Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Privy Council is dead

Yesterday the Queen announced that she was changing the rules around the use of the title "Right Honourable" to grant it immediately (and for life) to the Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker and Chief Justice. The reason?

This will bring a measure of association and continuity with the recent past; formerly, the most senior members of the Judiciary and the Executive in New Zealand gained this right upon appointment to the Privy Council, a practice which no longer exists.
(Emphasis added)

And so another of the apron strings is cut, without any fanfare. And they had to - the Privy Council is a British institution, not a New Zealand one; joining it requires swearing allegiance to the Queen in right of the UK, a foreign power, which means instantly losing your seat in Parliament. And now we've admitted it, and there will be no more New Zealand Privy Councillors.

Unfortunately, the government felt it had to continue the feudal charade of titles (as if calling people "Right Honourable" makes it so). Though John Key's ego was unquestionably a driving factor here. Without it, he would have forever been inferior to Helen Clark and Winston Peters...