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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




It will be observed that, although the functions of the Governor-General have formally increased in scope, in practice the personal discretion of the Governor-General in respect of these functions has been steadily diminished. At first such restrictions as existed were in the nature of legal ones designed by the British Government in order to enable it to supervise and control the actions of the Governor as its agent; with the passage of years, however, the increasing restrictions arising in particular from conventional practice have had the effect of enabling the exercise of the functions of that office to be controlled and supervised by, and for the benefit of, the leaders of the majority party in the House of Representatives. Thus, although this was not what was originally intended, the Governor-General at the present time bears very much the same relationship to the Government of New Zealand, as does the Crown to the Government of the United Kingdom.

by Donald Edgar Paterson, B.A., LL.M.(N.Z.), LL.M., J.S.D.(YALE), Lecturer in Jurisprudence and Constitutional Law, Victoria University of Wellington.

  • The Constitutional Development of New Zealand in the First Decade (1839–1849), Foden, N. A. (1949)
  • The Constitutional History and Law of New Zealand, Hight, J., and Bamford, H. D. (1914)
  • Crown Colony Government in New Zealand, McLintock, A. H. (1958)
  • The Statute of Westminster and Dominion Status, Wheare, K. C. (1953)
  • New Zealand–the Development of its Laws and Constitution, Robson, J. L. (ed.) (1954).