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NZ - US Relations

Fact sheet from, January 31, 2014.

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.


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.

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.

Outside of our improving security relationship, the New Zealand Government also 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 the Antarctic. Christchurch is the staging area for joint logistical support operations serving U.S. permanent bases at McMurdo Station and South Pole, and New Zealand's Scott base.

U.S. Assistance to New Zealand

The United States provides no development assistance to New Zealand.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States and New Zealand have signed a bilateral trade and investment framework agreement, providing a strategic framework and principles for dialogue on trade and investment issues. New Zealand's market-led economy offers many benefits for U.S. exporters and investors, and the United States is one of New Zealand's top trade and investment partners. U.S. exports to New Zealand include aircraft, machinery, agricultural products, low-value shipments, vehicles, and optic and medical instruments. U.S. imports from New Zealand include frozen beef, caseins, milk protein concentrate, wine, and machinery. A number of U.S. companies have subsidiary branches in New Zealand. Many operate through local agents, and some are in association in joint ventures. U.S. direct investment in New Zealand is mostly in finance/insurance and manufacturing but also includes the food/agriculture, mining, professional services, transportation, energy, and wholesale trade sectors. Reported New Zealand foreign direct investment in the United States is led by the manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors. The two countries work closely to promote free trade in a number of international economic forums. They also participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations that seek to develop a regional trade agreement.

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.

Statement on the visit of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to the White House

Statement on the visit of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to the White House

President Obama will welcome Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand to the White House on Friday, July 22.   The President looks forward to discussing with Prime Minister Key the close friendship and partnership between our two countries, our shared interest in stability, growth and effective regional institutions in the Asia Pacific , and our cooperation in addressing challenges like Afghanistan and Antarctica.

U.S. Ambassador Huebner will also be Washington DC during this visit.  For the latest updates follow the Ambassador on Twitter @davidhuebner, his blog:, and other U.S. Embassy social channels (links to the right).

Video of the meeting between President Obama and New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key

view transcript/remarks here

NZ Prime Minister meets with President Obama