New Zealand Government: | Other forms of government: | Laws in New Zealand: | Court System in New Zealand: | New Zealand Police:

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New Zealand Government:

The system of goverment we have in New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. This means that we have a monarch as the head of State but run our own country through the people we elect to parliament. The Prime Minister is the head of the government in New Zealand. Every 4 years the people of New Zealand vote on who they want to run the country. This is called democracy.

The system we use to elect people into parliament is called MMP or Mixed Member Proportional Representation. Under this system all New Zealanders over the age of 18 (except those in prison for a term of more than 3 years) are allowed two votes in an election. One vote is for your electorate MP (Member of Parliament). This is the person in your area that represents you. The other vote New Zealander's have is for their preferred political party. This means that you do not have to give both your votes to the same political party. Elections are held every 3 years in New Zealand. MMP also means that political parties can form a coalition (alliance) and govern the country together. This has happened at every election since MMP was introduced in 1996.

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Other forms of government:

Around the world countries are governed in many different ways. Saudi Arabia for example is governed by an absolute monarchy while Cuba has a communist government. Many countries that used to be part of the Commonwealth have the same system of government as New Zealand while others such as the USA are presidential republics.

Forms of government around the world


Laws in New Zealand:

We have laws for a variety of reasons including to keep people safe. A law is a set of rules enforced by a court that regulates the conduct of people towards one another. In New Zeland anyone can propose a law. Each law starts out as a bill. It then goes to parliament for dicussion and debate before officially becoming a law. Politicians are our representatives in parliament. They generally represent a cross section of society. Politicians take part in the debating of bills that are proposed. They even have an opportunity to vote for or against a bill.


Court System in New Zealand:

The courts in New Zealand are responsible for making sure the law is followed. New Zealand has several different types of courts that hear different types of cases. For example people under the age of 17 that break the law have a hearing in the Youth court. Family disputes are heard in the family court. The most common court in New Zealand is the District court. Civil and criminal cases that are punishable by less than 3 years in prison are heard in the District court. More serious crimes are tried in the High court. The highest court in New Zealand is the recently introduced Supreme court. Before this the highest court in the land was the Privy Council in London.


New Zealand Police:

The police force in New Zealand are responsible for making sure people don't break the law. There are several different parts of the police that specialise in dealing with different types of offences. Some examples include the Criminal Investigation Branch that investigate crimes, the Diplomatic Protection squad that protect the Prime Minister, Interpol that deals with international crime and the Roading police that deal with offences committed on the nations roads.