NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand Flag
Country Description: New Zealand is a highly developed, stable parliamentary democracy which recognizes the British monarch as sovereign. It has a modern economy and tourist facilities are widely available.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Information about entry requirements is available through the Embassy of New Zealand, 37 Observatory Circle, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 328-4800 or the Consulate General of New Zealand in Los Angeles, telephone (213) 477-8241.

Medical Facilities: Good medical care is widely available. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental overseas medical insurance, including coverage for medical evacuation, may prove useful. The international travelers hotline of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be reached at telephone (404)-332-4559 or via the CDC home page on the Internet: http://www.cdc.gov/ for additional health information.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Crime in New Zealand is comparatively low but has increased in recent years. The most prevalent crime is theft or attempted theft from cars, camper vans and hostels. Violent crime against tourists is unusual. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad." It is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Criminal penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect severe jail sentences and fines. Vessels used to import or convey prohibited drugs are liable to seizure.

Aviation Oversight: As a result of an assessment conducted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in November 1995, the FAA has found the government of New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority to be in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of New Zealand's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation in the United States at (800) 322-7873.

Maritime Safety Requirements for Pleasure Craft: Section 21 of the New Zealand Maritime Transport Act requires that before setting sail from New Zealand, pleasure craft must satisfy a New Zealand Yachting Federation (NZYF) yacht inspector that a yacht or pleasure craft meets certain safety requirements. The Maritime Safety Authority (MSA) of New Zealand has published a pamphlet to publicize the new safety requirements for pleasure craft. Additional information may be obtained at the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland.

Customs Information: Handguns may not be brought into the country, and a permit for other firearms must be obtained from the New Zealand Police immediately after arrival. The Ministry of Agriculture of New Zealand has stringent requirements for the entry of food and agricultural products. Travelers are required to declare any items which come under agricultural quarantine restrictions as stated on the customs form at the port of entry. Heavy fines have been levied against those attempting to bring in undeclared prohibited items.

Road Safety: Many roads in New Zealand are only two lanes and traffic drives on the left. Drivers use extra caution in driving in rural areas to avoid animals. Pedestrians are recommended to look carefully in all directions before entering a street or roadway, and to cross at crosswalks. Traffic always yields to the right and pedestrians do not have the right of way except at crosswalks.

Registration/Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate by mail, phone, fax or in person, where they can obtain updated information on travel and security.

The U.S. Embassy in New Zealand is located at 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington. The telephone number is (64-4) 472-2068. The fax number is (64-4) 471-2380.

The U.S. Consulate General in Auckland is located on the 4th floor, Yorkshire General Building, Corner of Shortland and O'Connell Streets. The telephone number is (64-9) 303-2724. The fax number is (64-9) 366-0870.

The U.S. Consular Agency in Christchurch closed on April 1, 1995.

Emergency Consular Services for U.S. Citizens in New Zealand: The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Wellington closed on May 15, 1996. Routine consular services are no longer available at the U.S. Embassy. U.S. citizens in need of such services may contact the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland for assistance. U.S. citizens in or near Wellington experiencing life or death emergencies may contact the U.S. Embassy in Wellington for assistance.

For after hours emergencies, a duty officer is based in the U.S. Embassy in Wellington. Persons seeking such assistance after hours may call the U.S. Embassy in Wellington. After a brief recording, the caller may leave a message on the voice mail system, describing the nature of the emergency and giving a point of contact. The phone system will automatically call the duty officer, who will listen to the message and take the appropriate action. U.S. citizens requesting after hours assistance which is not of a life or death emergency nature will be directed to contact a consular officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland during regular business hours. Life or death emergencies in Wellington, such as illness or arrest, occurring during regular business hours may be directed to the U.S. Embassy in Wellington. All other consular matters occurring during regular business hours are handled by the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland.

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