Officially: Realm of New Zealand.
Seat of government: Wellington.
Structure: Parliament (House of Representatives/Pāremata) is elected in geographical constituencies, modified by party-list proportional representation, and chooses the prime minister.
Governing party: Labour Party.
Head of government: Jacinda Ardern, prime minister (since 2017).
Other parliamentary parties: New Zealand National Party; Green Party; ACT New Zealand; Māori Party.
Assessment: Generally speaking, a liberal and progressive state. Terms are short (three years) but changes of power are infrequent; the Nationals were formed by a merger of the Liberal/United and Reform parties, which governed between them from 1891 to 1935, the National and Labour parties have been alternating the premiership since 1935, and neither has had a single term since 1960. The previous Labour government was elected in 1999, under Helen Clark (1999-2008). Labour won a slight plurality in 2005 general elections, and relied on the outside support of the rightist, anti-immigrant New Zealand First Party, whose leader Winston Peters became foreign minister. Labour thus declined other potential coalitions to emphasize its provincial foreign policy. Tokelau, a dependency, held referenda on independence in 2006 and 2007, which officially failed despite 60% and 64% supporting. General elections in 2008 led to a sizable plurality for National, whose coalition partners all supported from outside; John Key (2008-16) became prime minister. The National seat count increased in both 2011 and 2014, but left it just short of an absolute majority. In 2016, Key resigned, replaced by Bill English (2016-7). The National Party won a reduced plurality in 2017, but Labour gained significantly, and formed another government with New Zealand First, with outside support from the Greens. In 2020 elections, Labour surged to a majority of seats, the Nationals dropped significantly, and New Zealand First lost all its seats.
FH: 1-1, free. Econ: 9.26 (5), full democracy.
Updated: 2021 November 30.