New Zealand Official Yearbook 2006

Te Pukapuka Houanga Whaimana o Aotearoa

Statistics New Zealand

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The New Zealand Official Yearbook 2006 was produced by the Product Development and Publishing Business Unit of Statistics New Zealand, with the assistance of the many individuals and organisations listed in the ‘Contributors’ section at the end of each chapter, or below the sidebars. The department thanks them and the following:

Statistics New Zealand

Business Unit Manager: Gareth McGuinness

Publishing Manager: Lesley Hooper

Project Editor: Paul Cavanagh

Editor: Brendan Hutching

Production Editor: Marie Smith

Illustrations Editor and Photographer: Margaret Low

Technical support: Nicky McCreanor, Shirley Dixon


Graphics and typesetters: Totem Communications Ltd

Cover: Shelley Watson/Sublime Design

Indexer: Jill Gallop


Statistics New Zealand has made every effort to obtain, analyse and edit the information and statistics used in the New Zealand Official Yearbook 2006. However, Statistics New Zealand gives no warranty that the information or data supplied contains no errors, and will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by the use, directly or indirectly, of material contained in the Yearbook.

New Zealand Official Yearbook 2006

ISSN 0078-0170

ISBN 978186953-638-1


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 publisher. No reproduction may be made, whether by photocopying or by any other means, unless a licence has been obtained from the publisher or their agent.

Copyright © Statistics New Zealand 2006.

Published in 2006 by David Bateman Ltd, 30 Tarndale Grove, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand.

Printed by PrintLink, Wellington, New Zealand.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


The New Zealand Official Yearbook has provided a comprehensive statistical picture of life in New Zealand for more than 100 years. This 105th edition of the Yearbook celebrates and continues this tradition, providing a wide-ranging picture of New Zealand society in 2006, based on the latest possible information.

Most recent Yearbooks have carried a theme, and the 2006 edition has an international focus, highlighting New Zealand's position, statistically, on the world stage. Sidebar stories, tables and graphs show ‘How we measure up’ in areas such as population, health and education against the other 29 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

This international focus is timely. Statistics which are internationally comparable provide a valuable context for evaluation and decision making. New Zealand is an active member of the international statistical community and makes a valuable contribution towards improved global standards and techniques in statistical measures. Internationally, New Zealand's expertise in measuring small populations is used to good effect in its role as a contributor of advice to developing countries, especially around the Pacific Rim. Recent projects have included coordinating the 2004 Census for the newly-formed nation of Timor-Leste and, latterly, the censuses of Niue and Tokelau.

Back home, Statistics New Zealand is taking a leadership role in making government statistics more readily available, promoting the use of statistical standards and managing the burden of government surveys. Data accessibility has been much enhanced by the launch of Statisphere (, an online portal that provides a gateway to government information. Statisphere is a register of all statistics produced by government, and facilitates access to them via links to the relevant ‘producing’ departments’ websites. The portal is a collaborative effort across government agencies and in time will grow to become an essential one-stop shop for those wishing to access government information.

Statistics are primarily about people and their activities, and in this context I would like to pay special tribute to my colleague, the late Kevin Eddy, who died earlier this year. Kevin worked at Statistics New Zealand for more than 30 years and for more than a decade oversaw publication and development of the New Zealand Official Yearbook, making it the accessible and modern publication it is today.

I would also like to offer special thanks to the New Zealand Official Yearbook 2006 team for the high standards they have achieved and to publisher David Bateman Ltd for continuing to provide a high-quality finished product.

On behalf of Statistics New Zealand, I thank the nearly 400 businesses, government departments, nongovernment organisations, academic institutions and individuals for their time, effort and goodwill in providing and updating contributions to the 2006 Yearbook. Their high level of cooperation, not only with the Yearbook but with all our surveys, ensures the continuing high quality of New Zealand's official statistics.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

The New Zealand flag

The New Zealand flag is the symbol of the realm, government and people of New Zealand. The flag features, on a royal blue background, a Union Jack in the first quarter and four five-pointed red stars of the Southern Cross on the fly. The stars have white borders. The royal blue background is reminiscent of New Zealand's blue sea and clear sky, while the stars of the Southern Cross emphasise New Zealand's location in the South Pacific Ocean. The Union Jack gives recognition to New Zealand's historical foundations and the fact that the country was once a British colony and dominion.

Te Hakituatahi o Aotearoa – 1835
The First Flag of New Zealand

For a detailed history of Te Hakituatahi o Aotearoa, see Chapter 3: Government. The flag features, 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-pointed star.

The New Zealand coat of arms

New Zealand has had its own coat of arms since 1911. Before that the United Kingdom coat of arms (featuring a lion and a unicorn on either side of a shield and crown) was used. This design still adorns the top of the pediment on the Old Government Buildings in Lambton Quay, Wellington, which were built in 1875 to house the colony's public service, but which now house Victoria University's law school. 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 became the ‘Realm of New Zealand’ instead of the ‘Dominion of New Zealand’. Accordingly, the British lion holding aloft the Union Jack was replaced by St Edward's Crown, worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation. At the 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 with ‘New Zealand’.


Chapter 1. Geography

Volcanic eruptions have killed more people than earthquakes in New Zealand in the past 150 years, including the 108 who died in the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera (pictured).

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 267,707 square kilometres is similar in size to Japan or the British Isles. Table 1.01 gives more detail of the size of the islands.

The main North and South Islands are separated by Cook Strait, which, at its narrowest point, is 20 kilometres wide.

The North and South Islands 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 degrees to 53 degrees south latitude and from 160 degrees east to 173 degrees west longitude.

In addition to the main and nearby islands, New Zealand also includes the small inhabited outlying islands of the Chathams, 850 kilometres east of Christchurch; Raoul Island, in the Kermadec Group, 930 kilometres north-east of the Bay of Islands; and Campbell Island, 590 kilometres south of Stewart Island.

New Zealand also has jurisdiction over the territories of Tokelau and the Ross Dependency.

Table 1.01. Land area of New Zealand1

Land areaSize (sq km)

1Includes all internal waterways (lakes and rivers).

2Includes all offshore Islands 20 square kilometres or larger, except those listed separately.

Source: Land Information New Zealand

North Island114,154
South Island150,416
Stewart Island/Rakiura1,681
Chatham Islands963
Raoul Island34
Campbell Island/Motu Ihupuku113
Offshore islands2346

New Zealand is more than 1,600 kilometres long and 450 kilometres wide at its widest part, and has a long coastline (more than 18,000 kilometres) for its area. The coast is very indented in places, providing many natural harbours.

The country is also very mountainous, with about three-quarters of the land 200 metres or more 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, with the Southern Alps, a massive mountain chain, running nearly 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. New Zealand has at least 223 named peaks higher than 2,300 metres. Table 1.02 lists the highest mountains in both the North and South Islands.

Table 1.02. Principal mountains

Mountain or peakElevation (metres)

1Taranaki or Egmont is the correct format for the dual name as prescribed in the 1986 Gazette.

2The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences photogrammetrically confirmed the height of Aoraki/Mt Cook as 3,754 metres after a 1991 slip from the peak.

Source: Land Information New Zealand

North Island:
Taranaki or Egmont12.518
South Island:
Aoraki/Mt Cook23,754
Malte Brun3,199
Hicks (St David's Dome)3,198
Lendenfeld Peak3,194
Elie de Beaumont3,109
La Perouse3,078
Douglas Peak3,077
Glacier Peak3,002

There are 360 glaciers in the Southern Alps. The largest are, on the east, the Tasman (29 kilometres in length), Murchison (13 kilometres), Mueller (13 kilometres), Godley (13 kilometres) and Hooker (11 kilometres), and, on the west, the Fox (15 kilometres) and the Franz Josef (13 kilometres).

New Zealand's rivers (see Table 1.03) 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 hydroelectric schemes.

Braided channels of the Rakaia River, Canterbury.

Table 1.03. Principal rivers1

RiverLength km

1More than 150 kilometres 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

New Zealand's artificial lakes created by the South Island's hydroelectric schemes are identified in Table 1.04, which describes the country's principal lakes.

Table 1.04. Principal lakes1

 Maximum depth (metres)Area (km2)

1Greater than 20 square kilometres in area.

Sources: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (depths) Land Information New Zealand (areas)

North Island:
Taupo (Taupomoana)163613
South Island:
Te Anau417344
Ellesmere (Te Waihora)2197
Benmore (artificial)12075
Brunner (Moana)10941
Aviemore (artificial)6228
Dunstan (artificial)7027

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 and the Pacific plates runs through New Zealand, and processes from their collisions have had a profound effect on New Zealand's size, shape and geology.


Renewed mountain building in New Zealand between about six million years ago and the present is primarily responsible for the landscape of today.

Mountain chains have been built by folding and displacement of the earth's crust along faults, or by flexing of crustal plates due to sediment loading and unloading. Due to this activity, well-preserved tilted blocks bounded by fault scarps (steep faces hundreds or even thousands of metres high) are visible in the landscape of some regions.

In the past six million years, waves have eaten back New Zealand headlands and built beaches, spits and bars.

Ongoing movement of the Pacific and Indo-Australian plates is responsible for continued earth strain in New Zealand, and this results in periodic rupture of faults, several of which caused major earthquakes during the past century.

Erosion, enhanced by climate, has transformed the landscape, carving detailed patterns of peaks, ridges, valleys and gorges. Deposition of debris has built up alluvial plains, shingle fans and other construction forms.

At the coast, waves have eaten back headlands and built beaches, spits and bars. Glaciers have carved the sea-filled valleys of Fiordland and have occupied most valleys of the South Island, many of which now have lakes held in by terminal moraines. Sea level changes accompanied formation, and later melting, of global glacial ice. These changes affected the erosion and deposition of rivers and were responsible for the formation of many prominent river terraces.

Volcanic activity during the past few million years has played an important part in shaping the landscape of the central North Island. 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, all of which are active, include Ruapehu, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, White Island and Taranaki or Egmont.

Other major volcanoes are less obvious, but have even more dramatic impacts on the landscape. These are the caldera-forming volcanoes that are now occupied by large central North Island lakes. Lakes Taupo, Rotorua and Tarawera can be thought of as upside down volcanoes.

Small volcanic cones, such as One Tree Hill, Mt Eden and Rangitoto, are an important part of the Auckland landscape. These are dormant, but the volcanic field is still regarded as posing a significant hazard.


Living in New Zealand means living with earthquakes. There is an almost continuous belt of earthquake activity around the edge of the Pacific Ocean that affects the geological stability of many countries on the Pacific rim, particularly New Zealand, the west coast of the United States, Chile, Peru, Japan and the Philippines.

New Zealand's level of earthquake activity is similar to that of California, but slightly lower than that of Japan. A shallow magnitude eight earthquake occurs in New Zealand about once a century, a shallow magnitude seven earthquake about once a decade, and a shallow magnitude six earthquake about once a year.

New Zealand has many earthquakes because it straddles the boundary between two of the earth's great tectonic plates – the Pacific plate in the east and the Indo-Australian plate in the west. These two plates are converging obliquely at about 30 millimetres a year in Fiordland, increasing to about 50 millimetres a year at East Cape.

The plates converge in different ways. In the North Island and the northern South Island, the Pacific plate sinks below the Indo-Australian plate. Earthquakes originating within the subducting Pacific plate are less than 60 kilometres deep along the eastern coast and become deeper westward. In Fiordland and the region to the south, the Indo-Australian plate subducts beneath the Pacific plate, so earthquake sources are shallow in the west and deeper in the east under Fiordland.

Between these two subduction zones, the crust of both plates is too buoyant to subduct, so convergence is accommodated by uplift, which has created the Southern Alps, and horizontal movement along the Alpine Fault. This has resulted in parts of Nelson and western Otago, adjacent five million years ago, now being 450 kilometres apart.

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

In the Taupo volcanic zone, from White Island to Ruapehu, swarms of small earthquakes of similar magnitude are common, and are associated with the area's active volcanism. Although the number of such shocks can be alarming, they rarely cause major damage.

An almost continuous belt of earthquake activity around the edges of the Pacific Ocean affects the geological stability of many countries, including New Zealand.

Earthquake risk. The worst disaster in New Zealand that can reasonably be expected within a generation is a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on the segment of the Wellington Fault within the city. It has a 12 percent probability of occurring within the next 30 years and would affect 200,000 residential properties, from Palmerston North to Nelson, as well as roads, bridges and dams, and services such as electricity, water and sewerage. GNS Science runs national and regional earthquake and volcano monitoring networks. A major upgrade of monitoring equipment began in 2001 with the Earthquake Commission providing core funding of $5 million a year over 10 years. Funding was increased in 2005 after a positive review of the success of the project. The project, known as GeoNet (, is being undertaken by GNS Science on a not-for-profit basis for the national good. GeoNet equipment at sites throughout New Zealand is linked to GNS Science data centres via satellite, cellular and radio networks, permitting more rapid and reliable determinations of the location and magnitude of all significant earthquakes and volcanic activity within the New Zealand region. GeoNet information is made available to civil defence and emergency management authorities and international earthquake centres, but also underpins current and emerging research on geological hazards. New Zealand scientists undertake a large body of research aimed at improving the understanding of, and ways to mitigate, seismic and volcanic risk in New Zealand. Mitigation measures include improved engineering design of buildings and infrastructure, better prepared communities and better regional planning.

Volcanic hazards

The New Zealand region is characterised by both a high density of active volcanoes and a high frequency of eruptions. Volcanic activity in the New Zealand region occurs within the North Island and offshore to the north-east in the Kermadec Islands. In the past 150 years, volcanoes have killed more people than earthquakes, yet the scale and style of historically-recorded volcanic activity is dwarfed by events known to have occurred in the past 2,000 to 5,000 years.

Volcanism. New Zealand volcanism is confined to five areas in the North Island – the Bay of Islands, Whangarei, Auckland, a zone extending from White Island to Ruapehu, and Taranaki or Egmont. The area from White Island to Ruapehu is known as the Taupo Volcanic Zone and is by far the most frequently active. There are three major types of volcano in New Zealand:

  • Volcanic fields, such as Auckland, where each eruption builds a single small volcano (e.g. Mt Eden), which does not erupt again. The next eruption in the field occurs at a different place, the site of which cannot be predicted until the eruption is imminent.

  • Cone volcanoes, such as Taranaki or Egmont and Ruapehu, where a succession of small eruptions occurs from roughly the same point on the earth's surface. The products of successive eruptions accumulate close to the vent to form a large cone, which is the volcano itself. The site of future eruptions can generally be predicted.

  • Caldera volcanoes, such as Taupo and Rotorua. Eruptions at these volcanoes are occasionally so large that the ground surface collapses into the ‘hole’ left behind. For example, Lake Taupo infills a caldera formed in two episodes about 1,800 and 26,000 years ago.

The Taupo Volcanic Zone contains three frequently active cone volcanoes (Ruapehu, Tongariro/ Ngauruhoe and White Island) and two of the most productive caldera volcanoes (Taupo and Okataina) in the world.

Casualties. Deaths due directly or indirectly to volcanism (and associated hydrothermal explosions) represent the biggest single source of fatalities from natural disasters in New Zealand since 1846.

Table 1.05 lists deaths in volcanic areas of New Zealand since 1846. Economic loss due to volcanism, however, has been low compared with that from earthquakes or flooding.

The cost of the 1995 and 1996 eruptions of Ruapehu has been estimated at $130 million.

However, an assessment of the size and style of volcanic eruptions in the geologically recent past, coupled with consideration of the economic development of New Zealand, especially in the central North Island, shows that the record since 1846 represents only a fraction of the type and size of hazard posed by New Zealand volcanism.

Table 1.05. Deaths in volcanic areas since 1846

YearLocation (eruption)Cause/hazardFatalities
Source: GNS Science
1846Waihi (Lake Taupo)Debris avalanche/mudflow from thermal areac60
1886Tarawera RiftLarge volcanic eruption>108
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
         Total >337

Surveillance. All the active volcanoes in New Zealand are monitored as part of the GeoNet project funded by the Earthquake Commission. This provides a near real-time understanding of volcanoes.

Volcanologists use three primary techniques to establish the status of an active volcano:

  • Monitoring of volcanic earthquakes. This is done using closely-spaced networks of seismometers, designed to detect movement of magma (molten rock) below the surface and allow assessment of the possible onset and timing of eruptive activity. There are five volcano-seismic networks in New Zealand (Auckland, Bay of Plenty-Rotorua, Taranaki, Tongariro and Taupo). The Auckland and Taranaki networks are operated by regional councils.

  • Monitoring of ground deformation. This is done using precise geodetic surveys. The concept is that if magma is moving upwards before an eruption it will cause the volcano to swell (i.e. the ground surface to rise) and this swelling can be detected. Most of this work is done using continuous GPS installations on the volcanoes. The lakes at Taupo and Tarawera are also used as giant spirit levels to detect height changes.

  • Monitoring of volcanic gases. Magma at depth in the earth contains gases (carbon dioxide, together with various compounds of sulphur, chlorine and fluorine) dissolved in it. As the magma rises to shallow levels before an eruption, these gases are released and come to the surface via fumaroles. The temperatures and the abundance of the gases and their relative proportions give information on the state of the magma and how close to the surface it is.

In a volcanic crisis, practical steps can be taken to mitigate risk and lessen the threat to life, but this requires accurate recognition of the onset of a crisis.

This recognition in turn depends on a knowledge of the ‘background’ or ‘normal’ levels of seismicity, ground movement and gas flux at the volcano, coupled with ‘real-time’ determination of any significant changes from this background.

The GeoNet active volcano surveillance programme helps define these background levels.

Figure 1.01. Climate norms

Climate norms

Source: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

1.3 Climate

Summaries of New Zealand's climate extremes compiled by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) contain detailed descriptions of the most extreme weather events recorded in the country.

Figure 1.01 shows mean annual sunshine, temperature, rain days and rainfall for various parts of New Zealand. The maps are prepared by NIWA and show mean annual figures struck over a 30-year period to create what are referred to as ‘climate norms.’

The next ‘normal’ period for calculating mean annual figures will be 1981 to 2010.

The climate of New Zealand is largely influenced by:

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

  • Its surrounding ocean environment.

  • Its mountains, especially the main mountain chain, which modify weather systems as they pass eastwards, and which also provide a sheltering effect on the leeward side.

Day-to-day weather is mostly determined by a series of anticyclones and troughs of low pressure in the westerlies. Consequently, New Zealand's weather is changeable, typically with short periods 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 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. This contrast is much greater than north-south climatic differences. Surrounding oceans have a moderating effect on temperatures in most northern and western regions. However, inland and eastern areas can experience large temperature variations.

High temperatures usually occur in the east in warm, north-westerly wind conditions. These high temperatures are often followed by sudden falls in temperature, as cold fronts move up the east coast of both islands. Many parts of New Zealand are subject to extremes of wind, occasionally causing damage to buildings and forests, and rain as depressions with their fronts pass close to or over the country. The rugged terrain is an important factor in enhancement of wind strength and/or rainfall.

Climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in 2001 that there was comprehensive evidence of climate change caused by human activities during the 20th century. The IPCC report predicted increases in global mean temperatures from 1990 to 2100 of between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius and global mean sea level increases of between 9 and 88 centimetres.

The report said changes could also be expected in some extreme weather and climate events, including higher maximum temperatures and more hot days, more heavy rainfall events, and, in some areas, an increase in peak wind intensities. What the warming climate will mean in detail for the South Pacific is still the subject of investigation by scientific researchers, with key emerging issues including changes in rainfall patterns and associated shifts in water resources and agricultural growing conditions. Following is a summary of knowledge gained in the past decade about the effect of climate change on New Zealand:

  • Projected climate changes – Temperatures in New Zealand are likely to increase faster in the North Island than in the South Island, but generally less than global average temperatures. Rainfall is projected to increase in the west of the country and to decrease in many eastern regions. In the long term, rising seas are expected to increase erosion of vulnerable beaches and breach coastal protection structures more often.

  • Agriculture – The agricultural sector could benefit from climate change, but also faces risks. The key benefit is likely to be from increased carbon dioxide concentrations, which could lead to greatly increased growth rates and water-use efficiency. In addition, warmer conditions and lengthened growing seasons could result in a long-term southward shift of climate-linked activities, and new crops and related industries could be introduced. The most significant risks include more droughts and floods in some areas, particularly in the east of New Zealand. Warmer temperatures could also make the growing of some current fruit crops in some northern areas uneconomical.

  • Native ecosystems – Climate change may add to pressures on ecosystems already under threat. Fragmented native forests of drier lowland environments in Northland, Waikato and Manawatu, and in the east from East Cape to Southland, are probably the most vulnerable to climate change.

  • Urban environment, transport and energy – The main threat to the urban environment comes from possible increases in heavy rainfall, which would put pressure on drainage and stormwater systems and increase the risk of flooding in some areas. Warmer conditions would substantially reduce home heating costs, leading to reduced electricity demand during the peak winter season, but possibly increased demand for air conditioning during summer. Wetter conditions on the West Coast could increase hydroelectricity production in winter.

  • Health – Higher temperatures are expected to reduce winter illnesses, but could lead to higher death rates during summer. A warmer climate could also allow the spread of mosquitoes capable of transmitting diseases such as Ross River virus and dengue fever. Recent research has also found that climate change could lead to a delay in the recovery of the ozone layer. This would increase the period during which New Zealanders are exposed to high levels of ultraviolet radiation, which is known to lead to skin cancers. However, the possible effects of greenhouse gases on the ozone layer are still highly uncertain.

Table 1.06 lists predicted temperature and rainfall changes.

Table 1.06. Predicted changes in annual mean temperature and precipitation
Between 1970–1999 and 2070–2099

Source: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
Northland, Auckland+0.6° to +4.0°C-16% to +7%
Western North Island from Waikato to Wellington+0.3° to +3.8°C-6% to +32%
Eastern North Island from Bay of Plenty to Wairarapa+0.5° to +3.8°C-32% to +4%
Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury+0.4° to +3.3°C-21% to +5%
West Coast, Otago, Southland+0.2° to +3.5°C+1% to +57%

Table 1.07 summarises New Zealand's climate extremes.

Table 1.07. Summary of New Zealand climate extremes
At 31 December 2005

PeriodAmount mmLocationDate
Source: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
10 minutes34Tauranga17 April 1948
1 hour109Leigh30 May 2001
12 hours473Colliers Creek (Hokitika Catchment)22 January 1994
24 hours682Colliers Creek (Hokitika Catchment)21–22 January 1994
48 hours1,049Waterfall, Cropp River (Hokitika Catchment)12–13 December 1995
1 calendar month2,927Waterfall, Cropp River (Hokitika Catchment)December 1995
1 calendar year16,617Waterfall, Cropp River (Hokitika Catchment)January-December 1998
365 days18,442Waterfall, Cropp River (Hokitika Catchment)29 October 1997–29 October 1998
3 months9Cape CampbellJanuary-March 2001
6 months52Cape CampbellNov 2000–April 2001
12 months167AlexandraNov 1963–Oct 1964
Longest rainless period:
71 days0Wai-iti, MarlboroughFrom 8 Feb 1939
LocationTemperature (°C) Date
Highest air temperature
North Island39.2Ruatoria7 February 1973
South Island42.4Rangiora7 February 1973
Lowest air temperature
North Island-13.6Chateau Tongariro7 July 1937
South Island-21.6Ophir3 July 1995
Lowest grass minimum-21.6LakeTekapo4 August 1938
LocationTotal (hours) Date
Highest in one year
North Island2,588Napier1994
South Island2,711Nelson1931
Highest in one month
North Island335TaupoJanuary 1950
South Island336NelsonDecember 1934
Lowest in one year
North Island1,357Palmerston North1992
South Island1,333Invercargill1983
Lowest in one month
North Island27TaumarunuiJune 2002
South Island35InvercargillJune 1935
Wind gusts
LocationSpeed (km/h) Date
North Island248Hawkins Hill, Wellington6 November 1959 and 4 July 1962
South Island250Mt John, Canterbury18 April 1970

The year's weather – 2005

New Zealand's climate in 2005 was marked by too little rain in some places and too much in others. Rainfall during the year was less than 75 percent of normal over much of the South Island, whereas severe flooding in the Bay of Plenty in May caused widespread damage.

The national average temperature of 13.1 degrees Celsius made 2005 the fourth warmest year nationally since reliable records began in the 1860s.

Notable climate features in various parts of the country included heat waves, low soil moisture, a tornado in Greymouth, unseasonable snowstorms and damaging hailstorms.

Anticyclones and northeasterlies brought one of the warmest Februaries on record, with maximum temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius or more in many locations throughout New Zealand and temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius or more in sheltered inland areas of the South Island.

Disastrous floods hit the Bay of Plenty in May, causing widespread damage in parts of Tauranga, with a state of emergency declared from there south to Matata. Hundreds of people were evacuated, with several homes destroyed by mudslides and floodwaters.

The winter of 2005 was the sixth warmest on record, with extremely dry conditions in the east of the South Island.

Overall, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research reported at least 26 heavy rainfall events during 2005, half of which produced floods. There were seven damaging hailstorms and 12 damaging tornadoes. The Greymouth tornado of 10 March left 30 people homeless and caused damage of at least $10 million.

Wellington's airport was closed by fog for more hours in 2005 than in any other year, with 52 hours of fog recorded there.

1.4 Wildlife and vegetation

The islands of New Zealand separated from their nearest neighbours more than 80 million years ago. They stretch across 24 degrees of latitude from the subtropical to the subantarctic, making New Zealand a slender archipelago with an extraordinary natural heritage born from its biological and geological isolation.

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.

The pre-human environment was notable for the absence of snakes, land mammals (apart from three species of bat) and many of the flowering plant families. Whole orders and families were found only in New Zealand, including tuatara, moa and kiwi, all of the native lizards, and nearly 200 species of native earthworms.

Many remarkable plants, insects and birds evolved to fill ecological niches normally occupied by mammals. Others diversified to fill 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 size. Moa (11 species, some up to 3 metres 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 species of the cricket-like weta, found only in New Zealand.

New Zealand, with 84 species, has the most diverse seabird fauna of any country. Nearly half of all native bird species depend on the ocean for food, the feeding zones of some extending as far south as the Antarctic continent. New Zealand's extensive coastline and many islands offer a huge range of habitat, from estuary and mud-flat, to rocky cliffs and boulder bank.

The ocean is marvellously rich. There are about 400 different fish in the waters around New Zealand, as well as various species of seals, dolphins and porpoises. Twenty-nine species of whale have been recorded, and three of the largest (sperm, humpback and right) regularly migrate to New Zealand waters in spring and autumn.

The most widespread and complex type of forest in New Zealand is a podocarp (conifer) broadleaf association. It is generally found at lower altitudes and is characterised by a variety of species, a stratified canopy and an abundance of vines and epiphytic plants.

Beech and kauri forests, by 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 in New Zealand 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 alpine plants are found only in New Zealand, compared with 80 percent for the rest of the higher plant species. Snow tussock herbfields are one of the most distinctive elements in this cold, windswept environment. Remarkably long-lived, some 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 adaptations which make New Zealand's wildlife so unique, render them extremely vulnerable to introduced predators, such as rats and cats; competitors, such as deer and possums; and loss of habitat.

Introduced vegetation and wildlife

The arrival of people in New Zealand heralded times of rapid change.

Introduction (intentionally or accidentally) of exotic plants and animals, and modification of habitat, radically affected native species populations.

In the pre-1800 period, following the arrival and expansion of Māori, forest cover was reduced and 34 species became extinct, including moa, the adzebill and the flightless goose.

In the much shorter post-1800 period of European settlement, the forest area was further reduced to around 25 percent of the land, nine more bird species became extinct and many more were threatened.

Since 1840, more than 80 new species of mammals, birds and fish, and more than 1,800 plant species have been introduced, in many places totally changing the landscape and ecology.

1.5 Time zone

One uniform time is kept throughout mainland New Zealand. This time is 12 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and is called New Zealand Standard Time (NZST). It is an atomic standard maintained by the Measurement Standards Laboratory, part of Industrial Research Ltd, Lower Hutt.

One hour of daylight saving, called 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.

  • 1.2 GNS Science.

  • 1.3 National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

  • 1.4 Department of Conservation.

  • 1.5 Industrial Research Ltd.

Websites – Department of Conservation – GNS Science – Industrial Research Ltd – Land Information New Zealand – Metservice – National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

Chapter 2. History

Miners’ slab huts in a bush clearing in the Coromandel district between 1864 and 1867. From a watercolour by John Barr Clark Hoyte (1835–1913).

2.1 A brief history of New Zealand

Discovery and migration

New Zealand has a shorter human history than any other country. The precise date of settlement is a matter of debate, but current understanding is that the first arrivals came from East Polynesia in the 13th century. It was not until 1642 that Europeans became aware the country existed.

The original Polynesian settlers discovered the country on deliberate voyages of exploration, navigating by ocean currents, winds and stars. The navigator credited in some traditions with discovering New Zealand is Kupe. Some time later, the first small groups arrived from Polynesia. Now known as Māori, these tribes did not identify themselves by a collective name until the arrival of Europeans when, to mark their distinction, the name Māori, meaning ‘ordinary’, came into use.

The early settlers lived in small hunting bands. Seals and the large flightless moa bird were their main prey, until moa were hunted to extinction.

In the South Island, hunting and gathering remained the main mode of survival, but the kūmara (sweet potato) and yams the Polynesians brought with them grew well in the warmer North Island. Extensive kūmara gardens supported relatively large settlements. But even in the north, birds, fish and shellfish were important in the Māori diet. In some northern areas, larger populations put pressure on resources. The Polynesian dog and rat came with the early arrivals, but the domestic pigs and chickens of the islands did not, for reasons not fully understood.

