of New Zealand's relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean, mainly exports of dairy products, agricultural machinery and manufactured goods. New Zealand companies are involved in a wide range of activities there in the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, construction, telecommunications and energy sectors. New Zealand provides a modest amount of economic and social development assistance to the region. New Zealand shares interests with those of a number of Latin American and Caribbean countries in areas such as international trade, environment, Antarctica, disarmament and Pacific regional cooperation.


Western Europe. The European Union (EU) is New Zealand's second largest economic partner after Australia. It is the largest market for a broad range of primary produce – butter, sheepmeat, apples, kiwifruit and leather. While the outcome of the Uruguay Round trade negotiations significantly improved allowable quantities and the overall stability of this traditional market, some restrictions on access and related conditions have continued. New Zealand had to initiate a WTO dispute settlement action in 1997 on an EU decision that some New Zealand butter (spreadable and Ammix) was not eligible for tariff quota access: this has now been settled amicably. Other primary produce, such as wine exports, face technical restrictions. Beyond New Zealand agricultural exports, trade flows with the EU are largely unhindered.

The EU has become a significant market for New Zealand tourism. The UK and Germany rank as major visitor sources to the Pacific rim. The countries of the EU are important partners for New Zealand in investment and as a source of technology and expertise. Bilateral agreements covering the mutual recognition of veterinary procedures and standards have been secured. In May 1999, a Joint Political Declaration was signed, setting out the future direction of the New Zealand/European Union relationship.

New Zealand has resident embassies in Berlin (transferred from Bonn in 1999), Madrid, Paris, Rome and The Hague, and a High Commission in London. From these posts there are cross-accreditations to all other EU member states. Close regular contact is maintained by New Zealand's network of posts with individual EU member states, and with the European Commission in Brussels, on a range of economic and political issues.

Central and Eastern Europe. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe continue to evolve from one-party states and centrally-planned economies towards political pluralism and free-market economies. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have joined the North Atlantic Trade Organisation (NATO) and these countries, together with Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, Bulgaria and Romania, are candidates for membership of the European Union. Thus their economic importance for New Zealand is increasing.

Responsibility for New Zealand's government-to-government relations with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia lies with the New Zealand Embassy in Berlin, and for Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia with the Embassy in Rome. (Commercial relations with Central and Eastern Europe are handled by the Trade New Zealand office in Milan.)

Russia, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Baltics. Trade remains the central component of New Zealand's relations with the states that formerly made up the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation being our principle partner. Despite Russia's economic and financial problems it remains an important, although diminished, market for New Zealand dairy products and the long-term potential for trade with some regions, notably the Russian Far East, is great.

VSA worker Brian Monk gets close to a boa constrictor from a snake farming project he helped Vietnamese villagers set up. Bred for the Chinese market, the snakes are sold for their meat and skins.

New Zealand also cooperates with Russia on a range of international issues, in regional bodies such as APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum, and is heavily involved in negotiations for the accession of Russia to the World Trade Organisation. These negotiations are the key point of contact with several other states in the CIS and Baltics.

New Zealand has an embassy in Moscow which is accredited to Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Middle East

New Zealand has significant economic interests in the Middle East. The region is an important market for New Zealand's food, technology and agricultural exports and an important source of crude oil. In the year ended June 1999, New Zealand exports to the region totalled $766 million. Imports for the same period were $841 million. New Zealand has embassies in Tehran, Riyadh and Ankara, and cross-accreditations to Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The New Zealand Trade Development Board has a regional office in Dubai.

For more than 40 years New Zealand has maintained an even-handed policy on the Arab-Israeli issue, consistently upholding the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and, with equal consistency, Israel's right to exist within secure borders.

New Zealand continues to support the search for peace in the Middle East. New Zealand remains committed to supporting the principles of land for peace and the Oslo Declaration of Principle concluded between Israel and the Palestinians.

New Zealand has contributed a contingent to the Sinai Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) based on the border between Egypt and Israel since 1982. The government also contributes military personnel to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), headquartered in Jerusalem. The government has also made available military personnel to serve with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) operation, which is given the task of eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and verifying that Iraq does not resume its weapons programmes. New Zealand has contributed frigates to the Multinational Interception Force (MIF) which monitors the sanctions regime in the Gulf.

Overseas Representation


Contact between New Zealand and Africa has increased significantly in recent years. New Zealand's membership of the United Nations Security Council (1993–94) led to a closer involvement in a wide range of African issues. New Zealand's ties with Commonwealth African countries were further strengthened by the holding of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Auckland in November 1995. New Zealand was named as one of eight countries to take part in a ministerial action group (CMAG) to deal with non-compliance with Commonwealth principles in some African countries. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Right Hon Don McKinnon is currently Vice-Chair of the Ministerial Group.

New Zealand has two missions in Africa. The New Zealand High Commission in Harare, Zimbabwe, was opened in 1986 and carries accreditations to Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya and Mauritius. The New Zealand High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa was opened a decade later in 1996. The High Commissioner in Pretoria is accredited to South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia. New Zealand posts in London, Madrid and Paris are responsible for relations with Nigeria, Morocco and Algeria respectively. Trade and political contacts with South Africa were strengthened in August 1996 with the visit of the Prime Minister to South Africa, the opening of a High Commission in Pretoria in the same year, and the visit by the Minister for International Trade and a business mission in August 1997. The Minister of Tourism and Sport led a tourism mission to South Africa in August 1998 to explore opportunities in South Africa's tourist market.

New Zealand has a long-standing involvement in development cooperation in Africa through its Official Development Assistance (NZODA) programme. The Africa programme focuses on the nine countries to which New Zealand is accredited: Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The 1999/00 budget is $4,080,000, with $920,000 tagged specifically for South Africa. The emphasis of the programme is mainly on primary and non-formal education, with provision also being made for short-term technical assistance, small rural projects, assistance to New Zealand Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to supplement their contributions to partner agencies in Africa and support for Volunteer Service Abroad's programme in South Africa.

New Zealand is also participating in UN peacekeeping and determining missions in Angola, Mozambique, Western Sahara and Sierra Leone.

Trade with African countries accounts for only a small percentage of New Zealand's global trade. Exports were valued at $404 million in the year ending June 1999. Among the major exports to the region are dairy products, fish and electrical equipment. Imports from Africa (valued at $231 million) include machinery, tobacco, phosphates and textile fibres. In 1999 Egypt and Algeria were New Zealand's most important markets in Africa.

