New Zealand can be referred to as a
liberal representative democracy.
This means it has anaccepted political framework with regular elections as well as protection of individual rights, andfreedom of expression and association.
As a representative democracy the government’s aimis also to secure individual liberty but at the same time protect minorities from the risk of tyrannyfrom the majority. New Zealand has established its own brand of political system, even though itis largely based on the British Westminster system. New Zealand certainly has free and fair elections every three years and individual rights are well protected under the
New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990
, although this Act is not entrenched. The whole political process is allrelatively transparent with little corruption according to the Corruption Perceptions Index.
Citizens have easy access to their local MPs, and they can present petitions to parliament andmake submissions to government select committees and other authorities. There is strongcompetition at elections between numerous political parties, although this is dominated by theNational and Labour parties—all signs of a strong, inclusive society.New Zealand democracy also operates under what is termed
.British constitutional theorist, Prof. Alfred Dicey, has stated that parliamentary sovereignty is,'the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, that no person or body isrecognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament'.
From a New Zealand perspective, New Zealand's leading exponent of constitutional and administrative law, Prof. Philip Joseph states that 'Parliament's word can beneither judicially invalidated nor controlled by earlier enactment'.
However, the concept of
Rod Hague and Martin Harrop, Comparative Government and Politics (New York, USA: PalgraveMacmillan, 2007), p. 8.
Transparency International: Corruption Perceptions Index, 2010,www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results
Albert Dicey, Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (London: Liberty Classics,1915/1982), p. 3.
Philip Joseph, Constitutional and Administrative Law in New Zealand (Wellington, New Zealand:Brookers, 2002), p. 461.