The relationship between New Zealand and Britain remains strong and close. This closeness arises from our historical connection with Britain, common traditions and values, and family ties: New Zealand has enjoyed several waves of immigration from Britain, the most recent during the seventies. Beyond these personal links, Britain is still a significant trading partner and often throws its weight behind New Zealand in the EU where trade access issues are concerned.
The areas of interest to Britain and New Zealand are not as homogeneous as they once were. In Britain's case, intangible historical and cultural links have increasingly given way to a closer focus on Europe and its obligations as a key EU member state. There is, however, a symmetry of political perspective between the countries' two governments in many areas. This is particularly clear in the common ground displayed on a broad range of domestic policy issues. In economic policy, education and public sector reform, New Zealand and the UK find each other's experiences relevant and warranting closer study. This is a prevailing element in most ministerial travel in each direction.
Numerous bilateral agreements exist between New Zealand and the United Kingdom. These include a reciprocal Health Services Agreement, a reciprocal Agreement on Social Security, a Double Taxation Convention and an Air Services Agreement - the latter was recently renegotiated and replaced in 2005 with a liberal ‘open skies’ agreement.
Land Area: 244,820 sq km Population: 62.4 million (2011) Capital City: London Languages: English, Welsh, Gaelic
Political system: Parliamentary monarchy - a bicameral system comprising the House of Commons (659 members) and the House of Lords (687 members). The current government has abolished the hereditary status of the House of Lords in favour of a “meritocratic” Upper House. The devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were created in 1999 following simple majority referendums. National government: Coalition between Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats, announced 11 May following the general election of 6 May 2010. Next election to be held 7 May 2015.
Head of State: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Head of Government: Rt Hon David Cameron MP
GDP: US$2,416 billion (2011) Real GDP growth: 0.7% (2011) Exports: US$479.7 billion (2011) Imports US$639.5 billion (2011) Main exports:Mechanical machinery, electrical machinery, pharmaceutical products Current account balance: -US$46.5 billion (2011) Inflation: 4.5% (2011)
New Zealand Trade
Data for year ended 2011
NZ Exports (FOB): NZ$1.55 billion Main exports: Sheepmeat ($583m), wine ($293m), wool products ($61m), aluminium ($55m), apples ($46m) NZ Imports (CIF): NZ$ 1.27 billion Main imports: Petroleum ($153m) vehicles ($104m) turbo jets ($100m), medicaments ($58m) books and newspapers ($48m)
NB: New Zealand’s official trade statistics for exports to the UK do not include goods transhipped to the UK from elsewhere in the EU, such as dairy products.