Assistance to developing countries

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

The programme strengthens the links between New Zealand and the peoples of developing countries, and serves to foster mutually beneficial relationships. It also contributes to the achievement of New Zealand's own external relations and trade policies by helping to advance international economic prosperity, to maintain peace, security and stability, and protect the global environment. The programme is an investment in the regional and global future New Zealand shares with other nations.

New Zealand's ODA Programme is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of MFAT in conjunction with New Zealand's diplomatic posts in partner countries. In carrying out its work, the development expertise and experience of the division are complemented by those of a wide range of New Zealanders and partner country counterparts drawn from both the private and public sectors.

The NZODA Programme is funded by two core payments set by Parliament. For the 1999/00 financial year these are:

  • $212,722 million as Non-Departmental Payments (NDP). The NDP is the core of the ODA allocation and covers transfers of New Zealand goods, services and funding.

  • $15,079 million for ODA Management, funded as one of the MFAT output classes.

Some other activities or transfers that meet the OECD definition of Official Development Assistance are funded from other government sources. The total disbursement on NZODA currently amounts to nearly 0.26 percent of New Zealand's Gross National Product (GNP). This is above the current weighted average for OECD countries as a whole and a considerable increase from just over 0.20 percent in 1990.

New Zealand's ODA Programme is divided for financial and administrative purposes into two broad schedules of activities – bilateral and multilateral.

The bilateral schedule. 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 in 20 major partner countries in the South Pacific, South-East Asia, China and Southern and Eastern Africa. Direct bilateral assistance of this kind accounts for over half of New Zealand's 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.

Over the years development assistance has covered the full range of New Zealand expertise -agriculture, communications, conservation and environment, education and training, energy, fisheries, forestry, tourism, transport, and gender and development programmes. Global environmental concerns now take a higher profile in NZODA, and that list now includes nature conservation, national parks management, land use planning, soil conservation and environmental education. New Zealand participates in projects by contributing technical assistance, grants, material supplies and training.

Second lieutenant Charles Upham was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1941 for valour at Galatos and Crete. He won the Bar in 1945 for service at the Western Desert in 1942.

Distinguished military leader Sir Bernard Freyberg VC served in both world wars and later became Governor-General.

New Zealand's development cooperation with Pacific Islands countries focuses strongly on human resource development. As well as the considerable amounts allocated for study and training awards in New Zealand and at regional South Pacific institutions, many NZODA development projects provide technical assistance involving in-country training and staff development. Outer island and rural development are also a central feature of several of the NZODA Pacific Island country programmes.

New Zealand also promotes development of the South Pacific region as a whole with contributions to the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, the Forum Fisheries Agency, the Pacific Community and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, amongst others. The Pacific Islands Investment and Development Scheme (PUDS) targets the private sector and helps to promote investment and other linkages between New Zealand and Pacific Island companies.

New Zealand is extending its development cooperation with Asia. In addition to the various bilateral and regional programmes, the Asia Development Assistance Facility (ADAF) encourages New Zealand firms and consultants to identify developmentally-sound activities in the region, based on New Zealand expertise and commercial strengths. A major project aimed at addressing some of the specific training needs of the greater Mekong Basin sub-region has been developed in cooperation with Khon Kaen University in Thailand.

Education and training. New Zealand recognises that people are at the centre of development, and that human resource development (HRD) is the key to social and economic progress in developing countries. Besides funding of scholarships, training and programmes to strengthen education systems and institutions under bilateral country programmes, cross-regional scholarships are also made available. These include the Aotearoa Scholarships, Commonwealth Scholarships, Geothermal Diploma Students and Postgraduate Scholarships.


Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Bilateral schedule
        South Pacific Programmes –
            Cook Islands6,200
            Papua New Guinea11,000
            French Polynesia175
            New Caledonia375
            Wallis & Futuna75
            Solomon Islands5,250
        South Pacific regional programmes12,120
        South Pacific Head of Mission funds930
        Total South Pacific programmes79,250
Other bilateral programmes
        ASEAN and other Asia programmes31,800
        Americas/Africa programmes5,530
        Emergency and disaster relief4,500
        Voluntary agencies14,655
        Education and training (cross-regional scholarships)25,450
        Good Government programme1,000
        Total other bilateral programmes82,395
        Total bilateral schedule162,185
Multilateral schedule
        International financial institutions22,200
        South Pacific agencies11,315
        United Nations agencies11,150
        Commonwealth agencies2,956
        Other organisations2,916
        Total multilateral schedule50,537
        Total Official Development Assistance212,722

Emergency and disaster relief. Substantial funding is also directed to emergency and disaster relief operations (both government-to-government and through international agencies), and also to the ongoing work of non-government organisations (NGOs) working at grass-roots level in developing countries. Emergency and disaster relief is allocated as the need arises. When natural disasters occur in neighbouring countries of the Pacific, New Zealand is often able to send supplies, medical teams or other skilled people to directly help recovery work. A trilateral arrangement involving New Zealand, Australia and France in the South Pacific ensures a rapid response, effective coordination, and efficient use of resources in an emergency. When disaster strikes in more distant countries, New Zealand usually responds by making grants to international relief appeals, often under the auspices of the major international relief organisations or NGOs.

Non-government organisations. NZODA support for NGOs engaged in overseas development is provided through the Voluntary Agencies Support Scheme (VASS) and through funding Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA).

The multilateral schedule. 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 regional development organisations, such as the Forum Secretariat and the Forum Fishery Agency.

Participation in institutions such as the International Development Association (IDA), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation gives New Zealand a voice 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 on the ground. They are respected for the neutrality and the degree of expertise they can bring to a wide range of development issues. New Zealand also finances individual projects with multilateral agencies.

New Zealand recognises that sustainable development and good government are closely linked. Good government includes essential elements such as political accountability, the protection of human rights, reliable legal frameworks, bureaucratic transparency and effective public sector management. The NZODA Good Governance Programme offers assistance to projects which promote, sustain and support human development by promoting good government at all levels.

4.2 International organisations

United Nations

New Zealand was a founding member of the United Nations organisation in 1945. Successive governments have strongly supported it as the major global instrument for maintaining peace and security, developing friendly relations among countries, encouraging international cooperation aimed at solving economic and social problems, establishing and strengthening an international framework, 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 and where it can support efforts to secure lasting peace and security.

New Zealand plays an active part in the United Nations. New Zealand is currently serving as a member of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the period 1998–2000. New Zealand diplomat Denise Almao has completed her term on the powerful UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). This body examines and reports on the budgets and accounts of the UN and its constituent bodies.

Contributions to the United Nations. Contributions to the UN's budget are based on members’ capacity to pay. New Zealand's assessed contribution rate is set at 0.221 percent of the regular budget, resulting in annual dues in 1999 of NZ$4.5 million. Contributions to the budgets of specialised agencies are fixed according to a scale of assessment agreed by the membership as a whole. New Zealand's assessed contributions to peacekeeping operations are also assessed at 0.221 percent. In 1998–99, these dues amounted to more than NZ$2.9 million.

Human rights. As a party to international human rights instruments, New Zealand is required to report regularly to the United Nations monitoring bodies on the measures it has taken domestically to give effect to international standards. 1998 marked the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and various functions were held in New Zealand to commemorate the event. In that year New Zealand presented its combined third and fourth reports under the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

In 1998, New Zealand continued to give financial support in the field of human rights, including funds to assist national human rights institutions and advisory services for indigenous populations. At the Commission on Human Rights and the Third Committee of the General Assembly (which deals with social, cultural and humanitarian issues) New Zealand supported resolutions addressing a wide range of current international human rights concerns, in particular mainstreaming of women's issues within the United Nations system, indigenous issues, and the development of human rights commissions in the Asia Pacific region.

Issues relating to the human rights of women and children continued to be a priority for New Zealand. New Zealand participated in the drafting of optional protocols to strengthen both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The latter was agreed in March 1999. Dame Silvia Cartwright continued her second term as a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Indigenous issues continued to receive international attention, with activities continuing under the Decade for the World's Indigenous People. New Zealand participated in a range of international initiatives focusing on indigenous people, including the third meeting of the intergovernmental working group considering a Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Percentage of GNP, 1996 and 1998

Second lieutenant Te Moananui-a-Kiwi Ngarimu won a Victoria Cross posthumously in 1943 for valour in Tunisia.

The specialised agencies. The UN system encompasses 14 autonomous organisations known as the Specialised Agencies (14 if the World Bank Group is counted as one, 19 if the World Bank Group is split). There is also a large number of additional bodies with their own secretariats, budgets and operations. New Zealand is a member of all the major specialised agencies. 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 levels of health'; the International Labour Organisation (ILO) seeks to improve working and living conditions; and the United Nations Educational. Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) seeks to increase international cooperation through education, science and culture. New Zealand is currently serving on the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation for the period 1999–2002.

Other UN specialised 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), climate and weather (WMO) and industrial development (UNIDO).

New Zealand participates in other UN bodies and programmes concerned with such diverse subjects as atomic energy (IAEA), refugees (UNHCR), development (UNDP) and environmental issues (UNEP). New Zealand has been elected to the Executive Board of UNDP for a three year term which began 1 January 2000, and to the Governing Council of UNEP for the period 2000–2002.

MFAT and the Environment

In 1990, in response to the rapid increase in attention to global environment issues, an Environment Division was established in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The division's role is to coordinate New Zealand's international response to these issues.

The Environment Division's responsibilities include issues such as climate change, ozone depletion, biodiversity and endangered species, hazardous wastes, marine pollution, the conservation of whales and other marine living resources, and a range of sustainable resource management issues including forestry. The current staff is a director, eight policy officers and two support staff.

The range of issues covered reflects the international environment agenda, focusing on matters of importance to New Zealand's interests or which may pose a threat to New Zealand's environment.

The division works closely with other government departments with responsibility for environment and conservation issues in New Zealand, in particular the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation, and with a wide range of agencies responsible for various aspects of resource management policy. It also consults with a range of public interests, including nongovernmental organisations, business representatives and Māori.

The Environment Division manages New Zealand's participation in the work of international environment agencies, including the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Global Environment Facility, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the International Whaling Commission (IWC), and related treaties. The division provides support for New Zealand attendance at regional and international meetings on environment issues and handles negotiations on related international legal instruments.

World Trade Organisation

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established on 1 January 1995. It is an international organisation which acts as a single institutional framework over the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the multilateral agreements that resulted from the Uruguay Round. Former New Zealand Prime Minister Mr Mike Moore was appointed Director-General of the WTO in 1999. Mr Moore will serve a three year term which began on 1 September 1999.

The GATT was negotiated in 1947 and came into force in 1948. Its basic aim has been to liberalise world trade and to place it on a secure basis, thereby contributing to international economic growth and development. By the time the WTO came into force, the GATT's Contracting Parties accounted for about 90 percent of world trade.

Like the GATT, which it has now subsumed, the WTO is a multilateral trade treaty. It provides both a code of rules and a forum in which countries can discuss and address their trade problems and negotiate and enlarge world trading opportunities. It is underpinned by certain fundamental principles:

Trade without discrimination: The ‘most favoured nation’ clause stipulates that each WTO member must grant all other members treatment as favourable as that which they grant any other country. This principle is particularly important for countries such as New Zealand, since it ensures that larger countries cannot adopt discriminatory trade policies (except for preferential free trade areas and customs unions).

Protection through tariffs: Any protection provided to domestic industry should be in the form of tariffs, rather than less transparent instruments such as quotas and import licensing.

The binding of tariffs at levels negotiated among members: Where tariffs have been bound, they may be increased above that level only if compensation is offered by the importing country.

National treatment: Imported products must be treated no less favourably than domestic products with respect to internal taxes, regulations and other requirements.

Consultations on the basis of equality: Any member may invoke the WTO's dispute settlement provisions in cases where it considers its WTO rights have been nullified or impaired.

Eight rounds of multilateral trade negotiations were held under the auspices of the GATT, each with the aim of liberalising trade between the contracting parties by reducing trade barriers and other measures impeding free trade. The most ambitious of these was the Uruguay Round (1986–94). In addition to establishing the World Trade Organisation, the Uruguay Round:

  • Brought agriculture effectively within the multilateral trading system for the first time.

  • Secured the eventual integration of the textiles and clothing sector into the WTO system.

  • Extended the multilateral trading system to trade in services (the General Agreement on Trade in Services).

  • Strengthened multilateral trade rules in areas such as subsidies, anti-dumping, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, safeguards, trade-related investment measures, and dispute settlement.

