New Zealand is a democracy with a parliamentary government. Its total land area is 270,500 square kilometres. Of its total population of 4.7 million, more than 85 per cent live in urban areas, and one third live in the Auckland region.
New Zealand is a unitary state. Local government is divided between regional councils, district councils and city councils.
The founding document of New Zealand is the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840, between the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand and the British Crown. The English text of the Treaty’s three articles is as follows:
- The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which the said Confederation or Individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereigns thereof.
- Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests and Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession: but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.
- In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.
Although agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and other services are the dominant sectors of the economy, the cultural sector is growing in importance. The sector employs approximately six per cent of the work force. Over five per cent of all businesses belong to the sector. The annual employment growth rate in the sector exceeds that of the economy as a whole.
Updated on 14th July 2017