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New Zealand

New Zealand

Summary

New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy under the British Commonwealth and upholds a free economy with a high level of transparency.1 Its biggest concerns are human rights issues such as domestic abuse and racial discrimination. Approximately 35% of women experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime, and there are not adequately funded recovery systems and resources in place to help them.2 Additionally, the Maori minority people group are sometimes treated unfairly, especially in the prison system where they receive longer sentences and harsh treatment.3 1 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/nz.html 2 https://womensrefuge.org.nz/domestic-violence 3 https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/new-zealand/report-new-zealand/

Demographics

Nationality
New Zealand
Population
4,365,113 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Explore New Zealand Subcases

Click and view New Zealand subcases and learn more about our New Zealand

Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

New Zealand boasts a rich biodiversity and has a thriving tourism sector based on the sweeping landscapes that characterize the country. Thus, the government and the Ministry of the Environment are very concerned with how climate change will negatively affect the country’s environment and tourism.1 New Zealand has begun developing adaptation and preparation plans in order to minimize the results of climate change.3 Changes include reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing vulnerable communities for effects like rising sea levels.2 Because of New Zealand’s geographic location, the country faces more temperature variability than many other regions of the world. This has caused its famous glaciers to expand and shrink over the years as temperatures rise and fall.3

Family

Along with child abuse, New Zealand also has shockingly high levels of domestic violence. In fact, in a report that was compiled by the Family Violence Death Review Committee, domestic violence was found to be one of the leading causes of murder in New Zealand. The government has been criticized for not taking steps to minimize the direct link between domestic violence and child abuse. The government has cut funding to a number of women and children’s shelters and has reformed family court proceedings to save money instead of punish the perpetrators.1 Around 33-39% of women experience physical or sexual violence during their lifetime, and the government spends nearly $8 billion a year attempting to combat the issue.2

Human Rights

Most recent human rights concerns in New Zealand are child poverty, violence against women and girls, and high rates of Maori incarceration. The government overhauled its laws against domestic violence after finding that many instances of abuse still went unreported. More funds will also be allocated to victim recovery and rehabilitation. Finally, there are unproportionately high rates of Maori men in the prison system, and they are sometimes treated cruelly.1

Education

New Zealand’s education system is modern and well-respected. Over the past two decades, the government has reformed almost the entire educational sector to update the curriculum and teacher qualifications to continue to bring it up to international standards.1 The government continues to reform the way that it measures schools’ success, looking at a combination of factors rather than just government test results.2 The national literacy rate in New Zealand is at 99%,3 and the primary school enrollment rate is at 98%.4

Poverty

Most recent reports suggest that one out of three children is living in poverty.1 8% of these children live in severe poverty and material hardship. Children who live in poverty often lack access to quality health care, education, and other opportunities.2 The unemployment rate in New Zealand is 5%.3

Religion

Because New Zealand is a secular democracy, there is no established state religion, and there are laws in place that protect the free practice of religion and prevent religious discrimination.1 The religious makeup of New Zealand is 44% Christian, 2.1% Hindu, 1.4% Buddhist, 1.1% Islam, 1.3% Maori Christina, and 38% irreligious. The three most popular Christian denominations are Anglican, Catholic and Presbyterian.2

Clean Water

New Zealand provides clean water for almost 98% of its citizens. However, there are still some rural regions that lack total access to clean water. The water in New Zealand meets government and international standards by being in compliance with bacterial and chemical standards. Only 92% of water providers have water safety plans, which are in place for the event where the drinking water becomes contaminated.1

Economy

New Zealand has successfully navigated the transition from an agrarian economy, that was almost completely dependent on British markets, to an industrialized, free market economy that has been successful in the global economy. While this economic growth has benefited the country overall, the income distribution gap has widened. During the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, the economy fell into a recession but the government was able to implement fiscal stimulus measures that allowed the economy to pull out of the recession after five quarters. The unemployment rate in New Zealand is at 5%.1

Government

As a former British colony, New Zealand currently has a parliamentary democracy and is also a Commonwealth realm, so Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state and is represented by an appointed governor within the country. The country also elects a prime minister by a legislative election.1 The government is very transparent and largely free of corruption. The judiciary is also independent and has set strict punishments and regulations to prevent the bribing of government officials. Elections are free and fair. New Zealand strongly enforces rule of law, which has created a prosperous environment for entrepreneurial activity.2

Health

About one-third of New Zealand children are considered overweight or obese, and 40% of Maori children are obese. Many of these children lead unhealthy lifestyles of inactivity and overeating.1 The government placed restrictions on where tobacco advertisements could be shown in an attempt to lower rates of adolescents who smoke.2 Reports show that more children are getting immunized as infants, which has helped to reduce cases of rheumatic fever. The leading causes of death among adults are cancer, heart disease, and road traffic accidents.3

Children

Children make up around 20% of the population in New Zealand.1 Since it is a developed country, there are not high rates of child labor.2 However, New Zealand has high rates of both physical and sexual child abuse. A child is admitted to the hospital every other day for injuries caused by assault or neglect, and nearly half of them are under age five. The government is implementing measures to identify children in high-risk situations before they reach crisis points.3 The Crime Act in New Zealand has a specific section that outlines what counts as abuse toward a child and the punishments for those found guilty of child abuse.4

Animals

A few species of birds and reptiles were native to New Zealand, but they are all extinct now. Other species, such as deer and opossums, were introduced by Europeans. Since there are no predatory animals, there are an abundance of birds.1

New Zealand

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