Niue became a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand on October 19, 1974. Niueans are also New Zealand citizens and hold New Zealand passports. New Zealand provides administrative assistance to Niue under section 7 of the Niue Constitution, and is also responsible for Niue’s defense and external affairs; the latter is now being taken over by Niue, with Niue dealing directly with some regional and international agencies. Niue is a member of the following agencies:
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS)
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP)
University of the South Pacific (USP)
World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
Bio Diversity Convention
South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)
Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC)
United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA)
United Nations Education Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
United Nations Institution for Child Education Fund (UNICEF)
South Pacific Geo-science Commission (SOPAC)
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)
World Health Organisation (WHO)
Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)
African Caribbean Pacific (ACP)
Niue’s form of government is based on the Westminster model, having three major organs of government; they are legislative, executive and judiciary.
The legislative is the parliament also known locally as the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Assembly sits at least once a month to amend or repeal existing laws as well as passing new legislation.
The executive is the Government of the day, where Cabinet formulates policies being implemented by various Government departments, each department have a director, which is the chief executive officer of the department. The administrative head of the Government of Niue is the Secretary to Government. The Niue Public Service Commission deals with matters relating to public servants, in accordance with the Niue Public Service Regulations 2004. The Niue Public Service Association is a workers body, aimed at looking after the interest of the workers.
The judiciary is the courts, the Niue High Court deals with criminal and civil matters, the Land Court deals with land matters, the Appeal Courts handle appeals. The Chief Judge of the Niue High Court is from New Zealand.
Niue is a democracy, under law every person is required to register in the Electoral Roll once they turn 18 years old, but the decision to vote or not to vote is a person's choice.
The Legislative Assembly has 20 members, 14 elected from each of the 14 village constituencies and 6 common roll members elected nationally. The term of parliament is three years where fresh elections are held to elect members of parliament.
The Premier (also refer to as prime minister in other countries) is elected by the majority vote of the Legislative Assembly. The Premier selects three other members of the Legislative Assembly to form the Cabinet of Ministers. The Premier allocates Members of Cabinet with portfolios, which they will be directly responsible for formulating and implementing policies for. At present there is no formal party system, Government is usually formed between different small factions who have their own goals and visions. There is political stability in Niue, with the present premier approaching towards completing a full term in office.
All the villages have village councils, which are responsible for maintaining the facilities, and run the affairs of their village. Members of the village councils are elected by voters from each village every three years. The chairperson and deputy chairperson of a village council is elected by the majority of the members of the council. The village council appoints a secretary who is responsible for the administration of the village council. The assemblyman (MP) of the village is also an ex-officio member of the village council and he/she can attend the meetings of the council. At present the Government offers $12,000.00 in annual grants to MPs of each village, including direct budget support of less than $5,000 per annum for village councils.