Our relationship with France

We are currently celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations with France, which began in August 1945. In recent years, ties between our two countries have been strengthening. Our mutual interests in the Pacific are an important feature of our relationship - these include cooperation on maritime surveillance, joint defence exercises, disaster relief and development, and the closer integration of the French Pacific territories within the region.

We have a shared war history, and the centenary of World War I is currently at the centre of our recent interactions with the French Government as well as with French local government in the battlefield region.

As a member of the United Nations Security Council for 2015-2016, New Zealand is engaging closely on issues on the Council agenda, in Paris and Wellington as well as in New York.

Trade

2014 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$1,5 billion

 

Exports to France

$373 million 

Top exports: sheepmeat, medical apparatus, fish and sheepskin

Imports from France

$1 billion

Top imports: aircraft, vehicles, machinery, wine

GDP

US$2.298 trillion

 
GDP per capita US $39,557 (NZ GDP per capita is US$36,626)
GDP growth  0.2%  

France is our third-largest largest individual trading partner within the EU, with imports from France dominating two-way trade. It also provides a significant source of investment into New Zealand with around half of this in manufacturing (particularly in the wine industry). French companies have set up or bought into operations in New Zealand and New Zealand companies are doing the same in France, focusing on technology (banking and healthcare software, telecommunications) and high-end food and beverages.

France is a fast growing source of tourists. More than 30,000 French visitors travelled to New Zealand in the year to December 2014, a 13% increase on the previous year. More than 17,000 New Zealanders travelled to France in 2014. The number of young French people coming to New Zealand under the Working Holiday Scheme rose from 115 in 2000 to nearly 8,000 in 2014.

The Education Cooperation Agreement signed in September 2013 strengthens education ties with France and the French Pacific by promoting student and teacher exchanges, and language learning. French is still the most popular foreign language taught in New Zealand schools.

Defence

New Zealand and France signed a Status of Forces Agreement in May 2014. This supports our strong ongoing defence cooperation in the Pacific (we have regular joint exercises with the French Armed Force in New Caledonia) and ongoing cooperation as part of the France-Australia-New Zealand (FRANZ) Pacific humanitarian relief arrangement.

People

The New Zealand-France Friendship Fund was established in 1991 following the Rainbow Warrior incident. This fund provides grants for initiatives including cultural, literary, educational, culinary, business, school and sporting exchanges.

New Zealand and France jointly fund collaborative projects in biotechnology and nanotechnology, under the Dumont d'Urville Programme established in 2005.

We also remember one of New Zealand's greatest writers, who lived her final years in France, with the Katherine Mansfield Literary Fellowship in Menton. 

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a 12-month working holiday visa for France.

To apply, you can book an appointment at the Embassy of France in Wellington.  

For more information, go to the Embassy of France in Wellington website (external link).

Embassies

Recent official visits

New Zealand to France
  • June 2015: Minister of Trade Tim Groser visited Paris for the OECD Ministerial Council meeting
  • June 2015: Minister of Agriculture Nathan Guy visited Paris for meetings with French ministerial counterparts as well as agriculture officials and industry representatives
  • June 2015: Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Minister of Revenue Todd McLay visited Paris, and met with French Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Matthias Fekl as well as OECD officials
  • April 2015: Speaker of the House David Carter and the Parliamentary Delegation visited Paris and Arras. On Anzac Day, Minister of State Services, Paula Bennett participated in the centenary commemorations of Gallipoli in northern France
  • March 2015: Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully met with his counterpart, Laurent Fabius, in Paris.
  • January 2015: Minister of Trade Tim Groser visited Paris, meeting with French Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Matthias Fekl and with French agri-business representatives
  • November 2014: Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry led the New Zealand delegation in a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, as part of the 96th anniversary commemorations of Armistice Day in Europe
  • June 2014: Governor General Lt General Sir Jerry Mateparae travelled to France to represent New Zealand at the 70th anniversary of D-Day commemorations in Normandy
France to New Zealand
  • April 2015: Head of the NZ-France Friendship Group in the French Senate attended Anzac Day commemorative services in Wellington as President Hollande's special representative.
  • November 2013: Associate Minister of Defence Kader Arif made an official visit dedicated to further talks and cooperation on the First World War centenary programme.

Actualités et événements

Battle of Passchendaele Centenary

Belgium
France
United Kingdom

The New Zealand National Commemoration for the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele will take place on 12 October 2017.