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Government of
New Zealand

 Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, and therefore it is the political centre. It is located in the very southern tip of the north island. New Zealand has a democratic parliamentary government. Its constitutional history dates back to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, when the indigenous Maori people ceded sovereignty over New Zealand to the British Queen. Still to this day New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy, and the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, is also Queen of New Zealand and the Head of State. The Queen's representative in NZ is the Governor-General. Although an integral part of the process of government, the Queen and the Governor-General remain politically neutral and do not get involved in the politics of New Zealand. The New Zealand government is divided into three completely separate branches: the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. Power is divided between these branches, preventing any one from acting against the basic constitutional principles of the country. 

To be a politician in New Zealand is a career and vacation, ops I mean vocation. They are extremely criticized by the population when they make bad decisions and when they donít keep their promise. Even the prime minister gets her fair share of criticism. But of course that comes with the job. Anyone in New Zealand from the age of 18 can vote, but voting is not compulsory.  However everyone must be registered in the electoral system (registered to vote). After the Australian politicians, the politicians in New Zealand are the biggest subject for jokes by the New Zealander, but of course they are already used to it. 

The Parliament consists of 120 seats. The electorate system used in New Zealand in its parliamentary elections is called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). It is a system that works on two votes. One is called the Party Vote which determines each parties share of Parliament's 120 seats. The other is called the Electorate Vote and it determines who will represent your electorate in Parliament These members form part of the House of Representatives. Of the 120 seats, 69 members are elected by popular vote in single-member constituencies including 7 Maori constituencies, and 51 proportional seats chosen from party lists. They are to serve three-year terms. This system, the MMP, completely change the political representation in New Zealand, as before this system many elected member had eyes on their own personal interests, instead of the interest of general community. The Government is formed after an election by the party or coalition which can command a majority of the votes in the House of Representatives. The leader of the winning party becomes the Prime Minister. The Upper House or Senate no longer exists. Elections were last held 17 September 2005 and the next elections are to be held around September of 2008. The winning party was the New Zealand Labour Party, with 41.7% of the votes. The current Prime Minister of New Zealand is Helen Clark. She was voted in as Prime Minister on 27 on November 1999, and has been re-elected ever since. The national government building, where the executives work, is called the Beehive (photo) and looks like a giant wedding cake.

Political Parties and Leaders: To qualify as an MP or member of Parliament, the candidate needs to be member in a political party, and obtain a minimum of 5% of the votes (both her/him and the party). The principal political parties are:

Political Parties (2008)
National Party 44.93 %
Labour Party 33.99 %
Green Party 6.72 %
ACT New Zealand 3.65 %
Maori Party 2.39 %
Progressive Party 0.91 %
United Future 0.87%
Other Parties 6.51%

Note: John Key of the Liberal Party is the actual NZ Prime Minister (since Nov 2008). Helen Clark from Labour Party was the PM from 1999 to 2007.

There were before a movement trying to change the New Zealand flag into the design above, but it was aborted by the majority of the population. Even so, you still will find in many flag shops and sports stadiums this flag for sale.

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