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New Zealand ’s relationship with Ireland is a friendly one. Links of kinship and similarity of outlook have contributed to this. New Zealand is however a direct competitor in the marketing of agricultural products and, in the European Union context, this can occasionally give rise to some friction in the relationship.
The substantial flow of Irish immigrants to New Zealand in the period after 1840 and the strong connection between Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand have left a web of close family connections. Many prominent New Zealanders have been able to trace Irish ancestry: around 18% of New Zealanders claim Irish descent.
The present day relationship with Ireland is characterised by a familiarity and warmth in official contacts, but it is the wider relationship with the European Union which sets the framework for much of the bilateral contact.
In 1993 New Zealand and Ireland concluded a social security agreement and in 1995, a Working Holiday Scheme came into force. The quota for the working holiday scheme is currently 2,800, up substantially from past years: an indication of increasing mutual interest between the two countries.
Land Area 70,280 sq km
Population 4.5 million (2008)
Capital City Dublin
Official Languages Irish, English
Political system Parliamentary democracy
National government Fine Gael/Labour coalition led by Taoiseach Enda Kenny
National legislature Oireachtas - consisting of the Dáil Éireann (the House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (the Senate)
Last election scheduled for October 2004 (Mary McAleese reappointed, no other candidate qualified to contest) Parliamentary: February 2011
Next election Presidential: 2011, Parliamentary: 2016
Head of state President Mary McAleese
Head of government Taoiseach Enda Kenny
GDP US$204.1 billion (2010 est)
Real GDP growth -1.0% (2010 est)
Exports US$111.3 billion (2010 est)
Imports US$ - 62 billion (2010 est)
Main exports Machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Current account balance US$ -1.5 billion (2010 est)
Inflation -1.6% (2010 est)
New Zealand exports NZ$47.5 million
Main exports Wine, machinery and electrical machinery, sheepmeat.
New Zealand imports NZ$221.6 million
Main imports Pharmaceuticals, food products, machinery.
The New Zealand High Commissioner in London is accredited to Ireland [external link].
The current New Zealand Honorary Consul in Dublin is Alan McCarthy.
The Embassy of Ireland in Australia is accredited to New Zealand.
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Ireland [external link].