Supporting The Public Sector of New Zealand



Public spending on education was 7.2 per cent of GDP in 2010. There are 12 years of compulsory education starting at the age of five. Primary school comprises six years and secondary seven, with cycles of four and three years. Three per cent of schools are private, with the rest being state funded. Public–private partnerships are used to build new schools – for example, a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Learning Infrastructure Partners consortium will establish two new schools on Hobonsville Point, West Auckland. Both schools will be completed in 2013–14.

New Zealand recognises eight government-funded universities with a total student enrolment of about 180,000 in 2011. There are many colleges of education across the country and the University of Waikato has its own School of Education. The tertiary sector also includes 20 institutes of technology and polytechnics, all offering degree courses. The Maori Education Trust – established in 1961 as the Maori Education Foundation – awards scholarships and grants to encourage Maori into tertiary education.



Public spending on health was eight per cent of GDP in 2010. Treatment in public hospitals is free for everyone. There are medical schools at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago. Infant mortality was five per 1,000 live births in 2011 (22 in 1960). Health care is delivered via a complex network of groups and people from a mix of private and non-governmental organisations. There are around 275 Maori health providers that are Maori-owned and governed.



There are 93,580 km of roads, 66 per cent of which are paved. There are international airports in Auckland (23 km to the south of the city), Christchurch (10 km north-west), Wellington (8 km south­east), Hamilton and Dunedin.

Buses: Buses are the main form of public transport. Bus companies are privately owned, with the biggest operator being NZ Bus.

Rail: The railway network, privatised in 1993 but since renationalised, extends over 3,900 km, with many scenic routes. New Zealand’s passenger and freight railways are now run by state-owned KiwiRail. There is some private sector involvement in the railways, however – privately owned Transdev Auckland runs Auckland’s passenger services on behalf of Auckland Transport.

Ports: There are 13 major commercial ports, including those in Whangarei (shipping oil products), Tauranga (timber and newsprint) and Bluff (alumina and aluminium) as well as container ports in Auckland, Wellington, Lyttleton (near Christchurch) and Dunedin. Tauranga is run by the Port of Tauranga Ltd, which is listed on New Zealand’s stock exchange.