New Zealand Parliament, Beehive Wellington  Ewan - M via Flickr

New Zealand Politics

New Zealand is a democratic society and a constitutional monarchy. New Zealand's government is modelled on the British system. Here is a brief rundown of New Zealand Politics.

New Zealand Politics at a Glance 

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. The Queen of England (Queen Elizabeth II) is the reigning monarch and Head of State.  Her representative in New Zealand is the Governor General – Anand Satyanand.

New Zealand’s government is modelled on the British system. New Zealand’s Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) parliamentary system means that political parties occupy a proportion of the seats in Parliament (Cabinet). In this system, the party (or coalition) with the most seats holds power. Currently a National-led coalition – led by Prime Minister John Key – holds power in New Zealand.

New Zealand Political Facts
  • New Zealand was the first country in the world to allow women the right to vote, in 1893.
  • Today, every male and female over the age of 18 has the right to vote in New Zealand.
  • During the 1930s and '40s, the Labour Party implemented Social Security schemes, the 40 hour working week and minimum wage requirements.
  • After World War II the National Party won power. Apart from two brief periods of Labour governance (1957-60 and 1972 – 75), National remained in power until the 1980s.
  • The centre-right National Party currently holds power in New Zealand, led by John Key.
  • The main opposition party is the centre-left Labour Party– led by Phil Goff.
  • Smaller parties include the left-wing Green Party, the right-wing New Zealand First , ACT and Maori parties .
  • At the local government level, New Zealand has 12 regional councils, which are divided into either City or District Councils. There are 16 City Councils and 57 District Councils in New Zealand.

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