Sunday, September 12, 2004

The next governor general?

The Sunday Star Times engages in speculation about who the next Governor General would be. However for the list of prospects, the article gave along with their odds. I added my comments.

Jim Bolger (4:1) - the main problem here is that he's a politician and there's an aversion towards pollies as Heads of State. As Governor General, Keith Holyoake was rather passive because he had been Prime Minister and cautious about political interference. Lastly I'm uncertain whether Spud Jim will be acceptable to the National Party in Parliament given his Kiwibank treachery.

Kiri Te Kanawa (10:1) - My only objection is being a world-renowed prima donna does not quite convey the impression that she has the necessary fibre for the position.

Penny Jamison (10:1) - Another Bishop from the Church of England? Once was unusual but twice looks like favouritism.

Tipene O'Reagan (12:1) - Two objections: a history of "sharp" business practices and the suspicion that he will use his position to routinely snub non-Kai Tahu Maoris.

Mike Moore (15:1) - Another pollie. The only problem is that Governer-Generals are required to give coherent speechs from time to time.

Brian Lochore (18:1) - I don't think Helen would be too enthused about picking a rugby legend.

Geoffery Palmer (20:1) - Yet another pollie. Has a mantle of Ivory-Tower aloofness that cannot be removed.

Doug Graham (20:1) - Still another pollie. I actually think his chances are better than Geoffery's considering that he's conservative and went to bat for the Treaty settlements.

Sukhi Turner (20:1) - Too extreme. Her politics are Alliance rather than Labour and her abrasiveness does not mix well with the post of Governor-General. But then again, Cath Tizard reportedly swore a lot...

Kenneth Keith (20:1) - "Connections to the Liberal Left" make him a contender? More likely they would be the kiss of death.

David Lange (25:1) - Unwell and unlikely to improve. He also acquired bad mana from his time as Prime Minister but that's probably faded.

Sir Ivor Richardson (25:1) - Another Judge. Look, the only reason they appointed Hardie-Boys was because an image of stability was felt to be necessary during the adoption of MMP. Since the fear of turbulence has passed, there's little need to appoint another Judge.

Stephen Tindall (30:1) - I've a feeling that his reign would mirror the quality of his merchandise - loud, cheap, brashly merchandized but before long, you are looking for a replacement.

Fran Wilde (30:1) - A figure of some respectability during the Lange government and a reasonable mayor (I could be wrong). The only problem is that her relative silence since then means she's an unknown throughout much of the country. What is she doing anyway?

Sir Robert Jones (30:1) - I don't think a pugilistic in-your-face attitude is compatible with being a Governor General.

Sian Elias (30:1) - You do know that she once made political controversy by challenging the basis of parliamentary sovereignity? A Prime Minister that appoints her needs to be committed.

Dick Hubbard (40:1) - Not a chance. He's still learning the ropes of running for public office and has yet to make his mark in Auckland.

Robin Cooke (40:1) - The Evil One whose reign of activism on the Court of Appeal caused acute apoplexy and hypertension of the governments of the time? Whose insidious doctrines have inspired Sian Elias? Well for starters, he's too old.

Edmund Hillary (50:1) - Too old.

Jenny Shipley (50:1) - Another pollie. Why is she way down the list compared
to Lange and Palmer?

Ron Trotter (50:1) - Too close to the boardrooms for the public liking.

Prince Edward (50:1) - Not bright and not born here. Why him and not Prince
Andrew who at least taught here?

Tim Shadbolt (50:1) - Not serious enough.

Jonathan Hunt (100:1) - He's getting bored

Titewhai Harawira (10,000:1) - Has criminal convictions for beating up mental patients. I don't think Helen would even think about someone who made her cry in public.

For what it's worth, the article screws up when it claims that Governor-Generals are "traditionally recruited from the senior judiciary". Nonsense. The following is a list of New Zealand born Governor-Generals and their highest rank prior to appointment:

Sir Arthur Porritt (1967-1972), Surgeon
Sir Denis Blundell (1972- 1977), Lawyer
Sir Keith Holyoake (1977-1980), Prime Minister
Sir David Beattie (1980-1985), Supreme Court Judge
Sir Paul Reeves (1985-1990), Anglican Primate
Dame Catherine Tizard (1990-1996), Mayor of Auckland
Sir Michael Hardie Boys (1996-2001), Appeal Court Judge

Before then, the Governors were a mixture of UK Peers and military men.