In favourable conditions, Māori lived reasonably well. Their life expectancy was low by modern standards, but probably comparable with that of Europeans in the same era. The Māori population before European contact may have reached 100,000.

Māori passed on rich and detailed history and legends orally. Society was organised around groups that traced their descent from common ancestors. Reciting whakapapa (genealogies) was an important way to communicate knowledge.

The concepts of mana (status) and utu (reciprocity) were central to the culture, and led to widespread warfare. But the violence was usually episodic. For most of the time, Māori lived not in fortified pā, but in unprotected settlements or seasonal camps.

The greatest achievements of Māori material culture were carving wood for important buildings and canoes, and fashioning stone into tools and ornaments. Warfare did not inhibit regular trade in desirable stones and foods, and was itself a means by which resources were appropriated.

European discovery

In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman made the first confirmed European discovery of New Zealand. He charted the country's west coast from about Hokitika up to Cape Maria van Diemen. Subsequently, a Dutch map maker gave the name Nieuw Zeeland to the land Tasman had discovered. A surprisingly long time – 127 years – passed before another European reached New Zealand.

James Cook first visited New Zealand in 1769, on the first of three voyages. He circumnavigated and mapped both main islands and returned to Britain with reports about the country's inhabitants and resources.

For 50 years after Sydney was founded in 1788, New Zealand was an economic and cultural outpost of New South Wales, and most of the earliest European settlers came from Sydney. In the late 18th century, sealers and whalers began visiting, and by the early 19th century some began to settle, some to farm. During these years, New Zealand was part of a Pacific-wide trade system and New Zealand goods were sold in China.

The first European ‘town’ grew at Kororāreka when whalers began calling into the Day of Islands for food and water. From the 1790s, Māori produced pork and potatoes for this trade. The other main area of early interaction between Māori and others was the Foveaux Strait sealing grounds.

The presence of traders drew Māori to particular locations. Having a European living among them gave some tribal groups an advantage in the race to acquire European goods, especially firearms.

A Sydney chaplain, Samuel Marsden, founded the first Christian mission station in the Bay of Islands in 1814. By 1840, more than 20 stations had been established. From missionaries, Māori learnt not just about Christianity, but also about European farming techniques and trades, and how to read and write. The missionaries also transcribed the Māori language into written form. In the 1830s, French missionaries brought Catholicism to Māori.

Christianity would become important for Māori, but they were slow to convert. Muskets, traded for flax and potatoes, had a greater impact in the 1820s and 1830s than religion, and escalated killings in tribal conflicts. The Ngā Puhi tribe, led by Hongi Hika, devastated southerly tribes, and Ngāti Toa, under Te Rauparaha, attacked Ngai Tahu in the South Island. But diseases introduced by Europeans caused more fatalities than firearms.

British sovereignty

In the 1830s, the British Government came under increasing pressure to curb lawlessness in New Zealand to protect British traders, and to forestall the French, who also had imperial ambitions. The missionaries, for their part, wanted to protect Māori from the effects of European settlement.

In 1833, James Busby was sent to the Bay of Islands as British Resident. At Busby's instigation, northern chiefs adopted a flag in 1834 and signed a declaration of independence in 1835. Seven years after Busby's arrival, at Waitangi on 6 February 1840, William Hobson, New Zealand's first governor, invited assembled Māori chiefs to sign a treaty with the British Crown. The treaty was taken all round the country, as far south as Foveaux Strait, for signing by local chiefs, and eventually more than 500 signed.

Under the treaty, Māori ceded powers of government to Britain in return for the rights of British subjects and guaranteed possession of their lands and other ‘treasures’. In later years, differences of interpretation between the English and Māori texts complicated efforts to redress breaches of the treaty.

British sovereignty was proclaimed over New Zealand on the basis of Māori consent, though the South Island was initially claimed on the basis of discovery.

In the 19th century, the British and the French were rivals in the Pacific. The French had only minor interests in New Zealand, but the myth persists that the South Island escaped being French only because in the scramble to colonise Akaroa the British got there first. But by the time the French settlers and their naval escort reached New Zealand, the whole country was securely British. Governor Hobson, learning the French were heading for Akaroa, did send Captain Stanley of the Britomart to demonstrate British sovereignty there. However, there was never any chance Cook Strait would become, like the English Channel, a passage between English and French-speaking regions.

Even before the Treaty of Waitangi had been signed, the New Zealand Company, inspired by the colonial promoter Edward Gibbon Wakefield, had despatched British settlers to Wellington. In the next two years, the company also founded Wanganui, Nelson and New Plymouth. Otago was founded in 1848 and Canterbury in 1850, both by New Zealand Company affiliates. Auckland, capital of the new Crown colony, grew independently.

By the 1850s, most of the interior of the North Island had been explored by Europeans. Māori guides usually showed European explorers the way and New Zealand's first Anglican bishop, George Selwyn, travelled widely. Much of the mountainous interior of the South Island was not explored until gold miners arrived in the 1860s.

When British settlers sought self-government, the British parliament passed the New Zealand Constitution Act of 1852, setting up a central government with an elected House of Representatives and six provincial governments. The settlers soon won the right to responsible government (with an executive supported by a majority in the elected assembly). But the governor, and through him the Colonial Office in London, retained control of ‘native’ policy.

War, expansion, depression

In the 1840s, there were clashes between Māori and Pākehā. In Marlborough's Wairau Valley in 1843, a dispute over land erupted, leading to bloodshed. The war in the north (1845–46) began when Hōne Heke cut down the flagpole flying the British flag at Russell. There were also troubles in the 1840s over land in Wellington and Wanganui. In the 1850s, disputes between Māori over the sale of land to Europeans kept Taranaki in ferment.

Until the late 1850s, the government managed to purchase enough land to meet settler demands. But many Māori became increasingly reluctant to sell their land, which tribes owned collectively. The Māori King movement, under the leadership of Wiremu Tāmihana, grew in part out of Māori resistance to land sales. Pōtatau Te Wherowhero was elected the first Māori King in 1858.

The flashpoint was Taranaki. The refusal of Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke to sell land at Waitara led to war in 1860. The efforts of Māori to retain their land were depicted by the settlers as a challenge to British sovereignty.

Māori resistance was effectively crushed after Governor George Grey took war to the Waikato in 1863–64.

Two chiefs, Te Kooti and Titokowaru, prolonged war through the 1860s, but by 1872 the wars over land had ended. Large areas of land were confiscated from ‘rebellious’ tribes. A Native Land Court gave land titles to individual Māori, to facilitate sales to Pākehā.

After the wars, many Māori drew back from contact with European settlers. Most lived in isolated rural communities. Māori land continued to pass into Pākehā hands, usually by sale through the Native Land Court. In the 1870s, the village of Parihaka became the centre of a peaceful protest, led by the prophet Te Whitio-Rongomai, against occupation of confiscated land in Taranaki. In 1881, government forces invaded Parihaka in an attempt to crush this resistance.

While progress in the North Island was held back by war, the South Island forged ahead on the proceeds of wool and gold. Sheep were turned loose on South Island grasslands and after gold had been discovered in Otago in 1861, and then on the West Coast, settlers flooded in. Six years later, the discovery of gold at Thames boosted the town of Auckland. Wool ensured that Canterbury became the wealthiest province, and gold made Dunedin the largest town.

Māori with baskets of potatoes and a pig bargain with a European trader around 1845. From a drawing by John Williams.

The Giant Buttress, part of the pink and white terraces at Lake Rotomahana destroyed in the Mt Tarawera eruption of 1886.

Towards the end of the 1860s, gold production fell and wool prices slipped. A new boost to growth came in 1870 when Colonial Treasurer Julius Vogel proposed a loans-funded programme of public works, including the building of railways, and assisted immigration.

The population increased dramatically. The census (non-Māori) of 1871 recorded a total of about 250,000; 10 years later this had grown to half a million. Vogel's policies, like those of Wakefield before him, were based on a belief that New Zealand would grow only if people and capital could be attracted. This stimulated a sense of a single nation rather than separate settlements, and led to the abolition of the provinces in 1876.

The aftermath of Vogel's borrowing was an economic depression that lasted into the 1890s. Despite a brief boom in wheat, prices for farm products sagged and the market for land became depressed. Hard times led to urban unemployment and sweated labour in industry. The country lost people through emigration, mostly to Australia.

Scarcely had depression gripped the country than future prosperity was anticipated with the first successful shipment of frozen meat to England in 1882. Exporting meat (frozen) and butter and cheese (chilled) became possible. After dealing with initial setbacks in refrigerated shipping, New Zealand became a British farm. With an economy based on agriculture, the landscape was transformed from forest to farmland.

Liberal to Labour

The watershed election of 1890 put the Liberals, New Zealand's first ‘modern’ political party, into power. From 1893 to 1906, the government was headed by ‘King Dick’ Seddon. The Liberals cemented in place New Zealand's ‘family farm’ economy by subdividing large estates, buying Māori land in the North Island, and offering advances to settlers. Buoyant markets for New Zealand's farm products ensured the success of these policies. The Minister of Lands, John McKenzie, championed the family farm. Farming progressed, especially in the north, and by 1901, more than half the European population was living north of Cook Strait for the first time since the 1850s.

The Liberal government reinforced an established pattern of state involvement in the economy and regulation of society. Its old-age pensions and workers’ dwellings anticipated the welfare state. In 1893, after campaigns led by women like Kate Sheppard, New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the vote.

New Zealand's close economic ties with Britain reinforced the loyalty of New Zealanders to an empire that secured their place in the world. The loyalty found expression in the despatch of troops to fight for Britain in South Africa in 1899. A self-confident nationalism was also evident, and New Zealand declined to join the Australian Federation of 1901.

Liberal rule ended in 1912, when William Massey led the Reform Party to power, promising state leaseholders they could freehold their land.

When World War I broke out, New Zealand rallied to England's aid. Thousands of New Zealanders served, and died, overseas. The 1915 landing at Gallipoli in Turkey was a coming of age for the country and established the potent tradition of ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) – a pride in New Zealand's military achievement and its special relationship with Australia. New Zealand troops also fought and died on the Western Front.

After some prosperous years in the later 1920s, the worldwide Great Depression hit New Zealand hard. Export prices collapsed. Farmers faced difficulties over their mortgages and urban unemployment soared. Discontent erupted in riots. A coalition government, dominated by Gordon Coates, failed to lift the country out of depression.

Organised labour flexed its muscle in the 1890 maritime strike and in the Waihī and watersider strikes of 1912–13. Setbacks on the industrial front turned the labour movement towards political action. The Labour Party, founded in 1916, made uneven gains through the 1920s, then was swept into power under Michael Joseph Savage in 1935 by an electorate disillusioned with how the conservative coalition government had handled the depression. When Savage died in 1940, Peter Fraser became prime minister.

In power, the Labour Party, aided by an economic recovery already underway when it was elected, revived the economy further by pragmatic rather than doctrinaire socialist policies. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand was taken over by the state in 1936, spending on public works increased and a state housing programme began. The Social Security Act 1938 dramatically extended the welfare state.

With the outbreak of World War II, New Zealand troops again fought overseas in support of the United Kingdom. The fall of Singapore shook New Zealanders’ confidence that Britain could guarantee the country's security. During the war in the Pacific, the United States protected New Zealand against Japan.

Labour remained in power through World War II and in 1945, Peter Fraser played a significant role in the conference that set up the United Nations. But the party had lost the reforming zeal of the previous decade and its electoral support ebbed after the war.

Coach and business premises on Broadway, Reefton, in the 1880s.

In the early 1950s, New Zealand troops fought in Korea. Later, in the 1960s, concern to keep on side with this new protector prompted the National government of Keith Holyoake to send troops to Vietnam, despite popular protests.

The later 20th century

After Labour lost power in 1949, the conservative National Party ruled the country until 1984, interrupted by two single-term Labour governments, in 1957–60 and 1972–75. National Party Prime Minister Sidney Holland used the bitter 1951 waterfront strike to consolidate his power by calling a snap election.

New immigrants, still mainly British, flooded in while New Zealand remained prosperous by exporting farm products to Britain. The country's culture remained based on Britain's. In 1953 New Zealanders took pride that a countryman, Edmund Hillary, gave Queen Elizabeth II a coronation gift by reaching the summit of Mt Everest.

Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973. New Zealand had already diversified its export trade, but the loss of an assured market for farm products was a blow.

The first oil shock of 1973 contributed to the fall of the Labour government in 1975, led until his death by Norman Kirk. After the second oil shock of 1978, the National government of Robert Muldoon tried to keep New Zealand prosperous by so-called ‘think big’ industrial and energy projects, and farm subsidies. The economy faltered as the fall of oil prices in the early 1980s made these schemes unsound. Inflation and unemployment mounted.

The fourth Labour government was elected in 1984. The Minister of Finance, Roger Douglas, was an ardent advocate of economic liberalisation. He removed most controls over the economy, privatised many state enterprises and called aspects of the welfare state into question. Many saw these measures as an assault on New Zealand's egalitarian traditions.

In foreign affairs, Labour's anti-nuclear policy ruptured relations with the United States.

The National government of 1990–99 pursued similar policies to Labour's, passing the controversial Employment Contracts Act which opened up the labour market and diminished the power of trade unions. The government also mounted a more sustained attack on the welfare state, most obviously by cutting benefits.

After the 1996 introduction of a new voting system (mixed member proportional representation), minority or coalition governments became the norm, but National and Labour remained the major parties.

Māori in the 20th century

Most Māori continued to live in remote rural communities until World War II. But Māori society was dynamic. The Kotahitanga movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was evidence of Māori resilience. So were the land development work of āpirana Ngata and the revitalisation of the Māori King movement by Te Puea Hērangi. In the early 1920s, Wiremu Rātana founded the Rātana Church.

Post-World War II Māori migration into the cities, together with Māori anger at their economic deprivation and concern about their mana and continuing loss of land, pushed race relations and the place of the Treaty of Waitangi into the forefront of national life.

For many, sporting contacts with apartheid South Africa became a touchstone of race relations. During the 1981 Springbok rugby tour, New Zealand experienced divisive unrest. After the tour, attention turned to domestic race relations and to the need for New Zealanders to have a better understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Māori became more assertive. Some, alleging breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, wished to reclaim Māori sovereignty. The Waitangi Tribunal was set up in 1975 to consider their claims and to address grievances. In 1985, the tribunal was empowered to look at breaches of the treaty since 1840, rather than since 1975.

A Māori cultural renaissance, including efforts to foster the Māori language in the early 1980s, increased awareness that New Zealand society was bicultural. At the same time, more immigrants were arriving.

Almost before it had been properly acknowledged that New Zealand was bicultural, it became multicultural – first in the composition of its population, more slowly in how it ran its national life. The country's new Pacific Island and Asian citizens were testament to the fact that it was no longer, culturally or economically, the offshore island of Europe it had seemed to earlier generations.

John Wilson, Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Two whales brought ashore at Kaikoura around 1910.

2.2 Chronology of New Zealand events

c1300Archaeological evidence indicates Polynesian settlement of New Zealand established by this date.
1642Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman discovers a land he calls Staten Landt, later named Nieuw Zeeland.
1769British explorer James Cook makes first of three visits to New Zealand, taking possession of the country in the name of King George III.
1790sSealing, deep-sea whaling, flax and timber trading begins, with some small temporary settlements. First severe introduced epidemic among Māori population.
1791First visit by a whaling vessel, the William and Ann, to Doubtless Bay.
1806First Pākehā women arrive in New Zealand.
1814British missionary Samuel Marsden makes first visit to New Zealand. Anglican mission station established. Sheep, cattle, horses and poultry introduced.
1815First Pākehā child, Thomas Holloway King, born in New Zealand.
1819Raids on Taranaki and Te Whanganuia-Tara regions by Ngā Puhi and Ngāti Toa people led by chiefs Patuone, Nene, Moetara, Tuwhare and Te Rauparaha.
1820Ngā Puhi chief Hongi Hika visits England, meets King George IV and secures supply of muskets.
1821Musket wars begin with raids by Hongi Hika and Te Morenga on southern iwi and continue throughout the decade.
1822Ngāti Toa migration south to Cook Strait region, led by Te Rauparaha, begins.
1823Wesleyan Missionary Society mission established. First Church of England marriage between Pākehā and Māori – Phillip Tapsell and Maria Ringa.
1824Te Heke Niho-Puta migration of Taranaki iwi to the Kapiti Coast. Rawiri Taiwhanga in Bay of Islands sells dairy produce and other food supplies to visiting ships.
1827Te Rauparaha's invasion of the South Island from Kapiti begins.
1831Whaling stations established at Tory Channel and Preservation Inlet.
1833James Busby arrives in the Bay of Islands to take up appointment as British Resident in New Zealand.
1834United Tribes’ flag adopted by some 25 northern chiefs at Busby's suggestion.
1835Declaration of Independence by the ‘United Tribes of New Zealand’ signed by 34 northern chiefs.
1837New Zealand Association formed in London, becoming the New Zealand Colonisation Society in 1838 and the New Zealand Company in 1839, under the inspiration of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. William Colenso completes printing the New Testament in Māori, the first book printed in New Zealand.
1838Bishop Pompallier founds Roman Catholic mission at Hokianga.
1839William Hobson instructed to establish British rule in New Zealand, as a dependency of New South Wales. Colonel William Wakefield, of the New Zealand Company, arrives on the Tory to purchase land for settlement.
1840Treaty of Waitangi signed at Bay of Islands and later over most of the country. British sovereignty proclaimed. Hobson becomes first governor and sets up executive and legislative councils. New Zealand Company settlers arrive at Port Nicholson, Wellington. French settlers land at Akaroa. Local Māori initially provide food for these and later settlements.
1841European settlements established at New Plymouth and Wanganui. Capital shifted from Russell to Auckland.
1842Main body of settlers arrive at Nelson.
1843Twenty-two European settlers and four Māori killed at a confrontation at Tua Marina, near Wairau, in Marlborough. Robert FitzRoy becomes governor.
1844New Zealand Company suspends colonising operations due to financial difficulties.
1845Hōne Heke begins war in the north. George Grey becomes governor. Half of all adult Māori are at least partly literate.
1846War in the north ends with capture of Ruapekapeka. Fighting between Māori and Pākehā around Wellington. Te Rauparaha captured by Grey. First New Zealand Constitution Act passed. Heaphy, Fox and Brunner begin exploring the West Coast, First steam vessel, HMS Driver, arrives in New Zealand.
1848Settlement founded by Scottish Otago Association. Provinces of New Ulster and New Munster established. Coal discovered at Brunner on the West Coast. Earthquake centred in Marlborough damages most Wellington buildings.
1850Canterbury settlement founded.
1852Second New Zealand Constitution Act passed creating general assembly and six provinces with representative government.
1853Idea of a Māori King canvassed by Tamihana Te Rauparaha and Matene Te Whiwhi. Many Māori agree not to sell any more land – 32 million acres have been bought by the government in the past five years.

A Ford car on a King Country road during the first motor trip from Wellington to Auckland in 1912.

1854First session of general assembly opens in Auckland.
1855Governor Thomas Gore Browne, appointed in 1854, arrives. Severe earthquake on both sides of Cook Strait.
1856Henry Sewell forms first ministry under responsible government and becomes first premier. Edward Stafford forms first stable ministry.
1858New Provinces Act passed. Te Wherowhero installed as first Māori King, taking name Potatau I.
1859First session of new Hawke's Bay and Marlborough provincial councils. Gold discovered in Buller River.
1860Waitara dispute develops into general warfare in Taranaki. Te Wherowhero dies and is replaced as Māori King by his son, Tawhiao. Kohimaramara Conference of Chiefs.
1861Grey begins second governorship. Gold discovered at Gabriel's Gully and Otago goldrushes begin. First session of Southland provincial council. Bank of New Zealand incorporated at Auckland.
1862First electric telegraph line opens – from Christchurch to Lyttelton. First gold shipment from Dunedin to London.
1863War resumes in Taranaki and begins in Waikato when General Cameron crosses the Mangatawhiri Stream. New Zealand Settlements Act passed to effect land confiscation. First steam railway in New Zealand opened.
1864War in the Waikato ends after battle of Orakau. Māori defeat British at Gate Pa, Tauranga. Land in Waikato, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay confiscated. Gold discovered in Marlborough and Westland. Arthur, George and Edward Dobson are the first Pākehā to cross what becomes known as Arthur's Pass.
1865Seat of government transferred from Auckland to Wellington. Native Land Court established. Māori resistance continues. Auckland streets lit by gas for first time.
1866Cook Strait submarine telegraph cable laid. Cobb and Co coaches start running from Canterbury to the West Coast.
1867Thames goldfield opens. Four Māori seats established in parliament. Lyttelton railway tunnel completed. Armed constabulary established.
1868Māori resistance continues through campaigns of Te Kooti Arikirangi and Titokowaru. New Zealand's first sheep breed, the Corriedale, developed.
1869New Zealand's first university, the University of Otago, established.

Striking workers and their supporters march through Newtown, Wellington, during a 1913 waterfront dispute.

1870Last 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; more than 1,000 miles constructed by 1879. First rugby match in New Zealand played at Nelson. Auckland to San Francisco mail service begins.
1871Deer released in Otago.
1872Te Kooti retreats to the King Country and Māori armed resistance ceases. Telegraph communication links Auckland, Wellington and southern provinces.
1873New Zealand Shipping Company established.
1876Abolition of the provinces and establishment of local government by counties and boroughs. New Zealand–Australia telegraph cable established.
1877Education Act passed, establishing national system of primary education.
1878Completion of Christchurch–Invercargill railway.
1879Triennial Parliaments Act passed. Vote is given to every male aged 21 and over. Kaitangata mine explosion, 34 people die. Annual property tax introduced.
1881Parihaka community forcibly broken up by troops. Te Whiti, Tohu Kakahi and followers arrested and imprisoned. Wreck of SS Tararua, 131 people die. Auckland and Christchurch telephone exchanges open.
1882First shipment of frozen meat leaves Port Chalmers for England on the Dunedin.
1883Te Kooti pardoned; Te Whiti and other prisoners released. Direct steamer link established between New Zealand and Britain.
1884King Tawhiao visits England with petition to the Queen and is refused access. First overseas tour by a New Zealand rugby team, to New South Wales. Construction of King Country section of North Island main trunk railway begins.
1886Mt Tarawera erupts and Pink and White Terraces destroyed, 108 people die. Oil discovered in Taranaki.
1887New Zealand's first national park, Tongariro, is presented to the nation by Te Heuheu Tukino IV. Reefton becomes first town to have electricity. First inland parcel post service.
1888Birth of writer Katherine Mansfield.
1889Abolition of non-residential or property qualification to vote. First New Zealand-built locomotive completed at Addington.
1890Maritime strike involves 8,000 unionists. ‘Sweating’ Commission reports on employment conditions. First election on a one-man one-vote basis.
1891John McKenzie introduces the first of a series of measures to promote closer land settlement. John Ballance becomes premier of first Liberal government.
1892First meeting of national Kotahitanga Māori parliament. The Kingitanga sets up its own Kauhanganui parliament.
1893Franchise extended to women. John Ballance dies and is succeeded by Richard John Seddon. Liquor licensing poll introduced. Elizabeth Yates becomes New Zealand's first woman mayor, of Onehunga. Banknotes become legal tender.
1894Compulsory arbitration of industrial disputes and reform of employment laws. Advances to Settlers Act. Clark, Fyfe and Graham become the first people to climb Mt Cook.
1896Brunner mine explosion, 67 people die. Census measures national population as 743,214.
1897First of series of colonial, and later imperial, conferences in London.
1898Old Age Pensions Act passed. First cars imported to New Zealand.
1899New Zealand army contingent sent to South African war. First celebration of Labour Day.
1900Māori Councils Act passed. Public Health Act passed setting up Department of Public Health in 1901.
1901Cook and other Pacific islands annexed. Penny postage first used.
1902Pacific cable begins operating between New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.
1903Richard Pearse achieves semi-controlled flight near Timaru.
1905The ‘Originals’ rugby team tours Britain and becomes known as the All Blacks.
1906Seddon dies and is succeeded by William Hall-Jones as prime minister.
1907New Zealand constituted as a dominion. Fire destroys parliament buildings.
1908Auckland to Wellington main trunk railway line opens. Ernest Rutherford awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry. New Zealand's population reaches 1 million.
1909‘Red’ Federation of Labour formed. SS Penguin wrecked in Cook Strait, 75 people die. Compulsory military training introduced. Stamp-vending machine invented and manufactured in New Zealand.
1912William Massey wins vote in the house and becomes first Reform Party prime minister. Waihi miners strike. Malcolm Champion New Zealand's first Olympic gold medallist (as a member of the Australasian 200 metre freestyle relay swimming team).
1913Waterfront strikes in Auckland and Wellington.
1914World War I begins and German Samoa occupied. New Zealand Expeditionary Forces despatched to Egypt. Huntly coal mine disaster, 43 people die.
1915New Zealand forces take part in Gallipoli campaign. Reform and Liberal form National War Cabinet. Britain announces its intention to purchase all New Zealand meat exports during war.
1916New Zealand troops transfer to Western Front. Conscription introduced. Labour Party formed.
1917Battle of Passchendaele – about 1,000 New Zealanders die. Six o’clock public house closing introduced.
1918World War I ends. Influenza epidemic kills an estimated 8,500. Prohibition petition with 242,001 signatures presented to parliament.
1919Women eligible for election to parliament. Massey signs Treaty of Versailles. First official airmail flight from Auckland to Dargaville.
1920Anzac Day established. New Zealand gets League of Nations mandate to govern Western Samoa. First aeroplane flight across Cook Strait.
1921New Zealand division of Royal Navy established.
1923Otira tunnel opens. Ross Dependency proclaimed. Death of Katherine Mansfield.
1926National public broadcasting begins under auspices of Radio Broadcasting Co Ltd.
1928General election won by new United Party. Kingsford-Smith completes first trans-Tasman flight.
1929Depression deepens. Severe earthquake in Murchison–Karamea district, 15 people die. First health stamps issued.
1930Unemployment Board set up to provide relief work.
1931Newly formed coalition government under George Forbes wins general election. Hawke's Bay earthquake, 261 die. Substantial reductions in public service wages and salaries.
1932Compulsory arbitration of industrial disputes abolished. Unemployed riot in Auckland, Dunedin and Christchurch. Reductions in old age and other pensions.
1933Elizabeth McCombs becomes first woman MP. Distinctive New Zealand coins first issued.
1934First trans-Tasman airmail.
1935First Labour government elected under Michael Joseph Savage. Air services begin across Cook Strait.
1936Reserve Bank of New Zealand 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. Jean Batten's record flight from England. Standard working week reduced from 44 to 40 hours for many workers.
1937Federation of Labour unifies trade union movement. RNZAF set up as separate branch of armed forces.
1938Social Security Act establishes revised pensions structure and the basis of a national health service. Import and exchange controls introduced.
1939World War II begins. Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force formed and a Maori Battalion organised on tribal lines. Bulk purchases of farm products by Great Britain. HMS Achilles, on loan to New Zealand, takes part in Battle of the River Plate.
1940Michael Joseph Savage dies and is succeeded by Peter Fraser. Sidney Holland becomes leader of opposition. Conscription for military service. German mines laid across Hauraki Gulf.
1941Japan enters the war. Maori War Effort Organisation set up. Pharmaceutical and general practitioner medical benefits introduced.
1942Economic stabilisation. New Zealand troops in Battle of El Alamein. Food rationing introduced. Mobilisation of women for essential work.
1943New Zealand troops take part in invasion of Italy.

State houses being constructed on Kaihuia Street, Northland, Wellington, in 1938.

