The Judicial Branch of Government
The New Zealand system of Government is based on the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. This separation provides checks and balances on how the Government exercises its power, and maintains accountability and impartiality.
The Legislature, or Parliament, makes laws by proposing and debating Bills, which become law when passed. Parliament has approximately 120 members (MPs) and a Speaker, who controls proceedings.
The Executive initiates and administers the law by deciding policy, drafting Bills and administering Acts. It is made up of Ministers (who are also MPs) and government departments. The government departments which are most associated with the District Court include the Police, Ministry of Justice and Department of Corrections.
The Judiciary applies the law by hearing and deciding cases. It is made up of judges and other judicial officers. The New Zealand judiciary is led by the Chief Justice, currently Dame Helen Winkelmann.
In New Zealand, court decisions are made by members of the Judiciary. They make decisions according to the laws passed by the Legislature. The funding and administration of the courts is provided by the Executive, through the Ministry of Justice. Although the Executive and Judiciary have some administrative interaction, the Ministry of Justice does not influence judges’ decision-making.