Friday, December 18, 2009

Time for the Governor-General to pay tax

For the past year the Law Commission has been reviewing the portions of the Civil List Act 1979 relating to the funding of the Governor-General. Yesterday they released their report [PDF], in which they call for the Governor-General to pay tax.

It's a good call. The present situation, in which the Governor-General's salary is tax-exempt, is a monarchical holdover from the days when it was the Queen's government rather than the people's, and it made little sense for the monarch to be paying tax effectively to themselves (besides, they didn't want us peasants to know how filthy rich they were, lest we decide that a little redistribution was in order). But the Queen has "voluntarily" paid tax on her UK income since 1993. It is time her New Zealand representative followed suit.

This would make little difference to the Governor-General - the law would take effect at the next appointment, and their salary would simply be increased to compensate. But it would firmly establish the principle that in New Zealand, we are all equal under the law, and end another monarchical relic.