Political Status: Original member of the Commonwealth; independence under parliamentary system formally proclaimed in 1947.

Area: 104,454 sq. mi. (270,534 sq. km.).

Population: 3,737,277 (2001C); 4,152,000 (2004E).

Major Urban Centers (2001C): WELLINGTON (339,747), Auckland (1,074,507), Christchurch (334,107).

Official Languages: English, Maori.

Monetary Unit: New Zealand Dollar (market rate July 1, 2005: 1.45 dollars = $1US).

Sovereign: Queen ELIZABETH II.

Governor General: Dame Silvia CARTWRIGHT; named on August 24, 2000, to succeed Sir Michael HARDIE-BOYS, and sworn in on April 4, 2001.

Prime Minister: Helen CLARK (Labour Party); named by the Governor General to form a new government following the parliamentary election of November 27, 1999, and sworn in on December 10, succeeding Jennifer (Jenny) M. SHIPLEY (National Party); continued in office following the general election of July 27, 2002, at the head of ...

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