Economy of New Zealand

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Economy of New Zealand
One New Zealand Dollar coin
Currency 1 New Zealand Dollar (NZD$) = 100 cents
Fiscal year 1 July - 30 June
Trade organisations APEC, WTO and OECD
GDP (PPP) $92.51 billion (2004 est.) (60th [1])
GDP growth 4.8% (2004 est.)
GDP per capita $23,200 (2004 est.)
GDP by sector agriculture (4.6%), industry (27.4%), services (68%) (2004 est.)
Inflation (CPI) 3.9% (2005 est.)
Pop below poverty line N/A (2004 est.)
Gini index {{{gini}}}
Labour force 2.05 million (2004 est.)
Labour force by occupation agriculture (10%), industry (25%), services (65%) (1995 est.)
Unemployment 3.4% (2005)
Main industries Food processing, Textiles, Machinery and Transportation equipment, Finance, Tourism, Mining
Trading Partners
Exports $29.2 billion(2005)
Export goods machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products
Main partners Australia 19.6%, U.S. 14.3%, Japan 11.4%, the People's Republic of China 6.3%, UK 5.1% (2004)
Imports $ 35.8 billion (2005)
Imports goods machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, plastics
Main Partners Australia 28.6%, Japan 10.7%, U.S. 10%, the People's Republic of China 6.6%, Germany 4.2%, Singapore 4.1% (2004)
Public finances
Public debt $42.84 billion (2005 est.)
Revenues $38.29 billion (2004)
Expenses $36.12 billion (2004)
Economic aid donor: $99.7 million (FY99/00)
Main source [2]
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars

The Economy of New Zealand is a small but prosperous free market economy, which is greatly dependent on international trade, mainly with Australia, the United States of America and Japan.


[edit] Economic profile

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of New Zealand at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of New Zealand Dollars.

Year Gross Domestic Product US Dollar Exchange Inflation Index (2000=100)
1980 22,976 1.02 New Zealand Dollars 30
1985 45,003 2.00 New Zealand Dollars 53
1990 73,745 1.67 New Zealand Dollars 84
1995 91,881 1.52 New Zealand Dollars 93
2000 114,563 2.18 New Zealand Dollars 100
2005 154,108 1.41 New Zealand Dollars 113

For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US Dollar is exchanged at 1.51 New Zealand Dollars.

Since 1984, the government of New Zealand has accomplished major economic restructuring, moving an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access toward a more industrialised, free market economy that can compete globally. This growth has boosted real incomes, broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector, and contained inflationary pressures. Inflation remains among the lowest in the industrial world. Per capita GDP has been moving up toward the levels of the big West European economies. New Zealand's heavy dependence on trade leaves its growth prospects vulnerable to economic performance in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

New Zealand's economy has traditionally been based on a foundation of exports from its very efficient agricultural system. Leading agricultural exports include meat, dairy products, forest products, fruit and vegetables, fish, and wool. New Zealand was a direct beneficiary of many of the reforms achieved under the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, with agriculture in general and the dairy sector in particular enjoying many new trade opportunities in the long term. The country has substantial hydroelectric power and sizable reserves of natural gas, much of which is exploited due primarily to major Keynesian import substitution-oriented industrial projects (See Think Big). Leading manufacturing sectors are food processing, metal fabrication, and wood and paper products. Some manufacturing industries, many of which had only been established in a climate of import substitution with high tariffs and subsidies, such as car assembly, have completely disappeared, and manufacturing's importance in the economy is in a general decline.

[edit] Microeconomic reform

Since 1984, government subsidies including those for agriculture have been eliminated; import regulations have been liberalised; exchange rates have been freely floated; controls on interest rates, wages, and prices have been removed; and marginal rates of taxation reduced. Tight monetary policy and major efforts to reduce the government budget deficit brought the inflation rate down from an annual rate of more than 18% in 1987. The restructuring and sale of government-owned enterprises in the 1980s and 1990s reduced government's role in the economy and permitted the retirement of some public debt, but simultaneously massively increased the necessity for greater welfare spending and has lead to considerably higher rates of unemployment that were standard in New Zealand in earlier decades. However, unemployment in New Zealand is again low, hovering around 3.5% to 4%.

