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Free «New Zealand Country Profile» Essay Sample

Introduction

New Zealand is also identified by its Maori Name of Aotearoa and is found to the East of Australia and South of Melanesia in the South Pacific. The country has a surface area of 268,000 square kilometers. The country consists of two main islands which include North and South Island together with a number of smaller Islands, of which the biggest is Stewart Island off the Southern tip of South Island.

New Zealand’s political system is based on a parliamentary monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state, represented by a governor-general. Chant and McIlwaine indicated that “the national legislature comprises a House of Representatives, elected for the first time in 1996 by a mixed member proportional representation system, replacing the first-past the post method” (158). Page on the other hand says that New Zealand is an independent parliamentary democracy and member of commonwealth (178).

The government is based on the United Kingdom model whereby the head of state is the British sovereign represented by a governor general who acts on the advice of the cabinet. Page continues to say that the governor general is appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the New Zealand government (178). The country’s prime minister and cabinet are responsible to the legislature and are appointed by the governor general acting upon its advice and they must be chosen from among elected members of the parliament (Page 178).

New Zealand’s recent history is based on a number of the country’s critical issues and reforms. Rawlings-Way says that “in 1992, the government began reparations for land confiscated in the Wars and confirmed Maori fishing rights in the Sealord deal after the major settlements of historical confiscation including in 1995 reparations for the Waikato land confiscations” (38). Rawlings-Way also says that “in 2004 Maori Television began broadcasting for the first time a channel committed to New Zealand content and the revitalization of Maori language and culture hits the small screen” (39). In 2005 “election returned Helen Clark in the third successive Labour government by a two-seat majority over the National Party while the newly formed Maori party takes four electoral seats” (Rawlings-Way 39).

Scientific Development

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New Zealand has become a heavy user of information technology besides being a success as a producer and exporter of software (Tan, Corbett and Wong 36). The country is currently experiencing an information based technology revolution comparable to the industrial revolution in its pervasiveness and implications for change. Science education in the country has greatly embraced information technology being a leader in e-learning implementation thus ensuring that the country is not isolated from events and developments around the world and that essential communication and information services will be provided to its widely dispersed population (Tan, Corbett and Wong 37).

New Zealand has for long been recognized both nationally and internationally for its commitment to e-learning (Park, Murray & Delaney 244). In the past decade the country has integrated e-learning strategies within the curriculum to meet requirements of a rapidly changing practice environment where advanced technologies are becoming main stream (Park, Murray & Delaney 244). In addition the country identified technological development as a primary trend in the health care development. It was also noted that technology was defined as the utilization of computer science and information to meet the global, consumer and scientific development concerned with different areas of knowledge and practice.

AIDS

In New Zealand the number of HIV infection reported in 2008 was 184 and the main factor of acquiring it is related to unsafe sex among men who have sex with other men (Tanaka, Niki and Kokaze 116). It was noted that heterosexual intercourse is also on the rise because but majority of the people are infected outside the country for example Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

 What percentage of the population is infected?

AIDS – New Zealand 2010 indicates that 151 people were diagnosed with HIV through antibody testing in New Zealand in 2009. The publication further indicates that out of these 73 were men who were infected by having sex with other men while 50 (24 men and 26 women) through heterosexual contact. Statistics according to AIDS – New Zealand 2010 also indicate that “out of these 5 were men who acquired HIV through injecting drug use, and finally 3 out of these were through mother to child transmission and 2 through health care related infection in other countries.”

 It was established that the 18cases of the people were through unknown means of infection. The publication AIDS – New Zealand 2010 continues to say that 28 people were notified with AIDS in 2009. Out of this 15 were men infected through sex with other men, while 9 (4 women and 5 men) cases were through heterosexual contact. It was also noted that 1 acquired AIDS through injecting drug use, while 2 through mother to child transmission while 1 out of the 28 the means of infection was unknown.

How many children are infected with HIV?

Children infected with HIV acquire it through mother to child transmission which in New Zealand is a very small percentage. UNAIDS and World Health Organization says that in New Zealand only one infant was diagnosed with HIV in 2008. On the other hand according to AIDS – New Zealand 2010 statistics “three children (2 siblings) were diagnosed in 2009 with HIV that had been acquired through mother to child transmission and all had been born in New Zealand to women whose HIV had not been diagnosed during pregnancy” (3). Further studies indicate that the children were aged between 5 and 8 years at the time of diagnosis.           

Is the infection rate more predominant in men or women, or is it equally distributed?

UNAIDS and World Health Organization says that in New Zealand men who have sex with other men represented 49% of new cases diagnosed through antibody testing in 2008 (79). Consequently, UNAIDS and World Health Organization continues to say that New Zealand has experienced an increase in HIV consistent with high income earners.

 How is the country dealing with the disease?

New Zealand is dealing with the disease through ensuring that there is adequate public awareness concerning the infection of HIV. Besides that New Zealand ensures that immigrants are screened before they access resident to the country. The government ensures that there is free testing and antiretroviral drugs for those diagnosed with AIDS to reduce the number of deaths associated with HIV.

 Cultural practices

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Bain and Dunford say that New Zealand’s cultural development was stultified for decades by the way it was walled off from the outside world (42). The country is also experiencing new cultures from other continents in and becoming established. Bain and Dunford say as far as sport is concerned New Zealand not only watch sport but they also play it (45). Although golf can claim more participants than any other sport, no one doubts that the national game is rugby union (Bain and Dunford 45). Bain and Dunford continue to say that “the rugby sport is interwoven with New Zealand’s history and culture and the national side the All Blacks have even in the professional era an almost mythical status” (45). Netball is also a leading winter sport for women while cricket is the established summer sport for New Zealand.

In relation to its English heritage, New Zealand is nominally of the Anglican-Protestant denomination and where religion has a place in public affairs (Bain and Dunford 47). In addition, Bain and Dunford say that “Catholic Church claims about 470,000 adherents to Anglican Church’s 630, 000” (47). Besides that studies show that new Pentecostal churches have in the recent grown strongly and churchgoing remains strong in the Pacific Island communities. Maori spirituality has historically been fused with Christianity in messianic movements such as Ratana and Ringatu (Bain and Dunford 47).

New Zealand’s literature and art was dominated for a long time by an important nationalist movement that came up in the 1930s so as to address the challenge of defining independence from its mother country Britain whose identity had been adopted virtually by proxy until then (Bain and Dunford 48). Also Bain and Dunford found out that “the center of New Zealand’s literally universe is Bill Manhire’s creative writing course at Victoria University of Wellington which has produced most of the country’s famous writers and novelists” (48).

Hoffman says that art in New Zealand means any chattel, carving, object, or thing which relates to the history, culture, traditions, or economy of the Maori or other pre-European inhabitants of New Zealand (145). New Zealand cultural art items and particularly Maori arts attract international interest and demand. Hoffman says that they susceptible to illegal export in the country (145).

The Economy

In the last two decades New Zealand’s economy has progressively transformed from an agrarian economy that depended on British market access to a more industrialized, free market economy that has the capability of competing globally (New Zealand Economy 2010). Palffy in addition says that over 2002 to 2004 growth in GDP was in the range of 3.5% to 4.5% peaking at 4.6% annual average growth in December 2002 (80).

Is per capita income rising, stagnant or declining in your country?

According to the publication New Zealand Economy 2010 “the country’s per capita income rose for ten continuous years until 2008 in terms of purchasing power parity but consequently fell in 2009.” Since the year 2007 the country’s per capita income is showing a declining trend with the following estimations. In 2007 the GDP per capita income was estimated at $28,600 (est.), in 2008 it was estimated at $28,300 (est.) while in the year 2009 the GDP per capita income was estimated at $27, 700 (est.) (New Zealand Economy 2010). This implies that the economy has been declining and this is attributed to the recent global recession experienced in the last four years.

 How has globalization affected your country, if it has?

Patman and Rudd says that globalization has had a positive impact in the economic growth of New Zealand. This is because the World Bank ranks the country top of a list of 145 countries with the ease of doing business. Patman and Rudd further say that globalization has enhanced the country by leveling the playing field for small less power trading nations (10). In addition globalization has helped the country to view bilateral and regional free trade measures as complementary to the broader objective of securing multilateral agreement on trade liberations with other countries around the globe (Patman and Rudd 11)

 Is your country heavily in debt?

New Zealand has been a debt driven consumer spending economy. The publication New Zealand Economy 2010 says that

“Debt driven consumer economy has driven robust growth in the first half of the decade, helping fuel a large balance of payments deficit that posed a challenge for economic managers. Inflationary pressures caused the central bank to raise its key rate steadily from January 2004 until it was among the highest in the OECD in 2007-08; international capital inflows attracted to the high rates further strengthened the currency and housing market, however, aggravating the current account deficit” (New Zealand Economy 2010).

Is the IMF or World Bank involved in the country?

Yes. Page says that IMF and World Bank are largely involved in the country’s economic restructuring in ensuring that New Zealand is committed to monetary stability. Also IMF ensures that the government continues to keep a track record of fiscal management as pressures to spend more on health and education are continuing to grow in the long term (Page 179). The World Bank has been influential in ensuring that New Zealand reduces its large current account deficits and at the same time sustain its growth in productivity especially in human capital. 

 What does your country trade with other nations--imports and exports?

New Zealand’s trade policy is to substitute tariffs for import licensing as a main form of its industry protection. Page says that the country’s reliance on imports of raw materials and capital equipment for industry and supply of output relative to domestic demand has made the country strongly trade oriented and overall tariff levels are low (Page 179).

 
 
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The country’s major exports as indicated by Page include dairy produce (14%), meat (13%), wood products (12.3%), wool (7%), fish (6%), fruits and nuts (4%), aluminum (4%), and 3% of mechanical machinery(179). The main destinations of these exports include US, UK, South Korea, and Australia. On the other hand New Zealand’s major imports include mechanical machinery (16%), electrical machinery (10%), Vehicles (13%), aircraft (6%), and mineral fuels (5%) among others (Page 180). The main sources of these imports include US, China, Germany and Japan.

 The Environment

Does your country face immediate environmental crises?

Yes. This environmental crisis is the protection of native forests in order to end all native logging on public land (Bain and Dunford 63). This is one of the environmental battles that New Zealand is the process of winning besides ensuring that they describe themselves as clean and green.

The countries record on waste is high.  This is viewed as an environmental crisis because in every year, one individual from the country generates around 900kg of waste each year. At the same time recycling facilities are non existence in some area (Bain and Dunford 63).

If so, how is it addressing them?

The country is has developed a forest accord which aims at ending all native logging on public land. Besides that the initiative has ensured that its national parks and reserves cover around a third of the land area (Bain and Dunford 63).

To address the issue of waste, much local council have been working with communities to combine waste reduction, job creation, and reuse of reclaimed materials. Bain and Dunford further says that “for items that are almost impossible to recycle, the packaging industry has taken the initiative to self regulate” (63).

Has your country ratified the Kyoto Protocol?

New Zealand has ratified the Kyoto Protocol by ensuring that they have clean and green energy besides reducing the emission of carbon related gases. The country is actively involved in ensuring that it minimizes adverse effects of climate changes, effects of international trade on the environment. The country has also embarked on the efficient use of energy which comes from nonrenewable sources of energy (Bain and Dunford 63). The efficient use of renewable sources of energy is an initiative of the Kyoto protocol which the country has adopted to reduce the percentage of carbon dioxide emission to the environment. 

 Can you find any ethical dilemmas arising from environmental issues?

Yes. This ethical dilemma revolves around ecological sustainability. Bain and Dunford say that “ecological sustainability is an environmental issue that requires people to respect unique biodiversity” (63). It is important to ensure that there is reduction in energy use, car use and water use so that people do not compromise the label of clean and green environment.

Population

The country’s population as at March 2010 was estimated at 4.36 million people with an annual population growth rate of 1.3%. According to the article New Zealand  published by Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, the population represents several ethnic groups which include “European 76.8%; Maori 14.9%; Asian 9.7%; other Polynesian Pacific peoples 7.2%; Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African 0.9%”.

According to the article New Zealand People 2010 the country represents a distinctive age structure. People between 0 to 14 years of age represents 20.7% where by the male is 447,174 and female represents 424,522.  Between 15-64 years the population is 66.5% of the country’s total population were male in this category is 1,404,143 and female are 1,399,530. The population aged between 65 years accounts for 12.8% were male in this category is estimated at 244,986 and female includes 293,063 peoples (New Zealand People 2010).

The article New Zealand People 2010 further says that “the population growth rate in the year 2009 was estimated at 0.935% while the birth rate in the year 2009 was estimated 13.94 of 1,000 populations.” According to New Zealand People 2010 the country’s mortality rate in the year 2009 was estimated at 7.05 deaths/1,000 population. On the other hand the country’s infant mortality rate was estimated at 4.92 deaths for every 1,000 live births in New Zealand and the life expectancy as at the year 2009 of the total population was 80.36 years. New Zealand People 2010 also says “that the country’s fertility rate was estimated at 2.1 children born per women.”

Curbing its population growth

In New Zealand there is a relatively a positive population growth because of the GDP growth that has lead to improvement per capita income. Immigration is considered as one of the factors that have essentially increased population growth hence the government has put in place strict immigration rules. Immigration policies in place are aimed at reducing the volatility of population growth thus reducing the level of residency approvals in the country.

New Zealand has been at peace. Page although says that “in common with many other countries, there are plenty of doubts potentially threatening New Zealand’s equilibrium” (177). The major factor is the United States ongoing War on Terror but distance from international terrorism hot spots has worked in favor of New Zealand’s tourism and horticulture industries. Military action in the US may largely affect the country’s export business because they share bilateral trade agreements.

War on terror affects New Zealand indirectly because the market-led financial system presents many advantages for U.S. exporters and investors.. Military action can greatly affect its tourism industry. This is because according to page tourism in New Zealand is the largest single source of foreign exchange revenue. Increasing apprehension on nuclear trials in the South Pacific and weapon management issues led to the 1984 appointment of a Labour government obligated to preventing nuclear-equipped and nuclear-motorized warships from New Zealand harbors.

Conclusion

In conclusion, positive prospects New Zealand is in a position of attaining a commendable growth in its development. The country can thus look forward with reasonable confidence by enjoying its positive economic indicators. The country’s slow population growth will ensure that its GDP per capita income remains relatively high and therefore its citizens will continue to enjoy better living standards with very low rates unemployment.

 On the aspect of environment the country has embarked on a very strong role of going green while at the same time reducing the effects of environmental degradation. On the other hand since the country has not experienced any major conflict in the recent past it is expected that New Zealand’s foreign policy will continue engaging more trade partners especially from the emerging economies thus promoting its foreign exchange and international relations. The country’s response to globalization has shaded some light on the role of small states in the new global context.   

   

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