1944Australia-New Zealand Agreement provides for cooperation in the South Pacific.
1945War in Europe ends on 8 May and in the Pacific on 15 August. New Zealand signs United Nations charter. Māori Social and Economic Advancement Act passed. National Airways Corporation founded.
1946Family benefit of £1 a week becomes universal. Bank of New Zealand nationalised.
1947Statute of Westminster adopted by New Zealand Parliament. First public performance by National Orchestra. Mabel Howard becomes first woman cabinet minister. Fire in Ballantyne's department store, Christchurch, 41 die.
1948Protest campaign against exclusion of Māori players from 1949 rugby tour of South Africa. Polio epidemic closes schools. Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe erupt. Meat rationing ends.
1949Referendum agrees to compulsory military training. National government elected. New Zealand gets first four navy frigates.
1950Naval and ground forces sent to Korean War. Legislative Council abolished. Wool boom. Empire Games held in Auckland.
1951Prolonged waterfront dispute – state of emergency proclaimed. ANZUS Treaty signed by United States, Australia and New Zealand. Māori Women's Welfare League established.
1952Population passes 2 million.
1953First tour by a reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tensing Norgay first to climb Mt Everest. Railway disaster at Tangiwai, 151 die. World sheep-shearing record set by Godfrey Bowen.
1954New Zealand signs South-east Asia Collective Defence Treaty. New Zealand gains seat on United Nations Security Council. Social Credit gets 10 percent of vote in general election, but no seat in parliament.
1955Pulp and paper mill opens at Kawerau. Rimutaka rail tunnel opens.
1956New Zealand troops deployed in Malaya.
1957National loses election; Walter Nash leads second Labour government. Last hanging. Scott Base established in Ross Dependency. Court of Appeal constituted. Dairy products gain 10 years of unrestricted access to Britain. Compulsory military training abolished.
1958PAYE tax introduced. Arnold Nordmeyer's ‘Black Budget’. First geothermal electricity generated at Wairakei.
1959Antarctic Treaty signed with other countries involved in scientific exploration in Antarctica. Auckland harbour bridge opened.
1960Regular television programmes begin in Auckland. National government elected. Government Service Equal Pay Act passed.
1961New Zealand joins the International Monetary Fund. Capital punishment abolished.
1962Western Samoa becomes independent. Sir Guy Powles becomes first ombudsman. New Zealand Māori Council established. Cook Strait rail ferry service begins. Taranaki gas well opens. Olympic gold medallist Peter Snell establishes mile and half-mile world athletic records.
1964Marsden Point oil refinery opens near Whangarei. Cook Strait power cables laid.
1965Free trade (NAFTA) agreement negotiated with Australia. New Zealand combat forces sent to support United States troops in Vietnam amid public protests. Cook Islands becomes self-governing.
1966International airport officially opens at Auckland. Te Ata-i-rangi-kaahu becomes first Māori Queen.
1967Referendum extends hotel closing hours to 10pm. Decimal currency introduced. Lord Arthur Porritt becomes first New Zealand-born governor-general. Breath and blood tests introduced for suspected drinking drivers.
1968Inter-island ferry Wahine sinks in storm in Wellington Harbour, 51 die. Inangahua earthquake, three die.
1969Vote extended to 20-year-olds. National government wins fourth election in a row. First output from Glenbrook steel mill.
1970Natural gas from Kapuni supplied to Auckland.
1971New Zealand secures continued access of butter and cheese to the United Kingdom. Ngā Tamatoa protest at Waitangi celebrations. Tiwai Point aluminium smelter begins operating. Warkworth satellite communications station begins operation.
1972Labour government led by Norman Kirk elected. Equal Pay Act passed.
1973Great Britain becomes a member of the EEC. Naval frigate despatched in protest against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. New Zealand's population reaches 3 million. Rugby tour by South Africa cancelled. Colour television introduced.
1974Prime Minister Norman Kirk dies. Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch. Vote given to 18 year olds.
1975Robert Muldoon becomes prime minister after National election victory. Māori land march protests against land loss. Waitangi Tribunal established.
1976Matrimonial Property Act passed. Pacific Islands overstayers deported. EEC import quotas for New Zealand butter set until 1980. Introduction of metric system of weights and measures. Subscriber toll dialling introduced.
1977New Zealand's 200-mile exclusive economic zone established. Bastion Point occupied by Māori land protesters.
1978National government re-elected.

Women working in a food dehydration plant at Pukekohe during World War II.

1979Air New Zealand plane crashes on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, 257 die. Carless days introduced to reduce petrol consumption.
1980Saturday trading partially legalised. Eighty-day strike at Kinleith pulp and paper mill.
1981South African rugby team's tour brings widespread disruption.
1982Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement signed with Australia. First kōhanga reo established. Year-long wage, price and rent freeze imposed – lasts until 1984.
1983Visit by nuclear-powered United States Navy frigate Texas sparks protests. Official Information Act replaces Official Secrets Act. New Zealand Party founded.
1984Labour Party wins snap general election. Finance Minister Roger Douglas begins deregulating economy. Te Hikoi ki Waitangi march and disruption of Waitangi Day celebrations. Auckland's population exceeds that of the South Island. Government devalues New Zealand dollar by 20 percent.
1985Anti-nuclear policy leads to refusal of visit by American warship USS Buchanan. Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior bombed and sunk by French agents in Auckland harbour. New Zealand dollar floated. Author Keri Hulme wins Booker Prize for The Bone People. First case of locally-contracted AIDS reported. Waitangi Tribunal given power to hear Māori land grievances going back to 1840.
1986Homosexual Law Reform Bill passed. Royal Commission reports in favour of MMP electoral system. Jim Bolger becomes National Party leader. Soviet cruise ship, the Mikhail Lermontov, sinks in Marlborough Sounds. Goods and services tax introduced. First visit to New Zealand by a pope.
1987Share 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 performed. New Zealand wins first rugby World Cup.
1988Number of unemployed exceeds 100,000. Bastion Point land returned to Māori ownership. Electrification of North Island's main trunk line completed. New Zealand Post closes 432 post offices. Fisheries quota package announced for Māori iwi.
1989Prime Minister David Lange suggests formal withdrawal from ANZUS. Jim Anderton founds NewLabour Party, Lange resigns and Geoffrey Palmer becomes prime minister. Reserve Bank Act sets bank's role as one of maintaining price stability. First elections under revised local government structure. Sunday trading begins. Māori Fisheries Act passed.
1990New Zealand celebrates its sesquicentennial. Māori leaders inaugurate National Congress of Tribes. Dame Catherine Tizard becomes first woman governor-general. Geoffrey Palmer resigns as prime minister and is replaced by Mike Moore. National Party has landslide victory. Jim Bolger becomes prime minister. One and two-cent coins withdrawn from circulation. Commonwealth Games held in Auckland. Telecom sold for $4.25 billion. Welfare payments cut.
1991Welfare payments further reduced. Alliance Party formed. Employment Contracts Act passed. Number of unemployed exceeds 200,000 for first time. New Zealand troops join multi-national force in the Gulf War. Avalanche reduces the height of Mt Cook by 10.5 metres.
1992Government and Māori interests negotiate Sealord fisheries deal. Public health system reformed. State housing commercialised. New Zealand gets seat on United Nations Security Council.
1993New Zealand First Party launched. 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.
1994Government commits 250 soldiers to peacekeeping duty in Bosnia. Government proposes $1 billion cap for final settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims. New Zealand's first casino opens in Christchurch. First fast-ferry passenger service begins operation across Cook Strait.
1995Team New Zealand wins America's Cup. Occupation of Moutua Gardens, Wanganui. Conservative, Christian Heritage and United New Zealand Parties launched. 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. New Zealand contingent returns from Bosnia.
1996First legal sports betting through Totalisator Agency Board. First MMP election brings National/New Zealand First coalition government.
1997A $170 million settlement signed with Ngāi Tahu. Jim Bolger resigns as prime minister after a National Party coup while he is overseas. Bolger replaced by New Zealand's first woman prime minister, Jenny Shipley.
1998Auckland city businesses hit by power cut which continues for more than a month. New Zealand women's rugby team, the Black Ferns, become world champions. Coalition government dissolved, leaving Shipley's National Party as a minority government.
1999New Zealand sends peacekeeping troops to East Timor. Auckland hosts the APEC world leaders’ conference. Former prime minister Mike Moore becomes head of the World Trade Organisation. The minority National government loses the November election and Labour forms government in coalition with the Alliance party and with the support of the Greens, who enter parliament for the first time with seven seats. Legal drinking age lowered from 20 to 18 years.
2000Air New Zealand gains ownership of Ansett Australia. Team New Zealand beats Italy's Prada 5–0 in the final series to retain the America's Cup. Labour government abolishes knighthoods. Dr Alan G MacDiarmid wins Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his part in the discovery and development of conductive polymers.

Michael Campbell is welcomed home to Titahi Bay, Wellington, with his US Open golf trophy in 2005.

2001New Zealand's largest company, Fonterra, is formed from merger of the New Zealand Dairy Group and Kiwi Dairies, Qantas New Zealand and Ansett collapse, Government injects $550 million to keep Air New Zealand flying after the company announces a $1.4 billion loss – the largest in New Zealand's corporate history, Government disbands RNZAF combat wing, Shipley resigns and Bill English becomes leader of the National Party, Former America's Cup yachtsman Sir Peter Blake murdered by pirates at the mouth of the Amazon.
2002Labour wins election and forms a coalition government with Progressive Coalition and enters into a special arrangement with United Future, Rakiura, New Zealand's 14th National Park covering about 85 percent of Stewart Island, opens, Three New Zealanders among 185 killed in Bali terrorist bombing, Lowest road toll (402) since 1963, The Fellowship of the Ring, first film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy directed by New Zealand's Peter Jackson, wins four Oscars.
2003New Zealand loses America's Cup to Swiss challenger Alinghi, skippered by Russell Coutts, previously of Team New Zealand. Population reaches 4 million. National caucus votes in Don Brash as leader, replacing English.
2004The Return of the King, third film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, wins 11 Oscars. Controversial Foreshore and Seabed Act passed following a hikoi of thousands of protestors. Tariana Turia resigns as Labour Party MP and re-elected eight weeks later as the Māori Party's first MP. Supreme Court replaces London-based Privy Council as New Zealand's court of final appeal. Unknown Warrior from World War I Somme battlefield returned and laid to rest at Wellington's National War Memorial.
2005Titahi Bay golfer Michael Campbell wins US Open, only the second New Zealander to win one of golf's ‘majors.’ Former Prime Minister David Lange dies. Labour has one-seat election night lead over National and subsequently forms government in coalition with Jim Anderton's Progressives and United Future. Green Party co-leader Rod Donald dies suddenly in Christchurch. Decommissioned naval frigate Wellington scuttled off Wellington's south coast for use as a diving attraction. New Zealand wins right to host 2011 rugby World Cup.


  • 2.1 John Wilson, Te AraThe Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

  • 2.2 Statistics New Zealand.

Websites – Archives New Zealand – Dictionary of New Zealand Biography – History Group, Ministry for Culture and Heritage – National Library of New Zealand – New Zealand Archaeology – New Zealand Electronic Text Centre – Statistics New Zealand – Te AraThe Encyclopedia of New Zealand – Treaty of Waitangi

Chapter 3. Government

The power to make laws is vested by the Constitution Act 1986 in the Parliament of New Zealand.

3.1 Constitution

New Zealand's constitutional history can be traced back to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The treaty is an agreement between the British Crown and Māori in which Māori gave the Crown rights to govern and the Crown guaranteed Māori full protection of their interests and status, and full citizenship rights.

Five years earlier, on October 28 1835, an assembly of the Confederation of Chiefs of the United Tribes of New Zealand had proclaimed the country independent and signed a Declaration of Independence.

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government. Queen Elizabeth II has the title Queen of New Zealand.

Table 3.01 lists Sovereigns of New Zealand since signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Table 3.01. Sovereigns of New Zealand

MonarchAccessionDiedAgeReigned (years)

1Abdicated: reigned 325 days.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

House of Hanover
House of Saxe-Coburg
Edward VII19011910689
House of Windsor
George V191019367025
Edward VIII11936197277 
George VI193619525615
Elizabeth II1952   

Aconstitution is concerned with establishment and composition of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, their powers and duties, and the relationship between these branches.

New Zealand's Constitution Act 1986 brought together important statutory constitutional provisions and clarified rules relating to the governmental hand-over of power.

Other key written sources of New Zealand's constitution include the Electoral Act 1993, the Imperial Laws Application Act 1988 (which lists United Kingdom statutes still in force in New Zealand) and Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.

Other sources of the constitution include constitutional conventions, New Zealand legislation and decisions of the courts.

The Crown and the governor-general

The Governor-General of New Zealand 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.

One of the governor-general's main constitutional functions 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 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.

Table 3.02 lists Lieutenant-Governors, Governors and Governors-General of New Zealand since signing of the Treaty of Waitangi

Table 3.02. Vice-regal representatives

Representative1Assumed officeRetired

1Honours are specified only if held on retirement from office.

Source: Office of the Governor-General

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
Governor-in-Chief 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, GCM, 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, DOS, OBE, PC12 Apr 19353 Feb 1941
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Cyril Louis Norton Newall, GCB, OM, GCMG, CBE, AM22Feb 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, GCMG, QSO21 Mar 199621 Mar 2001
Dame Silvia Cartwright, PCNZM, DBE4 April 20014 Aug 2006
Judge Anand Satyanand, PCNZM4 Aug 2006 

Parliamentary tradition

Since 1856, New Zealand has been a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government.

The government cannot act effectively without parliament, because it cannot raise or spend money without parliamentary approval.

For most categories of expenditure, this approval takes the form of an annual vote of funds to the government. Parliament has to be assembled regularly, therefore, and thus has the opportunity to hold the government to account.

Electoral system

New Zealand has had a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system since 1996.

Voters have two votes – one electorate vote and one party vote. Electorate votes are used to elect Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their local areas. Party votes are used to allocate extra seats to political parties so that the makeup of parliament reflects the support for these parties across the country.

For the 2005 election, New Zealand was divided geographically into 62 general and seven Māori electorates.

The political parties were subsequently allocated 52 seats after counting of party votes and the number of seats in parliament increased by one to 121.

Electorate boundaries are redrawn by the Representation Commission after each population census. The number of electorates can change as the population increases or decreases.

The Māori Electoral Option follows every census and gives people of Māori descent the opportunity to choose whether to be on the Māori or general electoral roll.

Once electors have chosen to be on the Māori roll, they cannot change until the next Māori Electoral Option.

Workings of the New Zealand electoral system are set out in the Electoral Act 1993. This act is the only statute in New Zealand with entrenched provisions. This means that either 75 percent of MPs, or a majority of voters in a referendum of all registered voters, must agree to make changes to these provisions. Normally, a simple majority of MPs is all that is required to make changes to legislation.

Table 3.03 lists New Zealand's Premiers and Prime Ministers.

Table 3.03. Premiers and Prime Ministers of New Zealand

Premier/Prime Minister1Term(s) of office

1Honours are specified only if held on retirement from office.

Source: Cabinet Office

Henry Sewell7 May 1856–20 May 1856
William Fox20 May 1856–2 Jun 1856
Edward William Stafford2 Jun 1856–12 Jul 1861
William Fox12 Jul 1861–6 Aug 1862
Alfred Domett6 Aug 1862–30 Oct 1863
Frederick Whitaker, MIX30 Oct 1863–24 Nov 1864
Frederick Aloysius Weld24 Nov 1864–16 Oct 1865
Edward William Stafford16 Oct 1865–28 Jun 1869
William Fox28 Jun 1869–10 Sep 1872
Edward William Stafford10 Sep 1872–11 Oct 1872
George Marsden Waterhouse, MLC11 Oct 1872–3 Mar 1873
William Fox3 Mar 1873–8 Apr 1873
Sir Julius Vogel, KCMG8 Apr 1873–6 Jul 1875
Daniel Pollen, MLC6 Jul 1875–15 Feb 1876
Sir Julius Vogel, KCMG15 Feb 1876–1 Sep 1876
Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, KCMG1 Sep 1876–13 Oct 1877
Sir George Grey, KCB13 Oct 1877–8 Oct 1879
John Hall8 Oct 1879–21 Apr 1882
Frederick Whitaker, MLC21 Apr 1882–25 Sep 1883
Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, KCMG25 Sep 1883–16 Aug 1884
Sir Robert Stout, KCMG16 Aug 1884–28 Aug 1884
Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, KCMG28 Aug 1884–3 Sep 1884
Sir Robert Stout, KCMG3 Sep 1884–8 Oct 1887
Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, KCMG8 Oct 1887–24 Jan 1891
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
Thomas MacKenzieLiberal28 Mar 1912–10 Jul 1912
Rt Hon William Ferguson MasseyReform10 Jul 1912–10 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 Sir Joseph George Ward, Bt, KCMGUnited10 Dec 1928–28 May 1930
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
Rt Hon Walter Nash, CHLabour12 Dec 1957–12 Dec 1960
Rt Hon Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, GCMG, CHNational12 Dec 1960–7 Feb 1972
Rt Hon John Ross MarshallNational7 Feb 1972–8 Dec 1972
Rt Hon Norman Eric KirkLabour8 Dec 1973–d 31 Aug 1974
Rt Hon Wallace Edward RowlingLabour6 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 PalmerLabour8 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 Elizabeth ClarkLabour/Alliance10 Dec 1999–15 Aug 2002
 Labour/Progressive15 Aug 2002–11 Aug 2005
 Labour/Progressive19 Oct 2005–

3.2 Parliament and the cabinet

House of Representatives

The power to make laws lies at the heart of New Zealand's parliamentary system.

This power is vested in the Parliament of New Zealand by the Constitution Act 1986.

Parliament consists of the Sovereign (normally represented by the governor-general) and an elected House of Representatives.

Table 3.04 shows seats held by political parties after general elections since 1890.

Table 3.04. Seats held by political parties after general elections

ElectionTotalLiberal ConservativeLabourACTNZ FirstAllianceGreenOtherIndependent

1Māori members whose party allegiances are difficult to determine

2Country Party


4Social Credit/Democrats

5New Labour

6Includes Speaker of the House


8United Future 8 seats, Progressive Coalition 2 sears

9United Future 3 seats, Progressive 1 seat, Māori 4 seats.

Source: Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives

18907438 25     417
18937451 13     416
18967439 25     416
18997449 19     412
19028047 19     4110
19058058 16      6
19088050 261     3
19118033 374     6
19148033 416      
19198021 478     4
19228022 3717     4
19258011 5512     2
19288027 2719    126
193180 51 24    124
193580 19 53+23    224
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    14 
196984 45 39      
197287 32 55      
197587 55 32      
197892 51 40    14 
198192 47 43    24 
198495 37 56    24 
198797 40 57      
199097 67 29    15 
199399 50 456 22   
1996120 446 3781713 17 
1999120 39 499510717 
2002120 27 52913 9108 
2005121 48 5027 689 

Ministers of the Labour-led minority coalition government are sworn in following the general election of 17 September 2005.

The principal functions of parliament are to enact laws, to supervise the government's administration, to vote supply, to provide a government and to redress grievances by way of petition. The Constitution Act forbids the Crown taxing citizens without express parliamentary approval.

Under standing orders, private members are able 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.

Perhaps the most important privilege of the House of Representatives 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 terminated by prorogation or, as is now usually the case, directly by dissolution of parliament.

Unless there is a new session, the prime minister's statement at the start of business in the second and third years of the parliamentary term 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 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.

Role of parties. For many years up until 1993, under the first past the post (FPP) system of electoral representation, the House of Representatives was characterised by the presence of two, large, dominant parties, with the majority party forming the government and the minority party the opposition. This, however, has given way to multiparty representation under the mixed member proportional (MMP) system of electoral representation, adopted after two referendums, one indicative (1992) and one binding (1993). The four general elections held since 1996 have demonstrated that under MMP it is unlikely that any single party will command an absolute majority in the house and be able to form a government on its own account. Because of the importance that 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) has become a primary means of developing policies and tactics.

Party representation. The general election on 17 September 2005 resulted in the formation again of a Labour-led minority coalition government. The Labour Party entered into a coalition government agreement with Jim Anderton's Progressive Party on 17 October 2005. The agreement saw the leader of Jim Anderton's Progressive Party continue to be a cabinet minister. Agreements were also concluded on 17 October 2005 by the minority coalition government with United Future and New Zealand First. Both parties promised to provide confidence and supply for the term of the parliament to a Labour/Progressive government. It was also agreed that the leaders of United Future and New Zealand First would be appointed to ministerial positions outside of cabinet. The new ministry was sworn in on 19 October 2005. Further, a cooperation agreement was entered into by the government with the Green Party, which provided for consultation on the broad outline of the legislative programme, on key legislative measures on which support was needed, on major policy issues and on broad budget parameters. The fourth House of Representatives elected under MMP consisted of:

1An overhang of one seat resulted from the Māori Party winning more electorate seats than it was entitled to based on its share of all party votes.

Labour50 seats (31 electorate, 19 party list).
National48 seats (31 electorate, 17 party list).
New Zealand First7 seats (7 party list).
Green6 seats (6 party list).
Māori4 seats (4 electorate)1.
United Future3 seats (1 electorate, 2 party list).
ACT New Zealand2 seats (1 electorate,1 party list).
Jim Anderton's Progressive1 seat (1 electorate).

Legislative procedure. The legislative procedure starts in New Zealand when 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 to validate unlawful actions they may have taken, and which affect particular localities.

  • 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 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 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 private bills and local bills, with the member in charge getting a five-minute right of reply. For members’ bills, there may be up to two 10-minute speeches and eight five-minute speeches, with a 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. 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 business committee 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 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 to 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 in detail, normally part by part. Once a bill has been fully considered by the committee, it is reported to the house with any amendments 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, a 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 48th New Zealand Parliament was called following the general election of 17 September 2005 and began sitting on 7 November 2005.

Salaries and allowances of parliamentarians. Salaries and allowances of parliamentarians are set by the Remuneration Authority and are shown in Table 3.05.

Table 3.05. Parliamentary salaries and allowances

SalaryYearly rate of salary payable on or after 1 July 20051

1Parliamentary Salaries and Allowance Determination 2005

Source: The Remuneration Authority

Members of the Executive$
Prime Minister347,000
Deputy Prime Ministet245,000
Minister in cabinet216,000
Minister with portfolio outside cabinet183,000
Minister without portfolio158,500
Parliamentary Under-Secretary141,000
Officers of the House of Representatives
Speaker of the House of Representatives216,000
Deputy Speaker152,000
Assistant Speaker130,000
Chairperson of a select committee130,000
Deputy chairperson of a select committee122,000
Leaders of non-government parties
Leader of the Opposition216,000
Other party leaders (depending on number of MPs)130,000 +
Deputy leader of party with 25 MPs or more (depending on number of MPs)150,075 +
Senior Government Whip (depending on number of MPs)134,000 +
Other whips (depending on number of MPs)130,000 +
Junior Whip of party with 25 MPs or more130,000
Other Members of Parliament
Member of Parliament118,000
Expenses allowance
Prime Minister17,900
Other Members of Parliament13,500

Table 3.06 shows the makeup of New Zealand's 48th Parliament.

Table 3.06. House of Representatives, 48th Parliament

Prime Minister– Rt Hon Helen Clark
Leader of the Opposition– Dr Don Brash
Speaker– Hon Margaret Wilson
Deputy Speaker– Hon Clem Simich
Clerk of the House– D G McGee
Member1Year of birthPrevious occupationElectorate/listParty

1Names are given by which individual members prefer to be addressed.

2Died 6 November 2005.

3Replaced Rod Donald.

Source: Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives

Anderton, Hon Jim1938Company directorWigramProgressive
Ardern, Shane1960FarmerTaranaki/King CountryNational
Auchinvole, Chris1945ManagerListNational
Barker, Hon Rick1951Trade unionistListLabour
Barnett, Tim1958Voluntary sector managerChristchurch CentralLabour
Bennett, David1970FarmerHamilton EastNational
Bennett, Paula1969ManagerListNational
Benson-Pope, Hon David1950TeacherDunedin SouthLabour
Beyer, Georgina1957MayorListLabour
Blue, Dr Jackie1956Medical practitionerListNational
Blumsky, Mark1957MayorListNational
Borrows, Chester1957Police officer, lawyerWhanganuiNational
Bradford, Sue1952Community development workerListGreen
Brash, Dr Don1940Governor of RBNZListNational
Brown, Peter1939Company directorListNZ First
Brownlee, Gerry1956TeacherIlamNational
Burton, Hon Mark1956Community education organiserTaupoLabour
Carter, Hon Chris1952Electorate secretaryTe AtatuLabour
Carter, Hon David1952Businessman, farmerListNational
Carter, John1950Local government officerNorthlandNational
Chadwick, Steve1948Nurse, midwifeRotoruaLabour
Choudhary, Dr Ashraf1949University lecturerListLabour
Clark, Rt Hon Helen1950University lecturerMt AlbertLabour
Clarkson, Bob1939Commercial property developerTaurangaNational
Coleman, Dr Jonathan1966Medical practitionerNorthcoteNational
Collins, Judith1959LawyerClevedonNational
Connell, Brian1956FarmerRakaiaNational
Copeland, Gordon1943Financial administratorListUnited Future
Cosgrove, Hon Clayton1969Public relations executiveWaimakaririLabour
Cullen, Hon Dr Michael1945University lecturerListLabour
Cunliffe, Hon David1963Management consultantNew LynnLabour
Dalziel, Hon Lianne1960Trade unionistChristchurch EastLabour
Dean, Jacqui1957Professional actorOtagoNational
Donald, Rod21960Voluntary sector administratorListGreen
Donnelly, Hon Brian1949School principalListNZ First
Dunne, Hon Peter1954Deputy chief executive officerOhariu/BelmontUnited Future
Duynhoven, Hon Harry1955TeacherNew PlymouthLabour
Dyson, Hon Ruth1957Employment consultantBanks PeninsulaLabour
English, Hon Bill1961FarmerClutha/SouthlandNational
Fairbrother, Russell1944LawyerListLabour
Fenton, Darien1954Trade unionistListLabour
Field, Taito Phillip1952Trade unionistMangereLabour
Finlayson, Christopher1956LawyerListNational
Fitzsimons, Jeanette1945Organic farmer, consultantListGreen
Flavell, Te Ururoa1955LecturerWaiārikiMāori
Foss, Craig1963BankerTukitukiNational
Gallagher, Martin1952TeacherHamilton WestLabour
Goff, Hon Phil1953University lecturerMt RoskillLabour
Goodhew, Jo1961NurseAorakiNational
Gosche, Hon Mark1955Trade unionistMaungakiekieLabour
Goudie, Sandra1952FarmerCoromandelNational
Groser, Tim1949DiplomatListNational
Guy, Nathan1970FarmerListNational
Harawira, Hone1955ManagerTe Tai TokerauMāori
Hartley, Ann1942Real estate agentListLabour
Hawkins, Hon George1946TeacherManurewaLabour
Hayes, John1948DiplomatWairarapaNational
Heatley, Phil1967Professional engineerWhangareiNational
Henare, Hon Tau1960Advisory officerListNational
Hereora, Dave1956Trade unionistListLabour
Hide, Rodney1956Economic consultantEpsomACT
Hobbs, Hon Marian1947TeacherWellington CentralLabour
Hodgson, Hon Pete1950VeterinarianDunedin NorthLabour
Horomia, Hon Parekura1950FarmerIkaroa/RawhitiLabour
Hughes, Darren1978Executive secretaryOtakiLabour
Hutchison, Dr Paul1947Medical practitionerPort WaikatoNational
Jones, Shane1959ManagerListLabour
Kedgley, Sue1948Author, city councillorListGreen
Key, John1961Investment bankerHelensvilleNational
King, Hon Annette1947Chief executive officerRongotaiLabour
King, Colin1951Shearer, managerKaikouraNational
Laban, Hon Winnie1955Family therapistManaLabour
Locke, Keith1944Bookshop managerListGreen
Mackey, Moana1974BiochemistListLabour
Maharey, Hon Steve1953University lecturerPalmerston NorthLabour
Mahuta, Hon Nanaia1970Archivist librarianTainuiLabour
Mallard, Hon Trevor1954Executive assistantHutt SouthLabour
Mapp, Dr Wayne1952University law lecturerNorth ShoreNational
Mark, Ron1954Businessman, army officerListNZ First
McCully, Hon Murray1953Public relations consultantEast Coast BaysNational
Moroney, Sue1964Trade unionistListLabour
O’Connor, Hon Damien1958Tourism operatorWest Coast/TasmanLabour
Okeroa, Hon Mahara1946Regional directorTe Tai TongaLabour
Paraone, Pita1945Public servantListNZ First
Parker, Hon David1960Biotechnology businessmanListLabour
Peachey, Allan1949TeacherTamakiNational
Peters, Rt Hon Winston1945LawyerListNZ First
Pettis, Jill1952Education administratorListLabour
Pillay, Lynne1950Trade unionistWaitakereLabour
Power, Simon1969LawyerRangitikeiNational
Rich, Katherine1967BusinesswomanListNational
Ririnui, Hon Mita1951Minister of religionListLabour
Robertson, H V Ross1949Industrial engineerManukau EastLabour
Roy, Eric1948FarmerInvercargillNational
Roy, Heather1964Gallery contractorListACT
Ryall, Hon Tony1964AccountantBay of PlentyNational
Samuels, Hon Dover1939Company directorListLabour
Sharples, Dr Pita1941University lecturerTamaki MakaurauMāori
Simich, Hon Clem1939General managerListNational
Smith, Dr the Hon Lockwood1948Managing directorRodneyNational
Smith, Hon Dr Nick1964EngineerNelsonNational
Stewart, Barbara1952Training and development managerListNZ First
Street, Maryan1955Teacher, trade unionistListLabour
Sutton, Hon Jim1941FarmerListLabour
Swain, Hon Paul1951Trade unionistRimutakaLabour
Tanczos, Nandor31966Business owner/directorListGreen
Te Heuheu, Hon Georgina1942Consultant, advocate Treaty issuesListNational
Tisch, Lindsay1947Management consultantPiakoNational
Tizard, Hon Judith1956Electorate secretaryAuckland CentralLabour
Tolley, Anne1953Bed and breakfast operatorEast CoastNational
Tremain, Chris1966BusinessmanNapierNational
Turei, Metiria1970LawyerListGreen
Turia, Tariana1944Iwi development workerTe Tai HauāruMāori
Turner, Judy1956TeacherListUnited Future
Wagner, Nicky1953Company directorListNational
Wilkinson, Kate1957LawyerListNational
Williamson, Hon Maurice1951Planning analystPakurangaNational
Wilson, Hon Margaret1947University lecturerListLabour
Wong, Pansy1955AccountantListNational
Woolerton, R Doug1944FarmerListNZ First
Worth, Dr Richard1948LawyerListNational
Yates, Dianne1943Education officerListLabour

Executive government

The executive government of New Zealand is carried out on behalf of the Sovereign (represented by the governor-general) by ministers of the Crown who make up membership 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. The Executive Council is a formal body with formal functions, whereas cabinet is an informal body with deliberative functions.

All ministers are members of the Executive Council, but not all ministers are necessarily in cabinet.

The cabinet is, in effect, the highest policy-making body of government. It is the main vehicle by which the executive considers major policy issues, legislative proposals and government appointments, and it coordinates the work of ministers.

The cabinet has a system of committees that can examine subjects in detail before consideration by the full cabinet.

