Advantages And Disadvantages Of Cabinet

1144 Words 5 Pages
It is true that the major decision making body in New Zealand’s (NZ’s) government, Cabinet, does operate only under the presence of constitutional conventions. However, this is unique and is the oddest aspect of NZ’s constitution. Thus, it is important to look at the advantages and disadvantages of such a body and how this works in the current political environment of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) in NZ. Cabinet is a collective group of elected crown ministers headed by the Prime Minister (PM), who meet weekly to decide government policy. Cabinet heads the executive branch of government which executes laws and policies. Individual ministers instruct politically neutral public servants, the armed forces and police, and conduct foreign relations …show more content…
Despite the executive not being prescribed in law, Cabinet is the most powerful body in the NZ government and is central to the NZ legal system. The existence of Cabinet depends on constitutional conventions, but its functions are governed by the Cabinet Manual. NZ is unique in regards to its constitutional make-up; unlike other countries, the constitution is not contained in one document but is made up of a variety of laws, legal judgements and conventions. Constitutional conventions are non-legal rules which are recognized as effective rules to govern which have emerged from practice and capture the way things ought to be done. They are followed not because it is prescribed in law that they should be, but because they have proven to be successful over time. Conventions add a level of flexibility to NZ’s constitutional structure allowing it to adapt to changing circumstances. Constitutional conventions are not found in any formal document, and because they are not written down, they are in danger of being ignored or interpreted loosely. They are unenforceable in courts and are …show more content…
Furthermore, the Governor-General can dismiss a minister at any time, on the advice of the PM, thus, ministers are obliged to act within a certain framework. Thus, ministers who do not exercise their respective powers in a manner compatible with Cabinet’s decision, risk losing their powers. Ministerial appointments and dismissals are at the hands of the PM, which means that Cabinet cannot directly initiate any action against the PM. However, a PM who tries to act against opposition from his Cabinet risks losing the confidence of his party colleagues. There is therefore a balance which limits the power of the PM to an extent. Conventions help to regulate Cabinet but due to the lack of formal legislation establishing Cabinet, the power it is able to utilize is largely undefined. For the most part, Cabinet has yet to act upon such power in a dictatorial-executive manner. It can, in effect, determine what bills make it into parliament, control delegated legislation and policy. However, despite such a potential risk, the social contract in NZ between and citizens and parliament means that this is highly unlikely to occur; it is the conventions regarding their authority that bind and hold considerable force over Cabinet

Related Documents