James Shaw on Republicanism

November 12th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

James Shaw writes in the Dom Post:

Over the past 20 years, a slew of prime ministers have told us they believe it’s inevitable that New Zealand will become a republic. Generally while ducking any chance of letting it happen on their watch.

If it is inevitable, what can possibly be holding us back?

Do we really prefer the lottery of genetics and the trappings of bygone years to the will of the people, simply expressed? Is it the pageantry and splendour? We have our own, should we want to spend up large on it.

Is it the special character of the royal few? Charles seems like a good bloke. He and I support many of the same causes. His heart is in the right place and he’s coming to celebrate a special occasion for his mum. We can all relate to that.

We should wish them both and their family well and accord them every respect due a visiting foreign dignitary. Because in the end he is not a Kiwi, and nor is his mum. And we can’t expect them to be. When England faces the All Blacks, which team should the British Royal Family cheer for?

Exactly. A New Zealander should be our Head of State.

For a fully self-governing, mature nation to maintain the fiction of a monarchy that lives on the polar opposite side of the planet makes no sense.

For a multicultural, pluralistic, liberal democracy to personify itself symbolically in a hereditary monarch, is not merely illogical, it is bizarre. It is the relic of a bygone era, a political anachronism whose persistence is increasingly difficult to explain.

This is not to deny the cultural and intellectual inheritance that New Zealand has received from Britain. Our parliamentary system is modelled on Westminster, infused with a tradition of justice and rational self-rule that reaches back to the Magna Carta.

We have, if anything, done our Kiwi best to improve upon the model we inherited. We have pared away the vestiges that we don’t need, and adapted to changing circumstances. Our system works for us because we have made it our own. And yet we haven’t. Not entirely. Not quite. Why is that? It should be a simple matter to reform the means by which our head of state is selected. We could put it directly into the hands of the voting public. Or we could leave it to Parliament, as we leave it to them to appoint the governor-general. That seems to work pretty well.

I’d make the Head of State appointed by a 75% majority in Parliament, which will mean no politician or partisan could be appointed to it.

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Green Party list

April 9th, 2011 at 8:28 am by David Farrar

The Greens released (after I had it leaked to me three years ago) this week their draft party list for the 2011 election. It is highly persuasive with the party membership, but normally there are some minor changes. At this stage the list is:

  1. Metiria Turei
  2. Russel Norman
  3. Kevin Hague
  4. Catherine Delahunty
  5. Kennedy Graham
  6. Gareth Hughes
  7. Eugenie Sage
  8. Jan Logie
  9. David Clendon
  10. Holly Walker
  11. Denise Roche
  12. Julie Anne Genter
  13. Mojo Mathers
  14. James Shaw
  15. Richard Leckinger

The Greens could well get 10 MPs. Eugenie Sage is a green green – a long time Forest & Bird and one of the sacked ECan Councillors. Jan Logie stood for the Greens in the Mana by-election. She is the development manager at the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.

Holly Walker is a current Green Press Secretary, and former Critic editor. I rate her as a significant political talent, and if she gets in, will be one of their more effective MPs.

Denise Roche at 11 is from Waiheke Island, and a former Auckland City Councillor. She is well known in Auckland Central, where Greens do very well.

Julie-Anne Genter is a young transport planner. She has a stellar acadamic record, and from I can tell would be a significant asset to the Greens caucus.

Mojo Mathers is a parliamentary party staffer also, and No 15 Rick Leckinger is a former parliamentary staffer.  That’s three current or former staffers in the top 15. I don’t know Mojo, but regard Rick as a good guy who has a very good understand of Internet issues. He suffers from a minor disability of being born in Georgia, USA :-)

Overall looks to be one of their strongest and most youthful line ups. Of course I think their policies are generally whacked.

For them to get into Parliament Holly, Denise and Julie-Anne etc, they need to lift their vote share from 2008. If I was a centre left voter, I’d be looking closely at whom Labour has on their list around the threshold of “might make it”, and think about which candidates you would rather have in Parliament.

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