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Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently Jacinda Ardern.Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a governor-general, currently Dame Patsy Reddy.

Since the 1980s, New Zealand has transformed from an agrarian, regulated economy to a diverse market economy.New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, ASEAN Plus mechanism, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand in 1642 and named it Staten Land "in honour of the States General" (Dutch parliament).In 1841 New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a Dominion; it gained full independence in 1947, but the British monarch remained the head of state.Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.7 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders.

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