  • Established a multilateral framework for protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (TRIPS).

  • Further reduced tariffs on goods.

World Bank. The World Bank consists of five closely associated financial institutions: the World Bank – comprising the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The common objective of the institutions is to help raise the living standards in developing countries by channelling financial resources from developed countries to them.

The value of loans in non-accrual status has increased from US$19.1 billion at the end of the 1998 financial year to US$20.3 billion as at 30 June 1999. The IDA provides highly concessional resources to low-income countries worth an average of about US$6 billion a year.

New Zealand also makes contributions to the periodic replenishments of the IDA. In 1998. New Zealand made a commitment of NZ$32 million to the latest replenishment, amounting to a 0.12 percent of total donor funding plus a supplementary contribution of NZ$6.4 million. New Zealand also agreed to an accelerated payment schedule which would see the money paid within six years.

Asian Development Bank

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

New Zealand currently holds 27,170 shares in the ADB, about 2.6 percent of the bank's voting share. The shares have a total par value of US$381.35 million. The country also makes contributions to the periodic replenishment of the ADB's Asian Development Fund, the bank's facility for lending to its poorest developing member countries. In 1997 New Zealand agreed to contribute NZ$33.54 million to the fund, to be drawn over the next 11 years and representing 0.65 percent share of the total donor fund, plus a supplementary payment of $7.4 million.


The Commonwealth has 54 member countries representing 1.7 billion people from across the globe. New Zealand is a founding member of the Commonwealth, dating back to its entry in 1931, and has long been involved in the wide range of Commonwealth activity: on three occasions the Commonwealth Games have been held in New Zealand.

The apex of the association's activities is the two-yearly meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government, when the policy and activities of the Commonwealth are decided. South Africa hosted the last meeting in Durban, in November 1999. Most activities are executed by the Commonwealth Secretariat, based in London and led by the Secretary-General. The Right Hon Don McKinnon was elected to the position of Secretary-General in 1999.

Today New Zealand is the sixth largest contributor to the Commonwealth Secretariat budget, as well as a major supporter of the Commonwealth Foundation, which promotes professional and nongovernmental linkages within the Commonwealth. On a per capita (GDP) basis, New Zealand is the largest financial supporter of the Commonwealth's principal institutions.

New Zealand has been active in promoting the Commonwealth's core beliefs and principles, and has held the Vice-Chairmanship of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group since its inception in 1995. Since 1992, New Zealanders have also participated in 13 missions to observe elections in member countries.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) based in Paris, France, is a unique forum permitting governments of the industrialised democracies to study and formulate the best policies possible in all economic and social spheres. The work of the OECD, including its annual ministerial communiqué, is considered a crucial barometer of Western economic policy coordination, setting out shared views on issues of importance not only to Western interests but also to the international community generally.

The organisation provides a valuable opportunity to make New Zealand's voice heard on key macro- and micro-economic issues. Not only does work through the OECD help frame New Zealand's national economic policies, it also helps define its position, at least in broad outline, in international organisations at the regional and world level (such as the WTO and APEC).

In its standard-setting and monitoring role, which is likely to grow, the OECD enjoys a comparative advantage in a niche between the national or regional level and the world level where it is usually desirable but always difficult to agree on the rules of the game. In this context the organisation is an important link for New Zealand in the elaboration of its economic policy. We have a particular interest in the biannual publication OECD Economic Outlook which provides a periodic assessment of economic trends, prospects and policies in member countries. The organisation's regular country reviews also provide useful insights into member economies, including our own. New Zealand's development cooperation policy is reviewed regularly by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee.

The monitoring and analysis of agricultural policies is an important area of New Zealand participation of OECD work. Other areas include education, science, health, labour, the environment, financial and investment affairs, social policy and the organisation's increasingly important work with non-member countries, particularly those from the dynamic Asian and Latin American economies, Central and Eastern Europe and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.

New Zealand is also a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), an autonomous body of 23 member countries within the OECD framework. The primary focus of the IEA is on oil security amongst its members. However, its programme of work embraces a wide range of energy issues including energy-related environmental concerns, increased energy efficiency and use of renewable resources, the energy situation of member and non-member countries, and dialogue between energy, particularly petroleum, producers and consumers.

4.3 New Zealand territories


Tokelau consists of three small atolls in the South Pacific – Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu – with a combined land area of 12 square kilometres and a population of around 1,500. The central atoll, Nukunonu, is 92km from Atafu and 64km from Fakaofo. Western Samoa is 480km to the south.

The British Government transferred administrative control of Tokelau (then known as the Union Islands) to New Zealand in 1925. Formal sovereignty was transferred to New Zealand in 1948 by an act of the New Zealand Parliament. New Zealand statute law, however, does not apply to Tokelau unless it is expressly extended to Tokelau. In practice, no New Zealand legislation is extended to Tokelau without its consent.

Tokelau is listed as a non-self-governing territory for the purposes of the self-determination principles of the United Nations Charter. This status was confirmed in 1962 when New Zealand added Tokelau to the schedule of territories under the supervision of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation.

The main objective of New Zealand's relationship with Tokelau is that of fostering a greater degree of self-government and economic self-sufficiency for the people, in fulfilment of New Zealand's responsibilities under the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) and 1541 (XV) covering decolonisation and the transmission of information.

The Administrator of Tokelau is appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is responsible for ‘the administration of the executive government of Tokelau'.

Under a programme of constitutional change agreed in 1992, the role of Tokelau's political institutions is being better defined and expanded. The process underway enables the base of the Tokelau Government to be located within Tokelau's national level institutions rather than as before, within a public service located largely in Western Samoa. This process was formalised by the delegation on 27 January 1994 of the Administrator's powers to the General Fono, and the Council of Faipule when the General Fono is not in session. Consequently, the public service has been relocated to the atolls.

The General Fono, comprising 18 members, remains Tokelau's paramount political institution, while the key operational relationship is between the three Faipule acting as ministers within the Council of Faipule and the senior staff of the public service. The Council of Faipule's head is the Ulu o Tokelau (Leader of Tokelau), a post which rotates on a yearly basis.

In 1996 the formal step of devolving the legislative power was taken. With the passage of the Tokelau Amendment Act 1996 by the New Zealand Parliament, the General Fono has been able since 1 August 1996 to exercise a rule-making power. This power has been used primarily for the purpose of the management of the major economic activities in Tokelau, and for financial management of Tokelau's accounts.

