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Norway is similar in both size and population to New Zealand. Our trade relationship is modest, and New Zealand interacts mostly with Norway in the international arena, particularly in multilateral organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). We cooperate closely on issues such as human rights, international security, disarmament, and many aspects of the global environment including climate change and bottom-trawling. Our countries are often engaged together in projects or missions in countries, for example, our current deployments of Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan. New Zealand and Norway take different approaches on the sensitive issue of the conservation of whales.
Both New Zealand and Norway are parties to the Antarctic Treaty and cooperate in scientific research on that continent. The two countries concluded an Antarctic Cooperation Statement in 1997.
A working holiday scheme between Norway and New Zealand has been operational since July 2005, enabling Norwegian and New Zealand nationals aged between 18 and 30 to work for up to a year in the other country. 90 Norwegians participated in working holidays here in the year to June 2010. In the same period, New Zealand’s tertiary education market attracted 235 Norwegian students. Some 4,000 Norwegians visit New Zealand each year.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg visited Auckland in December 2011 after a visit to Antarctica. He was in Antarctica to commemorate the centenary of the first ever expedition to reach the South Pole, led by Norwegian Roald Amundsen in 1911. During his visit Prime Minister Stoltenberg announced his Government’s intent to provide NOK$4m (approx. NZ$1m) for a project led by the Antarctic Heritage Trust to conserve the Antarctic Hut of Norwegian explorer Borchgrevink at Cape Adare in the Ross Dependency.
Land Area - 386,958 sq km, including the Svalbard, Jan Mayen, and Bouvet Islands
Population - 4.9 million (Oct 2011)
Capital City - Oslo
Language - Norwegian, known as Bokmål (influenced by Danish) and Nynorsk (based on dialects). A minority in the north uses Finnish and Sami
Political system - Constitutional Monarchy
National government - Labour-led "red-green alliance": Labour, Socialist Left Party, Centre (green) Party
National legislature - Modified Unicameral Parliament or Storting (169 members, elected by popular vote by proportional representation to serve four year terms)
Last election - 14 September 2009
Next election - September 2013
Head of State - His Majesty King Harald V
Head of Government - Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Labour)
GDP - US$483.5 billion
Real GDP growth - 1.7%
Exports - US$164.4 billion
Imports - US$88.5 billion
Main exports - Crude oil, natural gas and refined petroleum products, manufactured goods. machinery and transport equipment, food and live animals
Current account balance - US$ 702 billion (surplus)
Inflation - 1.3%
Unemployment - 3.3%
NZ Exports (FOB) – NZ$35.7 million
Main Exports – Aluminium, beef meat, onions, wine and apples
NZ Imports (CIF) – NZ$44.9million
Main Imports – Animal or vegetable fats and oils, fertilisers, telecoms equipment, fish oils, firearms
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Norway [external link].