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New Zealand has a friendly and relatively problem free relationship with Italy. The development of New Zealand’s current relationship with Italy dates from the period of the Second World War, during which New Zealand soldiers participated in the liberation of Italy. 8,000 New Zealand soldiers died liberating Italy in the Second World War and New Zealand’s role is remembered in many Italian towns and villages, notably in Cassino, Firenze, Rome and Trieste. Italy is a major European trading partner and, like New Zealand, a supporter of the multilateral approach in international relations.
Italy uses Christchurch as a base and the two countries cooperate (under a bilateral agreement) in Antarctic research and exploration, as well as at meetings of the parties to the Antarctic Treaty. Italy maintains an interest in the Asia Pacific region and has Dialogue Partner status with the Pacific Islands Forum. Bilaterally, a film co-production agreement was signed in 1997, and a Social Security Agreement was concluded in 1998, although this is yet to be ratified by the Italian Parliament. A bilateral air services agreement was signed during the New Zealand Prime Minister’s visit in September 2001.
People to people links are strong. New Zealand is home to a vibrant Italian community. In 2011, over 100,000 New Zealanders and Italians visited each other’s countries. A Working Holiday Agreement came into force in 2002. Our countries share an interest in rugby, calcio (football) as well as the America’s Cup.
Land Area - 301,336 sq km
Population - 61.2 m (2012)
Capital City - Rome
Political system - Parliamentary democracy Bicameral
legislature: Senate 315 seats Chamber of Deputies 630 seats
National government - - non-elected “technocrat” government of experts appointed by Prime Minister Monti and endorsed by parliament in November 2011
Last election – April 2008 (legislative); May 2006 (Presidential)
Next election - Due by April 2013 (legislative); Due by May 2013 (Presidential)
Head of State - President Giorgio Napolitano (sice May 2006)
Head of Government - Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mario Monti (appointed by the President on 16 November 2011)
Real GDP growth - 0.5%
Exports - US$523.8 billion
Imports - US$546.9 billion
Main exports - Engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals, food and beverages, tobacco, minerals and nonferrous metals
Unemployment 9.8% (March 2012)
Current Account Balance - $-71.9 billion
National Debt - 120% of GDP
Exports (FOB) - NZ$459 million
Main Exports - Hides and skins, wool, sheep meat, fruit, beef, dairy, leather
NZ Imports (CIF) - NZ$837 million
Main Imports - Aircraft parts, heaters and driers, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, processed tomatoes, taps and valves top of page
New Zealand Embassy Rome, Italy [external link].
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Italy [external link].