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New Zealand: An Overview (continued)

Environmental Policy

The New Zealand Government recognises the importance of the country's environment and natural resources to its social and economic development.

New Zealand is wealthy in natural resources. It has plentiful, clean water; clean air; fertile soil and a temperate climate well-suited to forestry, livestock, and agriculture; long coastlines and significant aquaculture resources; low energy use, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions per unit of economic output; significant mineral and petroleum reserves; and extraordinary biodiversity both on land and in its water bodies. The World Bank estimates that New Zealand ranks eighth out of 120 countries in natural capital per capita; it is outranked only by petroleum-exporting countries.[1]

Given the importance of the primary sector to the economy, better management of freshwater and other renewable resources, the continued protection of biodiversity and marine resources, reducing waste, and improving energy efficiency are all essential for creating wealth and providing higher living standards for New Zealanders. Programmes are in place or under further development in all these areas.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) provides a national framework for balancing environmental protection with economic, social and cultural values. Local government has the major responsibility for delivering resource management planning and consenting, with central government providing guidance on how to apply the RMA and direction on matters of national importance. Amendments to the RMA in 2009 streamlined and simplified processes and created a new agency, the Environmental Protection Authority, to facilitate decision-making on proposals of national significance. Further amendments are intended to strengthen planning outcomes, reduce uncertainty, reduce costs and delays and enhance Māori participation in Resource Management processes.

Climate change presents a particular challenge for New Zealand, both from an international and domestic policy perspective. New Zealand is a small country with a unique emissions profile driven by the predominance of land-use industries. Despite New Zealand's relatively small contribution to global emissions, the Government is nonetheless committed to participating constructively in the international climate change dialogue.

An Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) came into force in 2008. The scheme is designed to assist New Zealand in meeting international climate change commitments at least cost and to reduce New Zealand's net emissions below business-as-usual levels by placing obligations on emitters to surrender units in relation to their emissions. Changes to the ETS in 2009 and 2012 were intended to better balance economic costs and environmental objectives and to ensure that New Zealand undertakes to do its 'fair share' of the global mitigation effort.

Selected Economic and Financial Data

Table 2 - Statistical Data
(dollar amounts in millions) 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
GDP at Current Prices 1, 2 185,607 190,429 199,108 207,888 211,637
Annual % Increase (Decrease) in Real GDP 1, 2, 3 (1.9) (0.1) 1.8 2.4 2.3
Population4 4,305 4,358 4,400 4,429 4,463
Unemployment Rate5 6.5 6.3 6.5 7.2 6.2
Change in Consumer Price Index6 2.0 4.0 1.8 0.9 1.6
Exchange Rate7 0.7285 0.7578 0.7768 0.8236 0.8281
90-Day Bank Bill Rate8 2.79 3.18 2.71 2.64 2.69
10-Year Government Loan Stock Rate7 5.90 5.47 4.20 3.51 4.71
Terms of Trade Index 2, 9 1,057 1,246 1,288 1,170 1,356
Current Account Deficit as a % of GDP 2, 10 (2.7) (2.4) (3.3) (3.7) (4.1)

Source: Statistics New Zealand, RBNZ

Table 3 - Government Finance11
Year ended 30 June
(dollar amounts in millions)
2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/1412
Total Revenue 79,506 74,725 81,563 83,483 86,655 90,982
Total Expenses 83,399 81,040 99,959 92,723 91,007 93,302
OBEGAL13 (3,893) (6,315) (18,369) (9,240) (4,414) (2,320)
Gains/(Losses) (6,612) 1,806 5,036 (5,657) 11,339 3,959
Operating Balance (10,505) (4,509) (13,360) (14,897) 6,925 1,639
Operating Balance % of GDP (5.7%) (2.4%) (6.7%) (7.2%) 3.3% 0.7%
Total Assets 217,151 223,355 245,215 240,318 244,416 248,562
Total Liabilities 117,636 128,367 164,328 180,538 174,405 173,667
Minority interests 447 402 308 432 1,940 5,730
Net Worth 99,068 94.586 80,579 59,348 68,071 69,165
Net Direct Domestic Borrowing 8,454 8,016 18,362 8,557 76 -
Net Direct Overseas Borrowing 717 409 787 (1,450) (1,010) -

Source: The Treasury

Table 4 - Direct Public Debt
Year ended 30 June
(dollar amounts in millions)
2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/1412
Internal Funded Debt 29,614.5 38,575.5 60,519.9 64,006.2 67,587.3 -
Internal Floating Debt 7,505.0 8,065.0 7,326.0 10,081.0 4,735.0 -
External Debt 4,178.7 2,197.2 214.0 (308.5) (1,222.5) -
Total Direct Public Debt 41,298.2 48,837.7 68,059.9 73,078.7 71,099.8 -

Source: The Treasury

  1. Year ended 31 March.
  2. Data from the annual National Accounts release for year ended 31 March 2013. 2012 and 2013 data provisional. Prior years' data revised.
  3. Production based - chain volume series expressed in 1995/96 prices. Data from the September quarter 2013 GDP release.
  4. September year resident population estimate.
  5. September quarter, seasonally adjusted.
  6. Annual percentage change, December quarter.
  7. US$ per NZ$ December quarter average.
  8. December quarterly average.
  9. Year ended 30 September. Base: June quarter 2002 = 1,000.
  10. Year ended 30 September.
  11. Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the Year Ended 30 June 2013.
  12. Half-Year Update announced 17 December 2013.
  13. Operating Balance Excluding Gains and Losses (OBEGAL). The OBEGAL is the operating balance excluding gains and losses on assets and liabilities of institutions such as the Accident Compensation Corporation, Earthquake Commission and the Government Superannuation Fund.

Notes

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