22 February: Social Development minister Steve Maharey announces that seven benefits will be merged into one, with supplements available for accommodation, disability, and childcare. The benefits replaced include unemployment, sickness, disability, and the domestic purposes benefit. The new benefit will apply from 2007 but trial areas will pilot the scheme from May 2005.
5 – 10 March: The Prince of Wales tours New Zealand. The most controversial incident was two women baring their breasts to him, in protest against a misreported objection by the Prince to a topless Aborigine dance in Australia, and the temporary closure of a breast cancer screening caravan due to security concerns during the visit.
4 April: Government member of parliament John Tamihere is involved in a major scandal after speaking candidly and scathingly about his fellow Labour MPs to a reporter (an interview which Tamihere claims was off-the-record). Further details of comments made at the interview were released a week later.
12 April: John Tamihere is censured by the Labour Party caucus for his earlier comments, but was not asked to resign from the party.
12 April: Northland farmer Paul McIntyre is acquitted of charges of careless use of a firearm. He shot at the vehicle of three thieves who were fleeing after attempting to steal his farmbike in 2002, injuring one of them. An earlier jury found him not guilty of reckless behaviour but could not agree on this charge.
21 April: Bus drivers in Auckland working for Stagecoach have voted to strike for six days from 5 May in support of their claim for an extra $2 an hour.
21 April: 700 coal miners strike for the day in the first national coal miners' strike in New Zealand for more than a decade. The miners want a 6% wage increase, but their employer, Solid Energy, is offering 2.8%.
3 May: An AirworkFairchild Metro III explodes while flying from Auckland to Woodbourne, about 5 km east of Stratford. The plane had two pilots and was carrying courier parcels. Both men were killed. Residents in the area report hearing a loud noise, with some seeing a fireball and falling debris. Wreckage is spread over a 15 km area.
6 May: A bridge near Wairoa on the East Coast of the North Island collapsed sending two train wagons and a crane on the East Coast into the Nuhaka River below 9 metres below. The accident which happened at about 7:30 am NZST and there was nobody on board the wagons or crane.
10 May: A letter sent to the New Zealand prime minister alleges that foot and mouth disease has been released on Waiheke Island. The letter writer threatens further releases unless tax reforms are made. While the letter is considered likely to be a hoax, a farm on Waiheke is quarantined. New Zealand has been free of the foot and mouth virus to date.
14 May: Telecom New Zealand is planning to increase security for its voicemail service after a hacker managed to access the voicemail famous New Zealanders such as Dick Hubbard, Auckland mayor. Telecom's public affairs manager was only aware that his own voicemail had been accessed after being told by a computer journalist. The voicemail of several policemen was accessed.
17 May: David Benson-Pope stands down as New Zealand's Associate Education Minister after three people alleged that he had administered cruel punishments to them while he was a high-school teacher in Dunedin. Benson-Pope has previously denied the allegations in Parliament.
2 June: New Zealand electricity supplier Meridian Energy announces plans to build one of the world's largest wind farms at Makara, west of Wellington. The farm is planned to have 70 turbines, each over 100 metres high, and to generate 210 MW, which would be sufficient to power the whole of Wellington, Porirua, and Lower Hutt.
4 June: At the start of the Queen's Birthday long weekend in New Zealand, rain, snow and ice closed several major highways. State Highway 1 (known as the Desert Road) was closed in the morning between Waiouru and Rangipo in the central North Island, and State Highway 4 between Wanganui and Taumarunui was also closed for some time. A series of slips in the Manawatu Gorge has caused delays to traffic. The year's first major snowfall in Dunedin has caused problems for motorists there.
14 June: The New Zealand High Commissioner to Canada, Graham Kelly, apologises to all New Zealanders for remarks he made to a Canadian Senate committee in April. Kelly insulted Māori, Pacific Islanders and Asian immigrants to New Zealand in an attempt at humour.
22 June: 500 residents of the town of Takaka in the northern South Island are evacuated after a major fire at the town's dairy factory. Evacuation was through fear of an explosion in vats containing caustic soda and sulphuric acid, which could have released toxic gases.
24 June: The New Zealand cricket team announced that it would tour Zimbabwe in August, despite calls for a boycott due to Operation Murambatsvina. The New Zealand government will not stop the tour going to Zimbabwe, but says a return tour by the Zimbabwe team will not be welcome.
26 June: The Israeli Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, apologises to New Zealand for the actions of two Israeli citizens, believed to be Mossad agents, who attempted to gain New Zealand passports under false pretences in 2004. The apology allows diplomatic relations between the two countries to return to normal.
30 June: Prince William arrives in New Zealand for an 11-day tour. This was his second trip to New Zealand; he was nine months old on his first visit. During the visit he follows the Lion's tour and has several official engagements.
7 July The High Court of New Zealand rules that the delays in processing Unitec's application to become a university breach the New Zealand Bill of Rights and that the application should have been considered in 2000.
17 July: Heavy rain causes flooding in the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand, leaving the holiday town of Pauanui cut off when part of the access road washes away.
