An interesting tidbit that I discovered recently is Attorney-General Chris Finlayson has recommended to the Governor-General for appoint
edment every single member of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, bar the Chief Justice.
Here is the breakdown for each court:
- Supreme Court – Finlayson has appointed five Justices. CJ Elias (appointed by Shipley) retires in 2018 so Bill English may get to appoint her replacement.
- Court of Appeal – Finlayson has appointed all 10 Justices
- High Court – Finlayson has appointed 26 Justices, 14 were appointed under Labour. The Chief HC Judge was made a Judge under Labour but made Chief under Finlayson
Quite unusual to have one Attorney-General appoint all but one Justice of the two top courts. This is partially a reflection of the fact we have a retirement age for judges (unlike the US) but also that Finlayson has been Attorney-General for so long.
The longest serving AGs since 1930s have been:
- Rex Mason 17 years
- Ralph Hanan 8 1/2 years
- Chris Finlayson 8 years
- Paul East 7 years
- Jim McLay 6 years
- Clifton Webb 5 years
- Geoffrey Palmer 5 years
- Margaret Wilson 4 1/2 years
So Chris is likely to become the second longest serving AG next year. I doubt anyone will ever bear Rex Mason’s record.