government: parliamentary democracy (New Zealand Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
state of civil and political rights: Free
constitution: consists of a series of legal documents, including certain acts of the UK and New Zealand Parliaments, as well as The Constitution Act 1986, which is the principal formal charter; adopted 1 January 1987, effective 1 January 1987
legal system: based on English law, with special land legislation and land courts for the Maori
legislative system: unicameral House of Representatives
judicial system: Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; High Court; note - judges appointed by the Governor-General
religion: Anglican 14.9%, Roman Catholic 12.4%, Presbyterian 10.9%, other Christian
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (aiming to the abolition of the death penalty)
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
The death penalty was abolished for ordinary crimes in 1961, then fully abolished, and replaced with life imprisonment in 1989. The last execution dates back to 1957.
The Abolition of the Death Penalty Act allows New Zealand to decline to extradite an offender who risks the death sentence in the requesting country. The provision is to be read in conjunction with the Extradition Act of 1965, 5A, that states: "the Minister of Justice may decline to order the surrender of an offender to a foreign country if it appears to the Minister that the offender has been sentenced to death or is liable to be so sentenced by the appropriate authority in the country to which his or her surrender is sought." There are other norms to be read in conjunction with the Fugitive Offenders Act of 1881, allowing for a similar power of refusal following an extradition request for a capital offender made by a Commonwealth country.
On December 17, 2018, New Zealand once again co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.