12 Legislative Council Chamber
View of the Legislative Council Chamber. The distinctive red wool carpet links the New Zealand Parliament back to its Westminster traditions.
The Legislative Council was Parliament's Upper House. Its members were appointed rather than elected. The Council's job was to revise laws passed in the House of Representatives (Lower House) and draft some laws of its own.
The Council was meant to play an independent and influential role like Britain's House of Lords, but this didn't happen. After Governments (rather than the Governor) began appointing its members and 'stacking' it with their supporters, the Council's independence weakened.
Occasionally, Council members resisted the Government's moves, as they did in the 1890s. The Government's attempt to stack the Council backfired when the Governor refused to approve the nominees. Eventually, Britain ordered him to cooperate.
From then on, the Council was no longer independent. It was eventually abolished in 1951.