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17 Apr

The constitution must also be seen in its international context, because New Zealand governmental institutions must increasingly have regard to international obligations and standards.

The Constitution Act 1986 describe the three branches of Government in New Zealand: The Executive (the Executive Council, as the Cabinet has no formal legal status), the legislature (the House of Representatives and Sovereign in Parliament) and the judiciary (Court system).

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The underlying principle is democracy, with political power exercised through a democratically elected parliament – this is often stated as "The Queen reigns but the government rules so long as it has the support of the House of Representatives." The "Crown in Right of New Zealand" has been legally distinct from the British monarchy since New Zealand ratified the Statute of Westminster 1931 with the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947 in 1947.

Unlike its neighbour Australia, New Zealand has not yet held a referendum on the matter, but a number of prominent politicians (including the former Prime Minister, John Key The Sovereign's representative in and over the Realm of New Zealand is the Governor-General.

The Office is largely ceremonial, although the Governor-General holds a number of so-called 'reserve powers'.

The Constitution of New Zealand is the sum of laws and principles that make up the body politic of the realm.

It concerns the relationship between the individual and the state, and the functioning of government.