Traveling to New Zealand New Zealand is an island country, located in the South Pacific Ocean in about 2,000 km southeast of Australian continent. It consists of two main islands, the North Island (about 120 sq km) and the South Island (about 160 sq km)m separated by Cook Strait (about 3,600 m), and a number of small widely scattered islands, like Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Stewart Island, Campbell Island, etc. New Zealand is the largest land territory, belonging to Polynesian island countries. Total area of the countrys lands is about 270,000 sq km, which is about the size of Italy or the State of Colorado. The country stretches for about 1,600 km in length, and it is not more than 300 km wide. Almost all the land territory of the country is made up by two main islands. The North Island is 830 km long; it is volcanic with active central plateau. There are numerous unique thermal areas, covered with natural hot springs and wonderful geysers. The South Island has beautiful Southern Alps, which are running along its western coast for about 500 km, with the highest point at Mount Cook (3.800 m), other numerous glaciers and peaks, always covered with snow, and spectacular little lakes and fiords in valleys.
Therefore, mountain and hill landscape is dominating. As the country is located on the western rim of the Pacific tectonic plate, its whole territory is under the influence of intense geothermal activity, like earthquakes or living volcanoes. The Pacific Ocean lies to the east and north of New Zealand, and the Tasman Sea lies between it and Australia. More than %75 of the area is above 200 m. The longest river is the Waikato (400 km) on the North Island. The largest inland source of water is Lake Taupo (607 sq km).
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The climate of the country can be characterized with sharp regional contrasts.
It is mainly subtropical in the north and oceanic temperate in the south, with an annual average 2,000 sunshine hours. Therefore, the North Island has warmer and milder climate with average winter temperature about 52F and summer temperature about 70F. The rainfall level of the west is higher then it is of the east, annual average is about 125-140 cm. The South Island is relatively colder, with the average temperature in winter about 43F and in summer about 59F. Because of the mountains, annual rainfall level here is very variable: it changes from 65 cm on the east to 300 cm on the west of the island. The remarkable fact is that seasons in New Zealand are opposite to the ones in northern hemisphere: their summer starts in December and winter – in June.
So, January and February are the warmest months of year, and July is the coldest. Besides, the weather in the country is very changeable, so it is possible to see all four seasons in one day. But, in general, as the land mass of the country is small relatively to the expanse of water masses around New Zealand, the climate of the country is not very much variable during changing of seasons, especially if to compare with Europe or North America. Geographical land use is approximately the following: %30 of the territory is covered with forests, %50 is lanes and meadows, and about %15 are under cultivation. Also, in both islands, especially around New Plymouth and Dunedin, there are large areas of farmlands and pastures for sheep and cattle. The country is rich with numerous natural resources, like iron, coal, sand, natural gas, gold and timber, limestone, etc. Historically, for long time New Zealand has been a part of British Empire.
In 1907 it received independence from British domination and started developing of own economy and politics. Nevertheless, in times of both World Wars, government of New Zealand supported the United Kingdom with military and weapon supplies. Recently the country is an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Now New Zealand is a well advanced, industrialized and business-prosperous country with political system of steady parliamentary democracy, administrated by sovereign British monarch and own parliament. The capital of the country is Wellington (0.3 mln) and the largest city is Auckland (1.2 mln).
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New Zealand has a small, but rather highly developed economy. Two main features of it are the following: huge contribution of sheep farming into economical system of the country and high dependence of the economy on foreign trade and its exports and imports to overseas countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Germany, etc.
Usually the largest trade was set with the United Kingdom, but recently the tendency is to expand the commerce to developing neighboring countries of Pacific Rim. As to sheep farming, it is extremely spread around the country: the population of sheep at farms is 16 times larger than human population of the country. For many years New Zealand occupies first place in the world in producing of butter and cheese, which are the most imported products. During the last decades the government of the country has been making affords to transform agriculture-oriented economy, dependent on UK market needs, to industrial market economy, which could compete worldwide. Such dynamic changes improved some economical indexes and fastened technological development of manufacturing and industry. Recently level of per capita revenues increased a lot and reached %80 of the highest European indexes. Besides, lately economy of the country suffered influence of worldwide slumps in prices for commodities, but due to quite good flexibility of the whole system, there are no pessimistic forecasts for coming years regarding any of economic elements. According to the reports of 2003, the level of GDP is $85.26 billion; PPP per capita is $21,600, and real growth rate is %3.4.
Industrial production growth rate reached %3. Inflation rate is % 1.8 and level of unemployment is about %5. Labor force in the country is about 2 mln people, %65 of which are engaged in services, %25 in industry and %10 in agriculture. The main industries are food processing, wood and paper manufacturing, equipment and machinery, banking, tourism, etc. The main agricultural products are wheat and barley, fruits, potatoes, and also meat, wool, fish, etc. Imports of the country total $16.06 bln, it is mainly equipment and machinery, aircrafts, petroleum, electronic, etc. Exports are also about $15.86 bln, prevalently dairy and products of farming, meat, wooden products, textile, fish, etc.
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Primary matters of New Zealand economy are development of business and commerce and introduction of innovations. New policy of the government is focused on enlarging of the countrys global relations and concentrating of governmental resources for developing and enhancing the system of innovations, especially in industry. Manufacturing sector of the country is on the increase and it produces wide assortment of different goods, which are in good demand abroad and can guarantee excellent profits form exporting. Commerce is well-spread in New Zealand. Statistically, about %80 of trade is concentrated in Commonwealth city. Retail trade became the object of many small and middle-size business enterprises. It mostly involves selling of new and second-hand goods for individual and household use. Large wholesale trade is less developed, but it also brings much of income, especially when exporting.
Despite of ethnical and geographical isolation of the country, the level of technological advancement is quite high. The country has a very advanced market of information technology, which is represented by a large number of software and equipment companies, operating mostly for domestic customers. Inhabitants of New Zealand are eager to adopt technological innovations, more than half of the countrys homes have computers and about %40 are provided with Internet connection. Scientific and technological researches together with industrial innovations and modernizations are considered to be the most important elements for economical growth and progress. Monetary unit is New Zealand dollar (NZD), which was introduced in 1967 instead of the system of pound and pence. National Reserve Bank implements governmental monetary policy, it has sole prerogative to issue coins and banknotes and is obligated by government to keep the inflation level between %0 and 3.
The value of governmental securities is about $28,500 mln, which is good support for monetary and economical balance. Because of setting of free market relations, during the last two decades NZD had floating exchange rate. Nevertheless, the government is successful in keeping the capacity of money in proper level by carrying out of policy of intervention into foreign exchange markets. Such intervention means purchasing and selling NZD for currencies of foreign countries with the purpose to support smooth operating of domestic market. In recent years NZD exchange rate is steady and slightly waves around USD 2 for NZD 1.Therefore, all these facts, together with absence of any preconditions for financial paralysis or crisis, are proving rather stable position of NZD. New Zealand has very advanced systems of communications and transportation. There are about 2 mln main telephone lines and about 2.5 mobile lines in use.
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Market of Internet users is estimated as 2 mln customers, and there are about 450,000 Internet hosting companies operating at the market. There are more than 50 TV broadcast stations. Telephone connection is excellent at both domestic and foreign lines. Country code is 64. Due to geographical particularities, the majority of rail roads and highways are located along the coasts. There are more than 4,000 km of railroads, connecting the main cities at both islands.
Bus service network is well developed and offers comfortable rides by more than 95,000 km of main roads. The average price for car renting of a middle sized car is NZD80-NZD110 per day, withnegotiable competitive prices for longer trips. It is notable that the New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road. Besides, rail ferries and Besa Passenger vehicles are available several times a day to travel from one island to the other. There are 113 large and small airports in the country. Almost all big cities have airports with domestic and international connections, which are operated by two major airlines, Ansett and Air New Zealand (dominant national operator).
International flights mostly start from big airports of Auckland and Wellington. Domestic flights between big popular cities like Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland are available every hour. For long international flights Air New Zealand uses Boeing 747’s or 767’s, for short domestic flights – Boeing 737s. Population of New Zealand is about 3.65 mln people, which includes %75 of New Zealand Europeans, %10 of Maori and %5 of representatives of other ethnic groups. Annual population growth rate comes to %1.2. Dominating amount of inhabitants has European origin.
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Maori, who are supposed to be aborigines at this territory, populated the islands about 1000 years ago. Nowadays they quite adopted modern lifestyle, but enthusiastically keep alive their language, culture and art. There are many other nationalities, like the Chinese, the Koreans, the Vietnamese, etc. settled in the country. Ethnic mixture of the countrys population is kaleidoscopic and changing, but the tendency is the increase of share of Maori, Asian and Pacific ethnic groups, particularly because of higher birth rate and growing amount of mixed marriages, together with changes in immigration strategy of New Zealand. Besides, mentioned ethnic minorities ….