The unknown (but not the last) Governor General

Yesterday I came home from work to the announcement that a new Governor General had been appointed. I do not know whether I was more surprised at a person who was a complete unknown, or the fact that it had happened in the same week that we find out which of the two options will be our new flag.

I will be honest that until this day I had never heard of Patsy Reddy, much less knew that she is a Dame or what she did in her past.

To the credit of the Prime Minister, it would appear he has chosen a person from a very respectable background. Dame Patsy comes from a strong legal ground, with her work in Treaty of Waitangi negotiations and the recent report into the performance of the spy agencies. What type of style she will adopt as her persona in carrying out her public duties is another point altogether.

Perhaps the most striking part about this announcement was not the announcement itself but the reaction it drew from some quarters. United Future Leader Peter Dunne took to Twitter and asked if we were watching the presentation of the last Governor General, and admitting that he had been consulted. Whilst thinking that the end of the Governor General as an official position in New Zealand is approaching, I think Mr Dunne has jumped the gun in asking if this will be the last whilst the Queen is still alive.

I am a republican, definitely, and have blogged before about the style of republic that I want. However I am quite sure that simply walking away from the Monarchy without the mandate of a binding referendum is a quite dangerous approach to take, and one that stop me voting a republic. There is a time and place for that like there is a time and place for figuring out how to disband the Governor General’s office. But the time for neither is now.

Peter Dunne 01

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