18 July: Air New Zealand is forced to cancel about 30% of its international flights after flight attendants begin the first of a series of 48-hour strikes. The third strike was called off but flights will not return to normal until Tuesday 26 July.
3 August: Staff at several universities continue to take strike action in support of their five per cent wage claim. The University of Otago is the only major university to have settled with their staff.
3 August: Radio New Zealand staff stopped work for two hours in support of their claim for a five percent wage increase and an extra week's annual holiday. (Stuff)
19 August: Two police officers and a civilian driver are convicted on driving charges after a high-speed convoy in July 2004 carried the New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clarke to Christchurch airport. Clarke claimed not to be aware of the speed involved, but most New Zealanders are sceptical.
21 August: Don Brash launches the New Zealand National Party election campaign saying that lower taxes and better incentives are the key to reigniting a spirit of enterprise and making New Zealand again a land of opportunity.
22 August: The two major parties in the New Zealand election both promise tax cuts if they are elected. Labour offers $1.3 billion worth of tax cuts targeted at families, while National offers $3.9 billion across all tax brackets, and a reduction in company tax to 30%.
23 August: A 14-year-old boy is arrested for the murder of Chris Currie, who died when a piece of concrete was dropped on his car from an Auckland motorway overbridge.
23 August: The Māori Party launches its campaign for the general election with co-leader Dr Pita Sharples suggesting that the party would not form a coalition with a major party, but would offer support to a government on a case by case basis.
10 September: New Zealand sold the Skyhawk ground attack and Aermacchi trainer aircraft to an unnamed American company. The planes were put into storage after the disbanding of the Air Force combat wing in 2001.
14 September: The Ombudsman forces Treasury to release details of alternative costings for the Labour Party's proposed interest-free student loan scheme. Treasury estimated the scheme would cost $390 million in its third year, but Labour's estimates put the cost at $300 million at that point.
15 September: The centre of Tauranga is shut down for 13 hours after a man threatens to blow himself up with a bomb in a hotel. The man, who was upset that he could not get a visa to stay in New Zealand, was arrested just after midnight. The bomb was fake. (Stuff)
17 September: General election: election night figures give Labour 50 seats, National 49, New Zealand First 7, Greens 6, Māori Party 4 (all electorate seats, an overhang of 2 because party vote earned them only 2), United Future 3, ACT 2, Progressives 1. National leader Don Brash refuses to concede defeat because there are over 200,000 special votes to be counted. (Elections New Zealand)
20 September: Helen Clark orders an inquiry into Associate Justice Minister Taito Phillip Field's assistance to a Thai overstayer's work permit application. The Thai man retiled the roof of Field's house in Samoa.
24 September: A flotilla of 100 boats meets the Interisland ferry Challenger (Kaitaki) protesting the speed it travels through the Marlborough Sounds. Protesters claim the ferry's wake damages the shoreline. (Stuff)
30 September: Donna Awatere Huata, a former ACT Member of Parliament, is sentenced to two years nine months in jail for stealing from a Māori trust for disadvantaged children. Her husband is sentenced to two years.
1 October: General election special votes are counted and announced: National drops to 48 seats, others unchanged (as the Māori Party vote share raised its quota to 3, thus overhang of 1). Helen Clark confident she can form a government within 2 weeks. (NZ election results)
20 November: New Zealand's last resident World War I veteran, Bob Rudd, dies aged 104 on the West Coast. Rudd lied about his age to join the British Army and immigrated to New Zealand after the war. (NZ Herald)
9 December: To control the spread of the Didymo algae, the whole of the South Island is declared a controlled area. All items, such as boats, fishing gear, clothing, and vehicles, that have been in a stream, river or lake, must be cleaned before they enter another waterway.
15 December: Bob Clarkson keeps his electorate seat, after the High Court rejects Winston Peters' petition alleging he had spent more on campaigning for the seat of Tauranga than is allowed under the Electoral Act. The Act prescribes a campaign spending limit of $20,000 per local candidate. Peters' petition alleged that Clarkson had spent more than $100,000. The High Court found that he had spent only $18,159. (NZ Herald)
19 December: Air New Zealand makes 110 staff redundant in Auckland as it prepares to outsource most of its heavy maintenance. A further 507 staff will find out the status of their jobs in February 2006.
21 December: The Government abandons the proposed carbon tax after the New Zealand First and United Future parties opposed it. The Government says the tax would not be effective at lowering emissions. The tax was supposed to help New Zealand meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.
21 December: The minimum wage will increase from NZ$9.50 to $10.25 per hour for adults, and from $7.60 to $8.20 for under-18-year olds. The increases take effect on 27 March 2006. (NZ Herald)
27 December: The Treaty House at Waitangi is superficially damaged when a man drives a car into it. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in the grounds of this house, and it has been the focus of protests over recent decades. (Stuff)
27 November – The All Blacks defeat Scotland at Edinburgh to become only the second All Black touring team to complete the "Grand Slam" of rugby – beating Wales, Ireland, England and Scotland on one tour (the first being in 1978).