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New Zealand and Finland have similar attitudes towards many international issues, including security, disarmament and the environment. The geographical distance between the two countries, however, as well as the different histories and friendships, meant that until recently political contact between the two countries was limited outside the United Nations and other international organisations such as the OECD. Finland's accession to the European Union in 1995 added a new dimension to the bilateral relationship, with Finland now a party to decisions affecting New Zealand's trade relations with the Union.
As a small, highly innovative and successful economy, the Finnish government’s policies for economic growth, productivity and internationalisation are of enduring interest to New Zealand.
Our shared status as non‑NATO troop contributors to ISAF has also added a new strand to the bilateral relationship.
In May 2011, Governor General Anand Satyanand and Lady Susan Satyanand visited Finland and met with President Tarja Halonen, reciprocrating her visit to New Zealand in February 2007.
Land Area - 338,000 sq km, of which 6% agricultural, forest and other wooded
land 68%, and inland waters 10%. Finland shares frontiers with Sweden, Norway
Population - 5.3 million (2011)
Capital City - Helsinki
Language - Finnish (91% of population), Swedish (5.5%). There is also a small Lapp population, indigenous language Sami
Political system - Parliamentary democracy with a republican
National government - right-left 6-party coalition
National legislature - Unicameral parliament
Last election - April 2011
Next election due - April 2015
Head of State - President Sauli Ninisto (since March 2012)
Head of Government - Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (since 22 June 2011) of the National Coalition Party
Last Presidential election - February 2012
Next Presidential election due - February 2018
GDP US$bn 266.4
Real GDP growth 2.9 %
Exports US$78.7 billion
Imports - US$80.3 billion
Main exports -manufactured goods, machinery, transport equipment, mineral fuels, chemical and related products
Current account balance US$-1.9billion
New Zealand Trade
NZ Exports (FOB) - NZ$35.4 million
Main Exports - sheep meat, offal, machinery for processing solid mineral fuels, wine, agricultural equipment, leather products
NZ Imports (CIF) - NZ$178.8 million
Main Imports - paper and paperboard, pork, telecommunications equipment, tractors, fertilisers, vehicles
The first Finnish Ambassador to New Zealand was cross-accredited from Canberra in 1969. The New Zealand Ambassador in Moscow was cross-accredited to Helsinki in 1975. The cross-accreditation shifted to The Hague in April 1995. In 1993 New Zealand appointed an honorary consul in Helsinki.
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Finland [external link].