Since Germany and New Zealand established diplomatic relations, the two countries have developed a partnership marked by close mutual trust. This partnership is based on shared interests and values and it has often made the two countries like‑minded partners in international affairs, trade, research and cultural exchange. Germany and New Zealand have cultivated these good relations with numerous high‑level visits. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited New Zealand in 2014; in 2016 the then President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, visited the country; and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid a state visit to New Zealand in 2017. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last visited Germany in April 2018, where she met Chancellor Merkel, among others. Bundestag Vice‑Presidents Oppermann and Kubicki visited New Zealand in 2019 and early 2020 respectively, as did the German-Pacific Parliamentary Friendship Group, in 2019. During the COVID‑19 pandemic, political contacts have been nurtured online.
Economic relations between the two countries are excellent. The German‑New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (GNZCC) has been successfully promoting bilateral relations for 30 years now. New Zealand’s business community is represented in Germany by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise based in Hamburg. The German Asia‑Pacific Business Association in Hamburg has regular committee meetings on New Zealand.
Germany is New Zealand’s second most important trading partner within the EU. New Zealand, in turn, ranks 59th among Germany’s global trading partners.
New Zealand’s principal exports to Germany are agricultural and forestry products, in particular mutton and game, fruit, dairy products and wool. Its main imports from Germany are motor vehicles, machinery and pharmaceutical products.
Germany has supported from the outset the conclusion of a free trade agreement between New Zealand and the European Union. There have been ongoing negotiations to this end since 2018.
Since 2000, the Working Holiday Programme between Germany and New Zealand has enabled young people to stay between one and twelve months in either country to take up a vacation job. This offers them the opportunity to finance their own stay, while getting to know the culture and everyday life of their host country. Every year, some 16,000 young Germans travel around New Zealand under this programme. As the programme has been suspended due to the pandemic and the current entry restrictions imposed by New Zealand, these are the figures for preceding years.
Cultural and academic relations are also good and based on mutual trust. Thanks to the work of the Goethe‑Institut and other cultural institutions, there is a vibrant exchange between the two countries. There are numerous and wide-ranging academic cooperation arrangements between universities as well as collaboration on research.