More information about New Zealand is available on the New Zealand Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
U.S.-NEW ZEALAND RELATIONS
New Zealand is a strong partner and friend of the United States. The U.S. diplomatic presence in New Zealand dates back to the commissioning of the first U.S. Consul in 1838. Formal diplomatic relations were established in 1942, following the United Kingdom’s recognition of New Zealand’s domestic and external autonomy within the British Empire. During World War II, U.S. military personnel were stationed in New Zealand to prepare for battles such as Guadalcanal and Tarawa. The United States and New Zealand share common elements of history and culture and a commitment to democratic principles. New Zealand’s relationship with the United States in the post-World War II period was closely associated with the 1951 Australia-New Zealand-United States (ANZUS) security treaty, under which signatories agreed to consult in case of an attack in the Pacific and to “act to meet the common danger.” This changed in the 1980s, when New Zealand’s implementation of a policy barring nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered warships from its ports effectively prevented practical alliance cooperation under ANZUS. In 1986, the United States suspended its ANZUS security obligations to New Zealand.
Bilateral ties have improved dramatically in the past several years. In 2010, the United States and New Zealand signed the Wellington Declaration, reaffirming close ties between the two countries and outlining future practical cooperation. This was enhanced in 2012 by the signing of the Washington Declaration, which strengthened the defense relationship by providing a framework and strategic guidance for security cooperation and defense dialogues. In November 2016, the destroyer USS Sampson visited New Zealand, the first bilateral ship visit in more than thirty years. The USS Sampson’s visit took on additional significance in the aftermath of the 7.8-magnitude Kaikoura earthquake. At the request of the New Zealand government, the USS Sampson diverted to the South Island and provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to affected communities.
The New Zealand government attaches significant importance to continued close political, economic, and social ties with the United States. New Zealand actively engages in peacekeeping and international security efforts around the world. The United States and New Zealand work together on a range of scientific areas, especially research in Antarctica. Christchurch is the staging area for joint logistical support operations serving U.S. permanent stations at McMurdo and the South Pole, as well as New Zealand’s Scott Base. In late July 2018, the U.S. Congress passed the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors (or KIWI) Act, which granted New Zealanders access to E1 and E2 entrepreneurship and investor visas. President Trump signed this act into law in early August 2018.
U.S. Assistance to New Zealand
The United States provides no development assistance to New Zealand.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Commercial ties between the Unites States and New Zealand are strong and growing. U.S. goods exports to New Zealand totaled $3.92 billion in 2017, and the United States imported $4.16 billion in goods from New Zealand. Bilateral trade in services stands at $4.77 billion annually, yielding total annual bilateral trade of goods and services of approximately $13 billion. U.S. exports to New Zealand include aircraft, machinery, agricultural products, vehicles, and optic and medical instruments. U.S. imports from New Zealand include frozen beef, caseins, milk protein concentrate, wine, and machinery. The United States and New Zealand have had a bilateral trade and investment agreement in place since 1992.
The United States is New Zealand’s second most important investment partner, after Australia. The United States was the second largest source of foreign investment into New Zealand, accounting for almost $5.5 billion in investment in 2017. The United States was the second most popular destination for New Zealand foreign investment, accounting for 15.4 percent of all investment in 2017 for a total of $2.66 billion. U.S. direct investment in New Zealand is concentrated in the finance, insurance, and manufacturing sectors, but also includes the food/agriculture, mining, professional services, transportation, energy, and wholesale trade sectors. New Zealand foreign direct investment in the United States is led by the manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors. Over 300 U.S. companies have subsidiary branches in New Zealand. Many operate through local agents, and some are in association in joint ventures.
Approximately 330,000 U.S. travelers visited New Zealand in 2017 representing a 13.3 percent increase from the previous year, and more than 300,000 New Zealand visitors traveled to the United States – a doubling of visitors since 2008. New Zealand travelers spent nearly $437 million while in the United States in 2017, representing a 16.5 percent increase in spending over the year prior.
New Zealand’s Membership in International Organizations
New Zealand and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, ASEAN Regional Forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. New Zealand also belongs to the Pacific Islands Forum, of which the United States is a Dialogue Partner.
Scott Brown is currently the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
New Zealand maintains an embassy in the United States at 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-328-4800).
More information about New Zealand is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook New Zealand Page
History of U.S. Relations With New Zealand
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page