Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Reddy should be our last Governor-General

Yesterday, John Key appointed a new Governor-General via the traditional method of a secret shoulder-tap. The appointment was immediately followed by demands for future such appointments to be made by Parliament, which would be an improvement on the current system. But Peter Dunne has gone one better and called for this Governor-General to be our last:

However, she should be the last person to occupy the role. It is high time for New Zealand to elect its own Head of State, and for our country to become a republic. We should take the opportunity of the appointment of a new Governor-General to commence the process of public debate, leading up to a public referendum, which if supportive of our becoming a republic, should lead to the installation of our first President, when Dame Patsy’s term comes to an end in September 2021.

The Irish Republic provides the model for New Zealand, with a parliamentary system of government and an elected President as Head of State. The President does not exercise any executive functions and is obliged to act on the advice of his or her Ministers, in pretty much the same way as our Governor-General does now. The difference is of course that Uachtaran na hEireann (President of Ireland) is the supreme Head of State, elected directly by the people, not the representative of a foreign hereditary monarch at the other end of the world, as is our Governor-General.

Dunne is calling for an eminent person group (as opposed to a Parliamentary inquiry) to recommend a model, to be put to us in a referendum by 2020, so that when Reddy's term ends we can have a democratic President not another foreign stooge. I'm not that fussed about the final model, but I want that foreign monarchy, and the secrecy and unaccountability it promotes, gone. And the quicker that happens, the better.