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New zealand

About New Zealand

New Zealand - Land of the long white cloud

New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean. The country is situated some 1,500 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea. Along with Australia, it is located in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the first countries in the world to greet the Sun. With a temperate climate and stunning scenery, New Zealand is one of the most desirable places in the world to live and work. The country’s diverse landscape provides many opportunities for outdoor pursuits and has provided the backdrop for a number of big budget movies.

New Zealand is organized into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities. It is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand and the head of state. The Queen is represented by the Governor-General, whom she appoints on the advice of the Prime Minister. New Zealand offers a stable political environment to its residents. It was ranked the world’s least corrupt nation according to the 2009 Transparency International survey.

The population of New Zealand is approximately 4.4 million. It is a predominantly urban country, with 72 percent of the population living in 16 main urban areas. The majority of New Zealand's population is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and non-Māori Polynesians. English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language are the official languages, with English as the predominant language.

New Zealand has a modern, prosperous and developed market economy. Its economy is efficient and market-driven, with a culture of innovation. The country underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalized free-trade economy. Over the past 20 years the government has transformed New Zealand from an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access to a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally. Deregulation over the past two decades has created an open, globally competitive economy which operates on free market principles.

New Zealand is ranked as one of the easiest places in the world to start a business, according to the 2010 World Bank survey. It second only to Singapore for ease of doing business. There are few restrictions on establishing, owning and operating a business in this country. New Zealand offers close access to international markets through free trade and economic co-operation agreements with a number of countries.

New Zealand excels in business sectors such as information and communications technology, tourism, film and special effects production, biotechnology, agricultural research and wood-based technology.

The country is heavily dependent on international trade, particularly in agricultural products. Exports account for a high 24 percent of its output. Its principal export industries are agriculture, horticulture, fishing, forestry and mining, which make up about half of the country's exports. Wool was New Zealand’s major agricultural export during the late 19th century. However, the country’s wool export trade has now been taken over by dairy farming which has become New Zealand's largest export earner. New Zealand's wine industry has followed a similar trend to dairy.

The service sector is the largest sector in the economy, followed by manufacturing and construction and then farming and raw material extraction. Tourism also plays a significant role in New Zealand's economy.

The New Zealand dollar, informally known as the "Kiwi dollar", is the official currency of New Zealand.

New Zealand is a great place to live, invest and do business. A 2009 Report from Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, ranks New Zealand as the world's 10th most prosperous country. New Zealand cities generally rank highly on international livability measures. Its largest city, Auckland, is ranked number four in the world for quality of living according to the 2009 Mercer survey. New Zealand was ranked the 3rd most developed country in 2010 according to the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index and 4th in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Foundation