Prime Minister of New Zealand

The prime minister of New Zealand (Māori: Te pirimia o Aotearoa) is the head of government of New Zealand. The incumbent prime minister, Chris Hipkins, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 25 January 2023.[2]

Prime Minister of New Zealand
Te Pirimia o Aotearoa
Incumbent
Chris Hipkins
since 25 January 2023
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Style
StatusHead of government
AbbreviationPM
Member of
Reports toHouse of Representatives
ResidencePremier House, Wellington
SeatThe Beehive, Wellington
AppointerGovernor-General of New Zealand
Term lengthAt the Governor-General's pleasure
Formation7 May 1856; 166 years ago (1856-05-07)
First holderHenry Sewell
DeputyDeputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
SalaryNZ$471,049 annually[1]

The prime minister (informally abbreviated to PM) ranks as the most senior government minister. They are responsible for chairing meetings of Cabinet; allocating posts to ministers within the government; acting as the spokesperson for the government; and providing advice to the sovereign or the sovereign's representative, the governor-general. They also have ministerial responsibility for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The office exists by a long-established convention, which originated in New Zealand's former colonial power, the then United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The convention stipulates that the governor-general must select as prime minister the person most likely to command the support, or confidence, of the House of Representatives. This individual is typically the parliamentary leader of the political party that holds the largest number of seats in that house.[lower-alpha 1] The prime minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their actions to the governor-general, to the House of Representatives, to their political party, and ultimately to the national electorate.

Originally the head of government was titled "colonial secretary" or "first minister". This was changed in 1869 to "premier". That title remained in use for more than 30 years, until Richard Seddon informally changed it to "prime minister" in 1901 during his tenure in the office.[3] Following the declaration of New Zealand as a Dominion in 1907, the term prime minister has been used exclusively in English. In Māori, the title pirimia, meaning "premier", continues to be used.[4] New Zealand prime ministers are styled as "The Right Honourable", a privilege they retain for life.[5]


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