New Zealand operates as a representative democracy - not as a fully participatory democracy. This means that you can have a say in how things are run – but you can only make the system work for you if you know how the system works. This series aims to help you understand Parliament, government and law in New Zealand, so that you can protect and advance your interests.
Although the way
the state works is always changing, some things remain constant. The political
system has three main parts – Parliament, government and the law.
Each provides checks and balances on other parts and is, in turn, influenced
internationally by nations and global, economic and social forces.
Our small country's influence on the world is not as great as that of the world on New Zealand, but occasionally, political leaders say with pride, New Zealand‘s influence is greater than its size. Cultural diversity, external influences and a complex of social, economic, historical and geographic forces are changing the face of New Zealand - giving it more national identities.
New Zealand is expanding
the ways in which citizens can help shape government more between, as
well as during elections, and how they can get improved access to government
DecisionMaker's big picture introduces you to government in New Zealand and will help have your voice heard.
The big picture is based on the writing of Asia Pacific Economic News contributors in earlier editions of the DecisionMaker Guide to Parliament and Government, reviews by current government officials and research by the Centre for Citizenship Education.
Updated 2 March 2006