Why The Cabinet Is The Most Powerful Constitutional Body

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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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Proposals to implement policies must go through the cabinet process and Decisions are taken at meetings by Ministers with the approval of the Prime Minister. For example, once a legislative idea has been put forward by sources such as government departments, coalition or lobby groups, it must progress through to the cabinet legislation committee where the decision to allow or dismiss a legislative idea is made. Cabinet must also confirm a Bill before it is officially introduced into parliament, thus it has the final say on what Bill go through and what Bills doesn’t. Cabinets ability to control government policies means that it can manipulate the legislative agenda for its own political reasons, which was the case in the alcohol law reform Bill. Cabinet also has the power to influence Bills once introduced into parliament because there is an overlap of MPs in Cabinet and …show more content…
Under the doctrine of judicial review, a high court judge may review delegated legislations and the decision making power of cabinet ministers, in order to determine whether that decision and the process by which they were reached is valid through statutory authority. If the judge finds a decision to be Ultra vires a judge may declare it unlawful. The regulations review committee similarly investigates complaints about the validity of regulations and reviews whether they are consistent with already existing statutes. If The committee finds any areas of inconsistency, it must report back to parliament, who has the power to declare them invalid. The doctrine of Judicial review and the regulations review committee is crucial in restricting cabinets power as it makes them accountable for their actions. For example, in the case of Fitzgerald v Muldoon chief justice Richard Wild called out Muldoon’s announcement to repeal the superannuation act 1974, as only parliament had the power to suspend

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