Introduction - Brief Note On New Zealand
New Zealand consists of two large islands i.e North and South islands and a number of smaller islands having a total area of 2,70,500 sq kms similar to the size of Japan or UK. The North and South Islands are separated by Cook Strait , which at its nearest point is 20kms wide. Its present population, according to 2001 census, is 3.80 million. Important cities in the two islands and their current population are given below:
Auckland - 1.1 million
Wellington - 3,46,700
Christchurch - 3,41,000
Dunedin - 1,12,000
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In December 1642, Dutch commander Abel Tasman sighted the West Coast of South Island, but sailed away after skirmishes with the Maoris. From 1769, British explorer James Cook led three expeditions to New Zealand.
British Sovereignty was proclaimed by New South Wales Governor, Gipp on January 14, 1840, which included the whole of New Zealand. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed by the Lt Governor William Hobson with the Maori Chiefs, whereby sovereignty was ceded to Queen Victoria while in return, the possession of land, forests and fisheries were granted to the Maori Chiefs, with the Crown alone having right to purchase land.
New Zealand was a British colony from 1840 until 1907, when it received a Dominion status. With the adoption of the statute of Westminster New Zealand finally became an independent country in 1947.
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New Zealand is formally a monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the titular head of state as the queen of New Zealand. She is represented by a Governor General, appointed for 5 years, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of New Zealand. The present Governor General is Hon. Anand Satyanand. There is a unicameral House of Representatives consisting of 120 members. There is no second House or State legislative assemblies. New Zealand has a system of Mixed Members Proportion (MMP) electoral system, which came into effect in October 1996 general elections. Under this system out of the 120 Parliament members, 65 (including 5 Maori members) are elected directly, while the remaining 55 (known as list members) are nominated by the parties on the basis of percentage of votes secured.
The fourth general elections under the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system was held in September 2005, resulting in a coalition government of Labour and Alliance Parties with Mrs. Helen Clark as Prime Minister. Labour Party got 40.7% votes while national Party got 39.6% votes.
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The two main political parties are Labour, traditionally left-of-centre and National which is a right-of-centre. The composition of the present Parliament is as follows:
Labour Party - 50
ACT - 2
National - 49
United Future - 3
NZ First - 7
Green Party - 6
Progressive - 1
Maori - 4
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The central feature of the country's economic policy over the last decade has been a progressive deregulation marked by privatization of the state-owned enterprises. New Zealand is an active member of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Its members account for 70% of New Zealand's exports and are the source of most of it's inward direct investment. The Government has plans to eliminate all tariffs by the year 2006 ahead of APEC's target of 2010.
New Zealand is one of the smallest OECD economies and is heavily dependent on overseas trade. Traditionally, it is reliant on temperate agricultural products. However, industries such as fishing, forestry, horticulture and tourism have become increasingly significant. In recent decades, the agricultural and manufacturing industries have been developed to suit the needs of niche markets. New Zealand's largest merchandise export markets are Australia, USA and Japan.
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India-New Zealand relations
India and New Zealand have traditionally enjoyed cordial and friendly relations based on common linkages of Commonwealth, parliamentary democracy, English languages and sporting ties. Apart from relations at official level spanning over 4 decades, trade and people-to-people contacts have been flourishing.
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In 1986, an institutional framework to identify areas of potential and develop means to optimize trade turnover was established through a Trade Agreement which provided for the establishment of a Joint Business Council and a Joint Trade Committee. The first meeting of India- New Zealand Joint Trade Committee (JTC) was held in New Delhi on June 4-5, 1987 when the two sides agreed to take effective steps to create an environment conducive to trade expansion and to inject dynamism to trade relations. Since then, JTC has met 7 times. The 7th JTC meeting was held on 14th April 2000 in Wellington. The 8th meeting of the JTC was held in New Delhi on 13-14 October 2003.
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