The Sovereign

An Act to reform the constitutional law of New Zealand, to bring together into one enactment certain provisions of constitutional significance, and to provide that the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall cease to have effect as part of the law of New Zealand.

BE IT ENACTED by the General Assembly of New Zealand in Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

ARTICLE 1. Short Title and commencement
(1) This Act may be cited as the Constitution Act 1986.

(2) This Act shall come into force on the 1st day of January 1987.

ARTICLE 2. Head of State
(1) The Sovereign in right of New Zealand is the head of State of New Zealand, and shall be known by the royal style and titles proclaimed from time to time.

(2) The Governor-General appointed by the Sovereign is the Sovereign's representative in New Zealand.

ARTICLE 3. Exercise of royal powers by the Sovereign or the Governor-General
(1) Every power conferred on the Governor-General by or under any Act is a royal power which is exercisable by the Governor-General on behalf of the Sovereign, and may accordingly be exercised either by the Sovereign in person or by the Governor-General.

(2) Every reference in any Act to the Governor-General in Council or any other like expression includes a reference to the Sovereign acting by and with the advice and consent of the Executive Council.

Compare: 1983 No 20 s 3

ARTICLE 3A. Advice and consent of Executive Council
(1) The Sovereign or the Governor-General may perform a function or duty, or exercise a power, on the advice and with the consent of the Executive Council if that advice and consent are given at a meeting of the Executive Council at which neither the Sovereign nor the Governor-General is present if the Sovereign or the Governor-General is prevented from attending the meeting by some necessary or reasonable cause.

(2) The performance of the function or duty, or the exercise of the power takes effect from the date of the meeting unless another time is specified for the performance of the function or duty, or for the exercise of the power, to take effect.

(3) Neither the validity of the performance of the function or duty, nor the validity of the exercise of the power, can be challenged in any legal proceedings on the ground that the Sovereign or the Governor-General was not prevented from attending the meeting of the Executive Council by some necessary or reasonable cause.

Compare: 1924 No 11 s 23; 1983 No 22 s 3
Sections 3A and 3B were inserted, as from 1 November 1999, by section 2 Constitution Amendment Act 1999 (1999 No 86).

ARTICLE 3B. Exercise of powers and duties by Administrator
(1) The Administrator of the Government may perform a function or duty imposed on the Governor-General, or exercise a power conferred on the Governor-General, if—
  1. The office of Governor-General is vacant; or
  2. The Governor-General is unable to perform the function or duty or exercise the power.
(2) The performance or exercise by the Administrator of the Government of a function or duty imposed, or a power conferred, on the Governor-General is conclusive evidence of the authority of the Administrator to perform the function or duty or exercise the power.

Compare: 1924 No 11 s 25E; 1986 No 115 s 9
Sections 3A and 3B were inserted, as from 1 November 1999, by section 2 Constitution Amendment Act 1999 (1999 No 86).

ARTICLE 4. Regency
(1) Where, under the law of the United Kingdom, the royal functions are being performed in the name and on behalf of the Sovereign by a Regent, the royal functions of the Sovereign in right of New Zealand shall be performed in the name and on behalf of the Sovereign by that Regent.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section limits, in relation to any power of the Sovereign in right of New Zealand, the authority of the Governor-General to exercise that power.

Compare: 1983 No 20 s 4

ARTICLE 5. Demise of the Crown
(1) The death of the Sovereign shall have the effect of transferring all the functions, duties, powers, authorities, rights, privileges, and dignities belonging to the Crown to the Sovereign's successor, as determined in accordance with the enactment of the Parliament of England intituled The Act of Settlement (12 & 13 Will 3, c 2) and any other law relating to the succession to the Throne, but shall otherwise have no effect in law for any purpose.

(2) Every reference to the Sovereign in any document or instrument in force on or after the commencement of this Act shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be deemed to include a reference to the Sovereign's heirs and successors.

Compare: 1908, No 42