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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And another thing... 

Both NRT and the Holden Republic marked the centenary of New Zealand becoming a Dominion ("a what?" - Joe Public) to call for a Republic. And good on them: the arguments in favour are, frankly, overwhelming.

But where I part ways with both Idiot/Savant and Lewis Holden is in the characterization of the Governor-General as our "de facto Head of State."

Given that the Governor General is: (a) appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister of the day; (b) exercises executive power only on the advice of this Prime Minister; and (c) is answerable to the Prime Minister ... why not just call a stone a stone, and say the Prime Minister is the de-facto Head of State?? They are the primary representative of the nation, and the Executive branch, at home and abroad.

As I've argued before, I think the Governor General is better characterized as the de jure Head of State's local proxy, who serves at the whim of the de facto Head of State. In other words a diminished figurehead position (notwithstanding the possibility of exceptional circumstances like the dismissal of the Whitlam government).

And another thing: while matters constitutional should be considered, at least from time to time, the TV news media remains obsessed with the internet development de jour: quote online social networking sites like bebo and facebook endquote. For the last two evenings, TV3 has been "reporting" on these sites by about 6:06pm. In other words, they're lead news. On both occasions I shouted at the TV: "reading bebo is not fucking journalism!"

So, yeah, don't expect to learn anything about the merits or otherwise of a Republic on the evening news any time soon.

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Ah - you support making the Prime Minister a President DC red?
No, not really. I just think the Prime Minister is our effective /de facto Head of State already.

A President might/should be more independent of the PM ... e.g., not appointed on the PM's advice, and not dismissable on the PM's advice.

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