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Pieces of a whole
Sovereignty: from the Treaty of Waitangi to the United Nations
Sovereignty challenged
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
How it all fits together
Representing the Queen
Three branches of government
MMP's first decade
Watchdogs for democracy
National identities
Association of former Members of Parliament
Pacific citizens
How consultation works
How participation works




Pieces of a whole

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.

MMP - New Zealand's proportional representation electoral system - became a decade old in 2006 - and had enabled more women, Maori and other previously under represented people to be elected to Parliament.

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 services.

Information technology provides an additional tool to help citizens participate - Parliament provides more information on the web that you can use. Development goals for the state sector are to use technology to transform the provision of services for New Zealanders. By June 2010 the State Services Commission goal is that the: operation of government has been transformed through the use of the Internet.

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


Parliament and Beehive

Photo source: Lindsay Haas

Parliament and the Beehive are core parts of the "whole of government"


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