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"The Right Honourable"

In New Zealand, in the past, the service of senior Ministers and members of the judiciary has been given recognition by their appointment to the Privy Council, and the consequent right to use the title "The Right Honourable" (abbreviated to "The Rt Hon") while in office and for life.  From 2000, successive New Zealand Prime Ministers decided not to suggest any further appointments to the Privy Council.      

In August 2010, the Queen, reflecting her wish to acknowledge the service of the holders of the highest public offices in New Zealand, approved the following rules for the grant, use and retention of the title "The Right Honourable" in New Zealand:

RULES FOR THE GRANT, USE AND RETENTION
OF THE TITLE "THE RIGHT HONOURABLE" IN NEW ZEALAND

Her Majesty The Queen has approved the following rules for the grant, use and retention of the title "The Right Honourable" in New Zealand:

  1. The title "The Right Honourable" (abbreviated to "The Rt. Hon.") is granted to and may be used and retained for life by those persons who currently hold, and those persons who after the date of the signing of these rules are appointed to, the following offices:

    1. The Governor-General
    2. The Prime Minister
    3. The Speaker of the House of Representatives
    4. The Chief Justice

  2. Persons who are entitled to use the title The Right Honourable and who are also members of The Most Honourable Privy Council may use the letters "PC" after their name to denote such membership.

  3. The Prime Minister of New Zealand shall not make any further suggestions to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of persons to be recommended to Her Majesty the Queen for appointment to The Most Honourable Privy Council in the United Kingdom.

  4. These rules do not affect the rights and privileges of any New Zealanders who have already been appointed to the Most Honourable Privy Council.

  5. Her Majesty The Queen may remove the right of any person referred to in rule 1 to use the title "The Right Honourable", if advised to do so by the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

The new rules are prospective in their application (they apply to current and future office holders, not to people who held office before the new rules were made).  See the list of the people who have been granted the title "The Right Honourable" under the new rules. 

The approval of the rules for the grant, use and retention of the title "The Right Honourable" in New Zealand meant that consequential changes needed to be made to the 2006 rules for the grant and use of the title "The Honourable".