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Former prime minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer has proved a popular choice to be New Zealand's next governor-general -- but he has no interest in the job.

A National Business Review/Phillips Fox poll today put Sir Geoffrey in the top spot, with another former prime minister, Jim Bolger, next most preferred for the role.

Former All Black captain Sir Wilson Whineray was third, former National cabinet minister Sir Douglas Graham fourth, and Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias was the fifth most popular choice.

Sir Geoffrey told the National Business Review he would turn down the role if offerred it.

"I have no ambition to be governor-general at all," he said.

"It's not a role I aspire to or anything.

"I mean, how many more careers do I want?"

Current governor-general Dame Silvia Cartwright ends her five-year term in April 2006.

The Government has previously said that the process for appointing a new governor-general usually started about one year before the term of the present governor-general expired.

In September, Prime Minister Helen Clark would not say if she wanted Mr Bolger in the job after he was tipped by the political newsletter Trans-Tasman as the favourite to replace Dame Silvia when her term ends.

In April this year, National MP Richard Worth suggested either Prince Edward or a top New Zealand sportsman would make a great governor-general.

The NBR poll of 750 voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent.