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 decade. 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. 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.
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.
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. Two-way goods trade between the United States and New Zealand totaled $8.2 billion in 2018, with U.S. goods exports to New Zealand totaling $4.1 billion and imports totaling $4.2 billion. The United States had a $127 million goods trade deficit with New Zealand in 2018. U.S. services exports to New Zealand totaled $2.9 billion in 2018, while services imports from New Zealand amounted to $2.7 billion. The United States had a $181 million services trade surplus with New Zealand in 2018. Top U.S. goods exports to New Zealand include aircraft, machinery, vehicles, electric machinery, and optic and medical instruments. Top U.S. goods imports from New Zealand included meat (mostly frozen beef and lamb), beverages (mostly wine), dairy products, machinery, and albuminoidal substances (mostly casein). The United States and New Zealand have had a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in place since 1992.
According to New Zealand government data, the United States is New Zealand’s third largest source of FDI (after Australia and Hong Kong). Total stock of U.S. FDI in New Zealand was $11.3 billion in 2018. U.S. direct investment in New Zealand is concentrated in the manufacturing, finance, and wholesale trade sectors. The space sector is an area of growth with joint investments in Rocket Lab and LeoLabs, and a new partnership offering NASA scholarships to New Zealand. Over 300 U.S. companies have subsidiary branches in New Zealand. Many operate through local agents, and some are in association in joint ventures. According to New Zealand government statistics, the United States was the second most popular destination for New Zealand foreign investment, accounting for X.X percent of all investment in 2018. In 2018, the total stock of foreign direct investment from New Zealand into the United States was $1.3 billion. New Zealand foreign direct investment is concentrated in software & IT services, textiles, plastics, communications, industrial equipment, and business services.
Approximately 307,000 U.S. travelers visited New Zealand in 2017, representing a 9 percent increase from the previous year. 306,566 New Zealand visitors traveled to the United States in 2018 – a doubling of visitors since 2008 (145,325). A direct flight to Chicago was added and a new direct route to New York begins in 2020. In 2017 visitors from New Zealand spent more than $1.4 billion experiencing the United States, an increase of nearly 5 percent when compared to the previous year. Moreover, U.S. travel and tourism-related exports to New Zealand account for nearly half (49%) of all U.S. services exports to the country.
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.
More information about New Zealand is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: