Our relationship with Sweden

New Zealand and Sweden have a tradition of friendly and cooperative relations. Our countries share similar outlooks on global issues, including trade, agricultural reform, disarmament, human rights, and the environment.

Contacts between New Zealand and Sweden have existed since the early stages of European settlement in New Zealand, with significant numbers of Swedes settling in the North Island along with other Scandinavians.

Sweden is a champion of sustainable growth and a founding member of the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, a group of non-G20 countries initiated by New Zealand in 2010 to support the G20 (and subsequently APEC) commitment to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

Sweden is also one of the original members of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, established by New Zealand in 2009. This alliance focuses on research, development and extension of technologies and practices that will help deliver ways to grow more food without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

A Working Holiday Scheme between Sweden and New Zealand has been in place since 2001, enabling Swedish and New Zealand nationals aged between 18 and 30 to work for up to a year in the other country. Unlimited places are available under this scheme to young citizens of Sweden.


2014 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$358 million


Exports to Sweden

$62 million  

Top exports: sheep meat, wine, apples and seafood

Imports from Sweden

$296 million

Top imports: farming machinery, motor vehicles, electrical machinery and pharmaceutical products


US$477 billion

GDP per capita US $46,769 (NZ GDP per capita is US$43,837)
GDP growth  2.4%  


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Sweden
  • October 2015: Minister of Social Housing Paula Bennett visited Stockholm
  • April 2011: Minister of Trade Tim Groser visited Stockholm to meet trade and climate change counterparts
  • December 2009: Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully attended European Union consultations in Sweden
  • October 2007: Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters met the Swedish Foreign Minister, the Development Cooperation Minister, and the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs
Sweden to New Zealand
  • September 2014: Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, General Goranson, visited New Zealand
  • March 2014: State Secretary Bertil Osberg attended the fourth International Summit on the Teaching Profession in Wellington
  • October 2008: Princess Birgitta of Sweden visited New Zealand
  • February 2005: Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson undertook the first visit to New Zealand by a Swedish prime minister

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