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New Zealand, Government

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary form of government. After British sovereignty was established in New Zealand in 1840, the Constitution Act of 1852 created the first system of government, including a two-chamber legislature and provincial councils. Additional legislation subsequently modified most of its provisions, such as the elimination of the legislatureís upper house in 1950. Like the United Kingdom, New Zealand does not have a single written constitution. Instead, constitutional legislation is an accumulation of statutory and customary laws. The miscellaneous laws are given cohesion through precedent, tradition, and unwritten formal rules known as conventions. The Constitution Act of 1986 consolidated and augmented New Zealandís collection of laws. New Zealand maintains close ties with the United Kingdom as a full member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

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