New Zealand: Country and Foreign Investment
New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy and a British Commonwealth realm, formalising its independence in 1947.
Its Constitution consists of a series of legal documents, including certain acts of the United Kingdom and New Zealand parliaments, as well as The Constitution Act 1986, which is the principal formal charter.
The chief of state is the British Monarch, represented by the Governor-General.
The New Zealand parliament has only one chamber, the House of Representatives, with 120 members (increased to 122 in the 2008 elections). Elections are held every three years under a form of proportional representation.
The party with majority support in the House of Representatives forms the government and its leader becomes Prime Minister.
Politics has recently been a contest between the Labour Party and the National Party, with significant minor parties, include the Maori and Green Parties. The National Party has been in power since the November 2008 election, with John Key as Prime Minister.
The legal system is based on English common law, with special land legislation and land courts for the Maori.
The highest court is the Supreme Court of New Zealand, established by the Supreme Court Act 2003, which also abolished the option to appeal to the Privy Council in London. New Zealand's legal system also includes the Court of Appeal and the High Court. The judiciary are appointed by the Governor-General.