Proceedings of cabinet are informal and confidential, and decisions are usually made by consensus. By convention, cabinet accepts collective responsibility for its decisions, which ensures that, unless the matter is agreed to be one of party differentiation, once a decision is made, it will be publicly supported by all members of the government.

The Executive Council is the main vehicle for law-making by the executive. Authority to make statutory regulations, for example, is delegated by parliament to the governor-general in council.

The governor-general presides over, but is not a member of, the Executive Council. He or she takes formal actions, such as making regulations or significant appointments, on the basis of advice tendered by ministers in Executive Council meetings.

The Cabinet Office provides support services for the cabinet and its committees.

The Secretary of the Cabinet is also Clerk of the Executive Council.

The makeup of the New Zealand Government at 3 May 2006 is shown in Table 3.07.

The cabinet of the 48th New Zealand Parliament met for the first time on 20 October 2005.

Table 3.07. New Zealand Government
3 May 2006

Source: Cabinet Office
Governor-General of New Zealand
His Excellency The Honourable Judge Anand Satyanand, PCNZM (assumed office 4 August 2006).
Executive Council
Membership of the Executive Council comprises all ministers, with the governor-general presiding.
The Cabinet
1Rt Hon Helen Clark, Prime Minister, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services, Minister in Charge of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau.
2Hon Dr Michael Cullen, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister for Tertiary Education, Attorney-General, Leader of the House.
3Hon Jim Anderton, Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry, Minister Responsible for the Public Trust, Associate Minister of Health, Associate Minister for Tertiary Education.
4Hon Steve Maharey, Minister for Education, Minister of Broadcasting, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Minister for Crown Research Institutes, Minister Responsible for the Education Review Office.
5Hon Phil Goff, Minister of Defence, Minister for Trade Negotiations, Minister of Trade, Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Associate Minister of Finance.
6Hon Annette King, Minister of State Services, Minister of Police, Minister for Food Safety, Minister of Transport.
7Hon Trevor Mallard, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industry and Regional Development, Minister for State Owned Enterprises, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Associate Minister of Finance, Minister for the Rugby World Cup.
8Hon Pete Hodgson, Minister of Health.
9Hon Parekura Horomia, Minister of Maori Affairs, Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment, Associate Minister of Education, Associate Minister of State Services, Associate Minister of Fisheries.
10Hon Mark Burton, Minister of Justice, Minister of Local Government, Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Deputy Leader of the House, Minister Responsible for the Law Commission.
11Hon Ruth Dyson, Minister of Labour, Minister for Accident Compensation Corporation, Minister for Senior Citizens, Minister for Disability Issues, Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment (CYF).
12Hon Chris Carter, Minister of Conservation, Minister of Housing, Minister for Ethnic Affairs.
13Hon Rick Barker, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Civil Defence, Minister for Courts, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.
14Hon David Benson-Pope, Minister for Social Development and Employment, Minister for the Environment.
15Hon Lianne Dalziel, Minister of Commerce, Minister of Women's Affairs, Minister for Small Business.
16Hon Damian O’Connor, Minister of Corrections, Minister of Tourism, Minister for Rural Affairs, Associate Minister of Health.
17Hon David Cunliffe, Minister of Immigration, Minister of Communications, Minister for Information Technology, Associate Minister for Economic Development.
18Hon David Parker, Minister of Energy, Minister for Land Information, Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues.
19Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Customs, Minister of Youth Affairs, Associate Minister for the Environment, Associate Minister of Local Government.
20Hon Clayton Cosgrove, Minister for Building Issues, Minister of Statistics, Associate Minister of Finance, Associate Minister of Immigration, Associate Minister of Justice
21Hon Jim Sutton, Minister of State, Associate Minister for Trade Negotiations.
Ministers outside Cabinet:
22Hon Judith Tizard, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand, Minister Responsible for the National Library, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Associate Minister of Commerce, Associate Minister of Transport, Minister Responsible for Auckland Issues.
23Hon Dover Samuels, Minister of State, Associate Minister for Economic Development, Associate Minister for Industry and Regional Development, Associate Minister of Housing, Associate Minister of Tourism.
24Hon Harry Duynhoven, Minister for Transport Safety, Associate Minister of Energy.
25Hon Mita Ririnui, Minister of State, Associate Minister of Corrections, Associate Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Associate Minister of Forestry, Associate Minster of Health.
26Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Associate Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment, Associate Minister for Economic Development.
27Hon Mahara Okeroa, Minister of State, Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Associate Minister of Conservation.
Ministers outside cabinet from other parties with confidence and supply agreements:
Rt Hon Winston Peters, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister for Racing, Associate Minister for Senior Citizens.
Hon Peter Dunne, Minister of Revenue, Associate Minister of Health.

Parliamentary elections

People 18 years and over have the right to vote in New Zealand's parliamentary elections. Enrolment as an elector is compulsory, but voting is not. To qualify for enrolment people must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.

  • Be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

  • Have lived continuously in New Zealand for at least a year at some time.

  • Have lived continuously for one month or more in the electorate in which they are to be enrolled.

Māori and people of Māori descent may choose to enrol for either a Māori or a general electorate, but may make the choice at certain times only. Māori may make the choice the first time they enrol, or at the five-yearly Māori electoral option exercise. The most recent Māori option was in 2006.

Electoral rolls are maintained by the Electoral Enrolment Centre, a division of New Zealand Post.

Voting. The conduct of parliamentary elections and referendums is the responsibility of the Chief Electoral Office, a division of the Ministry of Justice. In an election year, a returning officer is appointed for each electorate. Returning officers are responsible for arranging voting facilities and staff and conducting elections in their electorates.

Only people enrolled before an election are qualified to vote. Voting is by secret ballot. Most electors cast their votes at polling places in their electorates on polling day, but they may cast a special vote at polling places outside their electorates if necessary.

Electors are able to cast their vote at an advance voting place or by post if they are unable to attend a polling place due to illness, will be travelling outside their electorate, or for religious beliefs.

Voters overseas can cast their vote by downloading their voting papers from the internet and faxing or posting them back to New Zealand.

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 counted.

Voting patterns in recent general elections are shown in Table 3.08.

Table 3.08. Voting patterns 1981–2005

YearElectors on master rollValid votesInformal votesSpecial votes disallowedPercentage of votes cast to electors on master roll

1Party votes rather than electorate votes.

2In 1999, there were 2,047,473 valid electorate votes cast and 37,908 informal electorate votes. In 2002, there were 1,9995,586 valid electorate votes and 33,289 informal electorate votes. In 2005, there were 2,235,869 valid electorate votes cast and 24,801 informal electorate votes.

3In 2002, 15,156 special voters had both their electorate and their party vote disallowed, while 18,133 had their electorate votes disallowed but their party vote allowed because they voted in the wrong electorate. In 2005, 17,815 special voters had both their electorate and their party vote disallowed, while 25,520 had their electorate vote disallowed but their party vote allowed because they voted in the wrong electorate.

Source: Chief Electoral Office, Ministry of Justice


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 electoral population figures provided by Statistics New Zealand.

Electoral boundaries are defined by the Representation Commission, which consists of 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 boundaries of Māori electoral districts, the commission is joined by the Chief Executive Officer of Te Puni Kōkiri and two Māori representatives nominated by parliament to represent the government and the opposition.

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

Under the Electoral Act 1993, the South Island is allocated 16 general electorates. The number of North Island general and Māori electorates is 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, communication facilities, topographical features and any projected variation in the general electoral population of the electorates.

Based on the South Island general electoral population, the South Island general electorate quota for the 2005 general election was 54,296, resulting in 46 North Island general electorates (quota 54,288) and seven Māori electorates (quota 53,130).

All electorates have an allowance of 5 percent above or below their electoral population quota.

Figures 3.01 and 3.02 show general and Māori electoral districts for the 2005 general elections.

Figure 3.01. 2005 General electoral districts

2005 General electoral districts

Figure 3.02. 2005 Māori electoral districts

2005 Māori electoral districts

General election voting. There were 2,847,396 electors on the master roll for the 2005 general election. A total of 2,304,005 votes were cast, representing a turnout of 80.92 percent. This was an increase of 5.12 percent on the 2002 election, where turnout was 76.98 percent. The highest turnout in recent elections was 93.71 percent in 1984. Figure 3.03 shows the percentage of enrolled voters voting in general elections from 1879 to 2005.

Figure 3.03. Sport and active leisure participation of 5 to 17-year-olds
Annual participation 1997–2000

Sport and active leisure participation of 5 to 17-year-oldsAnnual participation 1997–2000

1Excludes Māori population before 1951.

3.3 State sector

State sector is the common term for all organisations whose financial situation and performance is reported in the annual financial statements of the government prepared under the Public Finance Act 1989.

The state sector includes all state services – Crown-owned agencies through which executive government carries out many of its roles and functions.

State services consist of all public service departments; other departments not part of the public service; Crown entities (except tertiary education institutions); organisations listed in the Fourth Schedule to the Public Finance Act 1989 (see below); and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

In addition to state services, the state sector includes tertiary education institutions, offices of parliament, state-owned enterprises and some departments not part of the state services.

The various agencies are listed below:

State services

Public service departments – Departments listed in the First Schedule to the State Sector Act 1988 make up the New Zealand Public Service. At 30 November 2005, there were 35 public service departments (‘departments’ in terms of the act irrespective of their individual designation as a ‘department’, a ‘ministry’ or any other title):

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry –

  • Archives New Zealand –

  • Department of Building and Housing –

  • Department of Child, Youth and Family Services –

  • Department of Conservation –

  • Department of Corrections –

  • Crown Law Office –

  • Ministry for Culture and Heritage –

  • New Zealand Customs Service –

  • Ministry of Defence –

  • Ministry of Economic Development –

  • Ministry of Education –

  • Education Review Office –

  • Ministry for the Environment –

  • Ministry of Fisheries –

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade –

  • Government Communications Security Bureau –

  • Ministry of Health –

  • Inland Revenue Department –

  • Department of Internal Affairs –

  • Ministry of Justice –

  • Department of Labour –

  • Land Information New Zealand –

  • Ministry of Maori Development –

  • National Library of New Zealand –

  • Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs –

  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet –

  • Ministry of Research, Science and Technology –

  • Serious Fraud Office –

  • Ministry of Social Development –

  • State Services Commission –

  • Statistics New Zealand –

  • Ministry of Transport –

  • The Treasury –

  • Ministry of Women's Affairs –

At 30 June 2005, the number of staff (calculated on a full-time equivalent basis) employed in public service departments was 38,032, compared with 33,129 at 30 June 2003 and 30,355 at 30 June 2001. When reform of the state sector began in the 1980s, about 70,000 people were permanent employees in government departments. Many jobs in government departments have shifted to Crown entities, state-owned enterprises or the private sector. The public service today is characterised by relatively small departments, which have defined roles in policy advice, service delivery, regulatory or sectoral funding functions. Some bigger departments perform a combination of roles.

Non public service departments – A small number of agencies are departments in terms of the Public Finance Act 1989, but are not listed in the First Schedule to the State Sector Act 1988 and, consequently, are not part of the public service. At 30 November 2005, there were four such departments:

  • New Zealand Defence Force –

  • New Zealand Police –

  • New Zealand Security Intelligence Service –

  • Parliamentary Counsel Office –

Crown entities – These are organisations included in one of the five categories of Crown entities defined in Section 7 of the Crown Entities Act 2004:

  • Statutory entities (further subdivided into Crown agents, autonomous Crown entities and independent Crown entities).

  • Crown entity companies.

  • Crown entity subsidiaries.

  • School boards of trustees.

  • Tertiary education institutions.

Crown entities make up a significant part of the state services and include a wide variety of statutory corporations, statutory boards and authorities, corporations sole, Crown companies and subsidiaries. The Crown Entities Act 2004 establishes comprehensive provisions for establishment and accountability of Crown entities, their operations and reporting and financial obligations. At 30 November 2005, Crown entities in the state services included:

  • Eighty-three statutory entities.

  • Forty-six Crown agents, including 21 district health boards.

  • Twenty-two autonomous Crown entities.

  • Fifteen independent Crown entities.

  • Twelve Crown entity companies, including nine Crown Research Institutes.

  • Approximately 135 Crown entity subsidiaries.

  • Approximately 2,470 school boards of trustees.

Organisations listed in the Fourth Schedule to the Public Finance Act 1989 – These are agencies included in state services for which the full governance, accountability and reporting obligations of the Crown Entities Act 2004 would not be suitable. They include reserves boards, fish and game councils, a small number of trusts and other organisations.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand – The bank is a stand-alone organisation included in the state services. It does not come under any other specific category or type of organisation within the state services.

State sector

In addition to all state services, the state sector covers the following agencies that are also part of the government reporting entity under the Public Finance Act 1989:

Non public service departments – Two departments are considered outside the state services because their roles are supportive of the legislative branch of government, rather than executive government.

They are part of the state sector as departments under the Public Finance Act 1989:

  • Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives –

  • Parliamentary Services –

Tertiary education institutions – These institutions are one of the five categories of Crown entities defined in the Crown Entities Act 2004, but are explicitly excluded from the definition of state services in the State Sector Act 1988. At 30 November 2005, there were 33 such institutions comprising eight universities, 20 polytechnics/institutes of technology, two colleges of education and three wānanga.

Offices of parliament – The Office of the Ombudsmen, the Office of the Controller and Auditor-General and the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment are not part of the executive branch of the government, as their primary function is to provide a check on the executive's use of power and resources. In doing so, they perform functions that the House of Representatives itself could carry out if it so wished.

State-owned enterprises – These are companies listed in the First Schedule to the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986 that operate on commercial lines and that are companies under the Companies Act 1993. Their objective is to be as profitable and as efficient as comparable businesses that are not owned by the Crown, and to exhibit a sense of social responsibility. The government may purchase services from SOEs, but generally will do so on the same basis as other purchasers. The government's interest in SOEs is substantially in their ownership. The government's interest in SOEs is supported by the Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit, a unit attached to the Treasury. At 30 November 2005, there were 18 state-owned enterprises:

  • Agriquality New Zealand Limited –

  • Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited –

  • Animal Control Products Limited –

  • Asure New Zealand Limited –

  • Electricity Corporation of New Zealand Limited –

  • Genesis Power Limited –

  • Landcorp Farming Limited –

  • Learning Media Limited –

  • Meridian Energy Limited –

  • Meteorological Service of New Zealand –

  • Mighty River Power Limited –

  • New Zealand Post Limited –

  • New Zealand Railways Corporation –

  • Quotable Value Limited –

  • Solid Energy New Zealand Limited –

  • Timberlands West Coast Limited –

  • Transmission Holdings Limited

  • Transpower New Zealand Limited –

Air New Zealand Limited is also included in the annual financial statements of the government for disclosure purposes as if it were a state-owned enterprise.

State Services Commissioner

The Office of State Services Commissioner is central to New Zealand's politically neutral permanent public service.

The commissioner has two separate roles. As holder of a statutory office, the commissioner acts independently in a range of matters concerning operation of the public service, state services and the wider state sector. As Chief Executive of the State Services Commission, the commissioner is also responsible to the Minister of State Services for the commission's capability and performance.

The commissioner is appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the prime minister.

The Office of State Services Commissioner descends directly from the Public Service Commission, established in 1912 to employ all public servants, thus protecting the public service from political interference and preserving its political neutrality. The commissioner no longer employs all public servants, but in his employment of chief executives of public service departments, he continues to act as a buffer between ministers and the public service.

In addition to employing public service chief executives and reviewing their performance, the commissioner undertakes a variety of functions relating to departmental performance.

Other responsibilities of the commissioner in relation to the wider state sector include:

  • Promoting and developing policies and standards for personnel administration and equal employment opportunities in the public service.

  • Promoting and developing senior leadership and management capability in the public service.

  • Providing advice on management systems, structures and organisations within the public service and Crown entities.

  • Setting minimum standards of integrity and conduct for the public service, most Crown entities and some other agencies.

  • Advising the government on the structure of the state sector, including allocation of functions among agencies.

  • Negotiating collective employment agreements applicable to employees of government departments and to employees of the education service. These responsibilities have been delegated by the commissioner to departmental chief executives and to the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Education.

The State Services Commission, with the support of other central agencies and the government, launched Development Goals for New Zealand's State Services in March 2005. The goals were developed following passage of new state sector legislation and focus on performance and quality within the state services as a whole. The commission is responsible for driving the goals’ work programmes. Table 3.09 lists chief executives of government departments at 1 April 2006.

Table 3.09. Chief executives of government departments1


1As at 1 April 2006

Source: State Services Commission

Ministry of Agriculture and ForestryChief Executive and Director-GeneralMurray Sherwin
Archives New ZealandChief Archivist and Chief Executive.Dianne Macaskill
Department of Building and HousingChief ExecutiveKatrina Bach
Department of Child, Youth and Family ServicesChief ExecutivePaula Tyler
Department of ConservationDirector-General and Chief ExecutiveHugh Logan
Department of CorrectionsChief ExecutiveBarry Matthews
Crown Law OfficeSolicitor-General and Chief ExecutiveTerence Arnold QC
Ministry for Culture and HeritageChief ExecutiveMartin Matthews
Ministry of DefenceSecretary of Defence and Chief ExecutiveGraham Fortune
Ministry of Economic DevelopmentChief ExecutiveGeoff Dangerfield
Ministry of EducationSecretary of Education and Chief ExecutiveHoward Fancy
Education Review OfficeChief Review Officer and Chief ExecutiveKaren Sewell
Ministry for the EnvironmentSecretary for the Environment and Chief ExecutiveBarry Carbon
Ministry of FisheriesChief ExecutiveDr John Glaister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and TradeSecretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Chief ExecutiveSimon Murdoch
Government Communications Security BureauDirectorDr Warren Tucker
Ministry of HealthDirector-General and Chief ExecutiveDr Karen Poutasi
Inland Revenue DepartmentCommissioner of Inland Revenue and Chief ExecutiveDavid Butler
Department of Internal AffairsSecretary for Internal Affairs and Chief ExecutiveChristopher Blake
Ministry of JusticeSecretary of Justice and Chief ExecutiveBelinda Clark
Department of LabourSecretary of Labour and Chief ExecutiveDr James Buwalda
Land Information NZChief ExecutiveBrendan Boyle
Ministry of Māori Development Te Puni KōkiriChief ExecutiveLeith Comer
National LibraryChief ExecutivePenny Carnaby
New Zealand Customs ServiceComptroller and Chief ExecutiveMartyn Dunne
Ministry of Pacific Island AffairsChief ExecutiveFuimaono Les McCarthy
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.Chief ExecutiveMaarten Wevers
Ministry of Research, Science and TechnologyChief ExecutiveDr Helen Anderson
Serious Fraud OfficeDirector and Chief ExecutiveDavid Bradshaw
Ministry of Social DevelopmentChief ExecutivePeter Hughes
State Services CommissionState Services CommissionerDr Mark Prebble
Statistics New ZealandGovernment Statistician and Chief ExecutiveBrian Pink
Ministry of TransportSecretary of Transport and Chief ExecutiveDr Robin Dunlop
The TreasurySecretary to the Treasury and Chief ExecutiveJohn Whitehead
Ministry of Women's AffairsActing Chief ExecutiveShenagh Gleisner

Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit

The increasing number and diversity of limited liability companies owned by the Crown led to establishment of the Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit (CCMAU) in 1993 to monitor the performance of these entities.

CCMAU advises and supports primarily the Minister for State-owned Enterprises and the Minister for Crown Research Institutes. Shareholding ministers of other Crown companies (such as Television New Zealand Ltd, Radio New Zealand Ltd, Animal Control Products Ltd and three airport companies) also receive advice from the unit in its role as monitor of the Crown's ownership interest.

Advice to another shareholding minister, the Minister of Finance, is provided by the Treasury directly, while the Treasury and CCMAU also prepare joint reports for shareholding ministers.

One of CCMAU's chief functions is provision of advice on development of corporate intent targets and monitoring performance of Crown companies against those targets. Other functions include provision of advice on company restructuring, expansion, diversification and divestment plans; management of ownership issues; and identification of prospective directors and advice on director remuneration.

The unit, while independent for advice purposes, is attached to the Treasury for administrative purposes.

Controller and Auditor-General

The Controller and Auditor-General is an officer of parliament appointed by the governor-general under the Public Audit Act 2001. The position is independent of the executive government and only the governor-general, upon an address from the House of Representatives, can end tenure.

The constitutionally important ‘controller’ function, as set out in the Public Finance Act 1989, is to act as a monitor on behalf of parliament and to control issues of money from the Crown bank account. The auditor-general has to be satisfied that all issues from the account for the government's expenditure requirements are within 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.

In certain circumstances, the auditor-general may prevent the issue of money.

The auditor-general audits the financial statements of government departments, local authorities and most government-controlled corporations, boards and companies, and plays a key part in ensuring adequate accountability by these organisations.

The auditor-general also conducts periodic performance audits to ascertain whether public entities are carrying out their activities effectively and efficiently and are complying with their statutory obligations.

If shortcomings are discovered during an audit, the principal recourse of the auditor-general is to report to the management of the organisation, to a minister, or to parliament and its select committees.

Official information

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

  • Increase 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 their information is now governed by the Privacy Act 1993).

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

With the exception of the Parliamentary Counsel Service, the Official Information Act 1982 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.

Requests for access to official information can be made by a corporation sole and by a body of people, whether corporate or not. Protection of the privacy of natural persons may be overturned if it is in the public interest to make information available.

Among criteria to be considered when judging whether information should be withheld are whether, if the information were released, it would 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 to release information. This investigation is private and free. The formal recommendation of an ombudsman is binding unless overridden by the governor-general by order-in-council.


The principal function of ombudsmen is to enquire into complaints relating to administrative decisions of government departments and related organisations, hospitals and health authorities.

Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975, there is provision for the appointment of a Chief Ombudsman and one or more ombudsmen in temporary or permanent positions as independent officers of parliament.

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

At the local government level, the ombudsman reports his finding to the organisation and provides a copy to the mayor or chairperson.

Ombudsmen also investigate recommendations made to ministers by government departments, organisations or employees. Similarly, they look into recommendations made to local body councils or boards by any committee, subcommittee, officer, employee or member.

Ombudsmen are also responsible for investigating complaints about decisions for the request of official information.

Under the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, ombudsmen can provide guidance and information to employees who have made, or who are considering making, a protected disclosure pursuant to the act, and they fulfil the ‘appropriate authority’ requirements of the act.

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 avenues of administrative redress.

Table 3.10 details complaints to the ombudsmen for the year ending 30 June 2005.

Table 3.1. Complaints to the ombudsmen
Year ending 30 June 2005

ActionOmbudsmen Act 1975Official Information Act 1982Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

nil or zero

Source: Office of the Ombudsmen

Declined, no jurisdiction4231
Declined or discontinued (section 17)4344929
Resolved in course of investigation15817331
Sustained, recommendation made41
Sustained, no recommendation made142
Not sustained7211213
Formal investigation not undertaken, but explanation, advice or assistance given3,86234872
Complaints transferred to   
        Privacy Commissioner10272
        Health and Disability Commissioner1
        Police Complaints Authority9
Still under investigation at 30 June49120742
          Total 20044,220973194

Privacy commissioner

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner Te Mana Matapono Matatapu, whose functions are set out in the Privacy Act 1993, is independent of the executive and of parliament. One of the main purposes of the office is to promote and protect individual privacy.

The act establishes 12 information privacy principles and four public register privacy principles. The principles apply to both public and private sectors and are subject to other laws.

Information privacy principles cover collection, security, use and disclosure of personal information, access to and correction of personal information, and assignment and use of unique identifiers.

Public register privacy principles place some controls on the availability of public register information and its subsequent use.

The privacy commissioner performs a general watchdog role over privacy, making public statements and reporting on a range of issues affecting individual privacy. The commissioner examines new legislation and appears before parliamentary select committees considering bills.

The privacy commissioner has the power to issue codes of practice which may modify privacy principles by setting different standards. Codes replace the principles in particular contexts. Two major industry codes issued by the commissioner are the Health Information Privacy Code 1994 and the Credit Reporting Privacy Code 2004.

The commissioner oversees the operation of statutory information-matching programmes in the public sector. Information matching is the process by which government agencies compare databases of personal records to establish, for example, entitlement to services, or instances of benefit fraud. The act requires that an affected individual be given notice before adverse action is taken as a result of a match.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner investigates complaints about breaches of privacy. The investigation process emphasises low-level dispute resolution and conciliation between parties. If a complaint cannot be settled, the commissioner may refer it to the Director of Human Rights Proceedings, who may bring proceedings before the Human Rights Review Tribunal. Alternatively, aggrieved people may bring proceedings on their own behalf before the tribunal. The tribunal has the power to award remedies, including declarations, orders, damages and costs. In the year ending 30 June 2005, the privacy commissioner referred 13 complaints to the Director of Human Rights Proceedings.

The Official Information Act 1982 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 require the ombudsmen to consult with the commissioner on official information access requests where privacy is a possible ground for withholding information. In the year ending 30 June 2005, 43 formal consultations under the two acts were completed.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner's website is

Table 3.11 details complaints made to the privacy commissioner in recent years.

Table 3.11. Complaints to the privacy commissioner
Years ending 30 June

Source: Office of the Privacy Commissioner
New complaints received8811,044928934721
Complaints current at start of year9661,0411,0391,052818
Number of complaints under process1,8472,0851,9671,9861,539
Number of complaints closed during year8061,0499151,168970
        No jurisdiction3616235640
        Complaints resolved without final opinion654901747848683
        Final opinion116132145264247

Human rights

The Human Rights Act 1993 makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment; access to places, vehicles and facilities; provision of goods and services; provision of land, housing and other accommodation; and access to education. Other forms of discrimination made unlawful by the act include racial disharmony, racial harassment, sexual harassment and victimisation. Both the public and private sectors are subject to the act.

There are 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 act also defines a number of circumstances where discrimination is not unlawful. These exemptions allow a practice to occur that would normally be discriminatory.

The Human Rights Commission, which from 2002 has included the former Office of the Race Relations Conciliator, is an independent Crown entity. Its primary functions are to:

  • Advocate and promote respect for, and an understanding and appreciation of, human rights.

  • Encourage maintenance and development of harmonious relations between individuals and among the diverse groups in New Zealand society.

  • Mediate disputes relating to unlawful discrimination.

The commission has developed a National Plan of Action for Human Rights and also promotes a better understanding of the human rights aspects of the Treaty of Waitangi and their relationship with domestic and international human rights law.

All human rights complaints regarding government activities – other than employment and sexual and racial harassment – are tested against the anti-discrimination standard set out in the act, which provides that government or public sector activities that discriminate will be exempt if they are reasonable, lawful and demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society.

The commission acts as first port-of-call for those who wish to make a discrimination complaint, and assists parties to resolve complaints using either mediation or other low-level means of resolving disputes.

Commission staff work with parties to try to reach a settlement, which may include an apology, an agreement not to discriminate in the future and/or compensation.

If lower level dispute resolution is not appropriate or possible, a complainant may approach the Director of Human Rights Proceedings for possible litigation assistance. Complainants may also take their own litigation or engage their own legal counsel and bring their case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

If the tribunal upholds a complaint, a wide range of remedies is available, such as damages and orders of specific performance.

When a complaint concerns legislation or validly-made regulations, and the complaint is upheld, the sole remedy available is a declaration of inconsistency. While this does not invalidate the legislation, the responsible minister is required to bring the tribunal's declaration to the attention of the House of Representatives, along with the executive's response.

There are appeal rights from the tribunal to the High Court.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) is an independent officer of parliament with wide-ranging powers to investigate environmental concerns. The PCE's main aim is to maintain and improve the quality of New Zealand's environment, with the central focus on environmental sustainability – how New Zealand can live within the ecological limits of the planet today and into the future.

The office has five key roles:

  • Checking the integrity of environmental management regimes.

  • Auditing the environmental performance of public agencies.

  • Providing information about the environment to groups and individuals.

  • Offering information and advice to parliamentary select committees.

  • Advocating for preventative measures and remedial actions to protect the environment.

The commissioner has powers to investigate and report on any matter where the environment may be, or has been, adversely affected. However, he does not have the power to make any binding rulings and nor can he reverse decisions made by public authorities.

The commissioner's strategic plan for 2003–2007 focuses on three broad areas: legislation and policies that impact on environmental sustainability; ecosystems at risk; and the environmental performance of public authorities.

Major reports in 2004/05 included Growing for Good, on intensive farming and New Zealand's natural capital; Missing Links, on connecting science with environmental policy; and Future Currents, which outlines electricity scenarios for New Zealand 2005–2050. Subjects of current investigation include transport, coastal waters and estuaries, the future of wind power, and distributed energy from dispersed and local sources.

In the year ending 30 June 2005, the PCE responded to 223 requests for information and advice, or to issues of concern raised by individuals and groups.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment website is

Table 3.12 lists reports and papers produced by the commissioner since 2000.

Table 3.12. Reports and papers by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Years ending 30 June

Source: Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Investigation reports323735819092
Information transfer papers or presentations242291189147185155

Public Trust

Public Trust, the first organisation of its kind in the world, was launched in 1873 by an act of parliament to provide New Zealanders with the opportunity of writing a will, thereby decreasing the number of intestacies, and to provide executor and trustee services.

Before its inception, problems had arisen with unscrupulous individuals cheating beneficiaries out of their inheritances.

The Public Trust Act 2001 constituted Public Trust as a statutory corporation and Crown entity with effect from 1 March 2002. It is the statutory successor to the former corporation sole, the Public Trustee and the former government department, the Public Trust Office. Public Trust is subject to the accountability and reporting arrangements applicable to statutory entities under the Crown Entities Act 2004.

