New Zealand

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. This means that all authority originates from “the Crown”. The crown is represented by the monarch, the Queen. However, because New Zealand is a constitutional democracy, her powers are subject to the country’s basic laws. It also means that decisions about government policy on a day-to-day basis are made by those who have been elected to office by New Zealanders.

As the embodiment of New Zealand, The Queen is the country’s Head of State. Serving for life from the time of her predecessor’s death, The Queen represents and works on behalf of the values on which all New Zealanders agree: fostering pride in national identity, following the rule of law, building a sense of community, recognising outstanding achievement, encouraging tolerance, volunteerism and the value of the family. She has done this since 1952.

Though she does not make policy decisions, the Queen has some very important roles in the government of New Zealand. As the non-partisan representative of all New Zealanders, it is her responsibility to ensure that New Zealand is governed according to the law, and by the will of New Zealand voters. Parliament is called and dissolved by her authority. The Queen’s assent is required for all legislation to become law. She is also head of the New Zealand Defence Forces. Finally, all public appointments in New Zealand are made in her name. This includes judges, public servants, and military officers.

Oaths of loyalty are sworn to the Queen by the armed services, the police, members of parliament, and new citizens of New Zealand. Doing this ensures that they are loyal to all of New Zealand and not to a politician who might be tempted to abuse power.

To assist her in her work, the Queen appoints a Governor-General. The Governor-General operates in her name and fulfils most of the Queen’s roles. Governors-General are not very common around the world, but they strengthen democracy, and they are another reason New Zealand’s system of government is the best in the world.

The monarchy, our monarchy, is a very important part of New Zealand’s government. It is the foundation on which our democracy is built. Our system of government is among the very best in the world. It is important for all New Zealanders to realise this, to understand why this is the case, and to be proud of this achievement.

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