Dame Patsy Reddy confirmed as next Governor-General
Prime Minister John Key has officially announced – after the NZ Herald beat him to the punch this morning – that the Queen has approved the appointment of Dame Patsy Reddy as the next governor-general of New Zealand, the country’s twenty-first.
Incumbent Sir Jerry Mateparae will step down on August 31, with Dame Patsy’s term beginning on September 14.
In his speech Mr Key noted Dame Patsy’s respected business career and recent public sector work – including as chief Crown negotiator for Treaty of Waitangi settlements, the chairwoman of the New Zealand Film Commission and deputy chairman of the New Zealand Transport Agency, and on the review of New Zealand’s Intelligence and Security agencies – as reasons for his choice for the role.
In response to journalists’ questions, Mr Key said Dame Patsy would bring the “mana and respect” the role demands and that she has a diversity of interests.
He also said he “believed it was important to have a woman as governor-general,” given the last two people to fill the role have been men.
“I think when we’ve had women in the most senior positions in our country, whether governor-general, chief justice, prime minister or head of big corporations, it’s aspirational for young New Zealand women,” Mr Key said.
Finally, Mr Key noted that he believes Sir David Gascoigne, Dame Patsy’s husband, will make a fine consort.
For her part, Dame Patsy said she was “stunned” to have been asked to take on the role and observed she didn’t really fit the mode of previous governor-generals, whose careers have usually been entirely dedicated to public service, whether the judiciary, military, church or politics.
In taking on the job, Dame Patsy said she “will be guided by a belief in democratic freedoms and the rule of law, and the importance of culture and creativity in strengthening our identity and our growth as a nation" and “will uphold the values and the importance of the Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of New Zealand.”
She confirmed she did cast a ballot in the flag referendum, as it was an important opportunity to exercise one’s democratic rights, but she declined to say which option she voted for.