NZ’s dirtiest political secret: the bloodless coup of 1986

June 2017: Seventeen  years ago a little-known conference of constitutional experts revealed New Zealand’s dirtiest political secret: that in 1986 the NZ Parliament seized control of the country in a bloodless coup, declaring themselves sovereign above the people in a technical but highly significant move. Nearly two decades later, the position has never been rectified…

APRIL 2000: New Zealanders have fewer Constitutional rights than the citizens of Mongolia: that’s the disturbing revelation as delegates gather for a major Constitutional conference in Wellington this month. They’ll be debating whether we need a written Constitution, and whether New Zealand needs to become a Republic but, as IAN WISHART reports, it’s throwing up some embarassing information about our current Parliamentary system:


Photo: Investigate Magazine

2 thoughts on “NZ’s dirtiest political secret: the bloodless coup of 1986”

  1. My understanding is New Zealand already has a Constitution:
    The Chiefs of the Northern Tribes of Hauraki signed a declaration of Independence in 1835, it was a fully written Constitution affirmed by King William IV which was ratified by a 21 gun salute from HMS Alligator, flying was New Zealand’s first National flag, the 1834 Constitutional Flag and remains New Zealand’s only lawful flag to this day.
    The 1835 Constitution was the authority by which Rangatira signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
    Because the Treaty of Waitangi had made no provision for the obligation of the monarch’s heirs and successors the Treaty of Waitangi expired on the death of Queen Victoria, January 1901 and therefore defaulted back to the original Treaty of 1835.
    I am open to correction and do not wish any offence.


    1. No offense taken Steve. I too had heard this & have seen it raised frequently. I see groups at FB working on the info & sharing.. & it’s been brought to my attention also.


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