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Our relationship with Thailand

We have a long-standing and warm relationship with Thailand, and in 2016 Thailand and New Zealand commemorated 60 years of diplomatic relations. Both countries hosted a number of cultural and social events that celebrated the broad connections linking us together.

We have around 10,000 Thai people resident in New Zealand with over half living in the Auckland region.

New Zealand and Thailand work cooperatively on environmental issues. We’re both members of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which brings countries together to find ways to grow more food without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The New Zealand Police and the Royal Thai Police have worked closely together for more than 30 years. Police cooperation has spanned across a range of issues such as transnational crime and disaster response in the region.

Trade

June 2016 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$2.98 billion

 

Exports to Thailand

$810 million   

Top exports: milk powder, butter and dairy spreads, buttermilk

Imports from Thailand

$2.17 billion

Top imports: trucks and vans, motor vehicles, plastics

GDP

US$407.2 billion

 
GDP per capita $5,979 (NZ GDP per capita is US$36,801)
GDP growth  3%  

Thailand is the second largest economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and is New Zealand’s eighth largest trading partner. While the goods trade dominates, trade in some services sectors – particularly education, health, security and IT – is showing promise. Reflecting this, New Zealand companies like BECA, Fisher and Paykel and T&G have regional operations in Thailand. Thailand is New Zealand’s largest source of overseas students from South East Asia, and education cooperation between our countries is a priority for Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Thai International Airways operates direct flights between Bangkok and Auckland five times a week, and our respective airlines are both members of the Star Alliance. Thai Airways is one of only three South East Asian airlines with direct flights to New Zealand. In 2016, there were over 22,000 Thai visitors to New Zealand and more than 100,000 New Zealanders visited Thailand. Related to this, New Zealand’s Embassy in Bangkok helps more New Zealanders with consular issues each year than any other New Zealand post.

Free trade agreements with Thailand

We have a free trade agreement with Thailand, concluded in 2005:

We have a regional free trade agreement that includes Thailand, concluded in 2012:

We're also negotiating another free trade agreement that includes Thailand:

NZ Inc ASEAN strategy

As a member of ASEAN, Thailand is included in the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy. NZ Inc is the Government’s plan to strengthen New Zealand’s economic, political and security relationships with key international partners.

Find out more about the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a 12-month working holiday visa for Thailand.

To apply, you can go to the Thai Embassy in Wellington.

For more information, read the Thai Embassy website (external link).

Embassies

Recent official visits

New Zealand to Thailand
  • 2017: Hon Annette King and Hon Jo Goodhew visited Thailand for meetings with members from Thailand’s political system
  • 2013: Prime Minister John Key made an official visit to Thailand, with Minister Nathan Guy and a business delegation
  • September 2012: Trade Minister Tim Groser met with Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, and met Dhanin Chearavanont, Chair of Thailand’s largest conglomerate Charoen Pokhpand
  • July 2012: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully met with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and witnessed the signing of a police cooperation agreement between New Zealand and Thailand
Thailand to New Zealand
  • 2013: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made an official visit with six Ministers

News & Events

2017 New Zealand General Election

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The General Election will be held on 23 September 2017. Voters who are overseas can vote from 6 September to 23 September.