Parliamentary Government in New Zealand: Lines of Continuity and Moments of Change
This article addresses one particular feature of New Zealand’s constitution: the continuing combination within a highly centralized system of government of formally unlimited legislative power and strong executive dominance of the activities of the nation’s Parliament. An observer schooled in the orthodoxies of constitutional-design best practice might expect to see some significant problems in terms of how public power in New Zealand is authorized and imposed. However, contrary to such expectations, New Zealand has managed to combine unified and intensive forms of public power with a genuinely free and open society, which has an unbroken history of fairly contested democratic elections and subsequent peaceful transfers of governmental power dating back to the 1850s. This article explores the particularly idiosyncratic nature of New Zealand’s form of parliamentary government, and in particular the effect that the adoption of a mixed-member proportional voting system has had.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Keywords: Constitutional law; Public law; New Zealand
Research Type: Journal Article