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United States of America

Liberty Enlightening the World, New York [1]

New Zealand and the United States

Bilateral relationship

New Zealand places great store on its relationship with the United States. Both countries share a deep and longstanding friendship based on a common heritage, shared values and interests, and a commitment to promoting a free, democratic, secure and prosperous world. Both governments collaborate in a wide range of positive and productive ways. There is close cooperation in Antarctica and on related issues, including safeguarding the environment, scientific research into key issues including climate change, and supporting the Antarctic Treaty system. New Zealand and the US are working increasingly closely on issues of instability, insecurity and governance in the Pacific. Both countries have common interests in countering terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Asia-Pacific region and further afield.

Under the Wellington Declaration, signed on the occasion of Secretary Clinton’s visit to New Zealand in 2010, both countries have agreed to pursue cooperation in the Pacific and enhanced dialogue on a range of international issues. The Washington Declaration signed by Minister Coleman in Washington DC in June 2012 sets out areas of closer bilateral defence and security cooperation, including increasing cooperation in the South Pacific, building New Zealand’s amphibious capacity, and working multilaterally to build the capacity in peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Trade and Economic Relationship

As the world’s largest, most complex and technically advanced economy the US is a key economic partner for New Zealand. The US is an important source of innovation, research and investment, and is a key market for New Zealand goods and services. It is also a major source of foreign direct investment and inbound tourism. New Zealand co-operates with the US to free up barriers to international trade, through the WTO and regionally through APEC. United States-New Zealand economic relations cover the spectrum of commercial activity including the flow of goods, services and capital across all major economic sectors from traditional heavy manufacturing to agriculture. Newer areas of the knowledge economy are also prominent as New Zealand firms and institutions seek to commercialise their IP in sectors such as ICT, biotech and clean technology. The US is New Zealand’s third largest individual export destination, source of imports, and individual trading partner overall. The US remains a major market for agricultural products. It is New Zealand’s largest market for frozen beef and casein. Although the US is already a significant trading partner for New Zealand, much scope remains to expand the relationship. Securing a free trade agreement negotiation with the US has been a key New Zealand trade objective for more than a decade.

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Key facts




Land Area 9, 631, 418 sq km (includes US territories)
Population 316.4 million (2014 est.)
Capital City Washington DC
Language English with large Spanish-speaking minority





Political system Federal Republic comprising a Federal Government, 50 State Governments and one district (District of Colombia).
National government Executive Branch led by the Democratic Party. Legislative Branch (Congress) comprising the House of Representatives (Republican Party) and the US Senate (Democratic Party).
National legislature Bicameral legislature (Congress) comprises: Senate of 100 members; and House of Representatives of 435 members. Senators are elected for a six-year term. House representatives are elected for a two-year term.
Last elections 6 November 2012: House of Representatives; 6 November 2012: President
Next election due November 2014: House of Representatives; November 2016: President
Head of State President Barack Obama
Head of Government President Barack Obama



Economic (2013)          


GDP US$16,800 billion
GDP growth 1.8% per annum
Main exports Capital goods (33%), industrial supplies (32%), consumer goods (12%)
Main imports Industrial supplies (30%), capital goods (24%), consumer goods (23%)
Current account blanace US-$379 billion
Unemployment 7.4%



New Zealand Trade (year to December 2013)


Exports (FOB) NZ$4.071 billion
Main exports Frozen beef; whey and products; sheep meat; casein; wine
Imports (CIF)

NZ$4.252 billion

Main imports Aircraft; aircraft parts; turbo-jets; medical or veterinary instruments

Source: Statistics New Zealand

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Selected New Zealand visits to United States of America


Visits in 2014

Hon Simon Bridges Minister of Energy and Resources February
Hon Michael Woodhouse Minister of Veterans' Affairs April
Helene Quilter Secretary of Defence April
Hon Tariana Turia Associate Minister of Social Development June


Visits in 2013

Hon Paula Bennett Minister for Social Development February
Hon Tim Groser Minister of Trade March, May, July
Hon Simon Bridges Minister of Energy and Resources May
Hon Murray McCully Minister of Foreign Affairs May
Hon Ann Tolley Minister of Police September
Hon Gerry Brownlee Minister of Transport Septembe
Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman Minister of Defence October


Visits in 2012

Hon Hekia Parata Minister of Education March
Hon Tim Groser Minister of Trade May
Hon Murray McCully Minister of Foreign Affairs May
Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman Minister of Defence May


Visits in 2011

Rt. Hon Dr Lockwood Smith Speaker of the House October
Hon Bill English Minister of Finance September
Rt. Hon John Key Prime Minister July
Hon Tim Groser Minister of Trade May and November
Hon Murray McCully Minister of Foreign Affairs May


Visits in 2010

Hon Wayne Mapp Minister of Defence and Minister of Research, Science and Technology November - December
Hon Tim Groser Minister of Trade September
Hon Tariana Turia Associate Minister of Health September
Hon Maurice Williamson Minister of Customs July
Hon Christopher Finlayson Attorney General May
Rt. Hon John Key Prime Minister April
Sir Peter Gluckman Prime Minister's Science Advisor March
Hon Pansy Wong Minister of Women's Affairs March



Selected United States of America visits to New Zealand


Visits in 2014

Ray Mabus Secretary of the Navy February
Danny Russel Assistant Secretary of State February
Admiral Samuel Locklear Commander, US Pacific Command April


Visits in 2013

Congressional delegation led by Rep Steve Chabot August


Visits in 2012

Janet Napolitano Secretary of Homeland Security May
Leon Panetta Secretary of Defense October
Max Baucus Chair of the Senate Finance Committee July
Congressional delegation Led by rep Hal Rogers January
Congressional delegation Led by Sen Richard Shelby January


Visits in 2011

Dr Kurt Campbell Assistance Secretary of State February and June
Congressional delegation Led by Rep Donald Manzullo February


Visits in 2010

Hillary Clinton Secretary of State November
Dr Kurt Campbell Assistant Secretary of State August
General James E. Cartwright Vice Chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff April
Bob Scher Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense February
Ray Mabbus Secretary of the Navy January

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New Zealand Embassy [external link] in Washington with New Zealand Consulates-General in Los Angeles [external link] and New York [external link] and New Zealand Honorary Consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Guam, Honolulu, Houston, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

United States Embassy [external link] in Wellington and US Consulate-General [external link] in Auckland with US Commercial Offices in Wellington and Auckland.


Travel advice

The Safetravel website provides an advisory for travel to North America [external link].



[1] Liberty Enlightening the World (French: La Liberté éclairant le monde), generally called the Statue of Liberty, is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of American independence. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an iconic symbol of freedom and of the United States.

Photo courtesy of Todd Heisler/The New York Times

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Page last updated: Friday, 06 June 2014 07:48 NZST