Larry Williams: Governor-General choice should be ratified by Parliament

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Listen to Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB, 4pm to 7pm. Today he looks at the Governor-General selection process.
New Zealand's next Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy with her husband, Sir David Gascoigne. Photo / Mark Mitchell
New Zealand's next Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy with her husband, Sir David Gascoigne. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Dame Patsy Reddy is to be the next Governor-General. There is no question she has the CV for such an appointment. Dame Patsy has impressive credentials.

I'm not so sure about the process though.

The Greens say it's time to change the Governor-General appointment process.

They want a more democratic process for appointing New Zealand's Governor-General - an appointment which should be confirmed by a super majority of Parliament. The Greens say that future appointments should rest on 75 per cent support of Parliament.

Unfortunately the Greens view is clouded by Dame Patsy being part of the review of the spy agencies, but in principle, the Greens are right on this one.

The Prime Minister and his committee should not unilaterally decide who our de-facto head of state is.

It should go to Parliament to be ratified.

A super majority of 75 per cent is reasonable.

With no ratification process there's the perception that the appointee is a person who is on the PM's "cocktail list" or a "friend of the party".

The Governor-General needs to have mutual respect across the political divide. A ratification process would bring this.

It's always going to be a political appointment but there no reasons why the candidate can't be vetted by the rest of Parliament.

It might get ugly but it's called democracy.

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