Is New Zealand A First World Country?

New Zealand is not located in North America or Europe, it is not even located in Asia. This country is surrounded by water in the crashing waves of Oceania, but manages to be so important in international discourse. The question about whether New Zealand is a First World country often arises as a result of curiosity about how such an isolated country can be so prosperous.

New Zealand has a population of 5.1 million people, and a total land area of 268,021 km2. New Zealand has a mixed population; Europeans, Māori, Asians, Pacific peoples, and many other nationalities live together in this multicultural landscape. New Zealand also has a diverse society in terms of religion.

Is New Zealand A First World Country?

The short answer is yes, New Zealand is a First World country. However, for a proper understanding of this fact, we need to first examine what the term “First World Countries” actually means.

First World has had two meanings over the course of its usage.

The Old Meaning:

It first came into existence during the years of the Cold War; at that time it had a political meaning- it meant countries that supported the US and its allies against the Soviet Union and the Communist Bloc. That usually meant countries that supported capitalism and a free market system of economics.

On the other side of the spectrum; the countries that supported the Soviet Union, and communism in general were then assigned nomenclatures like “Second World Countries” and “Third World Countries.”

By this out dated definition, yes, New Zealand was a First World Country because it backed Britain and the US, and played roles of strategic importance during the war.

The Current Meaning:

Since the winding down of the Cold War, the phrase First World Countries has been assigned a new meaning. It now means countries that are rich, have stable economies, good democratic social structures, high life expectancy, high literacy rates, low unemployment rates, and whose citizens enjoy a high standard of living.

How does New Zealand fare in this calculation? Very good, if not excellent! The following factors combine to make New Zealand a First World Country:

Very Good Social Structure

New Zealand operates a Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy; the King of England is the head of government. However, the country has a parliament, a Governor General, and a Prime Minister. New Zealand is a peaceful country; it has traditional had peaceful transition from government to government without the political tension that is seen in many countries the world over.

When a country is peaceful it becomes attractive to investors, and that produces wealth, which is enjoyed by the citizens. Peace and social stability are essential components of any economically balanced society. New Zealand is so quiet that it is a favorite location for work and for investments.

Solid Economy  

New Zealand has a good economy; the GDP Per Capita is 48,781.03 USD which is among the highest in the world. The country is very well industrialized; some of the biggest sectors of its economy include agriculture, energy, and machinery. Some of the country’s largest exports include wool, dairy products, fruits, wine, and meat. New Zealand tends to have mega companies that almost completely dominate certain markets.

New Zealand has infrastructure at the level of what can be obtained in most European countries including well laid out road networks, airports that are very busy, and of course, communications. Infrastructure is just as important as politics when it comes to building a solid economy, and New Zealand has all of these.

Good Healthcare System

New Zealand has a high life expectancy, which is helped by the very good healthcare system which the country has. From the times before the country’s modern era, the Maori had developed an extensive system of learning about ways to treat illnesses, including the use of herbal remedies.

Today, New Zealand has excellent hospitals and research facilities. The country has also contributed its quota to the development of medical science through the discovery of several cures and treatments.

New Zealand has universal healthcare; all citizens are guaranteed medical treatment by law. The country has one of the best healthcare delivery services in the world.

High Standard Of Living

New Zealand enjoys a high standard of living; the people enjoy income, jobs, education, health, social connections, civic engagement, environmental quality, and life satisfaction. New Zealanders spend money on entertainment, holidays, recreation, travel, and other things that bring about enjoyment and satisfaction.

The people enjoy all the conveniences of modern life, including e commerce and digital entertainment. New Zealanders have enough to donate to charitable causes; the people are comfortable.

Low Unemployment Rate

One source says that it almost seems that there are more jobs in New Zealand than there are people to do them. However, the official figures say that the unemployment rate is at 3.78 percent; which shows that unemployment is declining, and more people are becoming employed.

More and more businesses find New Zealand to be an attractive ground to set up shop; this means that they will continue to create jobs, and to keep the people engaged.



New Zealand is a first world country; it is also one of the richest countries in the world by GDP Per Capita figures, as well as one of the countries with the most diverse economies. The country continues to maintain close political, social and economic ties with Britain, and attracts British businesses to boost its economy.

New Zealand’s success is an example to many countries of the world; many now want to copy what they are seeing in the country.