Cabinet: The Most Powerful Constitutional Body

Decent Essays
LAWS 121: INTRODUCTION TO THE NZ LEGAL SYSTEM (2016) TERMS ESSAY QUESTION

Cabinet is the head of the executive branch of government in New Zealand and abides by principles set out in the cabinet manual. It exists strictly by Constitutional Conventions which are practices of constitutional behaviours that have developed over years and govern constitutional bodies. This essay would discuss some of the main reasons why cabinet is regarded as the most powerful constitutional body such as its ability to make policies and delegated legislations. It would also provide arguments to refute this claim such as the role of constitutional conventions, the regulations review committee and the system of judicial review in limiting cabinets power. Most
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Under parliamentary supremacy only parliament has the power to make laws, but regulations are a more informal form of law making. Thus, it can be argued that parliament is not the only law making body in New Zealand, and Cabinets power to make policies as well as make delegated legislations can result in the use of arbitrary power. The issue with regulations is that they do not have to go through parliament, or the select committee process, where the public can express their opinions. Regulations unlike statutes are also Less transparent and inaccessible to the public, which means that Cabinet basically gets to determine them on its own …show more content…
Prior to MMP a Prime Minister could dominate Cabinet and control the nation as a whole. for example, Fitzgerald Muldoon dominated cabinet and the national caucus, which almost led to a constitutional crisis in New Zealand in 1976. Under MMP Parties are allocated seats in parliament according to the percentage of votes received, and so far no single ruling party has ever gained over 50% of the national vote. This means that no single party can ever dominate parliament and in order for the ruling party to successful pass legislations it must form alliances with smaller coalition parties. If a coalition party disapproves with a particular cabinet made policy, there is a high chance it would withdraw its support of the ruling party. This was the case for some of the economic measures implemented in 1975 and 1993. Thus in order for Cabinet to ensure that it remains in office through the unanimous support of its coalition parties it must make sure that its power to make policies are exercised

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