Public Trust is owned by the Crown and is governed by a board accountable to the Minister Responsible for Public Trust and, in addition in respect of certain matters, to the Minister of Finance. The board appoints the chief executive.

Principal function of Public Trust is provision of comprehensive estate management and administration services, including associated legal, financial and other services. In addition, Public Trust performs a range of public and social functions under other legislation, or as agreed with the minister.

Private trust management and administration services provided by Public Trust include estates of people who die with or without leaving a will; affairs of living people either on a voluntary basis or as a result of incapacity; a wide range of family and charitable trusts; and associated activities such as preparation of wills, trust instruments, tax returns and undertaking conveyancing transactions.

Corporate trust management and administration services provided by Public Trust include acting as trustee for unit trusts, group investment or superannuation funds; as supervisor required under securities or other legislation in respect of publicly offered or available securities; and a range of other public fiduciary, stakeholder or custodial roles.

Public Trust acts independently in respect of all client matters. Its governing legislation requires that when managing and administering estates and in fulfilling any other fiduciary obligations, it act in an independent manner, free from any instruction or direction from its owner, the Crown.

With 36 full-time outlets throughout New Zealand, Public Trust administers about 50,000 estates, trusts, funds and agencies. In its private trust roles, Public Trust manages approximately $2 billion worth of assets, of which $1 billion are wholesale funds and the remainder direct investments, including residential property.

In its corporate trust roles, Public Trust has a supervisory or trustee responsibility in relation to approximately $11 billion worth of assets. Public Trust also holds the statutorily-required deposits of insurance companies.

Most Public Trust activities are commercial in nature, but it is also required to provide a number of statutory services that may not be income earning. These are of a regulatory, quasi-judicial, trustee of last resort, trustee-guardian or representative (in the case of legal incapacity) nature. Non-commercial services undertaken at the request of the minister are funded by the Crown.

3.4 Local government

New Zealand has a system of local government largely independent of central government. The 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.

Boundaries of regions, cities and districts are usually defined by the Local Government Commission or the Minister of Local Government

Six special purpose authorities are constituted under their own acts.

Local authorities have their own sources of income, independent of central government, with the basic source (apart from income from trading activities) local taxes on landed property (rates). Rates are set by local authorities themselves, subject to the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002.

Several important statutes apply not only to local authorities as defined in the Local Government Act 2002, 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 Electoral Act 2001.

Local authorities derive their functions and powers not only from local government legislation, but from numerous other acts, such as the Resource Management Act 1991, the Transit New Zealand Act 1989 and the Building Act 2004.

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 to their electorates through triennial local elections.

Legislation includes numerous provisions for local authorities to give public notice and receive public submissions before making certain important decisions. Local authorities may also come under the scrutiny of ombudsmen, the Controller and Auditor-General and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. 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.

The Minister of Local Government may appoint a review authority when it is considered there has been serious mismanagement by a local authority and may require the local authority to implement the review authority's recommendations.

Local government organisation

New Zealand has 12 regional councils, 73 territorial authorities, 144 community boards and six special authorities.

The Local Government Act 2002 holds as central recognition of the existence of different communities in New Zealand, their separate identities and values, and the effective participation of local people in local government.

Local authorities are required by statute to conduct their affairs in an open and proper manner, to separate their regulatory and non-regulatory activities and to adequately inform local communities of their activities. Emphasis is placed on setting objectives and measuring performance.

Local authorities are permitted to corporatise or privatise their trading activities and may put out the delivery of services to competitive tender as an alternative to using in-house business units.

Table 3.13 lists regional councils, territorial authorities and numbers of councillors.

Table 3.13. Territorial authorities and councillors

Cities/districtNumber of councillors1Council type

1Figures include mayors.

2Unitary authority (city or district council and regional council responsibilities).

3Trading name of Manawatu/Wanganui Regional Council.

Source: Local Government New Zealand

Central Hawke's Bay11District
Central Otago14District
Chatham Islands9Council
Environment Bay of Plenty12Regional
Environment Canterbury14Regional
Environment Southland9Regional
Environment Waikato14Regional
Far North11District
Greater Wellington13Regional
Hawke's Bay9Regional
Hutt City12City
Kapiti Coast15District
New Plymouth17District
Cities/districtsNumber of councillors1Council type
North Shore16City
Palmerston North16City
South Taranaki13District
South Waikato11District
South Wairarapa10District
Upper Hutt11City
West Coast6Regional
Western Bay of Plenty13District

Regional councils. Regional councils are directly elected, set their own rates and have a chairperson elected by their members. Their main functions are matters under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act; the control of pests and noxious plants; harbour regulations and marine pollution control; regional aspects of civil defence; an overview of transport planning; and control of passenger transport operators. Some regional councils also have other functions, such as those formerly undertaken by land drainage boards.

Territorial authorities. New Zealand's 73 territorial authorities consist of 16 city councils, 56 district councils and the Chatham Islands Council. Territorial authorities 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 and 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 either be constituted by Order in Council giving effect to a determination of the Local Government Commission, or 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, is a distinct entity and a major centre of activity within the region.

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

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 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). Boards have between four and 12 members.

Local authority functions. The Local Government Act 2002 provides that the purpose of local government is to enable democratic local decision making and action, by and on behalf of local communities to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and for the future. The act lets regional councils and territorial authorities carry out any activity they consider appropriate for their region or district in the context of the purpose of local government. Prior to 2002, local authorities were permitted to carry out only those activities specifically allowed by statute.

Special purpose local authorities

The number of special purpose local authorities was greatly reduced following local government reform in 1989.

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, territorial authorities.

Categories remaining include scenic and recreation boards. There are also some one-off authorities, such as the Aotea Centre Board of Management, the Canterbury Museum Trust Board, the Council of the Auckland Institute and Museum, the Otago Museum Trust Board, the Masterton Lands Trust and the Greytown Lands Trust.

More than half a million voting papers will be distributed for the 2007 local government elections in October.

Local government elections

Local government elections are held on the second Saturday in October every third year. The next elections will be in 2007.

All regional council, territorial authority, special purpose local authority and community board elections are conducted at the same time.

At least once every six years, in the year before an election, regional and territorial authorities are required to review the number of members, the number and size of their electorates and whether or not community boards should be established.

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 wards, from the district as a whole, or a mixture of both. 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. When necessary, final decisions are made by the Local Government Commission.

Voting procedures. Although postal voting is now universal, any territorial authority may decide whether an election is to be conducted by attendance at a polling booth or by post. 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. The voting system currently used is ‘first past the post’, except for district health boards and nine local authorities who use the single transferable vote (STV) system. Other local authorities have the option of using STV at future elections.

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. Ratepayers who are not residents are entitled to enrol and vote in any region, district or community in which they pay rates. Rolls are compiled by territorial authorities, who usually compile rolls and conduct elections for other authorities as well. 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 timing of the vacancy.

Remuneration. 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. Maximum and minimum salary and allowance levels are set by the Remuneration Authority, giving the council or board the discretion to decide the actual rate within prescribed limits.

Local Government Commission

The Local Government Commission consists of 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 objections relating to ward and membership proposals of a local authority following a representation review; and proposals for the constitution of communities.

Secondly, the commission has responsibilities relating to 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 report on them to the Minister of Local Government.

The Local Government Act 2002 also requires the commission to review and report to the Minister of Local Government on the operation of that act and the Local Electoral Act 2001. It must report to the minister as soon as practicable after the 2007 elections.

Local government finance

Most of New Zealand's local authorities separate their activities into regulatory-type functions and those run along the lines of normal businesses.

To facilitate this, councils have set up business units which compete with outside businesses for council contracts, such as those involving roading, works and maintenance, and refuse collection.

In addition to business units, councils often have shareholdings in electricity supply companies, as well as companies which operate ports, airports and bus transport.

Total value of the non-trading activities of all local authorities for the years 2000–05 are shown in Table 3.14.

Table 3.14. Local authority statistics – non-trading activities
Years ending 30 June1


1Covers all activities of local authorities not classified as trading activities, e.g. local government administration, provision of water supply, roading, parks and reserves, town planning and regulation.


3Rates, petroleum tax and fees and fines not available separately.

.. figures not available

Note:Figures may not add to stated totals due to rounding.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Operating income  $(million)  
        Rates (including water values)2,102.92,195.32,300.52,439.52,619.53,111.43
        Petroleum tax26.426.327.027.528.2..
        Grants, subsidies and levies398.7402.6444.4482.8555.7585.6
        Fees and fines174.9194.1199.9214.0246.5..
        Sales and other income712.4727.5748.0809.4874.4909.5
        Investment income334.3293.2420.4278.5301.7310.1
Operating expenditure
        Employee costs830.9839.7883.9950.71,029.61,111.4
        Purchases and other expenditure1,808.11,891.91,997.32,106.22,309.32,530.0
Surplus before non-operating items241.2230.7348.1225.4256.0121.6
        Net gains from non-operating items672.9247.5184.1375.2492.9..
Surplus after non-operating items914.1478.2532.2600.5748.9..
Additions to fixed assets1,249.91390.11,597.71,724.51,938.3..
Disposal of fixed assets131.4107.297.2235.1115.1..

3.5 National emblems and anthems

New Zealand coat of arms

The New Zealand Coat of Arms is protected under the Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act 1981.

Use of the coat of arms is restricted to the government and may not be used by private individuals or organisations.

The first quarter of the shield on the coat of arms depicts four stars as representative of the Southern Cross, then three ships symbolising the importance of New Zealand's sea trade. In the second quarter, a fleece represents the farming industry. The wheat sheaf in the third quarter represents the agricultural industry, while the crossed hammers in the fourth quarter represent the mining industry.

Supporters on either side of the shield consist of a Māori chieftain holding a taiaha (a Māori war weapon) and a European woman holding the New Zealand flag.

Surmounting the arms is the St Edward's Crown, used in the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II.

The crown symbolises the fact that the Queen is Queen of New Zealand under the New Zealand Royal Titles Act 1953.

New Zealand flag

The flag previously known as the New Zealand Ensign was declared the National Flag of New Zealand under the Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act 1981.

The New Zealand flag 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 represented by four five-pointed red stars with white borders.

The flag's royal blue background represents the blue sea and clear sky surrounding New Zealand.

The stars of the Southern Cross emphasise the country's location in the South Pacific.

The Union flag gives recognition to New Zealand's historical foundations and the fact that the country was once a British colony and dominion.


  • 3.1 Ministry of Justice; Statistics New Zealand; Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

  • 3.2 Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives; Cabinet Office; Chief Electoral Office.

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

  • 3.4 Local Government Commission; Local Government New Zealand; Statistics New Zealand.

  • 3.5 Ministry for Culture and Heritage.


    – Electoral Commission

– Institute of Policy Studies

– Law Commission

– Local Government New Zealand

– Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives

– Office of the Ombudsmen

– Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

– Parliamentary Counsel Office

– Parliamentary Service

– State Services Commission

– Ministry of Justice

– Department for Prime Minister and Cabinet

Chapter 4. International Relations and Defence

More than 800 personnel and 250 military vehicles took part in Exercise Silver Warrior in the lower central North Island in November 2005.

4.1 Relations with other countries

The New Zealand Government established the then Department of External Affairs and began stationing diplomatic representatives overseas in 1943. Today, New Zealand has diplomatic and consular representation in more than 40 countries, with multiple accreditation allowing New Zealand representatives to cover another 80 countries and states from their bases.

On behalf of the government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Te Manatū Aorere (MFAT) is responsible for all major policy functions related to New Zealand's external relations. The main thrust of the ministry's work is directed at management of New Zealand's bilateral relations with other countries, and with its interests in international institutions. Other functions include management of 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 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 operates and administers the diplomatic and consular posts that represent and pursue New Zealand's interests overseas. The posts perform services on behalf of all government departments, offer assistance to New Zealanders overseas, whether travelling in official or private capacities, and issue passports and visas overseas.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website is

The Pacific

The Pacific is a key area in New Zealand's international relations. New Zealand enjoys a close association with Pacific Island nations, with 10 diplomatic missions and consulates in the region and accreditation to a further six states and territories.

Special relationships exist 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 followed in 1974. Tokelau is a non self-governing territory of New Zealand. Cook Islanders, Niueans and Tokelauans are New Zealand citizens.

Trade with the Pacific is important to New Zealand. Exports totalled $941 million in the year ending 30 June 2005. Imports totalled $82 million, having dropped by 50 percent on the previous year largely as a result of oil companies no longer sourcing from Papua New Guinea.

Imports from Pacific countries have duty-free access on a non-reciprocal basis to New Zealand and Australian markets under the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA). Efforts are being made to promote imports from the Pacific, with increased NZAID support for the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commission in Auckland.

New Zealand has developed extensive links with Pacific regional organisations. It was a founding member of the South Pacific Forum, formed in 1971 to promote regional cooperation, particularly in trade and economic development. Renamed the Pacific Islands Forum in 1999, it now comprises 16 Pacific countries and provides an opportunity to discuss regional and international issues of interest to the region, such as regional security, environmental issues, fisheries and economic development. Pacific Islands Forum countries meet annually at heads of government level, with meetings throughout the year at ministerial and official levels to consider a variety of specific issues.

An important aspect of the forum's work is the annual Forum Economic Ministers’ 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. Forum trade ministers also meet at least once every two years to progress regional trade initiatives.

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) is an agreement covering all Pacific Islands Forum countries, including Australia and New Zealand, and represents an important step in New Zealand's relations with Pacific countries. It provides for the development of arrangements to achieve closer trade and economic integration in the Pacific region.

The Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), a free trade agreement among Pacific Islands Forum countries will, over a period of 10 years, lead to establishment of a free trade area among Pacific island states.

The importance of fisheries as an economic resource in the Pacific led to completion in September 2000 of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC). The convention is the first regional fisheries management arrangement to base itself on the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement and will lead to establishment of a broad-based fisheries management organisation in the Pacific region, including both coastal states and distant water fishing nations.

Other regional organisations of which New Zealand is a member include:

  • The Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), which assists members with management and conservation of the region's marine resources.

  • The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (formerly the South Pacific Commission), which helps promote economic and social development in the region through work in agriculture, marine resources, health, socio-economic and statistical services, and community education.

  • The South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), which focuses on protection and management of environmental resources.

  • The Pacific Forum Line (PFL), which facilitates regional trade through improved shipping links.

  • The South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), which assists in assessment, exploration and development of mineral and other non-living resources.

New Zealand has other links with the Pacific covering official development assistance, defence and disaster coordination. The France, Australia, New Zealand (FRANZ) arrangement is an important element in the provision of rapid emergency assistance to the region in the event of natural disasters, such as tropical cyclones.

The Pacific is also the area of New Zealand's primary aid focus. Nearly half of the New Zealand Agency for International Development's (NZAID) budget – about $110 million – goes towards development assistance in the Pacific.

NZAID has extensive bilateral relationships with countries in the Pacific and provides significant support for regional organisations such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the University of the South Pacific. Pacific regional programmes are divided into broad themes of health, education, law and justice, and the environment.

Security issues in the Pacific are characterised by internal and external security challenges stemming from factors including ethnic differences, economic disparities, land disputes and transnational crime. New Zealand has been involved extensively in regional efforts to resolve these security challenges, especially in Bougainville and the Solomon Islands. On Bougainville, New Zealand committed personnel to the Peace Monitoring Group (PMG 1998–2003) and the Bougainville Transitional Team (BTT–2003). New Zealand also contributes police and military personnel, as well as civilian staff, to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

Tahitian dancers welcome visitors to a Pacific Trade Expo in Auckland.

Regional cooperation in security matters has been centred on the Pacific Islands Forum and its regional security committee. A significant development was the Biketawa Declaration made by forum leaders in 2000 under which the forum secretary-general was assigned a specific role in monitoring possible sources of conflict and developing methods of dispute settlement and conflict avoidance to prevent their developing into open conflict.

Figure 4.01 shows where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has diplomatic and consular representation. The legend below also shows accreditations.

Figure 4.01. Overseas representation

Overseas representation


New Zealand's closest partnership is with Australia. The relationship is central to New Zealand's trade and economic interests, its defence, security and foreign policy interests, and to the country's overall economic and social well-being.

The political framework for management of the relationship includes regular dedicated meetings between the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia, between Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Finance and Ministers of Defence, and the annual Closer Economic Relations Ministerial Forum comprising key trade and economic ministers.

Complementing these meetings, around 80 business and community leaders from both countries – including relevant senior ministers and opposition spokespeople – meet annually as the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum.

New Zealand is represented in Australia by a high commission in Canberra and consulates-general in Sydney and Melbourne.

The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement (TTTA) enables New Zealand citizens to travel, live and work in Australia, and Australian residents to receive similar access to New Zealand.

A social security agreement negotiated with Australia, covering superannuation and severe disability, came into effect on 1 July 2002. This preserves the ability of New Zealanders to live and work in Australia (and vice versa) under the TTTA, while allowing both governments to determine their own policies regarding access to all other social welfare benefits.

There are more than 400,000 New Zealanders living in Australia and about 55,000 Australians in New Zealand. More than a million New Zealanders and 800,000 Australians cross the Tasman on short-term visits each year.

Australia is New Zealand's most important trading partner and New Zealand is Australia's number one market for elaborately-transformed goods and the fourth largest individual export market.

The Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA or CER), signed in 1983, and its associated arrangements and agreements, is the main instrument governing trade and economic relations between the two countries. The economies of the two countries have become increasingly integrated since signing of the agreement, with complete free trade in goods achieved five years ahead of schedule, on 1 July 1990. The 1988 CER Protocol on Services provides for free trade in nearly all services sectors.

The CER relationship also addresses a range of non-tariff measures, such as customs requirements, standards, business law regulations and occupational registration requirements. A Joint Food Standards Treaty was signed in 1995 and, in December 2002, the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code took effect.

In 1998, CER was further expanded to include the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement and, in 2000, an agreement on coordination of business law was signed.

The 1996 Single Aviation Market Arrangement was expanded in 2000 to an ‘open skies’ agreement.

In 2003, New Zealand and Australia signed an agreement to establish a joint therapeutics products agency.

The focus is now on reforms that seek to progress development of the relationship to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment – a Single Economic Market (SEM).

Australia is also New Zealand's closest and most important security partner. The alliance with Australia, founded in the Canberra Pact (1944), formalised in the ANZUS Treaty (1952) and finding current expression in the Closer Defence Relations concept, as confirmed in 2003, remains central to New Zealand's defence policies. Both governments are committed to achieving the highest possible level of interoperability with each other, while acknowledging the need for each to meet its own defence priorities. Australia and New Zealand have worked together closely and effectively in East Timor, Bougainville and the Solomon Islands.


New Zealand has a long association with Asia, dating back to its military involvement in the region during World War II and, later, the Korean War. New Zealand was a founding member of the Colombo Plan and contributed significant levels of development assistance to many Asian countries throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

With the reindustrialisation of Japan and the rapid development of a number of Asian economies in the post-war period, the Asian region offered New Zealand new markets for its exports as Britain moved to join the European Economic Community in the early 1970s.

In the year ending 30 June 2005, Asia took 34 percent of New Zealand's exports and provided nearly 38 percent of imports.

Trade in tourism and education services has been increasing rapidly, especially with the large economies of North Asia. In recent years, China has emerged as a significant economic player in its own right and is now New Zealand's fourth largest trading partner. There are also significant flows of direct investment between Asia and New Zealand.

New Zealand invests considerable resources in developing closer political relations with neighbours in the Asian region and it is represented by a network of offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Dili, Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, New Delhi, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Establishment of the Asia 2000 Foundation in 1991 (renamed the Asia New Zealand Foundation in 2004) has seen New Zealand's relations with Asia expand beyond the trade and economic prism. Support for a wide range of cultural, academic and business engagements, including an extensive research programme, has helped promote closer ties with Asia. New Zealand's increasing Asian orientation has also resulted in greater numbers of people from Asia coming to New Zealand to holiday, study, work or live.

The Auckland region has become the focus of New Zealand's Asian community, with one in eight residents there now of Asian descent.

At the political level, New Zealand is one of the original dialogue partners of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and cooperates with members on a range of regional trade facilitation and economic development activities.

A New Zealand Red Cross worker tends to a patient in an Indonesian field hospital following the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami.

In July 2005, New Zealand acceded formally to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, signalling a commitment to closer engagement with ASEAN and with Asia more generally.

New Zealand's participation in the inaugural East Asia Summit in Malaysia in December 2005 was a further step in building a deeper, more inclusive relationship with the region, as were negotiations on an ASEAN-Australia/New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) launched at the ASEAN and Australia/New Zealand Leaders Summit in November 2004.

In the security arena, New Zealand takes part in the ASEAN Regional Forum, which provides ministers from throughout the Asia/Pacific region with an opportunity to focus collectively on regional security issues.

New Zealand is also a member of the Five Power Defence Arrangement, which brings together Malaysia, Singapore, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.


United States. New Zealand's relationship with the United States is one of its most important. Shared values underpin close government and private sector contacts across a broad range of bilateral, regional and multilateral activities. The United States is one of New Zealand's key economic partners. 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 long standing and close on issues such as international and regional security, human rights, environmental matters and Antarctic scientific research.

Canada. New Zealand and Canada enjoy a positive and close relationship, based on shared Commonwealth, United Nations 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 New Zealand's agricultural products, particularly beef.

Latin America. Development of New Zealand's relationships with Latin America takes place in the context of its Latin America Strategy, in place since 2000. The strategy's aim is to increase links between New Zealand and the region in three broad areas: political and diplomatic; economic and trade; and people-to-people. The strategy is supported by a fund of $250,000 a year – the Latin America Strategy Fund (LASF) – to encourage people-to-people links in particular. The strategy focuses on six priority countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. The two most significant developments in the five years following the strategy's implementation were signing of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership agreement with Chile (as well as Singapore and Brunei), which has lifted the relationship with Chile to a new level; and establishment of a Joint Experts Group with Mexico, New Zealand's largest trade partner in the region, to advance trade and economic liberalisation. Other developments included conclusion of working holiday agreements with Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, and a considerable increase in cultural links. Latin American countries also cooperate with New Zealand in a range of multilateral areas, including trade, the environment, Antarctica, disarmament and fisheries.

Caribbean. New Zealand's relationship with the Caribbean is based largely on membership of the Commonwealth, of which many Caribbean states are members. Beyond this, New Zealand's relationship with the Caribbean is underpinned by direct people-to-people links, such as tourism.


European Union. The European Union (EU) is a major political and economic entity and a significant player in world affairs. It admitted 10 new members on 1 May 2004 to become a community of 25 states. New Zealand and the EU enjoy a broad and wide-ranging relationship. The EU is New Zealand's second largest trading partner after Australia, a significant source of tourists and an important source of investment. New Zealand, the EU and its constituent member states cooperate on many international issues, particularly at the multilateral level. Twice-yearly political consultations are held at ministerial level with the revolving EU presidency and the European Commission. Contact with the European Commission in Brussels, and also with the European Parliament, is critical to maintaining New Zealand's trade access to Europe. The EU is the largest market for a broad range of primary produce, including sheepmeat, wool, butter, kiwifruit, apples and venison. It is also the most important market for New Zealand's wine exports. Successful negotiations during the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Uruguay Round resulted in a significant improvement in both the volume and overall stability of New Zealand's access to this market. New Zealand also has important relationships with the EU's individual member states, particularly its strong historical ties with the United Kingdom. Enlargement of the EU in May 2004 to encompass the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltics has resulted in increased contacts between New Zealand and these countries.

A New Zealand embassy was opened in Warsaw in January 2005 in order to further support development of these relationships. New Zealand has embassies or consulates in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rome, The Hague and Warsaw and a high commission in London. These posts are cross-accredited to all other EU member states, including those admitted in 2004.

Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Trade remains the central component of New Zealand's relationship with the states that made up the former Soviet Union, the Russian Federation being the principal partner. The long-term potential for trade with some regions, notably the Russian far east, is strong. New Zealand cooperates with Russia on a range of international issues in regional bodies such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation organisation and the Association of South-East Asian Nations Regional Forum. It is heavily involved in negotiations for the accession of Russia to the World Trade Organisation. New Zealand has an embassy in Moscow, which is accredited to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. In 2001, a new honorary consulate was opened in Vladivostok to cover New Zealand's interests in the Russian far east.

Middle East and North Africa

Events in the Middle East in the opening years of the 21st century have had a greater impact on the international community than at any time since the oil shocks of the 1970s.

New Zealand has shown its commitment to stability in the Middle East through the provision of monitors and peacekeepers for more than 50 years. In recent years, New Zealand personnel have served with United Nations (UN) assistance missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the UN Truce Supervision Mission in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. New Zealand has also contributed to UN-endorsed regional support missions, including the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. New Zealand makes direct contributions to support reconstruction and humanitarian activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Arab-Israeli conflict. The Arab-Israeli conflict continues to be a major threat to stability in the Middle East. New Zealand maintains a balanced approach to the conflict and has consistently urged both sides to re-engage in the Roadmap for Peace process. New Zealand upholds Israel's right to exist within secure and recognised borders and also considers that Palestinians have the right to self-determination and to a viable and territorially contiguous state. New Zealand contributes $300,000 annually to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). A new allocation of $1 million will be channelled through the Public Financial Management Reform Trust Fund for the West Bank and Gaza in support of reconstruction and basic services projects; and to the United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF) Relief Appeal.

Food and reconstruction tools had to be carried in by donkey as a New Zealand Defence Force unit brought help to a village in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, devastated by floods.

Iraq. New Zealand did not support the military invasion of Iraq, but it backed the United Nations-mandated political process of restoring to Iraqis the power to determine their own future. New Zealand welcomed the transfer of sovereignty from the Coalition Provisional Authority to the Interim Iraqi Government in June 2004 and the outcome of the 30 January 2005 election of a Transitional National Assembly. Ratification of the Iraqi Constitution in October 2005 paved the way for national elections at the end of 2005. Since March 2003. New Zealand has contributed $12.5 million in development assistance to Iraq to support the election process and for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. This included $2 million to the United Nations Development Group Iraq Trust Fund in 2004/05. New Zealand also contributed $10 million for the deployment of a New Zealand Defence Force light engineering group, which carried out humanitarian and reconstruction tasks near Basra from September 2003 to September 2004.

Afghanistan. New Zealand supported the Bonn Process under which Afghanistan was returned to constitutional democratic government and has been involved continuously in security efforts in Afghanistan since late 2001, supporting both the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and Operation Enduring Freedom. New Zealand took command of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan Province (200 kilometres north west of Kabul) in September 2003. This involved deployments of about 100 New Zealand Defence Force personnel drawn from the three services. PRTs are designed to assist the Afghanistan Government extend its influence beyond Kabul. Between 2001 and 2006, New Zealand contributed more than $110 million to Afghanistan in the form of military assistance and development support.

Trade and economic interests. New Zealand has significant economic interests in the Middle East and North Africa. The region is a valuable market for products, including wool, dairy, meat, manufactured goods and services. The Middle East is an important source for New Zealand's crude oil, polymers and fertilisers. In the year ending 30 June 2005, New Zealand's exports to the region totalled $1.139 billion, while imports for the same period were $1.743 billion. In North Africa, New Zealand's exports for the year ending 30 June 2005 totalled $166 million, while imports for the same period were $183 million. Exports were mainly dairy products, while imports were mainly phosphates and crude oil. New Zealand is also working with Algeria in its bid to become a World Trade Organisation member.

Diplomatic missions. New Zealand has embassies in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh), Turkey (Ankara) and Iran (Tehran), with cross accreditations to Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The New Zealand Consulate-General in Dubai is also the regional office for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. In North Africa, New Zealand is accredited to Morocco from its embassy in Madrid, and Algeria from its embassy in Paris. In 2006, preparations were under way for establishment of a New Zealand Embassy in Cairo.

Sub-Saharan Africa

New Zealand's official relations with Sub-Saharan Africa are mainly with the Commonwealth countries of southern and eastern Africa, with South Africa being the most substantial. There is a strong humanitarian focus to many of these relationships.

New Zealand has a long-standing involvement in development cooperation in Africa through its official development assistance programme, which focuses on primary and non-formal education, rural development and primary health care. There is also provision for short-term technical assistance and support for New Zealand non-government organisations (NGOs), including Volunteer Service Abroad. During 2005, $20 million was spent in the region on development assistance, including scholarships.

As part of peacebuilding operations in Africa, New Zealand provided defence force personnel to the United Nations (UN) mission in Sudan in September 2005. Previously, New Zealand provided defence force personnel to the UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone and to the UN de-mining programme in Mozambique. Both UN missions wound down in 2005.

Trade with Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only a small proportion of New Zealand's global trade, with exports valued at around $335 million in the year ending 30 June 2005. Among major exports to the region were dairy, fish and other food products, casein and electrical equipment. South Africa and Mauritius were New Zealand's most important markets in the region.

Imports in the year ending 30 June 2005 totalled $667 million, with petroleum products, iron and steel, vehicles and parts, tobacco, coffee and wine the major items.

New Zealand has one diplomatic mission in Africa – the New Zealand High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa. This is accredited to 10 other southern and eastern African countries: Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The New Zealand High Commission in London is responsible for relations with Nigeria.

4.2 Assistance to developing countries


New Zealand's International Aid and Development Agency (NZAID) is the government agency responsible for delivering New Zealand's Official Development Assistance (ODA) and for advising ministers on development assistance policy and operations.

NZAID is a semi-autonomous body within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Its management arrangements are tailored to its core business and it has its own source of government funding.

When NZAID was established in 2002, New Zealand development assistance was dispersed to more than 100 countries, 10 Pacific regional agencies and 21 international agencies. Since its establishment, NZAID has been trying to focus on a smaller number of regions and countries where New Zealand has a greater chance of making a difference. As a consequence, the majority of NZAID programmes are now focussed on the Pacific and South-east Asia, though NZAID retains smaller regional programmes in Latin America and southern Africa.

NZAID concentrates its development assistance on activities that contribute to poverty elimination by creating safe, just and inclusive societies, fulfilling basic needs, and achieving environmental sustainability and sustainable livelihoods.

As Table 4.01 shows, NZAID's total spend for 2004/05 was $296.73 million, which included $41.77 million of the government's $68 million aid package following the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami in Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Table 4.01. Spending on New Zealand aid programmes
Year ending 30 June 2005

ProgrammeSpendingProportion of total

Note:Figures may not add to stated totals due to rounding.

Source: NZAID

Emergency management/disaster relief53.4018
International agencies51.6917
New Zealand agencies19.367

NZAID's total budget allocation for the 2005/06 financial year was $345.59 million, including an increase of $37.1 million for aid to the Pacific to significantly expand programmes with Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Fiji. Bilateral programmes with Indonesia and Viet Nam were also strengthened significantly, reflecting New Zealand's developing partnership with Asia in trade, security and travel.

Building on New Zealand's strong tradition of working with the United Nations, NZAID doubled its core contributions to a number of UN agencies in 2005/06.

Expansion of the budget in 2005/06 took ODA across all government departments to $383 million, or 0.27 percent of gross national income (GNI). Ministers have agreed that baseline ODA funding will increase in 2006/07 and 2007/08 to levels that will ensure New Zealand continues to report an ODA: GNI ratio of 0.27 percent and 0.28 percent respectively.

Pacific programme

NZAID works to make sure it is a good neighbour to countries in the Pacific. Many parts of the region have low economic growth, high population growth, social and health issues such as HIV/AIDS, and tensions between traditional structures and introduced forms of governance.

Many of the countries are also small-island developing states, which leaves them particularly vulnerable to external shocks and natural disasters. All countries in the region have human resource capacity constraints and, due to their size, poor economies of scale.

As a neighbour, there are expectations both in the region and domestically that New Zealand will play a positive role in assisting Pacific countries achieve their development aspirations.

New Zealand's bilateral support for countries in the Pacific involves direct assistance on a country-to-country basis in the form of development projects and activities.

NZAID's Pacific programme is focusing future growth on six core Pacific partners – Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, where poverty is deeper and more pervasive; Fiji, in order to tackle the problem of income inequality and to help prevent further conflict and build peace in the country; and Niue and Tokelau, where New Zealand has constitutional obligations.

This will give New Zealand an increased country presence in these countries and more intensified participation in country-led policy dialogue and donor coordinated efforts.

NZAID's Pacific programme focuses on five thematic regional programmes – education, health, governance, economic growth and support for fisheries.

NZAID also funds a number of regional agencies and organisations. In 2005/06, these included the Secretariat of the Pacific Community; the University of the South Pacific; the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat; the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission; the Forum Fisheries Agency; UNICEF Pacific; the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme; Pacific Island Association for Non-government Organisations; the South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment; the Foreign Investment Advisory Service; Fiji School of Medicine; Pacific Enterprise Development Facility; Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation; and the Pacific Financial Technical Centre.

NZAID's Pacific Scholarships programme provides funding for students from Pacific Island countries. These scholarships are funded independently of bilateral country and regional programmes.

In the year ending 30 June 2005, NZAID spent $119.28 million on its Pacific programme, of which $88.16 million went directly to bilateral partners, nearly $11 million to regional programmes and $16.54 million on assistance to regional agencies. Approximately $4 million was spent on Pacific scholarships.

Global programme

In the year ending 30 June 2005, NZAID spent more than $52 million on its global programme.

Asia programme. NZAID's Asia programme is guided by an Asia Strategy, approved in 2004 after extensive consultation with governments, non-government organisations and other interested parties in the region. Main focus of this programme is South-east Asia, where aid priorities have been identified at regional level within the Greater Mekong sub-region, which comprises Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Yunan province in China; and at bilateral level in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Timor Leste and the Philippines. NZAID's key focus under the Asia Strategy is sustainable rural livelihoods, complemented by initiatives in the trade, health and education sectors. All activities are aligned with partner government poverty reduction and national development plans, and the coordinated efforts of the international donor community.

Latin America programme. NZAID's Latin America programme is guided by a regional strategy approved in 2004 after extensive consultation with governments and other donors in the region, non-government organisations and other interested parties. The strategy aims to contribute to the elimination of poverty in Latin America, with a focus on promoting sustainable rural livelihoods, particularly among indigenous peoples. As a small donor with limited capacity in the region, NZAID's strategy is to add value to the endeavours of those already working there. The programme focuses on three sub-regions – Central America (E1 Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua), the Andean Highlands (Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru) and Brazil and the Southern Cone (Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay). Strengthening governance is the focus of NZAID support in the latter sub-region.

Africa programme. NZAID's South Africa bilateral and Africa regional programmes highlight assistance in the areas of primary and non-formal education; HIV/AIDS awareness and support for affected communities; capacity building for the public sector and civil society; and food security.

Emergency and disaster relief. The ability to respond effectively to natural disasters and needs arising out of conflict are a key focus for NZAID. Disasters increase vulnerability to poverty, and longterm recovery can divert populations away from development objectives. NZAID's support covers immediate emergency assistance, reconstruction activities and preventative programmes through international agencies, New Zealand non-government organisations (NGOs) and their overseas partners, and partner governments. NZAID's support for emergency and disaster relief programmes was $53.4 million in the year ending 30 June 2005. Support was provided in the following main categories:

  • Emergency relief – global: $2.39 million.

  • Emergency relief – Pacific: $2.23 million.

  • Complex emergencies: $7.02 million.

  • Natural disasters (tsunami): $41.77 million.

Non-government organisations. NZAID engages actively with New Zealand's non-government organisation (NGO) development community and provides funding to support a wide range of NGO programmes with partners on the ground overseas. Main vehicle for such support is the Voluntary Agencies Support Scheme (VASS), a co-funding programme jointly managed by NZAID and New Zealand NGOs. Alongside this, NZAID provides core funding for Volunteer Service Abroad, the Council for International Development, the Development Resource Centre (commonly known as Dev-Zone) and Trade Aid. A joint NZAID/NGO working group was established in 2005 to oversee and monitor implementation of their framework. Strengthening civil organisations in partner countries is a key feature of NZAID's work. Relationships include long-term engagement with umbrella organisations in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Indonesia. Support is also provided to NGOs and community groups through small-project funds for rural development and local capacity building. In the year ending 30 June 2005, NZAID provided $19.36 million in funding to New Zealand NGOs.

International agencies

NZAID believes that working multilaterally recognises the power of collective action and acknowledges that global problems require global solutions.

NZAID contributes annual core funding to 23 multilateral agencies, of which 10 are prioritised under the Multilateral Engagement Strategy for comprehensive engagement, encompassing funding as well as participation in governance, policy and evaluation processes.

The multilateral agencies and programmes of the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, as well as a range of other international bodies, provide key vehicles for the distribution of aid. Multilateral agencies and programmes provide a proven and effective means for New Zealand to address poverty, conflict, governance issues and humanitarian crises worldwide.

By engaging with such agencies and institutions, NZAID is able to extend its outreach and impact globally, to have its voice heard in global debate surrounding development assistance, and to contribute to and benefit from the norm-setting functions, regulatory roles and expertise brought to development issues by these larger organisations.

Such agencies are periodically assessed under NZAID's Multilateral and Regional Agencies Assessment Framework to ensure their priorities are aligned with those of NZAID and that they are delivering effective and efficient programmes on the ground.

In the year ending 30 June 2005, NZAID provided $51.69 million to international agencies, of which $21.71 million went to international financial institutions and $22.10 million to United Nations agencies.

4.3 International organisations

United Nations

New Zealand was a founding member of the United Nations (UN) in 1945 and successive governments have strongly supported it as the major global instrument for maintaining peace and security, for developing friendly relations among countries, for encouraging international cooperation aimed at solving economic and social problems, for establishing and strengthening an international legal framework, and for promoting respect for human rights.

The range and complexity of the functions of the UN and its specialised agencies have grown steadily during the years, and 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 is a strong advocate of international law and is actively engaged in the global debate on peace and security issues, disarmament, conflict prevention, sustainable development, the environment and the promotion of human rights, decolonisation and reform of the organisation itself.

New Zealand is a member of the International Law Commission, the Statistical Commission of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

Contributions to the United Nations. Contributions to the United Nation's budget are based on members’ capacity to pay. In 2004/05, New Zealand contributed annual dues to the United Nations of $6.7 million, plus $14.75 million for the peacekeeping budget and $898,415 for international tribunals. New Zealand's level of assessment for 2004 was 0.221 percent of the UN budget. Contributions to budgets of United Nations specialised agencies vary, with assessments fixed according to scales agreed by members of each agency.

Human rights. New Zealand supported resolutions addressing a wide range of international human rights concerns at the 2004 sessions of the UN Commission on Human Rights and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, both of which dealt with a full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Resolutions supported by New Zealand included those addressing the rights of women and children and core civil and political rights, such as freedom from torture and the death penalty. New Zealand was also active in negotiating a new convention on the rights of people with disabilities and maintained its involvement in negotiations on a new instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. As a party to six core international human rights instruments, New Zealand is required to report regularly to UN monitoring bodies on measures it has taken to give effect to international standards. No periodic reports to these monitoring bodies fell due during 2004.

Specialised agencies. Many subsidiary, specialised or otherwise-related agencies work with the UN and each other to achieve a broad range of shared goals. New Zealand is a member of all the major specialised agencies, including the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The FAO aims to raise nutrition levels and improve food production and distribution, thereby contributing towards an expanding world economy and humanity's freedom from hunger. Similarly, the ILO seeks to achieve important advances in working and living conditions, WHO in the sphere of international health, and UNESCO in the interconnected fields of education, science and culture. New Zealand has served on the governing bodies of the UN Environment Programme and the ILO, as well as the governing body of the World Meteorological Organisation. New Zealand also served its first term on the World Heritage Committee, its membership ending in 2007. The committee is responsible for implementing the World Heritage Convention through which 176 member countries agree to protect their natural and cultural heritage. Between 2004 and 2006, New Zealand served on the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is not a specialised agency but an independent intergovernment organisation under the aegis of the UN.

World Trade Organisation

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the only international organisation dealing with rules of trade among nations. It acts as a single institutional framework over the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and over the multilateral agreements that resulted from the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations between 1986 and 1994.

The GATT came into force in 1948. Its basic aim was to help trade flow as freely as possible by removing obstacles and increasing transparency, thereby contributing to international economic growth and development. By the time the WTO came into force on 1 January 1995, the GATT's contracting parties accounted for about 90 percent of world trade.

The WTO provides a code of rules and a forum in which its 148 member countries can discuss trade problems and negotiate and enlarge world trading opportunities. It is based on the premises that the trading system should be:

  • 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. A second non-discrimination principle is ‘national treatment’, which requires that imported products are treated no less favourably than domestic products with respect to internal taxes, regulations and other requirements.

  • Freer – Barriers such as tariffs should progressively come down through negotiations.

  • Predictable – Businesses should be confident that trade barriers, including tariffs, non-tariff barriers and other measures, will not be raised arbitrarily. This is achieved by members making binding commitments not to raise trade barriers beyond current levels.

  • Transparent – Less transparent instruments, such as quotas and import licensing, are discouraged in favour of protection in the form of tariffs.

  • More competitive – Unfair practices, such as export subsidies and dumping products below cost to gain market share, are discouraged.

  • More beneficial to less developed countries – Developing countries are allowed more time to adjust, with greater flexibility and special privileges to help them in their development objectives.

Eight rounds of multilateral trade negotiations were held under the auspices of the GATT, each with the aim of liberalising trade between 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 WTO, the Uruguay Round:

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

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

  • Extended the multilateral trading system to 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.

  • Further reduced tariffs on goods.

The highest decision-making level in the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which meets every two years to make decisions on matters under WTO agreements. The Ministerial Conference that took place in November 2001 in Doha, Qatar, launched a new round of negotiations with the aim of concluding them by 1 January 2005. The new round was termed the Doha Development Agenda, to acknowledge the importance of development issues to the achievement of further trade liberalisation.

Key provisions in the Doha declaration included agreement to improve market access for agricultural and non-agricultural products and services, new mandates to negotiate to reduce fishing subsidies, and recognition of the relationship between WTO trade rules and multilateral environmental agreements. The declaration also contained a reference to the work of the International Labour Organisation and to avoidance of mandates that could weaken critical WTO disciplines, such as the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement. The declaration set 1 January 2005 as the date for completing most of the negotiations, but this deadline was not met.

The next Ministerial Conference was held in Cancun, Mexico, from 10–14 September 2003, to take stock of progress in the round and provide any necessary political guidance. But the conference failed to reach agreement on key issues. It was therefore agreed that the WTO General Council in Geneva would meet at senior officials’ level no later than 15 December 2003. In the absence of a consensus at this meeting, Chair Perez del Castillo outlined areas where agreement looked possible. It was left to incoming negotiating groups, formed in February 2004, to take the issues further.

Real progress was not evident until the first half of 2004, when a political process produced breakthroughs in agriculture that led to a ‘framework’ agreement being adopted in Geneva in July 2004. This included advances on export subsidy elimination in agriculture and progress across a range of other issues. Intensive negotiations have continued and members are working on an unofficial target date of the end of 2006 to conclude negotiations.

World Bank

The World Bank group consists of five affiliated financial and investment facilitation institutions – 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). Having joined the MIGA in 2005, New Zealand is now a member of all five arms of the World Bank.

The common objective of the institutions is to fight poverty and to improve living standards in developing countries by financing specific country-based and regional activities.

These cover sectors such as health, education, social development, private sector development, gender, environment and infrastructure development.

Total new lending in the year ending 30 June 2005 was approximately US$18.7 billion through both the IBRD and IDA.

The IDA provides highly concessional resources to low-income countries, with US$8.9 billion lent in 2005.

New Zealand makes contributions to periodic replenishments of the IDA and in 2005 made a commitment of NZ$39.0 million, payable over three years, amounting to a 0.12 percent share of total donor funding.

New Zealand is looking to contribute to the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative – endorsed by the Group of Eight Leaders in July 2005 – on its implementation by IDA. New Zealand has already contributed approximately NZ$6.4 million to the IDA and International Monetary Fund (IMF) trust fund for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries.

These trusts give resources to heavily indebted poor countries to help relieve their debt servicing burdens to the IMF and the IDA. Twenty-six of the 38 countries eligible for debt relief currently receive assistance.

Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established in 1965. It has 63 members, of which 45 are in Asia and the Pacific, the remainder being donor countries outside the region.

The ADB's goal is to reduce poverty in the region through sustainable economic growth, social development and good governance.

New Zealand holds 54,340 shares in the ADB, about 1.56 percent of the bank's voting share.

New Zealand also makes contributions to the periodic replenishment of the ADB's Asian Development Fund (ADF), the bank's concessional lending facility for its poorest developing member countries.

In the year ending 30 June 2004, lending by the ADB totalled approximately US$5.3 billion and other development assistance extended through grants, technical assistance and equity investments totalled US$0.6 billion.

In 2004, New Zealand agreed to contribute NZ$36.3 million, payable over seven years, to the eighth replenishment of the fund. The total replenishment level was US$3.2 billion, shared among 25 donors.


The Commonwealth has 53 member countries representing approximately 1.7 billion people across the globe. New Zealand was a founding member in 1931 and has long been involved in a wide range of Commonwealth activities – the Empire or Commonwealth Games have been held in New Zealand three times.

Commonwealth policies and activities are decided at biennial meetings of Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM), with New Zealand hosting the gathering in 1995.

Most activities are executed through the Commonwealth secretariat in London. Former New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Don McKinnon was appointed Commonwealth Secretary-General in 1999 and re-elected for a second term in 2003.

New Zealand is the sixth largest contributor to the Commonwealth secretariat by volume and one of the eight largest contributors to combined Commonwealth funds.

New Zealand actively promotes the Commonwealth's core beliefs and principles. Since 1992, New Zealanders have participated in numerous missions to observe elections in member countries, including, more recently, Zimbabwe in 2000 and 2002, Fiji in 2001, Pakistan in 2002, Nigeria in 2003 and Sri Lanka in 2004.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) functions as the Commonwealth's watchdog on democracy and was established in Millbrook, New Zealand, in 1995. New Zealand served on CMAG from 1995 to 1999.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – which New Zealand joined in 1973 – is a forum for democratic and market-oriented economies to study and develop economic, social, environment and development policies, with the ultimate aim of fostering prosperity and sustainable development. The OECD works on almost all of the key economic, social and development issues on the international agenda. Its work programme includes projects on growth and innovation, agricultural policy reform, employment and social inclusion, sustainable development, ageing populations, education, information and communications technology, health care issues and global trade liberalisation. Its staff are among the world's leading authorities in many of these areas.

Based in Paris, the OECD has 30 members: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The OECD has extensive cooperation programmes with key non-member countries, including China, India, Russia, Brazil and other Latin American and Eastern European economies. Also of central importance is its programme of contact with non-government organisations and the broader society to explain how the OECD's goals and activities are designed to promote the economic well-being of all citizens in both developed and developing countries.

New Zealand is a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), an autonomous body within the OECD framework. The primary focus of the IEA is on oil security among members, but its programme embraces a wide range of energy issues. New Zealand is also a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an independent body housed in the OECD dedicated to combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

4.4 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 just over 1,600. The central atoll, Nukunonu, is 92 kilometres from Atafu and 64 kilometres from Fakaofo. Western Samoa is 480 kilometres 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. 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 supervision of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation. The Administrator of Tokelau is appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is responsible for administration of the executive government of Tokelau. Under a programme of constitutional change agreed in 1992, the role of Tokelau's political institutions have been re-defined and expanded. This process was formalised in January 1994 by delegation of the administrator's powers to the General Fono (National Parliament) and the Council of Faipule (now the Council for Ongoing Government) when the General Fono is not in session.

In 1996, the formal step of devolving legislative power was taken. With passage of the Tokelau Amendment Act 1996 by the New Zealand parliament, the General Fono has been able, since 1 August 1996, to exercise rule-making power. This power has been used primarily to manage 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 portfolios they hold represent 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 independent law-making power.

As part of the Modern House of Tokelau Project, the administrator's powers were delegated from the General Fono to the three village councils (Taupulega) in June 2004. The aim of the delegation to village council was to put in place a governance system that was functional in the local setting, blending the modern with the traditional. The challenge was to devise a structure which properly established the village as the focus of social and economic activities, that delivered services within the village, and that integrated traditional decision-making processes with modern advice and support.

A review of Tokelau public services carried out in 2003/04 saw a shift of responsibility for public services away from the national office in Apia back to the three atolls. The national office in Apia has been restructured to enhance its capability to deliver services on a national basis, and to provide a liaison point for international issues.

In October 2003, the General Fono instituted a number of constitutional and law changes, including the decision that the Council of Faipule would be renamed the Tokelau Council for Ongoing Government. The new council comprises six members, the three Faipule and the three Pulenuku (village mayors).

The position of Ulu o Tokelau (Leader of Tokelau) will continue to rotate on a yearly basis among the three Faipule.

Tokelau runs its own budget, and although it is currently heavily dependent on New Zealand for economic support, Tokelau has its own Trust Fund (now standing at just over $25 million) and is looking at ways of increasing its own revenue-earning capacity in areas such as fisheries licensing, handicrafts, tourism and stamps and coins.

Tokelau has in recent years been moving steadily towards an act of self-determination based on the Niue and Cook Islands formula of self-government in association with New Zealand. With the administrative powers formerly exercised by New Zealand having been transferred progressively to Tokelau, the point has been reached where it is, in most practical respects, self-governing.

In 2005, New Zealand and Tokelau completed a draft Constitution for Tokelau and Treaty of Free Association that could form the basis for a formal act of self-determination. In February 2006, Tokelau, under United Nations supervision, voted on whether to become self-governing in free association with New Zealand. Sixty percent of registered voters were in favour of self-government, but the vote did not produce the required two-thirds majority – the benchmark set by the General Fono. Thus a change in Tokelau's status will not take place. However, it is expected that Tokelau will revisit the issue of self-government at some time in the future.

Ross Dependency

The Ross Dependency consists of the land, permanent ice-shelf and islands of Antarctica below 60 degrees south and between 160 degrees east and 150 degrees west. New Zealand's Antarctic territory, therefore, comprises the Ross Ice Shelf, the Balleny Islands, Scott Island and the landmass and adjacent islands within these longitudes to the point of their convergence at the South Pole.

The land is almost entirely covered by ice and is uninhabited except for people conducting or supporting scientific research programmes.

New Zealand operates a permanent scientific research station, Scott Base, on Ross Island in the dependency.

New Zealand has exercised jurisdiction over the dependency since 1923, when an Imperial Order-In-Council vested in the New Zealand Governor-General executive and legislative power in respect of the dependency.

New Zealand actively participates in the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), which consists of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and associated agreements. The treaty system serves to coordinate relations among states with respect to Antarctica, and its primary purpose is to ensure Antarctica is used for peaceful purposes only and that it does not become the scene or object of international discord. It designates Antarctica as ‘a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science’, promotes international scientific cooperation, and bans mining, dumping of nuclear waste and deployment of military personnel (except in support of peaceful purposes) in Antarctica.

An RNZAF Orion landed on an ice runway in Antarctica for the first time in January 2005. The trial flight was to determine the feasibility of conducting patrols from Antarctica in support of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

Membership of the ATS has grown from the 12 original signatories of the treaty (of which New Zealand was one) to 45 parties, 28 of which have consultative or decision-making status.

Antarctic Treaty parties meet regularly to consider issues within its framework, such as scientific and logistic cooperation and environmental protection measures.

All those seeking to carry out activities in the Ross Dependency, or who depart for Antarctica from New Zealand (notwithstanding their nationality), are required to prepare Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) under the Antarctica (Environmental Protection) Act 1994. On the basis of the EIA, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade decides whether the activity may proceed. Permits must also be obtained for certain Antarctic activities. Official expeditions of governments which are parties to the Antarctic Treaty are exempt from these requirements.

Fishing in the Ross Sea is conducted consistent with conservation measures adopted by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, based in Hobart. New Zealand has conducted exploratory fishing for toothfish in the Ross Sea since 1997.

4.5 Defence

The Governor-General of New Zealand is Commander-in-Chief in and over New Zealand. Authority over New Zealand's armed forces, however, is vested in the government and responsibility for defence matters within the government is held by the Minister of Defence.

The defence portfolio encompasses both the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the New Zealand Defence Force, with the Chief of Defence Force and the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Defence (the Secretary of Defence) both accountable to the Minister of Defence.

The Secretary of Defence is the government's principal civilian adviser on defence policy matters. The Ministry of Defence is responsible for policy and advice on funding for defence activities, major capability procurement and repair. The ministry also conducts evaluations of the performance of the New Zealand Defence Force.

New Zealand's armed forces consist of the Royal New Zealand Navy, the New Zealand Army, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. These regular forces, together with territorial, reserve and civilian personnel, constitute the New Zealand Defence Force.

The Chief of Defence Force is both the commander and chief executive of the New Zealand Defence Force and is the government's principal military adviser on defence matters. The Chief of Defence Force is responsible for the New Zealand Defence Force's management of resources, the general conduct of the New Zealand Defence Force, and chairs the Chiefs of Service Committee and meetings of the Executive Leadership Team.

The roles of the Chiefs of Navy, Army and Air Force are to raise, train and maintain their respective services.

The Commander Joint Forces New Zealand exercises operational control of forces assigned to that headquarters and commands all New Zealand Defence Force operations and exercises, as directed by the Chief of Defence Force.

The military and civilian advisory roles to the government are complementary, with considerable overlap on defence, security and capability issues. This requires close cooperation and consultation between the Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force. Coordination is achieved through the Office of Chief Executives, which brings the Secretary of Defence and the Chief of Defence Force together to discuss policy issues of mutual interest, and on the executive governance boards, which oversee major New Zealand Defence Force capital equipment and infrastructure projects.

Defence policy

The Government of New Zealand's defence policy objectives are set out in the government's Defence Policy Framework, released in June 2000. The five key objectives for New Zealand's defence policy are:

  • To defend New Zealand and to protect its people, land, territorial waters, exclusive economic zone, natural resources and critical infrastructure.

  • To meet New Zealand's alliance commitments to Australia by maintaining a close defence partnership in pursuit of common security interests.

  • To assist in the maintenance of security in the South Pacific and to provide assistance to New Zealand's Pacific neighbours.

  • To play an appropriate role in the maintenance of security in the Asia-Pacific region, including meeting New Zealand's obligations as a member of the Five Power Defence Arrangements.

  • To contribute to global security and peacekeeping through participation in the full range of United Nations and other appropriate multilateral peace support and humanitarian relief operations.

The framework led to the government's plan for a modern, professional and well-equipped defence force with the military capabilities to meet New Zealand's objectives, outlined on 8 May 2001 in the government defence statement – A Modern, Sustainable Defence Force Matched to New Zealand's Needs.

Key features of the plan are:

  • A joint approach to structure and operational orientation.

  • A modernised army.

  • A practical navy fleet matched to New Zealand's wider security needs.

  • A refocused and updated air force.

  • A funding commitment to provide financial certainty.

Under the 2002 Long-Term Development Plan, the New Zealand Defence Force is being reconfigured to increase its sustainability and affordability. The aim is to enhance the ability of all three services to undertake combat and peace support operations. In recent years, all three services have acquired, or are to acquire, new capabilities and equipment:

  • Communications equipment is being continually upgraded. Counter-terrorist, improvised explosive device disposal and neutralisation of chemical and biological devices capabilities have been introduced.

  • Seven new ships/patrol vessels for the navy are being delivered in 2006 and 2007, including an 8,000 tonne multi-role/sealift/training ship, two 1,800 tonne helicopter-capable offshore patrol vessels and four 55-metre inshore patrol vessels.

  • The army has been re-equipped with new tactical radios, 105 light armoured vehicles, direct fire support weapons (automatic grenade launchers), medium range anti-armour weapons (Javelin missiles) and a deployable air defence system (Mistral surface to air missiles). Three hundred and twenty-one light operational vehicles are also being delivered.

  • The mission, communications and navigation systems of the six P-3K Orion maritime patrol aircraft are being upgraded. The service life of the five C-130H Hercules transport aircraft fleet is being extended and communications and navigation systems are being upgraded. Two Boeing 757–200 aircraft have replaced two Boeing 727 aircraft and are being converted to handle both passengers and freight. Eurocopter NH90 medium utility helicopters are to replace the existing Iroquois fleet. A replacement training/light utility helicopter will also be acquired.

These acquisitions will increase the ability of the New Zealand Defence Force to defend New Zealand's interests and to contribute effectively to international and regional peace and security.

While New Zealand may not face a direct military threat from another country in the foreseeable future, the security of the country and citizens is threatened by non-military groups, such as terrorists, international criminals and resource poachers.

Deployment of New Zealand Defence Force personnel to trouble spots around the world demonstrates New Zealand's commitment to international peace and security. During 2005, defence force personnel and force elements were deployed to Afghanistan and the Arabian Gulf region in the international fight against terrorism.

New Zealand Defence Force personnel were also deployed to longer-standing commitments in the Middle East, the Balkans, North-east and South-east Asia and Africa.

Principal New Zealand Defence Force locations are shown in Figure 4.02.

Figure 4.02. Principle defence force locations

Principle defence force locations

An RNZAF C-130H over Kiwi Base, Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, where 120 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed as a provincial reconstruction team.

International defence relationships

Five Power Defence Arrangements. Concern about security arrangements in South-east Asia led to the establishment, in 1971, of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), involving New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. Consultative in nature, the arrangements aim to contribute to the security of Malaysia and Singapore and to the long-term stability of the region. Members take part in an exercise programme that increases the ability of the five countries’ armed forces to operate with each other. Defence ministers and defence chiefs meet regularly and there is a range of other exchanges. The exercises and contacts which New Zealand has with Malaysia and Singapore and the other partners is an important part of the New Zealand Defence Force's training programme and has expanded significantly in recent years. The FPDA continues to evolve to meet the challenges of the changing security environment, with attention now being given to combating nontraditional threats such as maritime terrorism, piracy and people smuggling. Scenarios based around these threats are being introduced into exercises.

Mutual Assistance Programme. Most South Pacific countries, some members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Timor-Leste participate in the New Zealand Defence Force's Mutual Assistance Programme. Through training cooperation and advisory assistance, the programme contributes to the effectiveness of defence forces and law enforcement agencies 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. 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 the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Malaysia.

Australia. There is no strategic partnership in the South-west Pacific closer than that between Australia and New Zealand. A close defence relationship with Australia in support of common interests for a secure and peaceful region is a key policy objective in the government's Defence Policy Framework. Both countries share a strong commitment to the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, as reflected in combined efforts in Bougainville, East Timor and the Solomon Islands. The security relationship between Australia and New Zealand is embodied by the policy of Closer Defence Relations, adopted in 1991 and realised through a programme of cooperative activities designed to give the relationship practical effect.

