The main political parties in New Zealand are ACT New Zealand, Green Party, Labour Party, Maori Party, National Party, Progressive, and United Future.
The Maori Electorate ensures positions in parliament for representatives of Maori decent in the New Zealand Parliament. Only New Zealand Maori are eligible to take part in the Maori Electoral Option.The Electoral Act defines Maori as “a person of the Maori race of New Zealand; and includes any descendant of such a person“. Maori can decide whether to be on the Maori or General electoral roll. But once enrolled, they cant change again. The Maori Electoral Option is held generally once every five years over a four month period.
The Executive Wing of the parliamentary complex is known as the 'Beehive' because of the building’s shape. Sir Basil Spence, a British architect, designed the Beehive in 1964. The idea behind the round shape was that the rooms and offices should radiate from a central core. This concept was developed by the Government Architect of the Ministry of Works. This is where the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers have their offices, and where the Cabinet meets. The National Crisis Management Centre is held in the Beehives basement, it is the Government’s command centre in the event of a major emergency or security threat. The Centre includes kitchens, bunk-rooms, and other facilities so that people can live and work here for extended periods of time.
Parliament house was built out of Coromandel granite at the base and Takaka marble on the upper storeys. Some important rooms in parliament house are; The Chamber, which is where bills are debated by members of Parliament, The Maori Affairs Committee Room and the Pacific room, which was established to recognise the contribution made by pacific people in New Zealand.
The third building in the parliament grounds is the Parliamentary Library. It is a working library that provides research services for members of Parliament and parliamentary staff. There is also a public reading room for customers of the Library’s International Documents Service and the Parliamentary Information Service. It was built in 1883 in a Victorian gothic style, but has been refurbished many times due to fire damage.
New Zealand’s head of State is the Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand. The Governor-General is the Queen’s representative in New Zealand.
Our Government is formed from a democratically elected House of Representatives. The Government advises the Sovereign (our head of State). By convention, the Sovereign, the source of all executive legal authority in New Zealand, acts on the advice of the Government in all but the most exceptional circumstances. This system is known as a constitutional monarchy.
New Zealand was the first country to have its top three positions of power held simultaneously by women. (Prime Minister, Governor General and Chief of Justice.
Published by the New Zealand Immigration Service - a service of the Department of Labour