New Zealand politics occurs in a
fabric of a parliamentary representative democratic
The basic organization is closely
modeled after that of the Westminster System, even
though a number of substantial modifications have
Queen Elizabeth II is the head of
state although real government is led by a Prime
Minister and Cabinet created from a Parliament which
had been elected.
There is no written or formal
constitution in New Zealand.
The framework of the constitution is made up of a mixture of
several written documents (as well as certain acts of the
New Zealand Parliaments and the United Kingdom),
constitutional conventions and the Treaty of Waitangi.
Most provisions of the constitution became amalgamated into
the 1986 Constitution Act. At times there have been
suggestions of a written constitution, but no serious action
has been made to make one.
The head of state of New Zealand is the Queen of New
Zealand, who is presently Elizabeth II. The monarchy
of New Zealand has been separate from the monarchy
of Britain since the 1953 New Zealand Royal Titles
Act, and all the official business of Elizabeth II
in New Zealand is carried out in the Queen of New
Zealand’s name, not that of the United Kingdom’s
Queen. In reality, the roles of the monarchy are
carried out by a Governor General, charged by the
monarch on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
In Letters Patent, which regulates the Governor
General’s office and which are awarded by the Queen
on the proposal of the Prime Minister, when there is
a void in the Governor General’s office, many of the
responsibilities of the said office are carried out
by a steward, called the Administrator of the
The powers of the Governor-General are mostly symbolic and
ceremonial in nature. Formally, the Governor-General has the
power to name and terminate Prime Ministers and get rid of
Parliament. It also formally ratifies legislation into
legislation after submitted by Parliament.
Governor General presides over the Executive
Council, which is a conventional committee
comprising of all the Crown’s ministers. The
Executive Council’s members are necessitated to be
Parliament Members, and a majority are also in the
The most senior body for policy making is the
Cabinet and is headed by the Prime Minister, who is
at the same time, by rule, the leader of the
Parliament of the ruling party or coalition. The
Cabinet of New Zealand answers to the Parliament of
New Zealand. All Ministers of Cabinet must be
Parliament Members and are jointly responsible for
The main legislative body of New Zealand is a Parliament
which is unicameral recognized as the House of
Representatives. As of 1996, New Zealand has utilized the
MMP (mixed member proportional) electoral system, under
which each Member of Parliament is either voter elected in a
single-member electorate through first past the post or
nominated from party lists.
Ordinarily, the parliament is one hundred twenty members
large, nevertheless this can sometimes change due to
underhangs and overhangs.