Economic growth, which had slowed in 1997 and 1998 due to the negative effects of the Asian financial crisis and two successive years of drought, rebounded in 1999. A low New Zealand dollar, favourable weather, and high commodity prices boosted exports, and the economy is estimated to have grown by 2.5% in 2000. Growth resumed at a higher level from 2001 onwards due primarily to the lower value of the New Zealand dollar which made exports more competitive. The return of substantial economic growth led the unemployment rate to drop from 7.8% in 1999 to 3.4% in late 2005, the lowest rate in nearly 20 years. The large current account deficit, which stood at more than 6.5% of GDP in 2000, has been a constant source of concern for New Zealand policymakers and has now hit 9% to date as of March 2006. The rebound in the export sector is expected to help narrow the deficit to lower levels, but the budget deficit continues to increase as of 2005, especially due to increases in the value of the New Zealand dollar.

[edit] Economic relations with trading partners

New Zealand's economy has been helped by strong economic relations with Australia. Australia and New Zealand are partners in "Closer Economic Relations" (CER) [3], which allows for free trade in goods and most services. Since 1990, CER has created a single market of more than 22 million people, and this has provided new opportunities for New Zealand exporters. Australia is now the destination of 19% of New Zealand's exports, compared to 14% in 1983. Both sides also have agreed to consider extending CER to product standardization and taxation policy. New Zealand initiated a free trade agreement with Singapore in September 2000 which was extended in 2005 to include Chile and Brunei and is now known as the P4 agreement. New Zealand is seeking other bilateral/regional trade agreements in the Pacific area.

U.S. goods and services have been competitive in New Zealand, though the strong U.S. dollar has created challenges for U.S. exporters in 2001. The market-led economy offers many opportunities for U.S. exporters and investors. Investment opportunities exist in chemicals, food preparation, finance, tourism, and forest products, as well as in franchising. The best sales prospects are for medical equipment, information technology, and consumer goods. On the agricultural side, the best prospects are for fresh fruit, snack foods, specialized grocery items (eg. organic foods), and soybean meal. A number of U.S. companies have subsidiary branches in New Zealand. Many operate through local agents, with some joint venture associations. The American Chamber of Commerce is active in New Zealand, with its main office in Auckland and a branch committee in Wellington.

New Zealand welcomes and encourages foreign investment without discrimination. The Overseas Investment Commission (OIC) must give consent to foreign investments that would control 25% of more of businesses or property worth more than NZ$50 million. Restrictions and approval requirements also apply to certain investments in land and in the commercial fishing industry. In practice, OIC approval requirements have not hindered U.S. investment. OIC consent is based on a national interest determination, but no performance requirements are attached to foreign direct investment after consent is given. Full remittance of profits and capital is permitted through normal banking channels.

[edit] Other economic indicators

Industrial Production Growth Rate: 5.9% (2004)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

  • Lowest 10%: 0.3%
  • Highest 10%: 29.8% (1991)

Agriculture - Products: wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef, dairy products; fish

Exports - commodities: dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, machinery

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, plastics


  • Electricity - consumption: 34.88 TWh (2001)
  • Electricity - production: 38.39 TWh (2004)
  • Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)
  • Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2001)

Electricity - Production by source:

  • Fossil Fuel: 31.6%
  • Hydro: 57.8%
  • Nuclear: 0%
  • Other: 10.7% (2001)


  • Oil - production: 42,160 barrel/day (6,703 m³/d) 2001
  • Oil - consumption: 132,700 barrel/day (21,100 m³/d) 2001
  • Oil - exports: 30,220 barrel/day (4,800 m³/d) 2001
  • Oil - imports: 119,700 barrel/day (19,000 m³/d) 2001
  • Oil - proved reserves: 89.62 million barrel (14,250,000 m³) January 2002

Exchange rates:
New Zealand Dollars (NZ$) per US$1 - 1.3869 (2005), 1.5248 (2004), 1.9071 (2003), 2.1622 (2002), 2.3788 (2001), 2.2012 (2000), 1.8886 (1999), 1.8632 (1998), 1.5083 (1997), 1.4543 (1996), 1.5235 (1995)

[edit] References

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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