Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Reported back

The Government Administration Committee has reported back [PDF] on the Governor-General Bill, and recommended that it be passed unamended. But they do comment on the submissions they've received:

We received submissions proposing a statutory process for the appointment of Governors-General, requiring them to be elected by Parliament to ensure that consultation occurs and a neutral candidate is chosen who is acceptable to the greatest number of Members of Parliament and the public. Submitters also believe that a proper process should be defined for the dismissal of a Governor-General. Submitters wanted to set a fixed term for which Governors-General are appointed, suggesting that a maximum of five years, or a term decided by Parliament, would be appropriate. Some submitters also wanted the Governor- General to become the head of state of New Zealand.
These submissions were ignored as outside the scope of the bill. But they deserve a serious look, regardless of whether we ultimately choose to become a republic or not. Having our de facto head of state operating on royal prerogative and appointed effectively by one person with no transparency is simply unacceptable in a modern democracy. It needs to be put on a statutory basis. Anyone want to take a member's bill?