The Faipule are leaders of their respective villages (one on each atoll), and the ministerial function represents an extension of their formal responsibility. Traditionally each village has been largely autonomous. This was confirmed by the Tokelau Village Incorporation Regulations 1986, giving legal recognition to each village and granting it an independent law-making power.

Each village holds elections on a three-yearly basis. The most recent elections took place in January 1999. Earlier practice was to elect the Faipule and Pulenuku (mayor equivalent). From 1999 the arrangement was expanded in order that each village could elect, for three-year terms, its six General Fono delegates. Previously delegates were chosen through a process of selection.

Tokelau's development prospects are restricted by its small land area and population, its geographic isolation, and by the relatively high cost in these circumstances of providing education, health and other services to three communities which are so widely separated. For these reasons Tokelau relies substantially on external financial support, primarily from New Zealand. Nonetheless the development of government structures at the national level has promoted a clear wish for Tokelau to be self-reliant to the greatest extent possible.

That wish is reflected in Tokelau's first National Strategic Plan adopted by the General Fono in June 1994. This document is seen as a ‘chartered course’ for the next 5 to 10 years. It is also reflected in Tokelau's submission to a United Nations Visiting Mission in July 1994. The submission affirms that Tokelau has under active consideration both the Constitution of a self-governing Tokelau and an act of self-determination.

Ross Dependency

The Ross Dependency consists of the land, permanent ice-shelf and islands of Antarctica between 160° east to 150° west. The land is almost entirely covered by ice, and is uninhabited except for people working on scientific research programmes. New Zealand has exercised jurisdiction over the territory since 1923. An Antarctic scientific research programme is maintained in the Ross Dependency, with New Zealand operating Scott Base on Ross Island as a permanent base. New Zealand is an original party to the Antarctic Treaty, which requires Antarctica to be used for peaceful purposes only and promotes international cooperation, freedom of scientific investigation, and exchange of information and scientific personnel. The 43 parties to the treaty meet regularly to consider questions within its framework.

4.4 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 (NZDF).

The Minister of Defence has the power of control of the New Zealand Defence Force, which is exercised through the Chief of Defence Force. The Chief of Defence Force is the principal military adviser to the minister and is responsible for: carrying out the functions and duties of the NZDF; the general conduct of the NZDF; managing its activities and resources; and chairing the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

The Secretary of Defence is the chief executive of the Ministry of Defence and is the principal civilian adviser to the minister. The secretary is responsible for formulating 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 NZDF.

Defence policy

The Defence White Paper, The Shape of New Zealand's Defence, was released in November 1997. It concluded that the defence policy laid out in the 1991 White Paper, The Defence of New Zealand, remained the best framework for guiding New Zealand's defence effort in a security environment which is largely benign and stable, but contains a number of uncertainties. This framework has three principal elements:

  • Defending New Zealand against low-level threats such as terrorism and incursions into our Exclusive Economic Zone.

  • Contributing to regional security, which includes maintaining our key relationships with Australia and our Five Power Defence Arrangements partners, Malaysia and Singapore.

  • Contributing to the maintenance of international peace and security by taking part in global security efforts, particularly peacekeeping.

As discussed in this policy, our physical distance from other land masses provides a unique natural barrier. With little chance of a serious threat to our territory, New Zealand's plans for defence include the capability to deter and respond to such threats as the illegal use or poaching of resources, terrorism and infringements of our Exclusive Economic Zone.

The nature of our geostrategic position means that beyond the immediate south-west Pacific region, defence planning is about security interests, rather than security needs. New Zealand's well-being is dependent on secure and stable trade markets, and secure trade routes in the Asia Pacific region and around the world, both for our exports and the import of vital commodities such as oil.

The Asian economic crisis has now largely abated and nations are moving down the path of recovery. It has been a difficult two years for the region, but the security implications of the crises were modest. The regional security environment is relatively benign, but security concerns do remain, such as the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the relationship between China and Taiwan, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Territorial engineers construct a Bailey raft, 1965.

The call to military training, 1911.

There have also been increased demands on the NZDF to contribute to collective endeavours in support of our regional and global security interests, with the missions in Bougainville, East Timor and the Persian Gulf being prime examples.

International defence relationships

Australia. The defence relationship that New Zealand has with Australia is our most important one. In 1991, recognition of the natural coincidence of our defence and strategic interests led to the adoption of the policy of Closer Defence Relations. This acknowledged that a threat to one country would inevitably be a threat to the other, and that a more effective contribution to regional security could be made by working together.

The Five Power Defence Arrangements. The Five Power Defence Arrangements grew out of a statement in a communique following a meeting of ministers from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Great Britain in 1971. The focus of the arrangements is to provide support to Malaysia and Singapore should either of those countries come under external threat. The number of exercises and contacts which New Zealand has with Malaysia and Singapore and other partners is an important part of the NZDF's training programme and one which has expanded significantly since the end of the Cold War.

Mutual Assistance Programme. Most Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Pacific countries participate in NZDF's Mutual Assistance Programme. The programme is a practical demonstration of New Zealand's commitment to regional security. Through training cooperation and advisory assistance, the programme contributes to the effectiveness of defence and paramilitary forces in New Zealand's South Pacific neighbourhood.

The programme also supports development projects in the South Pacific by using the engineering and trade skills of the armed forces. Commonly, training is provided in New Zealand and training and technical teams are deployed overseas. Military instructors are attached to other armed forces for periods of up to two years in exercises in Fiji, Cook Islands. Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Malaysia.

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 access to New Zealand ports by ships of the United States Navy, the ANZUS Council has not met since 1984.

Liaison with other countries. To facilitate exchanges on military matters, defence representatives are posted to many of New Zealand's diplomatic missions, with some of those representatives also accredited to other countries. A number of countries have service representatives attached to their diplomatic missions in Wellington or have service attaches accredited to, but not resident in, New Zealand.

Armed forces overseas as at 31 December 1999

Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group (PMG). This mission was first established as the Peace Monitoring Group in 1997. New Zealand has continued to support the Australian-led PMG throughout 1999. New Zealand provides 31 defence personnel directly to the PMG and financially supports 20 Vanuatuan and 15 Fijian personnel.

United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation (UNTSO). New Zealand military observers have worked with UNTSO in Israel and neighbouring countries since 1954. They help to monitor cease-fires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist subsequent peacekeeping operations. New Zealand had seven observers in Israel and Syria with UNTSO.

