Political Status: Former British dependency; independence under parliamentary system formally proclaimed in 1947.

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

Population: 3,737,277 (2001C); 4,099,000 (2006E).

Major Urban Centers (2005E): WELLINGTON (341,000), Auckland (370,000), Christchurch (342,000).

Official Languages: English, Maori.

Monetary Unit: New Zealand Dollar (market rate November 2, 2007: 1.31 dollars = $1US).

Sovereign: Queen ELIZABETH II.

Governor General: Anand SATYANAND; named by the queen on April 3, 2006, to succeed Dame Silvia CARTWRIGHT, effective August 4.

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; returned for a third term in the ...

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