Cows outnumber New Zealand people
New Zealanders who for decades have endured jokes about being outnumbered 20-1 by sheep have a new farm animal majority to worry about - cows.
A record 5.8 million dairy cattle were counted in the year ending June 2009, Statistics New Zealand said - more than one animal for each of the country's 4.3 million citizens.
In contrast, sheep numbers declined to some 32 million in 2009, less than half the peak of 70 million reported in 1982.
"Increased numbers in the milking herd have resulted in there being one milking cow for every New Zealander," farm statistics manager Gary Dunnet said.
"In 2009, New Zealand had fewer than eight sheep per person."
The new figures are unlikely to do much to discourage the ribbing New Zealanders often get on the topic when they travel abroad.