Sinai Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). This force was established in April 1982 to verify compliance with the terms of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Nine countries contribute to MFO, which includes a 26-strong New Zealand contingent comprising a training and advisory team, a heavy transport section, engineers and staff officers.

United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). New Zealand contributed six personnel to this mission as military observers, and staff a determining school.

Former Yugoslavia. The NZDF contributes seven staff officers to fill a range of appointments on the British headquarters within the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia. A deployment of 20 Royal New Zealand Infantry and Armoured personnel (SFORA) served with the British forces on a six-month tour and returned to New Zealand in April 2000. NZDF also maintains three military liaison officers and observers in the former Yugoslavia. One observer and the chief military observer are deployed in Croatia with UNMOP. One military liaison officer is deployed in Kosovo with UNMIK.

United Nations Special Commission on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (UNSCOM). Following the 1991 Gulf War, the United Nations established the Special Commission to destroy, remove or render harmless weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile capabilities. This task was completed and the mission moved on to its long-term monitoring phase. New Zealand participation in UNSCOM ended at the beginning of 2000.

Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC). The Cambodian Government set up this demining training centre with the assistance of outside agencies. New Zealand provides a military logistics technical adviser and a military training technical adviser to the programme.

Mozambique Accelerated Demining Program (MADP). New Zealand provides two military demining experts to the MADP, including the chief technical adviser.

Unexploded Ordnance Programme Laos (UXDL). New Zealand provides a military logistics technical adviser and a military training technical adviser to the programme.

United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). New Zealand has contributed two military observers to this mission and its predecessor (UNOMSIL) since June 1998.

United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET). In mid-1999 the Indonesian Government agreed to hold a plebiscite in East Timor to decide the fate of the region. UNAMET was established to oversee the election process, and New Zealand provided police and 10 military liaison officers (MLOs) to East Timor.

International Force East Timor (INTERFET). Following the failure of UNAMET to stop violence in East Timor the UN agreed to sanction a multinational force, INTERFET, to restore order until a UN-mandated force could be established. New Zealand sent 830 ground troops, an Air Force helicopter detachment, the frigate Te Kaha and the fleet replenishment tanker HMNZS Endeavour. The New Zealand ground component of INTERFET was subsumed into the UN-mandated United Nations Territorial Authority in East Timor (UNTAET) in January 2000.

Combined Task Force – Kuwait (CTF – K). New Zealand continues to support this US-led mission by providing one staff officer to the VTF-K Headquarters.

Since 1952, including current commitments

Peace-keeping troops in Bosnia receive Christmas parcels from home, December 1995.


The NZDF continues to complete a wide variety of exercises with other forces. Many of the international and priority exercises are with the Australian defence force, reflecting the nature and intentions of Closer Defence Relations (CDR) agreements.

Activities with Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) nations include the maritime exercises STARDEX (conducted in two of every three years) and the annual Exercise SUMAN WARRIOR, a land command-post exercise.

The NZDF's main joint and combined exercise in New Zealand is MATAKIREA, which is held biennially. MATAKIREA now includes the major RNZN exercise formerly known as TASMANEX, and involves all three NZDF Services.

Key exercises in the South Pacific include TROPIC ASTRA (RNZAF deployment), TROPIC TWILIGHT (NZ Army and RNZAF deployment for civil aid tasks), and CROIX DU SUD, the major exercise of the French armed forces in New Caledonia. Bilateral exercises with regional partners include land exercises such as TAIAHA TOMBAK and KRIS MERE with Malaysia, CROSSED SWORDS and AZAM BERSAMA with Brunei, and SILVER COBRA, KIWI TEMASEK and LION HEART with Singapore.

Personnel exchanges. Members of the NZDF participate in annual exchanges with personnel from the defence forces of Australia, Canada. Singapore and the United Kingdom.

Community assistance

Hydrographic survey. The Navy, under contract to Land Information New Zealand, produces all nautical charts for New Zealand, including the Ross Dependency, and for a large area of the South Pacific including Niue, Tokelau, Western Samoa and the Cook Islands. The Hydrographic Office also provides tidal analysis data and predictions. During 1996–97 survey work was undertaken off the west coast of the North Island and off Fiordland. A new hydrographic and oceanographic vessel, HMNZS Resolution, entered service and commenced operations in 1998.

Fisheries protection. Air Force Orion aircraft patrol the New Zealand 200-mile exclusive economic zone. Information from surveillance patrols is passed to the Ministry of Fisheries. At times fisheries officers are aboard the aircraft or ships when the patrols are conducted. The Air Force conducted numerous patrols in the New Zealand area and 10 patrols of the South Pacific in 1998–99.

Search and rescue. All three services maintain a search and rescue capability, with naval and air units maintained on a 24-hour stand-by. The Navy and Air Force assist in extensive sea searches, while the Army and the Air Force assist police in land searches and rescues. The Air Force also carry out emergency medical evacuations throughout New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Antarctic support. Defence Force support for the New Zealand Antarctic Programme in 1998–99 included 12 return flights to McMurdo Base by Hercules aircraft. Two Iroquois helicopters were stationed at McMurdo from October 1998 to February 1999. For the 1999–00 season, the Hercules support flights will be increased to 15, but owing to commitments in East Timor, only one Iroquois was in Antarctica from October to December 1999.

New Zealand Cadet Forces. The Cadet Forces comprise the Sea Cadet Corps. Air Training Corps and the New Zealand Cadet Corps. These are community-based youth groups which receive assistance from the New Zealand Defence Force, and support from the Sea Cadet Association of New Zealand, the Air Training Corps Association of New Zealand, the Cadet Corps Association of New Zealand, community organisations and the New Zealand Returned Services Association. There were 101 active cadet units at 30 June 1999 with a total strength of 4,170.

Limited Service Volunteer Scheme. Limited Service Volunteer training courses began in 1993. Since 1995 the courses have been run by the Army at Burnham Camp and, since 1998, staffing support has also been provided by the Navy and Air Force. The programme provides young unemployed volunteers with six weeks of residential training in outdoor activities and general life skills. A total of 486 volunteers successfully completed the training course in the year ended 30 June 1999.

Disaster relief. The Defence Force provides assistance in the wake of natural disasters in the South Pacific. Assistance can include post-disaster reconnaissance of damage levels, transportation of relief supplies, food, medical supplies, and engineering and communications services.

