Yesterday, August 31st, was the third anniversary of Sir Jerry Matepare taking office as Governor-General. He is our 20th Governor-General and only the 10th New Zealander to hold the position. He is also the 9th Governor-General of Niue
Prime Minister John Key is the Head of Government. As such, he is entitled to appoint the Head of State's representative. He appointed Sir Jerry Mateparae. Whoever becomes PM on September 20th will choose the next Governor-General in 2016.
New Zealand's actual Head of State is still the British Head of State but in effect all of the work is done by the Governor-General. Government House is an important part of our constitution.
At the moment our current Head of Government is busy dealing with re-election. It has been a very intense campaign so far and all of the various political parties are looking to gain as many seats in Parliament as possible. United Future, the Green Party and Labour all support a referendum to look at reforming our Head of State. National has stated they support a referendum on changing our flag.
Our position is clear. We think it is more important to change the way our Head of State is chosen. New Zealand's head of state should be a democratically selected New Zealander. The office must be independent from all party politics. Once voters have made that more important change we can then all look at the symbolic issue of a new flag.
Both debates are an inevitable result of New Zealand's new sense of nationhood and a continuation of New Zealand's long drive to full independence. If the flag debate happens first it will help focus attention on New Zealand's core values.
Issues of political integrity, housing, education, health, taxation and transport are all getting far more attention then the Head of State changes but that does not mean it is unimportant. Irrespective of who forms the next government and who our next Head of Government is New Zealand must still reform its Head of State. There is no escaping that inevitability.
Be sure and vote in this election for a party who you support and be sure to encourage everyone you know to vote. The right to choose who holds political office and who exerts constitutional power is fundemental. Exercise your right to choose. Have your say.