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New Zealand Country Report


  • Momoko Aoshima


New Zealand is an island nation in the Pacific about 2000 km southeast of Australia. It consists of two main islands (the North Island and South Island), and a number of smaller, mostly uninhabited outer islands. The land area is approximately 269,000 square kilometres, making it smaller than Japan or Italy, but larger than the United Kingdom. Most of New Zealand is hilly or mountainous and has a mild temperate climate. The population is currently about 4.3 million. Although there is some light and heavy industry, foreign trade is heavily dependent on agriculture, tourism, forestry, and fishing. In 2009, New Zealand had a gross domestic product (GDP) of about US$62 billion, or about US$14,458 per capita. While the latter figure is lower than those of many OECD countries, New Zealand tends to be ranked high in international quality-oflife surveys. New Zealand possesses significant indigenous energy resources, including hydro, geothermal, wind, natural gas and coal. New Zealand is self-sufficient in electricity and natural gas, and is a net exporter of coal, but it meets most of its oil demand through imports. Energy reserves include around 15 million cubic metres (MCM) of oil and 52 billion cubic metres (BCM) of natural gas (each proven plus probable), as well as 8.6 billion tones of recoverable coal, 80 percent of which is lignite. New Zealand’s total primary energy demand was around 17.4 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2009. By fuel, oil represented the largest share at about 36 percent; gas was second at about 20 percent, followed by hydro, coal and geothermal each with around 8 percent. New Zealand obtains about 36 percent of its primary energy supply from renewable sources, including hydro, geothermal, woody biomass, and wind. In 2005, electricity generation accounted for 58 percent of New Zealand’s domestic coal use, with most of the remainder used for making steel or in other industrial processes. Electricity generation also accounted for 53 percent of gas use, and industry sector for 21 percent while commercial and residential use accounted for most of the remainder. Reticulated natural gas is only available on the North Island. Transport accounted for an estimated 76 percent of New Zealand’s oil consumption. In the transportation sector, New Zealand heavily depends on private road vehicles and air transport, with oil providing 99 percent of New Zealand’s transport energy. New Zealand had 8.8 gigawatts (GW) of installed generating capacity which generated about 43 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in 2005. The generation by energy type is broken down as: hydro at 54.4 percent, thermal (coal and gas) 35.7 percent, geothermal 7.4 percent, with wind and wood accounting for most of the remainder. Oil is used in electricity generation only as a minor source peaking supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Momoko Aoshima, . "New Zealand Country Report," Chapters, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
  • Handle: RePEc:era:chaptr:2011-rpr-18-13

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