Other assistance. Other assistance provided by the Defence Force includes transportation of Department of Conservation personnel to New Zealand's outlying islands, ceremonial support for state occasions, helicopter and logistic support to the police, assistance with rural fire-fighting, explosive ordnance disposal, and support during national civil defence emergencies.

New Zealand soldiers teach mine clearance techniques to Cambodian military personnel.

Defence expenditure

Defence funding is voted by Parliament to two organisations: the New Zealand Defence Force under the Chief of Defence Force, and the Ministry of Defence under the Secretary of Defence. Total expenditure by the two organisations is consolidated in table 4.2.


ItemYear ended 30 June
Source: New Zealand Defence Force, Ministry of Defence
Capital charge356,051354,730
Other expenses-5,000
            Total output expenses1,409,8021,414,268
Crown revenue provided1,351,2691,376,558


As at 30 JuneNavyArmyAir ForceTotalCivilians (NZDF & MOD)
Source: New Zealand Defence Force, Ministry of Defence


 Percentage of GDP


2Year ended 30 June.

3Year ended 31 March.

4Year ended 30 September.

*Using NATO definition, excluding GST, Capital Charge and War Pensions.

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

New Zealand21.*1.13*
United Kingdom33.  
United States of America43.  

Canterbury-born Rewi Alley devoted his life to the people of China.


Royal New Zealand Navy

Command and administration. The Chief of Naval Staff exercises command and control of the Royal New Zealand Navy, assisted by the Naval Staff in Wellington.

Shore establishments. The naval base at Devonport, Auckland, consists of the office of the Maritime Commander (the operational authority for the RNZN), HMNZS Philomel (the naval barracks and base support establishment), the Royal New Zealand Naval Hospital, and the Naval Supply and Ammunition Depot. Within the base is the naval dockyard, a comprehensive engineering facility for the support of naval vessels. The dockyard is managed by Babcock New Zealand Limited. HMNZS Tamaki is the naval training establishment at Devonport. The RNZN Armament Depot is located at Kauri Point and the RNZN Hydrographic Office is at Takapuna. HMNZS Wakefield, in Defence Headquarters, is the administrative unit for RNZN personnel in the Wellington area. There are four divisions of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve, based at Auckland (HMNZS Ngapona), Wellington (HMNZS Olphert), Christchurch (HMNZS Pegasus), and Dunedin (HMNZS Toroa). There is also a port headquarters in Tauranga.


Source: New Zealand Defence Force
(ANZAC class)Te Kaha 
Te Mana (commissioned 10 December 1999)Naval Combat
(Leander class)Wellington (decommissioned 5 May 2000)Force
Fleet tankerEndeavourNaval Logistic
Military sealift shipCharles Upham (chartered until the end of 2000)Support Force
Survey shipResolutionHydrographic/
Inshore survey craftTarapungaOceanographic
Diving support vesselManawanui
Inshore patrol craftWakakura
HinauMaritime Mine
KiwiWarfare Force
Training tenderKahuSea Training
Kaman Seasprite SH-2F Helicopters x 4 (Interim while awaiting delivery of SH-2G)Naval
Kaman Seasprite SH-2G Helicopters x 5 (to be progressively delivered from Aug 2000)Aviation


CategoryAt 30 June
Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Regular forces -
Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (all ranks)370367395397401
            Total Uniformed2,498
            Total Navy3,022

New Zealand Army

The Army is organised, equipped and trained to provide a flexible range of units and sub-units up to a deployable battalion group. It can respond to lower-level contingencies in the region or serve as a New Zealand contribution to a collective force, including a UN force.

Command and administration. The Chief of General Staff (CGS) commands the Army General Staff. Army General Staff remains concerned primarily with development of policy and the management of logistic and support functions.

The Army has a single operational-level command. Headquarters Land Command, based at Trentham, manages the training of land forces and their operational commitments. Second Land Force Group, with headquarters at Linton, and 3rd Land Force Group, with headquarters at Burnham, command all regular and Territorial Force units in the North Island and South Island respectively, with the exception of specialist Army units. These units, based at Auckland and Trentham, include a Special Air Services Group, a Force Intelligence Group, and a Military Police Company.

State of the Army. Major operational units include two Regular Force infantry battalions, six Territorial Force infantry regiments, an armoured regiment, an artillery regiment, an engineer regiment, a signals squadron, three logistics battalions and a medical unit. Major equipment includes seventy-one armoured personnel carriers (all types), twenty-two 105mm light guns, forty-five 81mm mortars and five very low-level air defence (VLLAD) launchers.


CategoryAt 30 June
Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Regular forces -
Other ranks3,8833,7373,6763,7063,765

Gunners of 163 Battery, 16th Field Regiment, on an exercise at the Waiouru Plateau, c1961.

Vietnam War veterans were formally recognised in 1998 with a homecoming parade in Wellington – 26 years after their return from the conflict.

Royal New Zealand Air Force

Command and administration. The RNZAF is structured to provide an Air Combat Force, a Maritime Patrol Force and a Fixed and Rotary Wing Transport Force. The Chief of Air Staff, supported by the Air Staff, commands the RNZAF.

Organisation. The RNZAF is organised into one functional group: Air Command. With its headquarters at RNZAF Base Auckland, it is responsible for all operational functions, all training and all support functions. Operational flying units are based at RNZAF Base Auckland and RNZAF Base Ohakea, with a detachment of Iroquois helicopters at Christchurch. RNZAF Base Ohakea also hosts primary flying training, while most ground training is done at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. The RNZAF Museum is based at Wigram, with a wing of the museum at RNZAF Base Ohakea.

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


Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Maritime patrol6 Orions 
Transport2 Boeing 727s 
5 Hercules 
Helicopters5 SiouxRNZAF Base Auckland
12 Iroquois 
4 Seasprites (operated by RNZN) 
2 IroquoisNo. 3 Squadron detachment, Christchurch
Air attack6 SkyhawksHMAS Albatross, Nowra, NSW
13 Skyhawks 
Flying training17 Aermacchi 
13 Air TrainersRNZAF Base Ohakea
3 King AirsRNZAF Base Auckland


CategoryAt 30 June
Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Regular forces:
    Other Ranks2,6762,5682,3512,3492,266
Civilian Staff:
    Territorial Air Force101170180163163

4.5 Intelligence and security

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

Security Intelligence Service

The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) is a small government agency (approx 120 staff), with a head office in Wellington and regional offices in Auckland and Christchurch. The Head of the Service is the Director of Security, currently Richard Woods.

The principle functions of the NZSIS are to obtain, correlate and evaluate intelligence relevant to security and to advise ministers on security matters. These functions are set by legislation: the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969, and its amendments in 1977, 1996 and 1999. The legislation specifies that the Act does not limit the right of people to engage in lawful protest, advocacy or dissent, and that it is not a function of the Service to further or harm the interests of any political party.

The NZSIS reports directly to a minister (the minister in charge of the NZSIS), and the Director is required by legislation to also consult regularly with the Leader of the Opposition, to keep him or her informed about matters relating to security.

The Service is subject to oversight and review by an Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, and a committee of parliamentarians (the Intelligence and Security Committee).


Year ended 30 JuneEABNZSISGCSB
Source: External Assessments Bureau, Security Intelligence Service and Government Communications Security Bureau

Government Communications Security Bureau

Responsible to the Prime Minister, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) provides information, advice and assistance to the New Zealand government, government departments and organisations. The GCSB is subject to oversight and review under the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996 and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996. Its functions are:

Communications security and computer security – protecting information that is processed, stored or communicated by electronic or similar means and including:

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

Marlborough Express
These ‘giant puffballs’ are intelligence-gathering antenna at the Waihopai satellite station near Blenheim, 1998.

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

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

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

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

External Assessments Bureau

Part of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the External Assessments Bureau (EAB), Te Ranga Tātari Take Tāwāhi, produces intelligence assessments of events and trends overseas to support informed decision-making by the government on events or trends likely to influence New Zealand's foreign relations and external interests. The staff of about 30 identify, collate, evaluate and analyse information collected from a range of sources, and prepare assessments and reports on political, economic, biographic, strategic and scientific matters.


  • 4.1–4.3 Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

  • 4.4 New Zealand Defence Force.

  • 4.5 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; New Zealand Security Intelligence Service; Government Communications Security Bureau; External Assessments Bureau.

Special articles

Asia 2000 Foundation of New Zealand; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Department of Internal Affairs; Military museums as listed.

Further information

A Guide to the Ministry and its Work. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Air Force News. Royal New Zealand Air Force (monthly).

Army News. New Zealand Army (fortnightly).

Crawford, John 1996. In the field for peace: New Zealand's contribution to international peace-support operations: 1950–95. New Zealand Defence Force.

Defence of New Zealand 1991: A Policy Paper. 1991. New Zealand Government, Wellington.

Departmental Forecast Report of the New Zealand Defence Force for the year ending 30 June 2000, New Zealand Defence Force, 1999.

Development Business. Development Cooperation Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Diplomatic and Consular List. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (twice-yearly).

Holmes, Sir Frank 1996. The trans-Tasman relationship. Institute of Policy Studies.

Information Bulletins. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Navy Today: RNZN News. Royal New Zealand Navy (monthly).

New Zealand Defence Quarterly. Ministry of Defence.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade Record. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (monthly except January).

New Zealand International Review (every two months). Institute of International Affairs.

Overseas Posts. A List of New Zealand Representatives Abroad. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (twice-yearly).

Report of the Asia 2000 Foundation of New Zealand (Parl Paper G.47).

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

Report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Parl Paper A.1).

Report of the New Zealand Defence Force (Parl Paper G.55).

Rolfe, J 1993. Defending New Zealand. Institute of Policy Studies.

The shape of New Zealand's defence: A White Paper 1997. New Zealand Government, Wellington, United Nations Handbook. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (annual).

The Institute of Policy Studies and the Centre for Strategic Studies, both at Victoria University of Wellington, publish books on international affairs and defence topics.

The Navy, Army and Air Force each have their own websites on the Internet which contain detailed information on their respective services (,,

Chapter 5. Population

Rugby crowd at Athletic Park, 1978.


Historical trends

Introduction. The demographic landscape of New Zealand has altered radically over the last 100 years. At the beginning of the 20th century, the country had just 800,000 inhabitants. Our population growth rate was fairly high, and immigration (primarily from the British Isles) contributed about one-third of that growth. The transition from relatively large to small families had already begun, although mortality, especially childhood mortality, was quite high by today's standards. A newborn child could expect to live less than 60 years. In demographic terms we were a very young population. Children out-numbered the elderly (aged 65 years and over) by 8 to 1 and while urbanisation was increasing more New Zealanders still lived in rural areas than in towns and cities. The Māori population made up only 5 percent of all New Zealanders, numbering about 46,000.

A century later, we are nearing the four million population mark. We have witnessed some remarkable shifts in types of families, mortality patterns, external migration flows and the spatial distribution of population. Most of us live in the North Island, and still more of us live in urban centres. In addition we're older, living considerably longer, have smaller families and are more ethnically diverse. By international standards we're highly mobile and are more likely to emigrate, particularly across the Tasman.

This article gives an overview of major demographic developments in New Zealand during the last 100 years, including changes in population size, structure and dynamics, and describes and discusses future prospects.

Population growth. During the 20th century, New Zealand has witnessed periods of steady population growth interrupted by the two world wars. New patterns of growth emerged after World War II. The 30-year period 1947–76 saw the longest sustained increase in population, averaging 46,000 people, or 1.9 percent, a year. The first million was reached in 1908, and the second million 44 years later in 1952. The population reached 3 million in 1973, and latest estimates put New Zealand's population at just over 3.8 million. Overall, the rate of population growth was 1.6 percent a year during the 20th century. However, low fertility and an ageing population have raised the prospect of much slower growth in the future.

Natural increase. The two components of population change are natural increase (excess of births over deaths) and net external migration (the difference between arrivals and departures). Natural increase during the 20th century has added on average around 25,000 people per year to our population (or 84 percent of total growth – the other 16 percent contributed by migration). A record natural increase added over 43,000 people in 1961. There are three major phases in natural increase over the century. In the first period up to the end of World War II, natural increase generally added fewer than 20,000 people per year to the population. The second phase corresponds to the well known post-war baby boom (1946–65), when fertility reached record levels. The third period, in the last three decades, has witnessed a significant decline in births and increase in deaths. The gap between births and deaths now stands at about 30,000 per year.

Fertility. Three major fertility trends have dominated family f