Max W. Abbottand Donna R. Kemp
New Zealand is a country of 103,866 square miles, about the size of the state of Colorado, located in the southwest Pacific approximately 1,200 miles southeast of Australia. It consists of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, separated by the Cook Strait, and numerous small coastal islands.
There are approximately 3.4 million New Zealanders. Most are of British descent. The indigenous Maori of Polynesian origin comprise approximately 10 percent of the total, and Polynesians from other Pacific Islands, 3 percent. In addition, there are a small number of Asians, including Indochinese refugees. Over 75 percent of New Zealand's population lives in urban areas, where manufacturing and service industries are established ( Bureau of Public Affairs, 1987). Population growth is slow because of low fertility levels and net migration losses.
New Zealand has a parliamentary system of government patterned after the United Kingdom, and it is a fully independent member of the Commonwealth. There is no written constitution. The governmental system is unitary. Executive authority is vested in a cabinet led by a prime minister, who is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties that holds the majority of seats in Parliament. Cabinet members must be members of Parliament and are collectively responsible to it. The unicameral Parliament (House of Representatives) has ninety-five members, four of whom must be Maori, elected on a separate roll. Representatives are normally elected for a three-year term, but elections can be called sooner. The judiciary consists of the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court, and the Magistrate's Courts. The major political parties are the National Party and the Labour Party. As a result of the 1990 elections, the former gained control of the government. Both parties stand for free enterprise.