The Republican Movement is calling for governors-general to
be appointed only if three-quarters of parliament agrees.
Parliament's government administration committee is
considering the Governor-General Bill. The Bill aims to
update language and remove outdated measures following a Law
Commission review which found provisions in the Civil List
Act were old-fashioned, unnecessarily complicated, and no
longer suited to supporting the office of a modern
The recommendations would be implemented in time for the next
governor-general to assume office in August next year.
Republican Movement chairman Lewis Holden said a range of
names, including that of Sir Don McKinnon, had been raised as
The process for the next appointment should be open and
transparent and the myth that the opposition was consulted
should be changed so there was a formal requirement, he said.
The movement suggested a three-quarter majority plus support
of at least half the party leaders, to ensure that small
parties views were counted.
"Basically, the whole point is to make sure that person is as
absolutely neutral as possible."
National's Nikki Kaye raised concerns that there could be
several one-member parties in Parliament, which could give
them too much power if an appointment was based on one vote
Mr Holden said the method would ensure appointments were made
that most MPs and parties found acceptable.
He also said the term of office needed to be legislated and
highlighted the "frankly ridiculous" provision that the new
Governor-General got paid six months before taking office - a
hangover from colonial days.
"That's basically so once you step on a boat at Southampton
dock you start getting paid as Governor-General of New
Zealand, so obviously, that raised questions about what their
term should be."
Changes in the Bill would see:
* The Governor-General's salary income tax exemption removed
but double severance pay to six months' salary.
* Some restrictions on the availability of the annuity paid
to former governors-general and their surviving spouses or
partners. The annuity recognised the role the
governor-general's spouse or partner played and would not
continue to be available if a surviving spouse or partner
remarried or entered a new relationship, or if a former
governor-general and surviving spouse or partner chose to
Some benefits would be carried over, such as domestic travel
and the use of chauffeur-driven cars - similar to benefits
former prime ministers get to recognise public demands could
continue after the person leaves office.
The Bill would also create a new funding structure for the
Office of Governor-General.