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New Zealand

Basic Information

Area: 268,680 km²

Calling code: +64

Population: 4,268,000

Official Language: English, Māori, NZ Sign Language

Time zone: NZST (UTC+12), Local time: 15:26


The island country of New Zealand is located in the South Pacific Ocean, some 2,000km southeast of the coast of Australia. It consists of two main islands: North Island and South Island, along with many other smaller islands such as Stewart Island, Chatham Island, Campbell Island and Bounty Islands. New Zealand has territory that spans 267,720km2, along with 15,134km of coastline. The capital city of Wellington is located on the southwestern coast of North Island, and it is home to 386,000 people, while the largest city of Auckland is inhabited by 1.3 million people. New Zealand has a total population of 4.25 million people, 87% of which live in urban areas.

The country is a member of several international organizations including the World Trade Organization (WTO), The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The national currency used is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), which also circulates on the Cook Islands.


New Zealand has a free and developed economy with a high GDP per capita (PPP) figure of US$31,067. The service sector is by far the most important economic area, generating 71% of the GDP figure of US$114.9 million. Banking, insurance and tourism related services are the most dominant within this sector. Transnationale lists the six largest companies in New Zealand as Fonterra Co-operative Group (Food), Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (telecommunications), Fletcher Challenge Paper (wood & paper products), Air New Zealand (transport), Fletcher Challenge Building (construction) and Lion Nathan LTD (food).

Agriculture accounts for 4.6% of the GDP, with the leading agricultural products being wheat, barley,wool, pulses, fruits, dairy products, lamb and mutton, beef and fish. New Zealand ships over 20% of its total food produce to Australia, followed by exports the to US, Japan and China.

Industry contributed 23.7% of the GDP, with food processing, textile production, machinery and transportation equipment manufacturing being of particular importance. The country still relies on importing machinery, automobiles, aircraft and petroleum, with $23.45 billion worth of imports from Australia, China and the United States in 2009.


There are a total of 120 airports in operation in the country, 41 of which have paved runways. The largest and busiest is Auckland Airport (AKL), which is located 21km south of the heart of Auckland city and handles 12.2 million passengers annually. The airport is a hub for Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue Airways and a number of other international airlines offers frequent flights to destinations such as London, Los Angeles, New York, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Beijing.

Bulk Cargo is generally transported either via the railways, or by coastal shipping from one of the countries major ports in Auckland, Lyttelton, Marsden Point, Tauranga, Wellington and Whangarei. There are 4,128km of railways, which are run and operated by the state-owned New Zealand Railways Corporation (ONTRACK). The country has a network of local roads, motorways and state highways, which are the most popular form of passenger transport.

New Zealand has an excellent advanced telecommunications infrastructure, with fixed-line and mobile telephone networks which are utilized by 1.75 million and 4.62 million people respectively. A strong Internet backbone also exists, with over 2 million Internet hosts in 2009.


New Zealand has a total labour force of 2.3 million, 74% of which work in the service sector, 19% in industry and 7% in agriculture. The country is home to a highly diverse population, with 78% of all residents originating from European countries. English and Irish immigrants account for 30% of the foreign population, while Chinese and those of an Asian or Pacific Island origin make-up the majority of the remaining foreign population. New Zealand has relatively relaxed immigration policies and aims to increase its population by 1% annually. The official first language is English, while Maori is a recognised second language.

New Zealand’s education system is similar to that found in the United Kingdom, with a three tiered model that includes primary schooling, secondary schooling and tertiary education in a higher education institute such as a university or polytechnic. Attendance is compulsory for all citizens aged between 6 and 16 years of age, and it is provided by the state free of charge. The Education Index, which is published in the United Nations Human Development Report, ranks the education system in the country as the highest and most advanced in the world, tied in first place with Australia, Finland and Denmark. The strong education infrastructure, along with the high school life expectancy produces a qualified workforce, with a high national literacy rate of 99%.

Business Costs

All taxes are levied by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), on behalf of the New Zealand Government. Personal taxes range from 0% - 39% depending on the amount earned by the individual per annum, with an additional 45% non-notable rate. Corporate taxes stand at a flat rate of 30%. A goods and service tax (GST), is charged on most imported items at 12.5%, which will be increased to 15% in October 2010; special items such as donated goods, Internet sales and refined fine metals are GST-free. Additional taxes include local property taxes and an excise duty which is added to alcohol and gaming.

There are three types of minimum wage in operation in New Zealand: adult minimum wage, new entrants minimum wage and a training minimum wage. The adult minimum wage applies to all workers aged 16 or over and is currently $12.75 per hour or $510 for a 40 hour work week. New entrants aged between 16 and 18 and employees aged 16 or over are who are training in industry recognized programmes are entitled to a minimum wage of $10.20 per hour, or $408 for a 40 hour work week. An additional holiday pay must be paid on top of the minimum wage for full time employees. The Australian Bureau Of Statistics Households Income Report states the median household income for those living in New Zealand as NZ$62,556.
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