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New Zealand

https://www.idea.int/democracytracker/

April 2024

Media crisis deepens

A years-long crisis in New Zealand’s media industry worsened significantly enough in March and April 2024 that observers are raising concerns over the industry’s ability to adequately inform the public and hold politicians to account. Television and online news company Newshub announced it would shut down on 10 April and lay off nearly 300 staff. With its closure and layoffs elsewhere over the last several months, the country now has only one television news service, the state-owned broadcaster TVNZ – which also reduced its news programming and laid off 60 news journalists in April. While media around the world have struggled to adjust their business models to the internet age, the situation is particularly acute in New Zealand, where the number of working journalists has declined from 4071 in 2000 to 1674 today. Media concentration has become severe, as 78.5 per cent of journalists work for one of five employers. Public relations professionals now outnumber their media counterparts by as much as ten to one, leading one observer to label New Zealand “a public relations democracy” and others to raise concerns over the consequences for freedom of media and expression in the country.

Sources: The Guardian, Radio New Zealand, The Spinoff, New Zealand Herald, The Conversation

November 2023

Anti-smoking measures repealed

New Zealand’s incoming governing coalition surprised observers by announcing plans to abandon a set of anti-smoking laws passed by the previous government in December 2022, as the issue had not been raised during the election campaign. The laws, praised by public health advocates, had included plans to not sell tobacco products to anyone born after 2008, decrease the amount of nicotine in cigarettes, and shrink the number of places where cigarettes were sold by 90 per cent. Finance Minister Nicola Willis told journalists the tax receipts from sales of tobacco products would be used to fund tax cuts. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand, and health experts were concerned about the disproportionate impact on Maori New Zealanders and argued that the costs to the health system from smoking-related illnesses would outpace any increased tax receipts.

Sources: Radio New Zealand, British Broadcasting Corporation

October 2023

National Party defeats Labour in general election
Election flag

The conservative National Party defeated the incumbent Labour Party in New Zealand’s 2023 general election on 14 October. Although Labour lost half of its seats and media described the election as a “landslide”, the National Party still needed to secure the support of smaller parties to build a government. Voter turnout was 78 per cent, roughly in line with other recent elections. Official data on gender balance was not yet available due to the pending by-election in the constituency of Port Waikato on 25 November 2023. Some political analysts credited the change in government to voters’ wish to vote out the governing Labour Party, in part over frustration over cost-of-living increases.

Sources: Financial Times, Electoral Commission of New Zealand

August 2023

Government to introduce pay gap reporting

New Zealand’s government announced it would follow Australia, France, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom in requiring companies to report on their gender pay gap. The rule will initially cover only companies with more than 250 employees, but will be expanded to those with more than 100 employees in four years. The announcement was welcomed but called “overdue” by Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo, who cited the need for parliament to draft and pass the relevant legislation and the current lack of reporting on ethnic or disability-related pay gaps, which the government said it is interested in investigating, as an area for necessary improvement.

Sources: Radio New Zealand, Reuters

See all event reports for this country

GSoD Indices Data 2013-2022

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Basic Information

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Population Tooltip
5 122 600
System of government
Parliamentary system
Head of government
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon (since 2023)
Head of government party
National Party
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
Mixed Member Proportional system
Women in lower or single chamber
45.5%
Women in upper chamber
Not applicable
Last legislative election
2020
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
3.04
Head of state
King Charles III
Selection process for head of state
Hereditary or election by hereditary state rulers
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
21/01/2019
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
82.47%
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Human Rights Treaties

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State Party State party
Signatory Signatory
No Action No action
United Nations Human Right Treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
State Party
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
State Party
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
State Party
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
State Party
Convention on the Rights of the Child
State Party
International Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
No Action
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
No Action
International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
State Party
International Labour Organisation Treaties
Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
No Action
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
State Party
Equal Remuneration Convention
State Party
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention
State Party
Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
No Action
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
State Party
in
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Performance by category over the last 6 months

Representation neutral Representation
Nov 2023
Dec
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Apr 2024
Representation neutral Rights
Nov 2023
Dec
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Apr 2024
Representation neutral Rule of law
Nov 2023
Dec
Jan
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Apr 2024
Representation neutral Participation
Nov 2023
Dec
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Apr 2024

Global State of Democracy Indices

Hover over the trend lines to see the exact data points across the years

Explore the indices
Representation
Representation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rights
Rights
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rule of Law
Rule of Law
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Participation
Participation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4

Factors of Democratic Performance Over Time

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