Right Honourable title back for NZ's elite

From now on Prime Minister John Key will be right -- Right Honourable.

The Queen has approved the use of the right honourable title by current and future prime ministers, governor-generals, speakers and chief justices.

Until 2000 most senior members of the judiciary and executive from New Zealand were able to use the title due to their appointment to the United Kingdom's Privy Council.

Former prime minister Helen Clark decided not to suggest further appointments to the Privy Council and that has been continued under the current government.

Mr Key said Buckingham Palace approached him a couple of months ago with a suggestion from the Queen that the right honourable title be applied to those in the four positions.

Mr Key said that was consistent with other countries and he supported the move.

It would not be retrospective.

Mr Key said he was happy to be called honourable but appreciated the Queen's wish to recognise the service of prime ministers.

"To be honest for the last 18 months, half the time I'm called the right honourable and half the time I'm not, so it really doesn't make much difference."

The changes were effective immediately which means in addition to Mr Key, Speaker Lockwood Smith and Governor-General Anand Satyanand will gain the title.

Chief Justice Sian Elias was already a right honourable because she was appointed in 1999.

Those who miss out on the tittle, because they served after 2000 and left before today, were former governor-general Silvia Cartwright and former speaker Margaret Wilson.

The title is for life.

Mr Key did not believe reinstating the title tied New Zealand to Britain's apron strings.

"I don't think so, Canada's done the same thing.

"The sense from the Queen was that these four roles are very significant in New Zealand and ... so the feeling was that she wanted to have those specifically recognised."

The Queen did not feel it was appropriate to have the current prime minister called the honourable when in other realms they were called the right honourable.

A press secretary for the Queen said it was at her request that the title would be applied to "preserve an important mark of distinction for the holders of the nation's highest public offices".

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Right dickhead would be more appropriate.


and forget all this forelock tugging nonsense the better.

Yours faithfully

The Infinitely Upper Class Excelsior Honourable
Peter Baker-Butcher.


Go jump off a bridge, you are whats wrong with this country.


I think encouraging suicide as part of an argument may also be something that is wromg with this country Andres.


Why cant we do what we want. Get ride of this scumbag money wheeling queen. The queen has nothing to do with NZ these days. John key should said up and say NO.


No, that's not a picture of our Head of State, its a mirror you're looking at, mate. And, might I add, in an earlier age you would have been tried for sedition and hung, for a despicable comment like that.


These archaic titles will go very well with the archaic policies of this goverment. Can we please move into the 21st century now?????


Mr. Key seems to have delusions of grandeur and is "jumping" to get all the titles and honourifics he can get for himself before the Nats are rolled


Her Majesty is right and I am truly shocked at the crassness of some of these posts. I did find it hypocritical that the Rt Hon Helen Clark retained the 'Right' component when she abolished the Privy Council. I am also amazed at those who don't belive in titles insist on using them (such as a former left wing MP who had the suffix MP printed on her personal credit card). I beleive in the Monarchy and would rather have that than some clapped out politician looking for a cushy number. The Monarchy represents living history and service than the self-interest that defines so much of modern New Zealand.


@David - that's a laughable assertion. If the monarchy's against self-interest, why has it allowed the Prime Minister to grant himself the pompous title "Right Hon." You can't get any more self-interested than that.

By the way, Clark didn't abolish the Privy Council. She stopped making appointments to it. The Privy Council is different from the Judicial Committee, which was replaced as our highest court in 2003, amid predictions of the destruction of New Zealand society because of the rise of an out-of-control Supreme Court... as usual, that turned out to be false.


Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council is the Sovereign’s inner advisory committee on executive matters of state in the United Kingdom.

Whilst New Zealand allowed appeals to the the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Prime Minister, senior and long-serving Ministers of the Crown, the Chief Justice and Judges of the Court of Appeal, were usually appointed to the Council.

The Clark Government, led by Helen (unless she was an imposter), severed that relationship in the formation of the Supreme Court, hence why there had been no further appointnments from New Zealand since Simon Upton in 1999 (14 December to be exact).

Thankfully that has now changed due to our Sovereign's generosity.


Oh and I should add what has been the cost of the Supreme Court folly? $80.7 million for a building that was almost twice the projected cost and a bench that is under employed. We've traded in the cheapest/highest quality legal minds on the planet for an excercise is proto-republican envy.

That's not all - each judge of the Supreme Court is on a swish $410k plus allowances and there are six of them ($2.5 million pa). Throw in the Court's annual running costs then divide all that by the cases it hears and ask youself this, are we getting value for money let alone the quality for money over the Privy Council? The answer is a fat NO.


David, you said Helen Clark abolished the Privy Council, which she didn't, she just ended appointments to it. That was then confirmed by John Key in 2008. You clearly don't know the difference between the Privy Council and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Also, you forget that the UK has established its own Supreme Court, and the "best legal minds" actually no longer sit on the JCPC, except for disputes between the home nations of the UK. Like most things, the UK treats the Commonwealth as an expensive luxury it would rather not pay for.

You've obviously never had to pay for litigation through the court system. While it is true that the Supreme Court costs the NZ taxpayer more than the JCPC, the fact is that for an appeal to our highest court it now costs around a third of what it cost previously, meaning there are far more cases being heard by the Supreme Court than the JCPC ever did. Hence the reason why big business opposed the Supreme Court *cough*Telecom v Clear*cough* - they're now faced with more accountability for their actions.


the JCPC actually doesn't have jurisdiction over UK home nations devolved issues anymore. Here's what they look after:

* Appeals against schemes of the Church Commissioners (who control the estate of the Church of England).
* Appeals from the ecclesiastical courts (the Arches Court of Canterbury and the Chancery Court of York) in non-doctrinal faculty cases.
* Appeals from the Court of Admiralty of the Cinque Ports.
* Appeals from Prize Courts.
* Appeals from the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.[4]
* Disputes under the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975.


The New Zealand Constitution Amendment Act 1947 means New Zealand become independent. The Privy Council itself is an appointment by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the British Prime Minister. By convention whille the Judicial Committee was supreme, that was extended, by association to New Zealand. Unless I (and most Kiwis) missed something in the Supreme Court Act 2003, that relationship was ended. The correct point of the NZPA article is that the Queen is allowing the 'Right' title to be awarded to the PM, Speaker and Chief Justice. Can I say to you this, show me the section of an Act that proves you right.

Yet your triumphal 'correction' about the devolved home nations (BTW that is Scotland and Northern Ireland only) shows a serious lack of constitutional reading. The Sctottish legal system has been separate from England's since the Act of Union 1800 and there are two 'supreme' courts (civil and criminal). I refer you to the civil Court of Sessions Act 1810 to reinforce that point. In Northern Ireland, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was created as the highest appealate court by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.


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