ANZUS. The ANZUS security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States came into force in 1952. The United States, however, is not prepared to accept restrictions on access to New Zealand ports for nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships of the United States Navy and 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 overseas diplomatic missions, with some of those representatives accredited to more than one country. These countries are Australia, Canada, China, Fiji, Indonesia/ Timor-Leste, Malaysia/Brunei, Cook Islands/Niue, Papua New Guinea/Vanuatu/Solomon Islands, Philippines, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand/Laos/Cambodia/Vietnam, United Kingdom/Germany/France/Belgium/Italy/Ireland, and the United States. Military representatives are also accredited to multilateral bodies. One representative is posted to New Zealand's United Nations New York mission and the representative in the United Kingdom is accredited to the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In addition, a number of countries have military representatives attached to their diplomatic missions in Wellington or have service attachés accredited to, but not resident in, New Zealand.

Armed forces overseas at 30 June 2005

United Nations Truce and Supervisory Organisation. New Zealand military observers have worked with the United Nations Truce and Supervisory Organisation (UNTSO) in Israel, Lebanon and Syria since 1954. A New Zealand Major General is Head of Mission of UNTSO and another officer is Chief of the Observer Group in Lebanon. Seven more NZDF personnel are deployed as military observers. They monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist in subsequent peacekeeping operations.

Multinational Force and Observers, Sinai. The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), Sinai was established in April 1982 to verify compliance with the terms of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Eleven countries contribute to the MFO, including New Zealand, whose 26-strong contingent comprises a training and advisory team, a heavy transport section, engineers and staff officers.

Former Yugoslavia. The New Zealand Defence Force contributes eight personnel (who serve in liaison and observation teams) to British Army units assigned to European Union Force Command in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It has three staff officers at the liaison and observation teams’ headquarters and a fourth staff officer who serves as a Military Liaison Officer at Headquarters of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Timor-Leste. In mid-1999, the Indonesian Government agreed to hold a plebiscite in East Timor to decide the future of that part of the island. The United Nations Assistance Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), to which New Zealand provided civilian police and military personnel, was established to oversee the referendum. Following the failure of UNAMET to halt violence in East Timor, the United Nations agreed to sanction a multinational force, International Force East Timor (INTERFET), to restore order until a United Nations-mandated force could be established. New Zealand deployed ground troops, a helicopter detachment and naval units in support of INTERFET. The ground troops and the helicopter detachment were subsumed into the United Nations Interim Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) in January 2000. The United Nations Mission in Support of East Timor (UNMISET), the successor to UNTAET, stood up in May 2002, and most New Zealand troops have now been withdrawn. In April 2005, the United Nations Security Council approved establishment of the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) to replace UNMISET. New Zealand has a military observer serving with UNOTIL and three New Zealand Defence Force personnel are assisting with training of the Timor-Leste Defence Force. A Mutual Assistance Programme with Timor-Leste was established in 2005, to provide a framework for training assistance in the longer term.

HMNZS Te Kaha on boarding operations as part of the maritime interdiction force in the North Arabian Sea.

Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was deployed following a request from Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Kanaleeza in July 2003 for assistance in restoring security, particularly on the islands of Guadalcanal and Malaita. RAMSI is an Australian-led mission comprising Australian, Papua New Guinean, Fijian, New Zealand and Tongan officials, elements of the Australian Defence Force, the New Zealand Defence Force and police officers from Australia, New Zealand and Pacific countries. New Zealand initially contributed 230 personnel to RAMSI, although the mission is now scaling down. The New Zealand Defence Force deployed a 30-strong platoon and a three-person National Support Element between November 2004 and February 2005 and deployed another infantry platoon in 2006.

Iraq. After the return to New Zealand in September 2004 of the 61 New Zealand Defence Force personnel attached to a British Engineer Regiment in Basra, only one defence force officer remains in Iraq. That officer serves as a Military Liaison Adviser with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq.

Arabian Gulf. Six New Zealand Defence Force personnel are based in the Arabian Gulf to provide logistical support to defence force operations in the region.

Sudan. Two New Zealand Defence Force military observers and one staff officer are serving with the United Nations Mission in Sudan.

Afghanistan. One hundred and twenty-two New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed as the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the province of Bamyan in central Afghanistan. Three other personnel are attached to the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Kabul. Another defence force officer works as a Military Liaison Officer to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA). Two New Zealand Defence Force personnel serve at the Headquarters of the Combined Forces Command Afghanistan and Coalition Joint Task Force 76. Two more New Zealand Defence Force personnel assist in the training of the Afghan National Army as part of the Kabul-based United Kingdom Afghan National Army Training Team. Three New Zealand Defence Force staff officers are based at Central Command Headquarters in Florida to provide planning advice and support for the New Zealand personnel contributing to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. A contingent drawn from the New Zealand Special Air Service Group that deployed to Afghanistan in 2005 has now returned.

South Korea. Three New Zealand Defence Force officers serve with the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission in South Korea.

Casualties. There have been five fatalities among New Zealand Defence Force personnel serving in United Nations observer and peacekeeping missions.

Community assistance

New Zealand Cadet Forces. Cadet forces comprise the Sea Cadet Corps, the New Zealand Cadet Corps and the Air Training Corps. These are community-based youth groups that receive assistance from the New Zealand Defence Force and support from the Sea Cadet Association of New Zealand, the Cadet Corps Association of New Zealand, the Air Training Corps Association of New Zealand, community organisations and the Royal New Zealand Returned Services’ Association. During 2004/05, the New Zealand Defence Force supported 107 cadet units with a total strength of 3,095 cadets and 298 officers.

Limited Service Volunteer Scheme. Limited service volunteer training courses have been run by the army since 1995, with additional staffing support provided by the navy and air force since 1998. The programme provides unemployed volunteers between the ages of 17 and 25 with six weeks of residential motivational training in a military cultural environment, teaching outdoor activities and general life skills.

Disaster relief. The New Zealand Defence Force provides assistance to civil authorities in the wake of natural disasters in New Zealand, the Pacific and South-east Asia. Assistance can include post-disaster reconnaissance of damage; transportation of relief, food and medical supplies; and the provision of medical, engineering and communications services. Recent examples include assistance during civil defence emergencies caused by floods in 2004 and 2005 in Eastern Bay of Plenty, Manawatu/Rangitikei and Tauranga; post-cyclone damage assessment and delivery of supplies in Niue and the Cook Islands; and deployment of Boeing 757–200 and C-130H aircraft and up to 61 personnel to South-east Asia following the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami.

Fisheries protection. Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K Orions and Royal New Zealand Navy vessels patrol New Zealand's 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Information from surveillance patrols is passed to the Ministry of Fisheries. Fisheries officers are sometimes carried on board aircraft or ships when patrols are conducted. The air force conducted numerous patrols in the New Zealand and South Pacific EEZs during 2004/05 and also patrolled the Southern Ocean.

Search and rescue. All three New Zealand Defence Force services maintain a search and rescue capability, with naval and air units on 24-hour standby. 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 carries out emergency medical evacuations throughout New Zealand, the South Pacific and Antarctica. In 2004/05, the air force recorded the highest number of search and rescue hours flown for 11 years.

Operation Antarctica. Up to 69 New Zealand Defence Force personnel support Operation Antarctica in terminal and logistic support operations at Harewood in Christchurch, McMurdo Station and Scott Base for varying periods during the September to February Antarctic summer season.

Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H Hercules aircraft made 11 return flights to McMurdo in 2004/05.

Border surveillance. The Royal New Zealand Navy and the Royal New Zealand Air Force support the New Zealand Customs Service in maintaining border security and reducing the risks that may arise as a result of the movement of people, goods and craft into and out of New Zealand. As one of the New Zealand Defence Force's Multi-Agency Operations and Tasks, its liaison with Customs will increase in importance as the navy's new offshore and inshore patrol vessels are introduced into service.

Other assistance. Other assistance provided by the New Zealand 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 fire fighting and explosive ordnance disposal.

Defence expenditure

Defence funding is voted by parliament to two organisations, the Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force. The two organisations’ expenditure is consolidated in Table 4.02.

Table 4.02. Defence expenditure
Years ending 30 June


1Non-cash technical adjustments.

2In addition to departmental expenses appropriated to Vote Defence, Vote Defence Force and Vote Veterans Affairs – Defence, there has been additional Non Departmental – Expenditure separately appropriated under the Defence Force Allowance programme to Vote Social Development as follows:

3Amounts subsequently recovered by New Zealand Defence Force to provide for long-term working capital requirements.

-nil or zero

Sources: New Zealand Defence Force Ministry of Defence

Personnel costs528,721526,104561,887576,119
Operating costs428,185441,505461,666443,561
Capital charge266,668261,902289,139281,894
        Total output expenses1,433,0321,440,9131,542,3701,534,243
Other expenses1-23,41472,000(3,266)
        Total expenses21,433,0321,464,3271,614,3701,530,977
Less -
Other revenue(24,059)(21,166)(17,202)(17,037)
Profit on sale of assets3--(25,483)(40,762)
Net operating surplus/(deficit)2,431(16,708)(46,296)63,468
        Revenue Crown-provided1,411,4041,426,4531,525,3891,536,646
Years ending 30 June
Defence force allowance22,91013,00412,3119,850

Table 4.03 compares New Zealand's defence expenditure internationally for the period 1997 to 2004.

Table 4.03. International comparison of defence expenditure

 As proportion of gross domestic product


2Year ending 30 September; US budget definition differs from NATO definition.

3Years ending 31 March.

4Years ending 30 June.

5Using NATO definition, excluding GST, capital charge and war pensions.

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

United States23.
United Kingdom33.
New Zealand41.41.41.351.351.

Table 4.04 shows defence force personnel numbers for the period 1994 to 2005.

Table 4.04. Defence personnel
At 30 June

 NavyArmyAir ForceTotalCivilians (NZDF and MoD)
Sources: New Zealand Defence Force Ministry of Defence

Royal New Zealand Navy

Command and administration. The Chief of Navy exercises full command of the navy, although the fleet is tasked by the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand through the Maritime Component Commander, based at Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand at Trentham. The Deputy Chief of Navy, based at Naval Staff, in Wellington, is responsible to the Chief of Navy for the navy's ‘raise, train and maintain’ functions.

Shore establishments. The naval base at Devonport, Auckland, known as HMNZS Philomel, consists of the navy's main naval barracks, wharf facilities, weapons ranges and administrative units; the Royal New Zealand Naval College, which is the navy's training establishment; the naval hospital; and the naval supply and armament depots. The base also contains the naval dockyard, an engineering and support facility managed by a private company under contract. HMNZS Wakefield is the administrative unit for naval personnel in the Wellington area. There are four Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve units in the main centres – HMNZS Ngapona in Auckland, HMNZS Olphert in Wellington, HMNZS Pegasus in Christchurch and HMNZS Toroa in Dunedin. There is also a Port Headquarters in Tauranga.

The Royal New Zealand Navy's Multi-Role Vessel being built in Rotterdam will be capable of transporting the army's light armoured vehicles and light operational vehicles, as well as 250 troops and one Seasprite and four NH90 helicopters.

Table 4.05 lists the navy's ships and helicopters, while Table 4.06 shows navy personnel from 1999 to 2005.

Table 4.05. State of the navy

Ship/helicopter typeNameForce

Note:Between December 2006 and December 2007, the navy will take delivery of seven new vessels: an 8,000-tonne multi role vessel (MRV), two 1,800-tonne helicopter-capable offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), and four 55-metre inshore patrol vessels (IPVs).

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

ANZAC-class frigatesTe KahaNaval combat
 Te Mana 
Logistics (fleet replenishment)EndeavourNaval support
Survey shipResolutionHydrographic support
Diving support shipManawanuiDiving support
Training tenderKahuSea training
Inshore patrol craftHinauTraining, mine countermeasures
 KiwiTraining, mine countermeasures
 WakakuraTraining, mine countermeasures
 MoaTraining, mine countermeasures
5 Kaman Seasprite SH-2G helicoptersSeaspriteNaval aviation

Table 4.06. Strength of the navy
At 30 June

Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Regular Force (all ranks)2,0801,9671,8931,9181,9781,9531,910
Royal New Zealand Naval
        Volunteer Reserve (all ranks)401385385357354317327
          Total uniformed2,4812,3522,2782,2752,3322,2702,237
Civilian employees52445343444444143640
          Total navy3,00528052,7122,7192,7732,7062,646

New Zealand Army

The New Zealand Army is organised, equipped and trained to provide a flexible range of units and sub-units for deployments of up to a battalion group in size. It can respond to lower level contingencies in the Asia-Pacific region, or contribute to a collective force, including a United Nations force.

The Chief of Army, under the Chief of Defence Force, retains full command of the army. The Chief of Army is assisted in fulfilling that position's statutory command requirements by the Army General Staff (Army GS). The Army GS has both a policy formulation and a policy implementation role.

The Land Component Commander (LCC), under the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand (COMJFNZ), commands operational elements of the army. The LCC, through the COMJFNZ, is assigned operational command of the 2nd Land Force Group, primarily based at Linton, and the 3rd Land Force Group, primarily based at Burnham, and commands all regular and territorial force units, with the exception of those elements assigned to the Army Training Group (ATG). The ATG, primarily based in Waiouru, reports directly to Army General Staff and is responsible for most of the individual training conducted within the army.

Army specialist units, based at Auckland and Trentham, include a Special Air Service Group and a Military Police company, and are commanded by the LCC.

Table 4.07 lists army headquarters and units and Table 4.08 shows army personnel from 1999 to 2005.

Table 4.07. State of the army


Note: CSCombat Support,CSSCombat Service Support,TFTerritorial Force.

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

Army General StaffWellingtonCommand
1 NZ Special Air Service GroupAucklandSpecial forces
Force Military Police CompanyTrenthamCSS
HQ 2 Land Force GroupLintonCommand
16 Field RegimentLintonCS
1 Bn. Royal NZ Infantry RegimentLintonCombat
3 Auckland and Northland Bn. GpAucklandTF
5 Wellington, West Coast and Taranaki Bn. GpWanganuiTF
6 Hauraki Bn. GpTaurangaTF
7 Wellington and Hawke's Bay Bn. GpNapierTF
2 Engineer RegimentLintonCS
2 Signals SquadronLintonCS
Force Intelligence GroupTrenthamCS
2 Logistics BattalionLintonCSS
2 Health Services BattalionLintonCSS
HQ 3 Land Force GroupBurnhamCommand
Queen Alexandra's Mounted RiflesBurnhamCombat
2/1 Bn. Royal NZ Infantry RegimentBurnhamCombat
2 Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast Bn. GpBurnhamTF
4 Otago and Southland Bn. GpDunedinTF
3 Field TroopBurnhamCS
3 Signals SquadronBurnhamCS
3 Logistics BattalionBurnhamCSS
HQ Army Training GroupWaiouruCommand
Land Operations Training CentreWaiouruTraining
The Army DepotWaiouruTraining
Officer Cadet SchoolWaiouruTraining
Trentham Regional Support CentreTrenthamStatic Support

Table 4.08. Strength of the army
At 30 June

Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Regular Force
        Other ranks3,7653,7823,8383,7573,6563,7503,692
Territorial Force (all ranks)3,0852,4742,1592,1582,0311,8561,888
          Total uniformed7,5026,9876,7396,6506,4196,3356,326
          Total army8,2367,7107,3827,4297,1067,0197,032

Royal New Zealand Air Force

Command and administration. The Royal New Zealand Air Force provides a maritime patrol force, a fixed wing transport force and a rotary wing transport force. The Chief of Air Force, supported by the Air Staff, commands the air force.

Organisation. The Air Component Commander within Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand commands the Royal New Zealand Air Force's deployable operational units. The broad range of activities carried out to raise, train and maintain the operational units of the air force is provided under the direction of the air staff. Operational flying units are based at RNZAF Base Auckland and RNZAF Base Ohakea. RNZAF Base Ohakea also hosts primary and advanced flying training, while most ground training is done at RNZAF Base Woodbourne.

Logistics. Royal New Zealand Air Force logistics services are coordinated by Air Staff with specific levels of aircraft maintenance and supply support performed by operational squadrons and base logistics units. Much of the depot-level repair and overhaul work is contracted to private companies in New Zealand and overseas. RNZAF training aircraft are maintained and supported by private contractors.

Table 4.09 lists air force aircraft and Table 4.10 overleaf shows air force personnel from 1999 to 2005.

Table 4.09. State of the air force

Source: New Zealand Defence Force
6 P-3K OrionsRNZAF Base AucklandMaritime Patrol Force
2 Boeing 757–200sRNZAF Base AucklandFixed Wing Transport Force
5 C-130H HerculesRNZAF Base AucklandFixed Wing Transport Force
5 SH-2G SeaspriteRNZAF Base AucklandNaval Helicopter Force
14 Bell UH-1H IroquoisRNZAF Base OhakeaRotary Wing Transport Force
5 Bell 47G SiouxRNZAF Base OhakeaFlying training
13 CT-4E Air TrainersRNZAF Base OhakeaFlying training
5 King Air B200sRNZAF Base OhakeaFlying training

The primary role of the RNZAF Iroquois fleet is to provide tactical air transport to both conventional and counter-terrorist military operations. Here an Iroquois crew member tests night vision goggles.

Table 4.1. Strength of the air force
At 30 June

Source: New Zealand Defence Force
Regular force
        Other ranks2,2662,1902,0531,7141,7181,7261,725
Territorial force (all ranks)1631611761571553228
          Total uniformed3,0482,9472,8002,3802,3812,2812,294
          Total air force3,4193,3313,2112,7702,7932,6832,670

4.6 Disarmament

New Zealand's role in creation of the United Nations (UN), its opposition to nuclear testing, establishment of a nuclear-free New Zealand and practical contributions to UN peacekeeping and de-mining operations, mean its voice on disarmament and arms control is listened to with respect.

New Zealand also exerts influence in cooperation with other like-minded countries, for example through its membership of the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden), a strong advocate for multilateral progress towards nuclear disarmament.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Disarmament Division includes five officers responsible for policy and treaty implementation. They prepare advice on disarmament and arms control issues for the Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, represent New Zealand at international meetings and ensure that New Zealand's international legal obligations are implemented at the national level.

Officers of the ministry based overseas, including an Ambassador for Disarmament, are involved in negotiations and activities with disarmament organisations, mainly in Geneva, Vienna, New York and The Hague.

The government values the views of New Zealand's non-government peace and disarmament groups, whose representatives join official delegations to international meetings to contribute their advice and perspective on the pursuit of New Zealand's disarmament goals.

A statutory body, the Public Advisory Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control (PACDAC) was established under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act 1987 to:

  • Advise the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade on such aspects of disarmament and arms control matters as it thinks fit.

  • Advise the Prime Minister on implementation of the act.

  • Publish reports on disarmament and arms control matters and on implementation of the act.

  • Make recommendations for grants from the Peace and Disarmament Education Trust, established from Rainbow Warrior compensation funds, and make grants from the UN Disarmament and Education Implementation Fund.

PACDAC comprises nine members, including the Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control who is the chair. The other eight are appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade for three-year terms.

4.7 Intelligence and security

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security assists the prime minister in the oversight and review of the Security Intelligence Service and the Government Communications Security Bureau. The inspector-general also ensures that each organisation's activities are lawful and that any complaints about either of them are independently investigated. The inspector-general is appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the prime minister following consultation with the leader of the opposition.

New Zealand Security Intelligence Service

The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) is a government agency with approximately 150 staff, a head office in Wellington and regional offices in Auckland and Christchurch.

Principal functions of the NZSIS are to obtain, correlate and evaluate intelligence relevant to New Zealand's security and to advise ministers on security matters. These functions are outlined in the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969 and amendments.

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 enforce measures of security.

The NZSIS reports directly to the Minister in Charge of the NZSIS, traditionally the prime minister, 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 the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and by the intelligence and security committee of parliament.

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, including formulation of communications security and computer security policy; promulgation of standards and provision of material, advice and assistance to government departments and authorities, including the New Zealand armed forces, on matters relating to the security and integrity of official information, the loss or compromise of which could adversely affect national security; provision of advice as required by government departments and authorities in relation to official information which, although unrelated to national security, requires protection from disclosure to protect the functions of government, and for privacy, safety and commercial reasons.

  • Critical infrastructure protection – provision of warnings, guidance and coordination of the national response to information technology-based threats to New Zealand's critical infrastructures (i.e. power, telecommunications, emergency services, banking and finance, transport and government) through operation of a Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection.

  • Technical security – providing defence against eavesdropping and other forms of technical attack against New Zealand Government premises worldwide.

  • 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, at Tangimoana and Waihopai.

External Assessments Bureau

Part of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the External Assessments Bureau 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.

Table 4.11 lists annual expenditure on the three intelligence and security agencies since 1993.

Table 4.11. Expenditure on intelligence and security agencies
Years ending 30 June


Sources: External Assessments Bureau New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Government Communications Security Bureau



  • 4.1 Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

  • 4.2 New Zealand Aid.

  • 4.3 Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; New Zealand Aid.

  • 4.4 Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

  • 4.5 New Zealand Defence Force.

  • 4.6 Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

  • 4.7 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; New Zealand Security Intelligence Service; Government Communications Security Bureau; Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.

Websites – Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet – Government Communications Security Bureau – Ministry of Defence – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade – New Zealand Aid – New Zealand Army – New Zealand Defence Force – New Zealand Security Intelligence Service – Royal New Zealand Air Force – Royal New Zealand Navy – Statistics New Zealand

Chapter 5. Population

The primary school age population of New Zealand in 2021 is projected to drop to 440,000, a 7 percent decrease on the 2004 figure.

5.1 Population growth

The population of New Zealand reached 500,000 in 1880, boosted by the introduction of government-assisted immigration. The first million was passed in 1908, following economic recovery from the depression of the 1880s and 1890s. In the aftermath of World War II, the growth rate climbed dramatically, compared with stagnation in the early 1930s, as the baby boom and increased immigration took effect. The second million of population was reached in 1952, 44 years after the first million, and the third was added only 21 years later, in 1973. Nearly 20 percent of the population growth during this period came from net immigration. According to the estimated resident population of New Zealand, the fourth million was reached in April 2003. Nearly all the population growth from 3 million to 4 million was due to natural increase, with migration not contributing significantly.

Figure 5.01 tracks New Zealand's historical and projected population and growth rate from 1951 to 2051.

Figure 5.01. Population growth
Historical and projected1

Population growthHistorical and projected1

Future demographic trends

Population trends can be difficult to predict because demographic changes affect, and in turn are influenced by, social, economic, political and other circumstances.

However, demographic projections are generally more reliable than other types of forecasts for several reasons.

Firstly, despite the range of influences that can impact on it, population change is fundamentally driven by births, deaths and net migration (arrivals minus departures).

Secondly, birth and death rates are generally consistent over several years, especially for larger geographical areas, barring major catastrophes, wars or epidemics.

Thirdly, three-quarters of New Zealand's population in 20 years time is already alive. With the uncertainty of the births component removed, only migration and death can change the population that is already alive.

Some broad future trends and structural changes can be identified. For example, population ageing and sub-replacement fertility in New Zealand have raised the prospect of a slow-growth or no-growth environment in coming decades.

The entry of large baby boom cohorts into retirement ages after 2010 will result in a burgeoning 65-plus population. New Zealand's workforce will take on an older profile.

Latest projections also point to greater ethnic diversity in the future, with the broad Māori, Pacific and Asian populations all expected to increase their share of the New Zealand population.

Within the national scene, there will be contrasting population changes, with further concentration of population in the northern North Island likely.

Summary. Although fertility has been below replacement level for most of the past quarter of a century and is likely to remain so in the foreseeable future, New Zealand's population will continue to grow slowly for some time. This is because the current age structure has a built-in momentum for further growth. Slow growth aside, there will be profound shifts in population composition, including further ageing of the population, a burgeoning 65 years and over population, growing ethnic diversity and possible geographic redistribution of population, especially within territorial authorities.

Table 5.01 shows the growth in New Zealand's population as measured by Censuses of Population and Dwellings.

Table 5.01. New Zealand population
By census

Census1, 2PopulationIntercensal increaseAverage annual increase

1Omits censuses of 1851, 1864, 1867 and 1871 as censuses of Māori population were not taken in these years.

2Figures from 1981 onwards are census usually resident population counts, replacing census night population counts used in the past.

... not applicable

Note:All figures randomly rounded to base 3.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

1858, 24 December115,461.........
1874, 1 March344,985.........
1878, 3 March458,007113,02232.767.33
1881, 3 April534,03076,02316.605.10
1886, 28 March620,45186,42116.183.06
1891, 5 April668,65248,2017.771.50
1896, 12 April743,21474,56211.152.13
1901, 31 March815,86272,6489.771.90
1906, 29 April936,309120,44714.762.75
1911, 2 April1,058,313122,00413.032.52
1916, 15 October1,149,22590,9128.591.50
1921, 17 April1,271,667122,44210.652.27
1926, 20 April1,408,140136,47310.732.06
1936, 24 March1,573,812165,67211.771.13
1945, 25 September1,702,329128,5178.170.83
1951, 17 April1,939,473237,14413.932.37
1956, 17 April2,174,061234,58812.102.31
1961, 18 April2,414,985240,92411.082.12
1966, 22 March2,676,918261,93310.852.11
1971, 23 March2,862,630185,7126.941.35
1976, 23 March3,129,384266,7549.321.80
1981, 24 March3,143,307.........
1986, 4 March3,263,283119,9763.820.76
1991, 5 March3,373,926110,6433.390.67
1996, 5 March3,618,303244,3777.241.41
2001, 6 March3,737,277118,9743.290.65

More than 6.5 million questionnaires printed on 178 tonnes of paper were distributed for the 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings on Tuesday 7 March.

Projected population

A number of population projection series have been produced to illustrate a range of possible scenarios. Projections given in this chapter draw on series 5 of the 2004-base national population projections. Series 5 projections assume that New Zealand women will average 1.85 births each (below the 2.1 children required for the population to replace itself without migration); life expectancy at birth will increase to reach 83.5 years for males and 87.0 years for females by 2051; and there will be a long-term annual net migration gain of 10,000 people from 2009.

Given this scenario, the New Zealand population is projected to reach 4.73 million in 2026 and 5.05 million in 2051. The five million population mark is projected to be reached in 2041. The pace of growth is not likely to be uniform. The New Zealand population grew at an average rate of 1.4 percent a year between 1951 and 2004, and the population is projected to grow by an average of 0.8 percent a year between 2004 and 2011. Growth is expected to slow in the remainder of the projection period, to almost zero by 2051.

The age structure of New Zealand's population will undergo significant changes as a result of past and likely future changes in fertility, improvement in longevity and a change in migration patterns. Overall, the population will take on an older profile. The median age (half the population is older, and half younger, than this age) of New Zealand's population increased from 26 in 1971 to 35 in 2004. According to projection series 5, half the population will be 40 years and older by 2020, and half the population will be 45 years and older by 2045. This reflects the combined impact of sub-replacement fertility, increasing longevity, and movement of the large number of people born after World War II into older ages.

Table 5.02 shows projected New Zealand population growth according to series 5.

Table 5.02. New Zealand population projections1


12004-base projections, series 5.

Note:Figures may not add to stated totals due to rounding.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Age group (at 30 June)  (000)  
All ages4,0614,2924,5944,8475,0015,047
    0–14 years885862821819813787
    40–64 years1,2561,4271,5111,5011,5121,553
    65 years and over4865818041,0801,2691,325
Components of population change (years ending 30 June)  (000)  
Net migration221010101010
Annual population change52342921101
Median age (at 30 June)353840424546
Dependency ratio (at 30 June) (Per 100 people aged 15–64) 
    0–14 years333028282827
    65 years and over182027374345
    0–14 and 65 years and over515155647172

Figure 5.02. Age distribution of population1

Age distribution of population11951–2051

Age groups

The number of children (those aged 0–14) is expected to decrease from 890,000 in 2004 to 820,000 in 2021 and to 790,000 in 2051. The decrease mainly reflects the impact of sustained sub-replacement fertility.

As a result, children will account for only 16 percent of the population by 2051, compared with 22 percent in 2004.

By contrast, the population aged 65 and over is projected to nearly double, from 490,000 in 2004 to 970,000 in 2027, and continue increasing to 1.33 million in 2051.

The number of people aged 65 and over is expected to surpass the number of children by 2022. In 2051, 26 percent of the population will be 65 and over, compared with 12 percent in 2004 (see Figure 5.02).

Within the 65 years and over group, there will be about 320,000 people aged 85 and over in 2051, six times the 2004 total of 54,000.

The working-age population (those aged 15–64) is projected to increase from 2.69 million in 2004 to 2.98 million in 2024, before declining gradually to 2.93 million in 2051. Most of the increase will be in the older half of this age group (40–64 years) as the large number of people born after World War II move through these ages.

In 2004, the population aged 15–39 was 14 percent larger than the population aged 40–64. The 40–64 age group is expected to overtake the 15–39 age group in size by 2011.

In 2004, there were 5.5 people in the working-age group for every person aged 65 and over.

This ratio is expected to drop substantially, to 3.0 in 2028 and to 2.2 by 2051. In the mid-1960s, the ratio was 7.1 people in the working-age group for every person aged 65 and over.

Children are expected to account for 16 percent of New Zealand's population by 2051, compared with 22 percent in 2004.

Educational ages. While numbers in the various educational age groups are projected to fluctuate in the future, there will be a general downward trend in all groups. The fluctuations mainly reflect changes in births in preceding years and are likely to have significant impacts on the demand for teachers and other educational resources. Note, however, that the projected numbers refer to the New Zealand resident population. Between 2004 and 2021, the primary school age population (5–12 years) will drop by 32,000 (7 percent) to 440,000. This compares with a peak of 503,000 in 1975. Further decreases will mean that by 2051 there will be 51,000 fewer primary school age children than in 2004. The trend in the secondary school age population (13–17 years) is similar to that for the primary school age population, except that the peaks and troughs of the secondary school population lag behind those of the primary school age population by about six years. The secondary school age population is projected to increase from 310,000 in 2004 to 317,000 in 2006. Then the number will drop by 26,000 to 291,000 in 2026. By 2051, the secondary school age population will number 285,000, about 38,000 fewer than the 1976 peak. Peaks and troughs in the tertiary age population (18–22 years) lag those of the secondary school age population by about five years. Between 2004 and 2012, there will be an increase of 26,000 to a peak of 322,000. This will be followed by drops of 13,000 and 15,000 in the next two decades, and smaller changes thereafter.

