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Governor General wrong to stick oar into name change debate

The Taxpayers’ Union has written to the Governor General Patsy Reddy, and the leader of each political party in Parliament to express concern about comments made by the Governor General yesterday to Newshub where she appears to express support for a proposal to change New Zealand’s name to “Aotearoa” or “Aotearoa New Zealand”.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman and constitutional lawyer, Jordan Williams, said:

“The Governor General’s role is strictly non-political and non-partisan – for her to be offering comment on a controversial political issue is more than inappropriate, it is constitutionally wrong.”

“The Governor General’s office is the most lavish taxpayer funded role in New Zealand. Unlike even the Prime Minister, Dame Patsy enjoys taxpayer funded domestic staff. We pay for her to be the Queen’s representative, and the apex of constitutional monarchy in New Zealand. That role is undermined the moment she enters the political fray like this.”

“In 2017 the Canadian Governor General was rebuked for making comments about climate change and religion, resulting in many opinion leaders calling on the role to be abolished. Like Canada, our Queen’s representative should be uncontroversial and apolitical in her role as steward of the functioning of government. If Dame Patsy wants to express views about the name of New Zealand, or offer opinion on any political matter, she should find another job first.”

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