New Zealand has a long-established democracy and a very stable political environment.
Elections are held every 3 years in a mixed member proportional representation (MMP) system. 120 MPs represent a particular geographical area (their electorate).
Parliament buildings are in Wellington. Members of the public may walk in the grounds and tour the buildings. There is a public gallery from which you can observe the debates, which are also broadcast on the radio.
New Zealand doesn’t have a written constitution but functions on traditions inherited from Britain. Power is distributed between the legislature (parliament), the judiciary (courts) and the executive (government departments, local bodies and the ruling party) so no branch of government has too much power.
A Governor General represents the Queen. The Treaty of Waitangi, an agreement signed by representatives of Maori tribes and the British Crown in 1840, is regarded by many as a founding document for modern New Zealand society.
New Zealand has privacy and official information laws that regulate the collection, holding, use and disclosure of personal data. Information about you cannot be given out without your permission.
New Zealand police have a reputation for being approachable, reliable, and free of corruption. You have the right to a professional interpreter if you have to go to court or are questioned by the police.
The Ministry develops and maintains education policy, curriculum and funding of New Zealand education in close partnership with other government agencies and education sector bodies. The Ministry developed the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.
The main role of NZQA is to assure the quality of programmes offered by state and private institutions in New Zealand. See Quality assurance
These are based around the world to help New Zealanders establish government to government relationships. They also help those who want to learn more about New Zealand.
Immigration New Zealand has offices around the world to help people to apply for visas and permits to come to New Zealand for work or study. For more information contact your nearest branch of Immigration New Zealand.