Figure 5.03 shows the projected population in each of the three educational age groups to 2051.

Figure 5.03. Population in educational age groups
Historical and projected1

Population in educational age groupsHistorical and projected1

Ethnic and cultural diversity

Ethnic population information presented in this chapter is based on the concept of self-identification. Each ethnic group includes people who identify with that ethnic group, either solely or in conjunction with other ethnic groups, but excludes people who have ancestry but do not identify with that ethnic group. Some people identify with two or more ethnic groups, so the broad European, Māori, Pacific and Asian populations are not mutually exclusive.


New Zealand's Asian population is expected to be 145 percent higher in 2021 than it was in 2001. Pacific and Māori populations are projected to increase by 59 and 29 percent respectively and the European population by 5 percent.

Table 5.03. Ethnic population projections1, 2

Proportion of New Zealand population by age
Age group (in years)MāoriPacificAsianEuropean

1People who identify with more than one ethnicity are included in each ethnic population, so percentage figures may add to more than 100.

2Ethnic population projections 2001-base, series 6; New Zealand population projections 2004-base. series 5.

3Base: Estimated resident population of each ethnic group at 30 June 2001.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

20013 Percent 
Under 152511774
65 and over42292
All ages157779
Under 1528171763
65 and over73786
All ages1791570

New Zealand has been ethnically and culturally connected to Polynesia for at least 1,000 years. Its population and cultural heritage 200 years ago was wholly that of Polynesia, but it is now dominated by cultural traditions that are mainly European, emanating especially from the British Isles.

About 79 percent of New Zealanders are of European ethnicity. The indigenous Māori ethnic group makes up the next largest group of the population (about 15.1 percent in 2001). The other main ethnic groups are Asian and Pacific peoples, who made up 7.0 and 6.7 percent respectively of the estimated resident population in 2001.

The ethnic and cultural composition of New Zealand has been shaped and reshaped by three main demographic processes: international migration, natural increase and inter-marriage. The most important of these processes has been international migration.

All four ethnic populations are projected to experience growth between 2001 and 2021. The Asian population is projected to have the largest percentage growth, up 145 percent. The Pacific and Māori populations will experience increases of 59 and 29 percent, respectively, while the European population will increase by 5 percent.

The higher Asian growth rate is mainly driven by assumed levels of net migration. By comparison, the higher Māori and Pacific growth relative to the New Zealand population overall is largely driven by their higher fertility rates and their larger proportions in the main childbearing ages. The European share of the New Zealand population is projected to fall to 70 percent by 2021 – a reflection of the slower growth rate of the European population compared with the growth rate of the total New Zealand population.

By contrast, the share of the population belonging to the Māori, Asian and Pacific ethnic groups is projected to increase, to 17, 15 and 9 percent respectively, by 2021. Diversity in fertility and migration patterns means the various ethnic groups will follow different paths to population ageing in future decades.

With a median age of 37 in 2001, the European population has a much older age structure than the Māori (22 years) and Pacific (21 years) populations. Despite ageing, the median age of the Māori (26 years) and Pacific populations (24 years) in 2021 will still be lower than the median age of the total New Zealand population.

Table 5.03 shows projected changes in New Zealand's population proportions, by ethnicity and age group, while Table 5.04 shows ethnic population projections to 2021.

Table 5.04. Ethnic population projections

 Total New ZealandEuropeanMāoriPacificAsian

1People who identify with more than one ethnicity are included in each ethnic population, so figures do not add to stated totals.

2Ethnic population projections 2001-base, series 6; New Zealand population projections 2004-base, series 5.

3Base: Estimated resident population of each ethnic group at 30 June 2001.

4Half the population is older, and half younger, than this age.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Population change (percent)
Median age4 (in years)

Territorial authorities

Of New Zealand's 74 territorial authorities, 39 are projected to have more people in 2026 than in 2001. However population growth will generally slow over the projection period.

Among cities and districts, there is considerable variation likely in population growth rates, largely because of differences in age structures, fertility levels and migration patterns.

The Queenstown-Lakes District is projected to have the highest population growth rate, at 79 percent, followed by Rodney District (up 59 percent), Selwyn District (up 57 percent) and Manukau City (up 54 percent).

Natural increase will contribute most of the population growth in Manukau City, while net migration gains will be the most important factor in Queenstown-Lakes, Rodney and Selwyn districts.

By contrast, 35 of the 74 territorial authority areas are projected to decrease in population.

The largest percentage decreases in population are projected to be for the districts of Kawerau (down 27 percent), Ruapehu (down 26 percent), Wairoa and South Waikato (both down 22 percent) and Rangitikei (down 21 percent).

These five areas are all likely to have shrinking natural increases and continuing net migration outflows, although these outflows are assumed to be smaller than experienced historically.

Figure 5.04 shows projected regional population changes between 2001 and 2026.

Figure 5.04. Projected population changes 2001–20261
By region

Projected population changes 2001–20261By region

Families and households

Family and household numbers in New Zealand are projected to increase by 24 percent and 28 percent respectively between 2001 and 2021. This exceeds projected population growth of 18 percent in the same period. Faster family and household growth is due to the ageing of New Zealand's population, resulting in an increasing proportion of couple without children families and one-person households.

A family refers to a couple, with or without a child or children, or one parent with a child or children, usually living together in a household. A household consists of either one person usually living alone, or two or more people usually living together and sharing facilities, in a private dwelling.

The number of families is projected to increase from an estimated 1.05 million in 2001 to 1.30 million in 2021. Couple-without-children families will account for the majority of this growth, increasing 53 percent, from 407,000 in 2001 to 623,000 in 2021. The increasing prevalence of couple-without-children families is mainly due to the large number of people born after World War II reaching 50 years and over, when they are most likely to live as a partner in a couple-without-children family. Most of these couples will have had children who have left the parental home. Couple-without-children families will overtake two-parent families to become the most common family type in 2006.

The number of two-parent families is projected to decrease after 2006 because of the continuing trends towards single parenting and fewer couples having children. The number of two-parent families is projected to increase from 446,000 in 2001 to 456,000 in 2006, but then fall to 427,000 by 2021.

The number of one-parent families is projected to increase by 28 percent, from 198,000 in 2001 to 254,000 in 2021. This is due to population growth, changes in population age structure and an assumed higher rate of single parenting. The latter is because of the increasing number of separations and divorces, increasing rates of childbearing outside of couple relationships, and more complex shared care arrangements with parents living in different households.

The number of households is projected to increase from 1.44 million in 2001 to 1.84 million in 2021. One-person households are projected to be the fastest growing household type, increasing by 46 percent from 333,000 in 2001 to 488,000 in 2021, mainly due to the increasing number of people at older ages. During the same period, family households are projected to increase by 23 percent, from 1.02 million to 1.25 million. Other multiperson households (households containing more than one person, but not containing a family) are projected to increase by 15 percent, from 88,000 to 102,000.

The average size of households is projected to slowly decline between 2001 and 2021, from 2.6 to 2.4 people per household. This continues the decline of recent decades, with the average household size down from 3.7 people in 1951 and 3.0 people in 1981. The projected decrease in average household size is due to the increasing proportion of one-person households and a decrease in the average size of family households.

Counting the population

Statistics New Zealand has adopted the ‘estimated resident population’ concept as a standard for producing official population estimates and projections.

This concept is viewed as a more accurate estimate of the population normally living in an area than the ‘census usually resident population count’. The estimated resident population of New Zealand includes all residents present in New Zealand and counted by the census (census usually resident population count), residents who are temporarily overseas (who are not included in the census), and an adjustment for residents missed or counted more than once by the census (net census undercount). Visitors from overseas are excluded.

5.2 Distribution of population

Three major trends stand out in the geographic distribution and redistribution of New Zealand's population in the past 150 years.

The first is an increasing proportion of people living in the north of the country. The second is a tendency for people to move northward within each island and, with the exception of the past 20 years, from the South Island to the North Island. The third is for an increasing degree of urbanisation and, in particular, a concentration of people in the main urban centres.

North and South Islands

Following the end of the gold boom in the South Island in the 1870s, the proportion of the census night population count living in the South Island began to steadily decrease. From the 1896 Census onward, the census night population of the North Island has exceeded that of the South. Since that time, the North Island's census night population has continued to grow at a greater rate, and its share of the New Zealand census night population has continued to increase.

In 1956, 69 percent of New Zealanders lived in the North Island. The percentage had risen to more than 72 by 1976 and in 2001 it was 76 percent.

Many influences have contributed to the population differential between the islands. For example, the North Island has had a higher birth rate and most overseas migrants choose to settle in the North Island.

Table 5.05 shows the estimated population of New Zealand from 1885 to 2004.

Table 5.06 lists the populations of the North and South Islands on census night from 1858 to 2001.

Internal migration

The movement of people within and among regions is an important determinant of New Zealand's population distribution. Overall, New Zealanders are a mobile people and, while the majority of movement is within regions, there is significant movement among regions.

In addition to affecting the size of the population, inter-regional migration also influences age structures, fertility levels and population growth rates within regions.

Table 5.07 shows population movements between regions between the 1996 and 2001 censuses.

Table 5.06. North and South Island populations1
By census

CensusNorth IslandSouth IslandTotal population

1Figures from 1981 onwards are census usually resident population counts, replacing census night population counts used in the past.

Note:The North Island includes the population of Kermadec Islands and people on oil rigs. The South Island includes the populations of the Chatham Islands and Campbell Island, All figures randomly rounded to base 3.

Source: Statistics New Zealand


Table 5.07. Migration between regions, 1996–2001

RegionsPopulation1Migration inMigration outNet migration

1Census usually resident population count of all people aged five and over, 2001.

Note:All figures have been randomly rounded to base 3.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Bay of Plenty221,13034,82726,2508,577
Hawke's Bay132,16814,57716,704-2,127
Manawatu- Wanganui204,16825,80632,040-6,234
West Coast28,3593,7505,910-2,160

Urban and rural

New Zealand is a highly urbanised country, with 86 percent of the census usually resident population count living in urban areas at the 2001 Census.

Figure 5.05. Urban drift
Proportions of urban and rural population

Urban driftProportions of urban and rural population

Table 5.08 shows urban and rural populations at censuses from 1881 to 2001, while Figure 5.05 shows changes in the proportions of urban and rural populations for every second census from 1881.

Table 5.08. Urban and rural populations1
By census


1From 1881–1921. ‘urban’ based on boroughs and cities, ‘rural’ based on counties (including town districts). From 1926–2001. ‘urban’ based on urban areas and towns with over 1,000 population, and ‘rural’ is the remainder.

2Figures from 1981 onwards are census usually resident population counts, replacing census night population counts used in the past.

3Based on boundaries as at 6 March 2001.

Note:All figures have been randomly rounded to base 3.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Non-Māori population    
Total population    

Main urban areas

Seventy-one percent of the 2001 Census usually resident population count lived in main urban areas (places with 30,000 people or more). Between 1996 and 2001, most main urban areas experienced population growth, particularly those located in the north of both islands. However, most secondary urban areas (places with between 10,000 and 29,999 people) lost population during that period. Table 5.09 shows the population of New Zealand's largest urban areas at selected censuses.

Table 5.09. Population of largest urban areas
At selected censuses

Urban area18861191111936196119862,319912,319962,320012,3

1Excludes Māori.

2Boundaries as at 6 March 2001.

3Figures from 1986 onwards are census usually resident population counts, replacing census night population counts used in the past.

Note:All figures have been randomly rounded to base 3.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Palmerston North2,60710,99224,37243,18566,95170,23673,86072,681
New Plymouth3,0935,23818,59732,38847,37047,65248,87947,763

Population of local government areas

Tables 5.10 and 5.11 outline the estimated resident population of New Zealand's territorial authorities and regions.

Table 5.1. Estimated resident population of territorial authorities
At 30 June

Territorial authority1Estimated resident population2Population change

1Based on 2005 territorial authority boundaries.

2Resident population estimates are not strictly comparable with census usually resident population counts as they include adjustments for census undercount and New Zealand residents temporarily overseas.

3Includes the population of inlets, ships, oil rigs and Kermadec, Mayor. Motiti and White Islands, which are not included within territorial authorities.

Note:Figures may not add to stated totals due to rounding.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Far North District56,40057,40057,8003700.6
Whangarei District70,00072,20072,8006100.8
Kaipara District17,95018,05018,050-20-0.1
Rodney District78,50086,60089,2002,5302.9
North Shore City194,200209,400212,2002,8501.4
Waitakere City176,200189,300191,9002,5901.4
Auckland City388,800420,800425,4004,6801.1
Manukau City298,200326,200332,9006,6802.0
Papakura District42,30043,50043,7002100.5
Franklin District53,30056,50057,4009401.7
Thames-Coromandel District25,80026,50026,7001500.6
Hauraki District17,25016,90016,750-120-0.7
Waikato District41,30042,40042,6001900.5
Matamata-Piako District30,30030,30030,300200.1
Hamilton City120,900129,300131,4002,1101.6
Waipa District40,00041,50042,1006001.4
Otorohanga District9,5909,4909,480-10-0.2
South Waikato District24,20023,30022,900-430-1.8
Waitomo District9,7809,6609,610-50-0.6
Taupo District32,50033,60033,9002600.8
Western Bay of Plenty District39,30041,40042,2007801.9
Tauranga City93,300101,400103,9002,4902.5
Rotorua District66,90067,80067,600-230-0.3
Whakatane District34,00034,00033,900-100-0.3
Kawerau District7,2906,7906,610-180-2.6
Opotiki District9,5409,5909,520-60-0.7
Gisborne District45,50044,90044,700-250-0.5
Wairoa District9,2608,6308,410-210-2.5
Hastings District69,60071,10071,4002500.3
Napier City55,20056,10056,4002600.5
Central Hawke's Bay District13,20013,15013,200300.2
New Plymouth District68,40069,20069,300400.1
Stratford District9,1108,7508,600-150-1.7
South Taranaki District28,40027,70027,300-330-1.2
Ruapehu District15,00013,70013,150-560-4.1
Wanganui District44,40043,60043,300-280-0.7
Rangitikei District15,50014,90014,600-270-1.8
Manawatu District28,20028,20028,4001100.4
Palmerston North City75,20078,10078,4003300.4
Tararua District18,35017,80017,600-190-1.1
Horowhenua District30,60030,60030,500-60-0.2
Kapiti Coast District43,60046,20047,0008101.8
Porirua City49,50050,60050,500-100-0.2
Upper Hutt City37,70037,90037,900200.0
Lower Hutt City99,100100,400100,5001300.1
Wellington City171,100182,600185,1002,5901.4
Masterton District23,20023,30023,300200.1
Carterton District7,0007,1407,160200.3
South Wairarapa District8,9408,8408,810-30-0.4
Tasman District42,40045,80046,6007901.7
Nelson City42,90045,20045,7004801.1
Marlborough District40,70042,30042,7004201.0
Kaikoura District3,5803,6303,610-20-0.4
Buller District9,8609,6409,570-70-0.7
Grey District13,20013,05013,100300.2
Westland District7,9907,9007,880-20-0.3
Hurunui District10,15010,65010,8501601.5
Waimakariri District37,90041,00042,1001,1302.7
Christchurch City327,200344,100347,7003,5601.0
Banks Peninsula District8,0408,3108,4301201.4
Selwyn District28,30030,80031,6008102.6
Ashburton District26,00026,70026,9002100.8
Timaru District42,80043,10043,000-90-0.2
Mackenzie District3,7903,7503,730-20-0.4
Waimate District7,2207,1007,030-80-1.1
Chatham Islands Territory75075075000.1
Waitaki District20,50020,00019,850-150-0.7
Central Otago District14,75015,05015,100300.2
Queenstown-Lakes District17,85022,20023,5001,3206.0
Dunedin City119,300121,900122,5005600.5
Clutha District17,55017,35017,200-130-0.8
Southland District29,40029,40029,300-50-0.2
Gore District12,75012,50012,350-140-1.1
Invercargill City51,10051,70051,300-430-0.8
New Zealand33,880,5004,061,4004,098,90037,4500.9

Table 5.11. Estimated resident population of regions
At 30 June

Regions1Estimated resident population2Population change

1Based OH 2005 regional council boundaries.

2Resident population estimates are not strictly comparable with census usually resident population counts as they include adjustments for census undercount and New Zealand residents temporarily overseas.

3Includes the population of Kermadec Islands. Chatham Islands Territory and people on oil rigs which are not included within regional councils.

Note:Figures may not add to stated totals due to rounding.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

North Island   NumberPercent
Northland Region144,400147,600148,6009700.7
Auckland Region1,216,9001,316,8001,337,10020,2801.5
Waikato Region369,800381,900384,8002,9000.8
Bay of Plenty Region246,900257,600260,3002,7101.1
Gisborne Region45,50044,90044,700-250-0.5
Hawke's Bay Region147,300149,200149,5003200.2
Taranaki Region105,700105,500105,000-440-0.4
Manawatu-Wanganui Region227,500227,100226,200-930-0.4
Wellington Region440,200456,900460,4003,4600.8
    Total North Island regions2,944,3003,087,5003,116,60029,0200.9
South Island     
Tasman Region42,40045,80046,6007901.7
Nelson Region42,90045,20045,7004801.1
Marlborough Region40,70042,30042,7004201.0
West Coast Region31,10030,60030,500-70-0.2
Canterbury Region496,700520,600526,4005,7501.1
Otago Region188,300194,900196,6001,6800.9
Southland Region93,30093,60093,000-620-0.7
    Total South Island regions935,400973,100981,5008,4200.9
    New Zealand33,880,5004,061,4004,098,90037,4500.9

On an estimated resident population basis, the Tasman Region grew by 1.7 percent in the year to 30 June 2005 – the highest percentage increase of any region in New Zealand.

5.3 Components of population change

Population change has two main components, natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) and net migration (the difference between arrivals and departures). The relative contribution of the two components has varied from time to time, but net migration's share of population change has never exceeded 40 percent.

Figure 5.06 shows contributions made by natural increase and net migration to New Zealand's population change from 1861 to 2005.

Figure 5.06. Components of annual population change
Natural increase' and net migration2
Years ending 31 March

Components of annual population changeNatural increase' and net migration2Years ending 31 March


Changing levels of fertility over the years have played a major role in determining the size and structure of New Zealand's population. Figure 5.07 shows the significant changes in the fertility rate (births per woman) in New Zealand from 1917 to 2004. In 1935, the fertility rate in New Zealand fell to 2.2 births per woman. This was attributed to fewer and later marriages, and family limitation within marriage. With demobilisation of forces after World War II and the resulting increase in marriages and births, the fertility rate reached 3.6 births per woman in 1947.

Other features of the years following World War II were New Zealanders marrying younger and marriage becoming almost universal. By 1961, half of all women were married before the age of 22, compared with barely a quarter married by that age in the early 1940s. These trends were reinforced by early childbearing and the shortening of birth intervals.

Figure 5.07. Fertility rate1
Years ending 31 December

Fertility rate1Years ending 31 December

The median age at first birth fell from 25.4 years in 1945 to 22.8 years in 1964. Fewer couples remained childless or had only one child. The net result was soaring birth numbers, up from 27,000 in 1935 to about 42,000 in 1945, and to 65,000 in 1961. About 1.13 million New Zealanders were born between 1946 and 1965. At its peak in 1961, the total fertility rate exceeded 4.3 births per woman and significantly exceeded figures for other developed nations. The upward trend was reversed in the early 1960s just as suddenly as it had begun, which has prompted demographers to suggest that the ‘baby boom’ was merely a temporary diversion from a long-term downward trend. The turnaround coincided with introduction of the oral contraceptive pill in the early 1960s, but the ‘cause-and-effect’ relationship is not clear-cut. It is possible that increased acceptance and use of the pill helped sustain the downward trend.

By the mid-1970s, the post-depression rise in fertility had ended. The total fertility rate fell below the ‘replacement level’ (2.1 births per woman) in 1978 and then to a low of 1.9 births per woman in 1983. This drop had a great impact on the annual number of births. Despite a substantial increase in the number of prospective mothers caused by the ‘baby boomers’ entering prime reproductive ages, births dropped from around 64,000 in 1971 to around 50,000 in 1982.

After 1983, there was a minor resurgence in the fertility rate, to 2.18 births per woman in 1990, but the rate subsequently dropped to 1.96 in 1996 and has remained around this level since. This level of fertility is slightly below the level required for the population to replace itself without migration.

From 22.8 years in 1964, the median age at first birth rose steadily to 30.7 years in 2004. In 2002, the age group 30–34 replaced 25–29 as the most common age group for childbearing among New Zealand women.

Figure 5.08 shows the median age of childbearing for New Zealand women from 1962 to 2004, based on nuptial and ex-nuptial live confinements.

The dynamics of the fertility decline and of current low fertility levels are complex. Increased use of contraceptives, increased participation of women in the labour force, rising divorce rates and general economic conditions have probably all, directly or indirectly, contributed to it.

Figure 5.08. Median age of childbearing
Live confinements1
Years ending 31 December

Median age of childbearingLive confinements1Years ending 31 December

Patterns of marriage and family formation have changed radically, with a shift away from early marriage and childbearing toward later marriage and delayed parenthood. Between 1971 and 1986, the first marriage rate for women aged 20–24 dropped by about two-thirds, from 314 to 113 marriages per 1,000 never-married women. By 2001, the first marriage rate for women aged 20–24 had dropped to 37 per 1,000. New Zealand women, in 2004, are marrying for the first time, on average, about seven years later than those who married for the first time in 1971. The median age at first marriage in 2004 for women was 28.1 years, and 29.9 for men. This compared with 20.8 and 23.0 years respectively in 1971.

A growing proportion of New Zealanders are remaining single through their 20s. The substantial postponement of marriage has been partly offset by the growth of de facto relationships (cohabitation outside marriage). Such relationships may be either a prelude to, or a substitute for, formal marriages. The growth in de facto unions partly accounts for the rise in the number of ex-nuptial births (children born to women who are not legally married to the child's father), up from nearly 7,000 in 1966 to nearly 10,000 in 1976 and to 26,000 in 2004. Ex-nuptial births comprised 12 percent of all births registered in New Zealand in 1966 and 45 percent in 2004. Changing social norms have contributed to this increase. There is also a high incidence of ex-nuptial births among Māori. In 2004, 76 percent of all Māori births were classified as ex-nuptial and they accounted for nearly half of New Zealand's ex-nuptial births. Latest demographic measures indicate a significant ethnic differential in fertility, with the rate for Pacific women at 2.9 births and Māori women 2.6 births per woman, compared with 1.7 and 1.8 births for Asian and European women respectively.

Figure 5.09 shows the ex-nuptial birth rate per 1,000 not-married women in New Zealand for selected years from 1896 to 2004.

Figure 5.09. Ex-nuptial birth rate1
Years ending 31 December

Ex-nuptial birth rate1Years ending 31 December

Table 5.12 illustrates fertility trends and patterns from 1881 to 2004.

Table 5.12. Fertility trends and patterns
Years ending 31 December

YearLive birthsCrude birth rate1Fertility rate2Gross reproduction rate3, 4Net reproduction rate3, 4Ex-nuptial birth rate4, 6

1Live births per 1,000 estimated mean population.

2The average number of live births that a woman would have during her life if she experienced the age-specific fertility rates of that year. Rates from 1991 onwards based on resident population concept, replacing de facto population concept used in the past.

3The average number of daughters that a woman would have during her life if she experienced the age-specific fertility rates of that year.

4Figures before 1966 exclude Māori population.

5The average number of daughters that a woman would have during her life if she experienced the age-specific fertility and mortality rates of that year.

6Ex-nuptial births per 1,000 estimated mean number of not-married women aged 15–49. Before 1966, rates based on census counts of not-married women aged 15–44.

7Excludes Māori population.

8Births and fertility rates for 1998 lower than expected because of small change to rate at which births registered during 1998.


..figures not available

Note:Birth and fertility rates for 1991 onwards are based on the resident population concept, replacing the de facto population concept used previously.

Source: Statistics New Zealand


Table 5.13 provides a summary of vital statistics for the New Zealand population from 1950 to 2004.

Table 5.13. Vital statistics
Years ending 31 December

YearLive birthsDeathsNatural increase1Mean age at death

1Live births minus deaths.

2Births lower than expected because of small change to rate at which births registered during 1998.

Note:Figures from 1991 onwards are based on the resident population concept, replacing the de facto population concept used in the past.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

  Number Years

According to 2002–04 life tables, an average newborn New Zealand male has a life expectancy of 77 years.


A temperate climate, low population density, lack of heavy industry and good nutrition have given New Zealand a comparative advantage over other nations in terms of health. Ongoing advances in living standards, medical knowledge, technology and health services continue to reduce mortality rates.

Nevertheless, New Zealand mortality rates mask the fact that Māori mortality rates are much higher than non-Māori, and that New Zealand life expectancy has been eclipsed by several other countries, as shown in Table 5.14.

A large part of longevity improvement in New Zealand occurred before 1930 and was due to the saving of life at younger ages. Allowing for higher Māori mortality, the infant mortality rate fell steadily from more than 100 deaths per 1,000 live births in the late 19th century to about 50 per 1,000 in the 1920s. As Table 5.15 shows, the infant (under the age of one year) mortality rate has continued to drop, from 22.76 per 1,000 in 1961, to 5.58 per 1,000 in 2004.

Table 5.14. Life expectancy at birth
International comparisons


1Excludes Māori population.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

  Years of life
New Zealand1901–1905158.160.6
United Kingdom190648.051.6
New Zealand1950–195267.271.3
United Kingdom195166.271.2
New Zealand1970–197268.574.6
United Kingdom197168.875.0
New Zealand1980–198270.476.4
United Kingdom198170.876.8
New Zealand1990–199272.978.7
United Kingdom199073.078.5
New Zealand2002–200477.081.3
United Kingdom2001–200375.980.5

Table 5.15. Death rate
By age and sex
Years ending 31 December

YearUnder 111–45–1415–2425–3435–4445–5455–6465–7475 and over

1Per 1,000 live births.

2Excludes Māori population.

Note:Live births for 1901–1961 include late registrations, while those from 1981 onwards exclude late registrations. Death rates for 1991 onwards are based on the resident population concept, replacing the de facto population concept used previously.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Males   Per 1,000 mean estimated population   
Both sexes          

Significant ethnic differentials exist in mortality rates.

According to 2002–04 life tables, a newborn non-Māori girl could expect to live 81.9 years, and a newborn non-Māori boy could expect to live 77.2 years. For Māori, life expectancy at birth was 73.2 years for females and 69.0 years for males.

Lower non-Māori death rates at ages 45–79 account for about three-quarters of these differences, and this partly reflects different rates of smoking and diabetes, as well as socio-economic differentials. For example, the 1996 Census reported that 44 percent of Māori aged 15 and over were regular smokers, compared with 21 percent of non-Māori.

Women live longer than men and experience lower death rates at all ages, although men have closed the gap in recent decades. A century ago, women could expect to outlive men by about 2.5 years. By 1950–52, the female advantage had increased to 4.1 years and by 1975–77 it was 6.4 years. However, the male-female difference had narrowed to 4.3 years in 2002–04.

Figure 5.10 shows movements in the median age at death for males and females since 1950.

Figure 5.1. Median age at death1
Years ending 31 December

Median age at death1Years ending 31 December

External migration

New Zealand has traditionally been a country of immigration, although the intake has been small compared with immigration flows to New World countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States.

The end of World War II saw economic stability and the reintroduction, in 1947, of an assisted/free passage scheme to attract working-age industrial and agricultural labour from the United Kingdom.

There are now nearly 200,000 Australian-born children living in Australia who have at least one New Zealand-born parent.

Agreements were also negotiated to accept young non-British European migrants, and refugee immigration was allowed on humanitarian grounds. These grounds were to lead to the settlement of nearly 4,000 Indo-Chinese refugees in New Zealand during 1978–82. Historical and regional considerations also led to establishment of immigration quotas for small Pacific Island countries.

The government adopted a new immigration policy in 1974, which ended unrestricted immigration from the United Kingdom and Ireland and provided for the selection of immigrants from all sources on the same criteria.

The reciprocal Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement, which allows free movement of residents between Australia and New Zealand, was not changed.

Similarly, the right of free entry into New Zealand was maintained for the people of the Cook Islands, Niue and the Tokelau Islands, who are regarded as New Zealand citizens. As a result of these initiatives, and further policy changes in the 1980s and 1990s, immigrants in post-war years have come from a wider range of countries than before.

Between 1947 and 1967, New Zealand recorded a net gain of about 281,000 permanent and long-term migrants (people whose stated intention is to settle, or depart, for 12 months or more, or permanently). In each of the 21 years, net migration was positive; for 16 of those years, the net gain was more than 10,000. During this period, annual immigrants increased from 8,106 to 38,999, while emigrants increased from 6,051 to 21,128.

Table 5.16 provides a summary of external migration from 1900 to 2005.

Table 5.16. External migration
Years ending 31 March

YearTotalPermanent and long termShort term

Note:Only total arrivals and departures recorded before 1930.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Five-year totals